ENVISAT-1 microwave radiometer (MWR) is an instrument designed and developed for the European Space Agency by the European Industry. The instrument will be part of the ENVISAT-1 satellite scientific payload. Alenia Spazio is engaged in the phase C-D as instrument Prime Contractor, responsible for design and development, leading an industrial consortium of European and American companies. The current design takes also benefits from Alenia Spazio activities as MIMR radiometer Prime Contractor in the frame of METOP ESA program. The MWR design concept derives from the experimental radiometers embarked on ERS-1 satellite.It is a two channels passive Dicke microwave radiometer, operating at 23.8 and 36.5 GHz. By receiving and analyzing the earth's generated and reflected radiation at these two frequencies, this instrument is able to measure the amount of water content in the atmosphere within a 20 Km diameter field of view immediately beneath the satellite's track. A two points calibration scheme is adopted with hot and old calibration reference points, so that periodically the measurements of earth scene radiation are interrupted to allow the measurement of an on-board calibration load and of the deep cold space. The MWR output products are of prime importance for wind/wave products of radar altimeter instrument part of the ENVISAT-1 payload, providing correction of atmospheric propagation data, but also for direct evaluation of brightness temperature to characterize polar ice, land surface properties and for sea surface temperature accurate measurements. Within this paper, after an overview of the instrument design concept, the MWR radiometric performance prediction is presented, with emphasis on the design and technology applied to radiometric receivers.