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A new method for calculating the performance of an iris-loaded planar phased-array antenna of rectangular waveguides is presented. The method is based upon the expansion of the tangential electric aperture field in terms of judiciously chosen functions. Also, the influence of a dielectric sheet in front of an antenna the apertures of which are loaded with inductive irises is investigated. In the experiments, a sheet with a low relative permittivity ( or ) is spaced in front of a space-fed planar antenna of some 850 radiating elements, and the total transmitted power of the antenna is measured as a function of frequency and scan angle. The results indicate, that both in theory and in practice, an excellent match can be achieved with a polythene sheet ( ) or a Perspex sheet ( ).