Radar sounding is a powerful geophysical approach for characterizing the subsurface conditions of terrestrial and planetary ice masses at local to global scales. As a result, a wide array of orbital, airborne, ground-based, and in situ instruments, platforms and data analysis approaches for radioglaciology have been developed, applied or proposed. Terrestrially, airborne radar sounding has been used in glaciology to observe ice thickness, basal topography and englacial layers for five decades. More recently, radar sounding data have also been exploited to estimate the extent and configuration of subglacial water, the geometry of subglacial bedforms and the subglacial and englacial thermal states of ice sheets. Planetary radar sounders have observed, or are planned to observe, the subsurfaces and near-surfaces of Mars, Earth's Moon, comets and the icy moons of Jupiter. In this review paper, and the thematic issue of the Annals of Glaciology on ‘Five decades of radioglaciology’ to which it belongs, we present recent advances in the fields of radar systems, missions, signal processing, data analysis, modeling and scientific interpretation. Our review presents progress in these fields since the last radio-glaciological Annals of Glaciology issue of 2014, the context of their history and future prospects.