What is a Radome Used For?

General Article

A radome is a weatherproof dome structure used for protecting radar equipment such as the radar antenna. It is designed with a radio frequency transparent (minimally attenuating) material, especially to the outside, to ensure that radio waves pass through. These materials include fiberglass, foam cores, honeycombs, or quartz. Chemical resins can also be used for construction.

What is a Radome Used For?

Different types of radomes are manufactured for different uses. The main purposes are to protect antenna surfaces such as radar antennas from the weather or to conceal certain radio frequency antenna equipment from public view. Some of these uses include covering airplane radar antenna, weather radars, satellites, telemetry, and air traffic control antenna.

Depending on the use, radome manufacturers design them differently to suit the set purpose. Essentially, there are two types of radome classifications, ground-based radomes, and air radomes.

Are There Different Types of Radomes?

Ground-based radomes are used mainly for covering electronic antennas from the public view. In some instances, especially in areas with strong winds or storms, they can protect the equipment from adverse weather conditions, such as satellite communication (SATCOM) equipment.

There are three main types of ground-based radomes. These are:

  • Composite Radomes- this is a composite spherical radome such as sandwich radomes built on a rigid, self-supporting structure.
  • Air Supported Radomes- This is a flexible air-supported radome made from a fabric envelope. It stays supported by air inflation. It can only be operable in areas with a redundant blower system to inflate it all the time and an uninterrupted power supply source. It is advantageous in that it provides the best PF characteristics.
  • Space Frame Radomes- This is a geodesic dome made of assembled triangular panels. It sits in a rigid, self-supporting structure and is best for areas with adverse weather.

There are other types of radomes found on the front part of an airplane that protect the radar from dams. Materials used in the construction of such radomes must be lightweight to reduce drag.

Final Thoughts

A radome is a radio wave transparent dome used for protecting electronic equipment such as radar antennas from adverse weather conditions. They serve to ensure that such equipment is safe and lasts longer.