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Ultra-Wideband Ultra-Low Loss Radome for Very Large Antenna Applications


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics 

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this effort is to develop an ultra-wideband ultra-Low Loss radome for very large antenna applications. 

DESCRIPTION: The US Army has programs that requires an ultra-wideband ultra-low loss radome to protect large antenna structures in various harsh environments. This radome will be designed to survive in temperatures between -70 degrees F and 180 degrees F and winds in excess of 100 mph. It is to have an operational temperature range between -40 degrees F and 150 degrees F. The diameter of the dome is to be no less than 24 feet in diameter. This radome will be incorporated into a transportable test RADAR system that is being developed for demonstration. It will require a non-disclosure agreement with the prime contractor and the development of the technology will be International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) restricted. The radome is expected to survive in a variety of environments, both land and maritime, with less than 1 dB of transmission loss over the design bandwidth and a minimal reflection coefficient. The transmitted electrical energy is to be greater than 10 terawatts (TW). The dome will be permanently installed as a part of the transportable RF system. At the present time there is no maximum weight requirement, but lighter weight solutions will be considered a better solution. There are presently no snow, lightning, or UV exposure requirements. As the objective system evolves, additional requirements may be added for a final phase III development. 

PHASE I: Develop ultra-wideband ultra-low loss radome design and develop proof-of-concept models to verify it can efficiently pass frequencies of interest (X-Ku Band), can withstand high peak powers (10 TW), a pulse length of 30 ns, and a pulse repetition frequency of 500 Hz. The Phase II contract will be classified at the Secret level and a Form DD254 will be required. The successful bidders should anticipate the start of a facilities clearance process, if it does not yet possess one. 

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I, build a proof of concept radome. Work with the systems developers to ensure that the antennas can meet the form factor requirements as well as other requirements for system integration. Baseline specification for new radome include: (1) A radome that operates efficiently in the frequency band from 9 - 20 GHz when incorporated into the RF transmitter systems. (2) Can withstand high peak powers (10 TW). (3) A pulse length of 30 ns. (4) A pulse repetition frequency of 500 Hz. (5) Use Temperature: -40 degrees F and 150 degrees F. (6) Survive Temperature: -70 degrees F and 180degrees F. (7) Strength, Stiffness: Survive 100+ mph winds (8) No performance degradation in 90 degrees F, 100% humidity. (9) No performance degradation in Salt Fog environment. The radome will also need to be hail resistant. Delivery of a full scale prototype is preferable, but may not be feasible with funding constraints. 

PHASE III: There are many military and commercial uses for radomes including communications, radars, and various sensors. In particular, the results of this effort will be of interest. Likewise, there are many military platforms that require broadband radomes including missiles, munitions of various types, and satellite communications systems. If successful, the most immediate transition path is the delivery of a new class of radome to Program Executive Office Missiles and Space (PEO MS). 


1: J.D. Kraus, Antennas, McGraw-Hill Book Company (1950).

2:  R.A. Cairns and A.D.R. Phelps, Generation and Application of High Power Microwaves, Taylor and Francis (1997).

3:  D.V. Giri, High-Power Electromagnetic Radiators: Nonlethal Weapons and Other Applications, IEEE Press (2001).

4:  R.J. Barker and E. Schamiloglu, High-Power Microwave Sources and Technologies, Wiley-IEEE (2001).

5:  J. Benford, J.A. Swegle, and E. Schamiloglu, High Power Microwaves, 2nd Edition, CRC Press (2007).


Dr. Mark Rader 

(256) 955-9205 

Meeda Stephenson 

(256) 842-8530 

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