Radome Testing in our In-House RF Test Chamber

Radome Testing in our In-House RF Test Chamber

At Rock West’s new headquarters, we have an RF test lab to support our many radome, antenna, and integrated RF structure programs. Recently we had a radome that required physical characterization of performance as part of its testing and verification plan.

For this particular program, the radome provides high-performance, low loss protection for modern radar equipment. It has both military and commercial applications and is built under the support of solution provider R4 Integration, Inc.

The radome is a multi-layer sandwich construction using low dielectric materials that are optimized to provide low transmission loss over wide broadband frequencies. This customer had narrow frequency bands of interest, and we were able to tune the radome for best performance within those specific frequency bands.

Radome being mounted on test frame

Radome being mounted on test frame

This program required physical test verification at a large amount of view angles, to map the radome’s performance over the entire surface. To test many view angles efficiently, our team had commissioned a custom structure to position the radome at 5 degree increments in both the azimuthal and elevation planes. It’s built mostly of wood and fiberglass to minimize structural RF interference. These are images from the testing process.

Transmission Loss testing for radome at different view angles

Transmission Loss testing for radome at different view angles

The successful testing and characterization of this radome enabled our customer to provide system-level performance feedback to their customer, meeting requirements for both the airborne terminal and the satellite-based communication systems.

Rock West produces radomes from L-band to Ka-band with transmission loss typically below -1.0 dB, with many radomes tuned for loss below -0.5 dB in primary transmit and receive bands. Our in-house testing capability enables us to quickly test prototypes, shorten program schedules and reduce risk for programs with strict RF requirements.

This radome is designed, analyzed, and qualified to FAA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) requirements. Rock West has heritage in FAA qualification for wide range of aircraft and radome types.

Radome in full test test setup

Full Test setup