Anti-reflective coatings are used in many applications to reduce glare and prevent double images. Double images in particular are a concern because of the several layers involved in a cockpit window. More high-tech optical coatings can also have other desirable properties such as reducing UV and IR light transmission. There is some evidence of them being used in industry, like this patent for a windscreen. On a related note, cockpit instruments have a limit for maximum reflectivity of their glass/plastic surface and sometimes use anti-reflective coatings.

I started thinking about this because of a recent question on why windscreens aren't more reflective.

However, I can't find many examples of anti-reflective coatings (possibly because of the harsh environmental conditions?). UV and IR protection seem to be mostly through tinting instead of coating.

Do any production aircraft use anti-reflective or other coatings? Why or why not?

  • $\begingroup$ It looks like one of the windows on this 787 is reflective coated $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Aug 9, 2016 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ Some military aircraft have a gold coatings from what I know. $\endgroup$ Aug 9, 2016 at 23:08
  • $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer Yes, good find. The 787 seem to have a gold-based heating film that also serves to block infared light: aerospacemanufacturinganddesign.com/article/… $\endgroup$
    – Cody P
    Aug 9, 2016 at 23:20
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    $\begingroup$ Related questions for fighter jet canopy materials, tinted windows. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Aug 9, 2016 at 23:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Hezzte You seem to misunderstand how anti-reflective coatings work. I'd suggest you read up some on them before speculating. Anti-reflective coatings have been around for over a century and are used on many glasses, and are even listed in the patent I linked in my question. This is not novel or extraordinary technology by any means. $\endgroup$
    – Cody P
    Sep 7, 2016 at 15:24

1 Answer 1


An antireflective coating for the F/A-18's canopy was successfully tested sometime in the 1990s; no word on whether it made it into production, though.

Wikipedia claims that "[n]early all glass windows in large aircraft have an anti-reflective coating", but provides no source for this assertion.


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