Nosecone radomes of hypersonic flight vehicles show degradation of electromagnetic (EM) performance characteristics due to variations in the dielectric parameters (dielectric constant and electric loss tangent) of the radome wall resulting from heating due to extreme aerodynamic drag. It is indicated that the EM performance predictions based on conventional monolithic half-wave wall based on average dielectric parameters corresponding to temperature ranges in hypersonic conditions may not be accurate. This necessitates the radome wall under hypersonic conditions to be modeled as an inhomogeneous dielectric structure for accurate EM performance predictions. In the present work, the hypersonic radome is considered as an inhomogeneous dielectric radome such that the cross-section of the radome wall in each EM window region is considered as an inhomogeneous planar layer (IPL) model with stacked layers of varying dielectric parameters. The material considered is RBSN Ceralloy 147-010F (an alloy of silicon nitride), which has excellent thermal shock resistance, dielectric and mechanical properties required for hypersonic radome applications. The EM modeling of a section of the radome wall in hypersonic conditions (i.e. IPL structure) is based on Equivalent Transmission Line Method. A comparative study of basic EM performance parameters of the radome wall (power transmission, power reflection, and insertion phase delay) for both the IPL model and conventional monolithic half-wave model are carried out over a range of incidence angles corresponding to the antenna scan ranges in each EM window region of the radome. Further the study is extended to compute the EM performance parameters of an actual tangent ogive nosecone radome (made of RBSN Ceralloy 147-010F) enclosing an X-band slotted waveguide planar array antenna, in a hypersonic environment. The antenna-radome interaction studies are based on 3-D Ray tracing in conjunction with Aperture Integration Method. It is observed that the EM performance analysis based on conventional monolithic radome wall design cannot accurately predict the radome performance parameters in actual operating conditions during hypersonic flight operations. The current work establishes the efficacy of Inhomogeneous Dielectric Radome model for better EM performance predictions of streamlined airborne radomes in hypersonic environments.
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