X-Band Belly Radomes For Commercial Aircraft
Commercial Aircraft. Belly radome for Centaur, an optionally piloted aircraft (OPA) system by Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Company.
Previous Limiting Technology
Low-loss RF radomes of this size are typically expensive to build. Most suppliers who can provide these services from start to finish are larger businesses with long lead times.
The customer requested analysis, testing, and rapid fabrication of flight-worthy radomes. These X-band radomes are relatively large at 80” x 38” x 19” with a transmission loss of <0.75dB. The challenge was a short lead time and large breadth of requirements starting from a baseline design.
Rock West worked collaboratively with the customer to ensure a high-performance final product. We performed full finite element analysis (FEA) including non-linear bird strike simulation, designed and built low cost, rapid tooling using our 5-axis CNC machine, and then fabricated the radomes using well known fabrication methods to produce high-quality structures with low risk. Integrated features of the radomes include louvers for air-cooling of the radar, lightning diverters for lightning strike protection, and rain erosion coating for longevity. From the drawing board to in-flight qualification testing, this program was completed within 4 months. Rock West’s agility and expertise enabled us to meet customer requirements, while keeping the high-quality radome development and production all under one roof, reducing risk and keeping cost in check.