A radome (a portmanteau of radar and dome) is a structural, weather-proof enclosure that protects a microwave (e.g. radar) antenna. The covering minimally attenuates, or is made transparent to, radar or radio waves, and can also protect people from the spinning equipment. Radomes can be constructed in several shapes (spherical, geodesic, planar, etc.) depending upon the particular application.
Radomes on military vehicles
When found on fixed-wing UAVs or other aircraft with forward-looking radar (as are commonly used for object or weather detection), the nosecones often additionally serve as radomes.
On rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft using microwave satellite for beyond-line-of-sight communication, radomes often appear as blisters on the fuselage. In addition to protection, radomes also streamline the antenna system, thus reducing drag.
Chrysalis and Metal Gear ZEKE
During the Peace Walker Project in the early 1970s, the aerial AI weapon Chrysalis was equipped with a planar design radome on its right side to provide targeting information. After it was destroyed by the Militaires Sans Frontières during the Peace Walker Incident 1974, they managed to salvage its radome component and attach it to their unmanned bipedal weapon, codenamed Metal Gear ZEKE.
Mother Base and Forward Operating Bases of the 1980s
During the 1980s, various offshore bases, including Diamond Dogs' Mother Base on the Seychelles waters and various Forward Operating Bases owned by varying private forces, possessed several geodesic and spherical radomes across the infrastructure, with the most prominent being on the Intel Platform's first deck, with the interior of the building possessing a massive geodesic radome.
Metal Gear Sahelanthropus
During the 1980s, Metal Gear Sahelanthropus possessed a spherical radome on its left shoulder, which improved the accuracy of its homing missiles.
Metal Gear REX
In the early 2000s, the manned Metal Gear REX prototype developed on Shadow Moses Island was equipped with a planar radome mounted on its left side. The radome housed various sensors that gathered data external to the cockpit, then relayed the processed information to the safely-enclosed pilot, similar to virtual reality. The radome could be manually positioned to face a desired direction, in order to maximize the effectiveness of its forward-looking sensors. Although situating all these electronics into a single target appeared to be a serious design flaw, this feature was deliberately implemented by REX's eccentric chief engineer Dr. Hal Emmerich, who wanted REX to be "complete" by giving it a weakness, or character flaw.
During the Shadow Moses Incident in 2005, Solid Snake attempted to disable REX's sensors by attacking its radome with Stinger missiles, in order to force its pilot, Liquid Snake, to open the armored cockpit and expose himself to attack. Despite Snake causing some notable damage, the radome was only taken out of commission when Gray Fox fired on it with his arm laser cannon, forcing Liquid to open the cockpit in order to visually sight his opponents.
|Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." It has some level of canonicity within the continuity, but reader discretion is advised.[?]|
The Stinger missile system by 2018 featured a planar radome.
|Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.|
Behind the scenes
In the original Metal Gear Solid, Gray Fox exclusively uses his laser arm cannon to destroy REX's radome, whereas the remake, The Twin Snakes, has him also impale it with his high-frequency blade. In addition, Otacon's specific description of the radome weak point varied depending on the version: The original Metal Gear Solid had him referring to it as a "character flaw", while the remake had him stating it was a "weakness."
The Shagohod in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater possessed a spherical object that resembled a spherical radome on the back of the mech, although it is never stated what the object was or how it functioned.
In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the radome part was mentioned to increase ZEKE's accuracy by threefold, although in gameplay, it simply made ZEKE immune to chaff grenades.
In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Metal Gear Sahelanthropus possesses an object that resembles a spherical radome around the same area REX had its planar radome.