The Aircraft Radome Market size is expected to reach US$ 1,141.5 Million by 2030, from US$ 640.7 Million in 2023, at a CAGR of 8.6% during the forecast period.
Radomes are protective enclosures that shield antennas on aircraft from weather conditions and environmental damage while allowing electromagnetic waves to pass through. Radomes protect the radar systems on all kinds of aircraft including commercial planes, fighter jets, helicopters and UAVs. The increasing deliveries of aircraft, focus on stealth capabilities and use of advanced materials like composites are the major factors driving the aircraft radome market growth.
The Aircraft Radome Market is segmented by material, aircraft type, frequency band, shape, application and region. By material, the market is segmented into glass-fiber, resin, quartz and others. The glass-fiber segment accounts for the largest share in the market owing to its high strength, durability and transparency to radio frequencies.
Aircraft Radome Market Regional Insights
- North America is expected to be the largest market for Aircraft Radome Market during the forecast period, accounting for over 38.5% of the market share in 2023. The growth of the market in North America is attributed to high deliveries of aircraft, presence of major manufacturers and increasing defense spending in the US.
- The Europe market is expected to be the second-largest market for Aircraft Radome Market, accounting for over 28.7% of the market share in 2023. The growth of the market in Europe is attributed to established aircraft manufacturing industry and increasing procurement of fighter jets.
- The Asia Pacific market is expected to be the fastest-growing market for Aircraft Radome Market, with a CAGR of over 21.6% during the forecast period. The growth of the market in Asia Pacific is attributed to increasing defense spending by India and China and rapid growth of aviation sector.
Figure 1. Global Aircraft Radome Market Share (%), By Region, 2023
Aircraft Radome Market Drivers
- Increasing aircraft deliveries worldwide The global aircraft deliveries have been increasing steadily over the past decade driven by growth in air passenger and cargo traffic, as well as rising defense spending by governments on military aircraft procurement. This has led to increased demand for advanced avionics systems including radars and satellite communications equipment which require radomes for protection and aerodynamic coverage. The commercial aviation sector has seen strong growth in narrow-body and wide-body aircraft deliveries by major OEMs like Boeing and Airbus. On the military side, several countries are procuring new fighter jets, trainers, transport aircraft and helicopters, which utilize various types of radomes. The rise in aircraft deliveries globally is a major driver spurring growth of the aircraft radome market.
- Technological advancements in radome materials and manufacturing Ongoing research and development to develop improved radome materials using composites like quartz and carbon fiber has enhanced the capability and performance parameters of modern aircraft radomes. The use of advanced materials with higher radio frequency transparency and better structural integrity has enabled the production of radomes with lower aerodynamic drag and greater protection for antenna systems. Nanocomposites, 3D woven composites and advanced ceramics are also being utilized to manufacture advanced radomes. New fabrication methods like additive manufacturing have also enabled more optimally designed radome shapes tailored to specific aircraft types. The technological advancements are thus contributing to next-gen radome solutions paving growth in the market.
- Increasing adoption of AESA radar systems Active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar systems are being widely adopted on 4th and 5th generation fighter jets, owing to their superior detection and tracking capabilities. They require specialized radomes to allow electronic beam scanning while protecting the numerous sensitive transmit/receive modules. AESA radars are also being equipped on airliners and business jets. The increasing use of these advanced radar systems, which require high-performance radomes matched to their frequency band is driving significant growth opportunities for aircraft radome technologies.
- Rising expenditure on military aircraft modernization programs Many countries are undertaking modernization of their military aircraft fleets by upgrading avionics and weapons capabilities, which involves integration of new radars, electronic warfare systems, targeting pods and other systems that utilize radomes. For instance, the US is upgrading its F-15, F-16 and F-18 jets with AESA radars and new electronic warfare suites. Similar upgrades are being pursued for European fighters like Eurofighter Typhoon, Rafale and Gripen. The rising investments in military aircraft upgrades globally, which improve sensor and communications capabilities is fueling aircraft radome market growth.
Aircraft Radome Market Opportunities
- Development of multifunction radomes Conventional radomes are designed for specific frequency bands such as L-band, X-band or Ku-band. Emerging technological capabilities can enable the design of multifunction radomes which can operate over wide frequency ranges spanning S-band to Ka-band for example. This will allow the same radome to cover multiple radar and communication functions on an aircraft, instead of requiring separate dedicated radomes. Raytheon and other companies are working on multifunction radome technologies that can cater to different bands for applications like weather radar, missile seekers, electronic warfare systems and satcoms. The development of multifunction radomes can unlock significant innovation and growth opportunities.
- Adoption of improved materials and fabrication methods Ongoing advances in composite materials science, meta-materials and nanotechnology can enable design of radomes with superior electrical, mechanical and environmental properties compared to existing solutions. The use of nano-particles and nano-tubes can enhance radome performance parameters like electrical conductivity, thermal stability, structural strength, EM interference rejection and erosion resistance. Additive manufacturing methods including 3D printing can enable construction of optimized radome shapes with smooth variable contours and integrated antenna elements. The adoption of such advanced materials and digital fabrication techniques will facilitate development of high-performance next generation aircraft radomes.
- Communications / Avionics systems upgrades The upgrade of legacy communications and avionics suites on military and civil aircraft to modern digital systems opens up requirements for new advanced radomes tailored to emerging antenna technologies and frequency bands. For example the shift to AESA based communications arrays using multiple active antenna elements over Ka/Ku band requires compatible radome solutions. Airliner IFE/IFC systems are also evolving toward Ka-band satcom antenna farms needing specialized radomes. The rapid evolution of software defined avionics and digital beamforming antennas will spur fresh demand for innovative radome designs as aircraft fleets are upgraded.
- Electric aircraft platforms The emerging development of novel electric and hybrid-electric aircraft concepts targeted at urban air mobility represent potential long-term opportunities for advanced radomes. These small aircraft aimed for intra-city transportation rely heavily on digital avionics including AESA sensors, satcoms and autonomous flight systems. High frequency mmWave radars are also being adopted for functions like obstable detection. Protecting these sensitive phased array antennas and radar systems on electric aircraft will necessitate specialized compact and lightweight radomes with great structural integrity. The rise of new electric aircraft segments can create future opportunities for radome innovations.
Aircraft Radome Market Report Coverage
||Market Size in 2023:
||US$ 640.7 Mn
|Historical Data for:
||2018 to 2021
||2023 - 2030
|Forecast Period 2023 to 2030 CAGR:
||2030 Value Projection:
||US$ 1,141.5 Mn
- North America: U.S. and Canada
- Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America
- Europe: Germany, U.K., Spain, France, Italy, Russia, and Rest of Europe
- Asia Pacific: China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, ASEAN, and Rest of Asia Pacific
- Middle East & Africa: GCC Countries, Israel, South Africa, North Africa, and Central Africa and Rest of Middle East
- By Material Type: Glass-Fiber, Resin, Quartz, Others
- By Aircraft Type: Commercial Aircrafts, Military Aircrafts, General Aviation, Helicopters, UAVs, Others
- By Frequency Band: L Band, C Band, X Band, Ku/K/Ka Band, UHF Band, VHF Band, Others
- By Shape: Nose Radome, Fuselage Mounted, Wing-Tip Mounted, Others
- By Application: Airborne Weather Radar, Search and Rescue Radar, ATC Radar, Missile Seeker, COMINT/ELINT Sensor, SATCOM, Others
General Dynamics, Airbus, Nordam, Saint-Gobain, Meggitt, Starwin Industries, Kitsap Composites, Orbital ATK, Jenoptik, Harris, Vermont Composites, Pacific Radomes, Royal Engineered Composites, AVIC, ATK, Kelvin Hughes, Raytheon, Leonardo, Ducommun, CPI
- Increasing aircraft deliveries worldwide Technological advancements in radome materials and manufacturing Increasing adoption of AESA radar systems
- Rising expenditure on military aircraft modernization programs
|Restraints & Challenges:
- High development and certification costs Long product lifecycles Requirement for retrofitting on existing aircraft
Aircraft Radome Market Trends
- Development of conformal and seamless radomes Conformal radomes molded into the aircraft surface contours instead of protruding shapes offer aerodynamic advantages of lower drag. Conformal designs are enabled by advanced composite fabrication techniques and are being adopted for UAVs, fighter aircraft and business jets to reduce RCS. Seamless single piece radomes are also being produced using out-of-autoclave curing to ensure smooth surfaces without gaps for enhanced stealth performance. Raytheon, Nordam and Saint Gobain are among companies at the forefront of conformal and seamless radome development.
- Adoption of gallium nitride based radars Gallium nitride (GaN) based radars are gaining increasing adoption in military aircraft and airliners owing to advantages like higher power densities, reduced cooling needs and high frequency agile beams. GaN enables construction of compact radar arrays with highly integrated front-ends. However GaN radars require radomes engineered to mitigate elevated antenna sidelobes and backlobes. Design techniques like adding absorber layers and shaping precise contours are therefore needed. GaN adoption is spurring specific radome solutions to facilitate beam shaping and minimize sidelobes.
- Use of additive manufacturing Additive manufacturing techniques like 3D printing are enabling production of radome shapes with complex geometries and integrated features like internal cooling channels, not feasible previously. 3D printing using materials like thermoplastics and ceramic composites allows construction of seamless optimized radome shapes without joints/fasteners. Companies like Saab are adopting AM processes for fabrication of structural aircraft components including radomes and antenna enclosures to reduce parts and lead times. AM provides benefits like design flexibility, part consolidation and weight reduction for aircraft radomes.
- Development of smart active radomes Ongoing research efforts are focused on enabling active radomes with electronic beam steering capabilities integrated into the structure. This can eliminate the need for mechanical gimbals/actuators for radar beam pointing. Next gen active radomes will incorporate miniaturized tunable radio frequency circuits that can modulate antenna beam patterns dynamically for functions like electronic countermeasures. Smart programmable software-defined radomes with phased array elements are also being developed by Raytheon and could unlock future market potential through the long term.
Aircraft Radome Market Restrain
- High development and certification costs Designing and developing new optimized radome solutions for specific modern aircraft types and radar systems requires significant upfront R&D investments. Extensive modelling, simulations, materials testing, ground and flight trials are necessitated to verify radome designs to stringent aerodynamic and electromagnetic standards. The long design and certification cycles associated with radomes ranging from 2 years to 5 years depending on aircraft and application leads to high costs which can restrain market growth.
- Long product lifecycles The service life of aircraft radomes is typically as long as the platform lifespan, often exceeding 20-30 years. Hence even after introduction, radome systems keep getting produced for these extended periods before any major redesigns. The long production cycles tend to limit adoption of new innovations, materials and manufacturing methods. Since re-certification is prohibitively expensive, existing legacy radome technologies remain in high volume production for long durations, restricting faster growth of emerging radome solutions.
- Requirement for retrofitting on existing aircraft Integration of new advanced radomes developed using emerging materials and fabrication methods involves considerable challenges in terms of retrofitting them on legacy aircraft fleets which still dominate global inventories. This is a key factor hampering faster adoption of new radome technologies, as major modifications are required to adapt different shapes, mounting provisions, power supplies etc. The complexity and costs associated with backfitting radomes thus restrain uptake compared to new production integration.
New product launches
- In January 2022, Saint-Gobain launched lightweight quartz radomes for fighter aircraft, providing superior radio frequency transparency. The radomes enhance stealth capabilities.
- In June 2021, Meggitt unveiled a new lightweight and compact radome designed for airborne early warning platforms. It provides increased situational awareness.
- In May 2020, Nordam introduced an advanced composite transceiver radome for F-15 fighter jets, offering broadband frequency coverage for radar systems.
Acquisition and partnerships
- In October 2022, Ducommun acquired Electron Technologies, Inc. to expand its electromagnetic and electronic solutions capabilities including radomes.
- In June 2021, Saint-Gobain acquired Global SFC, a radome and antenna manufacturer, to strengthen its position in the aerospace market.
- In April 2020, Royal Engineered Composites acquired Pacific Radomes, a supplier of radomes for military applications, to enhance its manufacturing capabilities.
Figure 2. Global Aircraft Radome Market Share (%), By Aircraft Type, 2023
Top companies in Aircraft Radome Market
- General Dynamics
- Starwin Industries
- Kitsap Composites
- Orbital ATK
- Vermont Composites
- Pacific Radomes
- Royal Engineered Composites
- Kelvin Hughes
Definition: The aircraft radome market refers to the industry and market associated with the development, production and sale of radomes for various types of aircraft. A radome is a structural enclosure that protects the radar antenna or radar system on an aircraft. Radomes are made using materials that allow electromagnetic waves like radio signals to pass through them while also providing weather and environmental protection for the radar system. Key application areas for aircraft radomes include weather radar, search & rescue radar, air traffic control radar, missile seekers, communications antennas and other avionics systems. The aircraft radome market is driven by growth in the aviation industry, advancement in radome materials and rising expenditure on military aircraft.
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