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What is the RCS Test? Used From Military Stealth to Aerospace Upgrade

Radar cross-section (RCS) refers to the electromagnetic wave intensity returned by the target under radar wave irradiation. It can measure how detectable an object is by radar when scanned from a distance. RCS depends on object size, orientation, material, and surface characteristics relative to the radar transmitter. 

The RCS test is crucial in determining the observability of aircraft, missiles, spacecraft, and other military and civilian products on radar. With the increased development of stealth technologies and the adoption of advanced materials in aviation and defence sectors, accurate RCS measurement is gaining immense importance.

Understanding the RCS Compact Range Testing

RCS compact range testing provides a convenient indoor facility for accurately evaluating radar cross-section performance. Compared to traditional outdoor testing methods, compact ranges offer significant benefits for RCS assessment.

1. What is RCS Testing?

RCS testing involves measuring the echo or return signal generated when an object is irradiated by radar waves. It quantifies how detectable and sensitive that object appears on radar. Precise RCS data is crucial for developing stealth technologies and ensuring radar systems can adequately identify targets.

2. What are the Advantages of the RCS Compact Range Testing?

The compact range RCS test provides several key advantages. Chief among these include:

1) High Precision

By carefully detecting and adjusting the amplitude and phase of reflected radar signals, compact range tests can achieve incredible measurement precision. This level of accuracy is critical for applications like stealth technology development that require minimal variances in radar signature values.

2) High Stability

The compact range test isolates external interference, such as weather factors, that may cause instability. Outdoor testing is at the mercy of wind, rain, and temperature fluctuations, which can vary test conditions and obscure measurement consistency. The controlled indoor environment of compact ranges delivers consistently reproducible and dependable results. This is of great significance for long-term monitoring and comparative analysis. 

3) High Efficiency

Compared to far-field test that requires a long testing distance to ensure the simulated conditions, the compact range allows full RCS assessment to occur quickly without extensive outdoor field. The compact range test occurs in a microwave anechoic chamber, a shielding space isolating external electromagnetic waves. It reduces the trouble of movement. This high efficiency saves time and cost for regular RCS test demands.

What’s the Role of Radar Cross-Section (RCS) Test in Various Fields?

Radar cross-section testing fulfills important roles across diverse fields that utilize radar technology. RCS performance supports critical applications in domains as far-ranging as military defences, aerospace engineering, and civilian transportation.

1. Military Field

An RCS test helps measure the sensitivity and detectability of new aircraft to radar signals to evade enemy radar detection. It also supports developing and testing radar systems used for target detection, tracking, and recognition. Precise RCS data is vital to determine enemies’ stealth technologies as well as evaluate anti-stealth measures.

2. Aerospace Field

RCS test enhances flight safety by checking the performance of radar in transmitting and receiving electromagnetic waves in different directions. It can detect foreign bodies in the air in a timely manner and aids in reducing collision risk. Furthermore, optimal RCS can also be used for monitoring and controlling air traffic.

3. Civil Field

Transportation sectors employ RCS testing for navigation safety. It helps address collision concerns in maritime traffic and assists air traffic management. RCS test data also helps optimize radar designs for weather monitoring and land surveillance applications.

Who Provides the Best Stealth RCS Test Solutions?

Headquartered in China, Sunyield is the pioneer of compact range testing technologies in China. With over a decade of experience, multiple R&D centers, and manufacturing facilities, we deliver top-quality RCS and antenna measurement solutions. Our extensive product range caters to both military and civilian stealth testing needs.

At Sunyield, we offer a variety of compact range testing solutions tailored for stealth assessment across military and civilian domains. Two of our antenna testing equipment leading these efforts are:

1. SY-CATR3000-RCS

The SY-CATR3000-RCS provides clients with highly accurate RCS measurement capabilities. It can meet various product testing needs of customers, including base stations, terminals, active antennas, radars, phased array antennas, etc., and is compatible with CPE waiting test pieces. By measuring the radar cross-sectional area, it can evaluate the stealth characteristics of aerospace and defence products. Other characteristics include:

  • Frequency range from 600MHz to 110GHz
  • Quiet zone amplitude fluctuation within 0.5dB and quiet zone phase fluctuation within 5° ensures precise measurement
  • Flat reflector (<20um) can accurately reflect and focus radar waves, reducing errors
  • Support testing active/passive directional map and gain of the tested object, radar target simulation, and RCS test directional map, etc.
  • Support customization


The SY-SPS is a single probe sliding rail spherical near-field testing scheme catering to both civil antenna measurement and military RCS testing. It has the characteristics of high precision and high efficiency. Its other key features include:

  • Wide 1-18GHz test frequency allows testing different radar bands
  • VV, HH dual polarization methods 
  • Equipped with multi-angle RCS near-field function and near-far field transformation post-processing function, obtaining multi-angle far-field RCS data
  • One-dimensional/two-dimensional imaging provides more intuitive information
  • Support customization


Overall, RCS testing plays a crucial role across military, aerospace, and civilian sectors by detecting radar performance. Compact range test delivers high-precision measurements for the evaluation of stealth technologies, radar systems, and flight safety aspects. 

Our brand, Sunyield, is continually innovating RCS test solutions to improve accuracy and meet evolving industry needs. With reliable products and commitment to quality, we are set to become an influential provider of RCS and antenna testing solutions globally. Contact us now to customize a testing plan for your products.

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