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Radome Selector Guide

What's the most appropriate radome for your application? To determine the answer, you should consider a variety of factors, such as operating frequency, performance requirements, environmental conditions, size and cost.

The table below provides an overview of the four, spherical radome types.  For more guidance in selecting the appropriate radome type, please contact us.

Radome Type:

Sandwich

Metal Space Frame

Solid Laminate

Dielectric Space Frame

Typical
Applications

3-D radar (military and commercial SATCOM); air traffic control; weather radar; phased array radar; secondary surveillance radar.

Military and commercial SATCOM; intelligence gathering; radio astronomy; weather radar; 2-D surveillance radar.

Communication and weather radar; commercial SATCOM; EMI test facilities; low-frequency applications.

EMI test facilities; low-frequency communications
(< 1 GHz).

Construction Characteristics*

Multi-layer construction; doubly-curved polygonal panels bolted together to form truncated sphere.

Shell made of highly developed composites for panel consistency and strength.

Pre-impregnated fiberglass skins fully enclose each panel core to make panels weather-tight.

Triangular frames oriented and bolted together to form a geodesic dome.

Frames made of metal aluminum extrusion.

Proprietary ESSCOLAM™ laminate permanently bonded into frames.

Other membrane materials available for specific applications.

Panel geometries available in both regular and randomized configurations.

Doubly-curved solid fiberglass panels; thickness depends on radome size and wind speed.

Panels arranged in neat vertical and horizontal rows.

Frames made of pultruded fiberglass beams.

Proprietary ESSCOLAM™ laminate permanently attached to each beam.

Panel geometries available in both regular and randomized configurations.
Electromagnetic (EM) Performance Excellent performance over relatively narrow frequency bands or potentially at multiple discrete frequencies. Good performance from 0.5 GHz to 100 GHz with standard membranes. Operational range extended to 1000 GHz with high-performance membranes. Excellent performance below 3.0 GHz or at higher frequencies when wall thickness can be tuned for narrow bandwidths. Excellent performance below 1.0 GHz with performance nulls at other discrete frequencies. Properly designed tuning can enhance performance.
Standard Sizes 10 ft. to 77 ft. (3.0 m to 23.5 m) in diameter. 6 ft. to 200 ft. (1.8 m to 60.9 m) in diameter. 42 in. to 18 ft. (1.1 m to 5.5 m) in diameter. 6 ft. to 68 ft. (1.8 m to 20.7 m) in diameter.
Advantages

Skin and core thickness can be varied for optimum performance at operating frequency.

Excellent choice if low sidelobes are critical.

Good insulation value.

Panel assembly and disassembly from inside radome.

Easy panel removal for replacement or repair.

Membrane materials and thickness can be varied for optimum performance at operating frequency.

Wide range of sizes, flexibility in design wind speed.

Electrostatic cage for lightning protection.

Availability of tactical and IMP-free designs.

Good EM performance over variety of bands.

A cost-effective option in smaller sizes.

Panel assembly and disassembly from inside radome.

Wide range of sizes.

Excellent EM performance at low frequencies.

Disadvantages

Tooling required for each new size.

EM performance is frequency-discrete.

Manufacturing tolerance critical to achieve desired performance.

Joint design critical for effective EM performance.

Performance at discrete frequency — not as good as sandwich type.

Low insulation value unless treated with insulating material.

Cost increases and performance decreases with size and wind speed.

Panels not randomly oriented, allowing for greater boresight and sidelobe degradation.

Not usually effective over 1.0 GHz.

Low insulation value unless treated with insulating material.

Larger beams required for structural reasons, thus higher losses than metal space frame type.

Not recommended for large radomes.

* We use preimpregnated fiberglass materials in all ESSCO radomes to help control resin content and thickness.

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