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5 Minutes to Know Everything About Aircraft Radome Testing

An aircraft radome is a protective case that houses an airborne antenna array and radar while allowing electromagnetic signals to pass through without attenuation and scattering. It is mounted to positions like the nose or wings to situate the enclosed antennas optimally for radar coverage. Radomes are typically made of multiple layers of composite materials, including outer, inner, and intermediate layers, which resist external physical impacts, absorb vibrations, and provide thermal and sound insulation. 

As the connecting interface between radar and the environment, the radome’s performance directly impacts radar effectiveness. Considering critical radar applications like air traffic control and weather monitoring, regular radome testing is crucial to ensure vital supported radar systems perform well.

What is the Purpose of Aircraft Radome?

The aircraft radome serves several important purposes. These include:

1. Provide Physical Protection for Antennas

Radome protects antennas from weather effects like rain, hail, snow, sand, ice accretion, extreme temperature, and more. In addition to shielding the antennas, rigorous radome testing ensures they maintain structural integrity when exposed to these harsh conditions over the aircraft’s service life. They shield antennas from the physical impacts of foreign objects striking the aircraft, extending the expectancy life well.

2. Ensure Electromagnetic Wave Transparency

Radomes that are designed with electromagnetic wave transparency allow radar signals to pass through efficiently. This characteristic is called transmittance. The transmittance determines the quality of the radome and reflects the efficiency of electromagnetic wave transmission. In aircraft communication and detection, high transmittance radomes exhibit better performance.

3. Simplify Antenna Structure and Reduce Weight

By concentrating the antennas inside a radome, the layout and design of the antennas are simplified. In addition to reducing parts, labor, and complexity, radomes are generally lighter than an uncovered antenna of the same size since they provide structural support for the antenna internally. The lower weight improves aircraft efficiency and range by reducing resistance.

4. Maintain Aerodynamic Appearance

Radomes create a smooth aircraft profile to reduce drag. Special shaping optimizes airflow and minimizes aerodynamic interference with antennas. Careful aerodynamic appearance ensures the radome contributes minimal additional drag at all speeds and angles. In addition, it maintains the overall fashionable appearance of the aircraft, making the fuselage more aesthetically pleasing. 

What are the Key Indicators for the Radome Test?

Evaluating crucial performance indicators is crucial for ensuring a radome’s suitability. Some critical factors examined during radome testing include:

1. Transmittance Test

This critical test directly measures the signal attenuation or loss incurred by the radar signal as it passes through the radome. The attenuation that is too high can significantly degrade the radar’s maximum effective range and detection accuracy. It can be used to show whether the radar or communication system of the aircraft performs well. 

2. Sidelobe Test

Sidelobes refer to radar energy emitted outside the main beam and in unintended directions. Not only do high sidelobe levels reduce the sensitivity and resolution of detecting targets in the primary coverage area, but they can also cause false detections if sidelobe energy is reflected back. Accurate sidelobe radome testing evaluates performance at all azimuth and elevation angles, helping reduce unwanted radiation. 

3. Beam Width Test

Beam width refers to the beam angle formed by the electromagnetic waves emitted by the antenna. Generally speaking, the narrower the beam width, the better the directionality and the stronger the anti-interference ability. The beam width test ensures that the radome does not adversely affect the antenna radiation, affecting coverage and detection ranges. By beam width testing, crew members can optimize radar and antenna performance accordingly.

4. Millimeter Wave Test

For higher frequency bands with shorter wavelengths, careful millimeter wave testing is required to evaluate if the radome design and materials remain effectively transparent or if additional losses are incurred. Nowadays, millimeter wave frequencies are increasingly being used in modern radar and communication systems. This test ensures that the antenna performs well in all tasks.

Sunyield Radome Testing Solution: SY-RDM

Sunyield is a leading brand that specializes in near-field multi-probe antenna measurement technology. With over a decade of experience, extensive R&D capabilities, and a talented engineering team, we are committed to innovation in areas like antenna testing, radome testing, and RF testing.

Our SY-RDM radome measurement system is tailored for automotive and radome antenna testing facilities. It supports key testing parameters, including sidelobe, transmittance, beam width, etc. Its top features and advantages include:

  • Comprehensive frequency coverage from 6GHz to 16GHz, supporting a wide range of radome testing needs.
  • Large test volume (5.6m * 5.1m * 4.25m) accommodates radomes of different sizes with the multi-axis rotary table enabling 360-degree rotation for complete radiation pattern detection.
  • Integrated precision RF transceiver system to ensure accurate signal transmission and reception through the radome under test.
  • User-friendly control software provides an intuitive interface for the configuration of test parameters, real-time data monitoring, and in-depth data analysis.
  • Customizable installation tooling and mounting brackets simplify quick setup and positioning of radomes on the rotary table for efficient testing.


In summary, radome testing is essential to validate that the enclosure doesn’t degrade radar functionality under real-world conditions. Parameters like transmittance, sidelobes, and beamwidth provide critical insights. With reliable solutions like the SY-RDM system, Sunyield helps customers accurately evaluate radome performance. With our years of industry experience and a strong R&D focus, innovation and quality of our products are ensured. Visit our website to learn more about our full portfolio of advanced antenna and radome testing solutions.

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