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Calibration
Analysis of Ground-Bounce Illumination Errors on Ground-to-Ground Diagnostic Measurements of Aircraft
I. LaHaie,S. Rice, November 2004
We present a first-order analysis of the RCS errors resulting from non-uniform ground-bounce illumination in mobile, ground-to-ground, diagnostic RCS measurements of aircraft. For the case of a non-planar ground surface, these errors are a function of both aspect angle and position on the target. We quantify the errors in terms of their impact on the sector mean RCS as a function of position on the target. For typical targets, we show that the mean RCS error increases significantly for points displaced (either horizontally or vertically) from the calibration point. Conversely, the sector mean RCS is relatively insensitive to small-scale variations in the height of the ground, even though the errors at a single frequency and aspect angle can be quite large.
Rotorcraft Measurement Capability at the National RCS Test Facility
J. Eggleston,G. Jones, S. Gray, November 2004
The National RCS Test Facility (NRTF) has measured radar cross section (RCS) of fixed wing aircraft for many years. In order to expand our testing options at the NRTF Mainsite test facility, the NRTF has developed a rotorcraft measurement capability. The design is compatible for use with our 50-foot pylon, but unlike existing rotators, allows for RCS measurement of test articles that require significant forward and aft target pitches. Target mounting and positioning was not the only challenge. Our new capability required the control and collection of rotor blade position information, in addition to the control and collection of traditional target azimuth and elevation data. Modification of our existing acquisition software and command and control systems was also required. In order to maintain the integrity of the NRTF’s calibration processes and enable the use of existing calibration devices, hardware was constructed to enable mounting of these devices to the spindle system. Other important considerations that influenced the design and implementation of the spindle mount capability include cost effective mounting/dismounting of test articles (to include the targets and calibration devices) safety of the test articles and personnel, and the effective determination of backgrounds.
RCS Measurements with a High Resolution Hardgating System
J. Hartmann,D. Fasold, November 2004
In general, the RF test setups of antenna test facilities are designed and optimized for antenna pattern and gain measurements. However, the operation of test facilities, especially the here considered 'Double Reflector Compact Ranges', can be extended, so that they can also be used for RCS testing. A simple and very practical expansion of the RF antenna test setup - while maintaining the real-time capability - can be achieved with the aid of a hardware gating system. With this type of setup, RCS measurements have successfully been performed in the Compensated Compact Ranges of EADS Astrium. The applied gating system was the high resolution Hard- gating System HG2000 of EADS Astrium, developed together with the Munich Univ. of App. Sciences. Within this paper, the applied facility and the gating system will be described firstly. Subsequently, the modified test setup and the test results obtained by calibration measurements will be shown. They will give an indication of the achievable resolution for the extended test system w.r.t. object size detection and resulting amplitude dynamic range.
Probe Array Concepts for Fast Testing of Large Radiating Structures
P. Barreau,A. Gandois, L. Foged, L. Duchesne, P. Iversen, November 2004
Satimo’s STARGATE probe array systems are now well established as an efficient tool for testing radiated performances of wireless devices and antennas. Since 1998, about forty STARGATE measurement systems have been successfully installed worldwide. Recently, a range of new applications have also demonstrated the suitability of probe arrays for large radiating structures and directive antennas. These new generation of measurement set-ups present innovative aspects regarding their rapidity, dynamic range, and accuracy. This paper will describe several novel antenna testing concepts based on probe arrays that cover automotive, aerospace, and military applications and a wide range of frequencies. The basic difference between traditional approaches using single probe and the STARGATE approach using an array of probes will be explained along with probe array calibration procedures. An error analysis budget using the conventional NIST error terms will be presented including the specific terms related to the use of probe arrays. Also a discussion will be made on some of the key technical challenges to making large probe arrays including such issues as dynamic range, mechanical tolerances, and data truncation effects.
Study of RCS Measurements From Small Spheres
P.S.P. Wei (The Boeing Company),J.P. Rupp (The Boeing Company), November 2003
New results are presented on using small spheres mounted on a foam tower for calibration. Subtraction of the foam tower response is found to be necessary and sufficient for the dual-calibration method to work.
Built-In Performance Monitoring Systems for Phased-Array Antennas with Binary Phase Shifters
V.I. Markov (UKRSPETSTECHNIKA),A.F. Kozlov (UKRSPETSTECHNIKA), November 2003
An advanced method of phased-array antennas (PAA) performance monitoring is presented in this paper. It allows receiving more accurate results for PAA with binary phase shifters. The special attention is paid to such practical aspects of design and application of built-in performance monitoring systems, as the algorithm of controlled channel signal isolation, choice of the location of probe antennas and transfer matrix calibration which is necessary for PAA performance monitoring at system level.
Update on the Air Force Research Laboratory Advance Compact Range Calibration Uncertainty Analysis
B. Welsh (Mission Research Corporation),B. Muller (Mission Research Corporation), B.M. Kent (Air Force Research Laboratory/SNS), D. Turner (Air Force Research Laboratory/SNS), W. Forster (Mission Research Corporation), November 2003
A calibration uncertainty analysis was conducted for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Advanced Compact Range (ACR) in 2000. This analysis was a key component of the Radar Cross Section (RCS) ISO-25 (ANSI-Z-540) Range Certification Demonstration Project. In this analysis many of the uncertainty components were argued to be small or negligible. These arguments were accepted as being reasonable based on engineering experience. Since 2000 the ACR radar has been replaced with an Aeroflex Lintek Elan radar system. A new measurement uncertainty analysis was conducted for the ACR using the Elan radar and for a general (non-calibration) target. We present results comparing the previous results to the current analysis results.
Uncertainty Analysis of RCS Calibrations at the Etcheron Valley Range
L.A. Muth (National Institute of Standards and Technology),D. Diamond (NAWC-WD, NAVAIR), J. Adams (NAWC-WD, NAVAIR), J. Liles (NAWC-WD, NAVAIR), November 2003
We have been developing an uncertainty analysis of RCS calibrations and measurements in the 2 – 18 GHz range at the Etcheron Valley RCS outdoor ground-bounce facility. In this study we report on the results of the uncertainty analysis primarily at 11.3 GHz, but results at some other frequencies are also discussed. We plan to address all components of uncertainty, and present here in some detail the procedures used to determine the uncertainties due to nonplanar illumination, drift, noise-background and nonlinearity. We use a measurement-based approach to obtain upper-bound estimates for the component uncertainties, which are combined using root-sumsquares (RSS) to obtain the overall uncertainty. The uncertainties at any frequency can be determined using these measurement procedures.
An Augmented Three-Antenna Probe Calibration Technique for Measuring Probe Insertion Phase
A. Frandsen (TICRA),D.W. Hess (MI Technologies), O. Breinbjerg (Ørsted-DTU), S. Pivnenko (Ørsted-DTU), November 2003
Probe calibration is a prerequisite for performing high accuracy near-field antenna measurements. One convenient technique that has been used with confidence for years consists of using two auxiliary antennas in conjunction with the probe-to-be-calibrated. Inherent to this technique is a calibration of all three antennas. So far the technique has mostly been applied to measure polarization and gain characteristics. It is demonstrated how the technique can be extended to also measure an antenna’s phase-versus-frequency characteristic.
Microwave Characterisation of Materials in Free Space Over the Frequency Range from 1.7 GHz to 5.8 GHz.
L.D. Hill (BAE SYSTEMS),K.L. Ford (BAE SYSTEMS), November 2003
The microwave characterisation of the electromagnetic parameters of lossy materials is an essential part of the work of the BAE SYSTEMS Advanced Technology Centre, Stealth Materials Group at Towcester (UK). The electromagnetic parameters of lossy materials change rapidly with frequency below 5GHz, therefore for stealth applications it is vitally important to be able to characterise materials at these frequencies. This paper describes a unique quasi-optical free space focused beam system for the measurement of microwave electromagnetic material parameters. The system employs two spherical reflectors which are illuminated from the side by gaussian beam forming antennas. The frequency range of 1.7GHz to 5.8GHz is covered in three bands with three pairs of corrugated feed antennas. An advantage of this system is that a parallel beam is formed between the reflectors whose beam waist diameter (or illumination area) is essentially the same across each frequency band. The measurements from the system are taken using a vector network analyser under computer control. The parallel beam enables a “Through, Reflect, Line” calibration technique to be used. After calibration the sample under test is placed in the beam (mid way between the reflectors) and the four microwave ‘S’ parameters are recorded automatically in complex form. The permittivity, permeability or lumped admittance ( if the sample is very thin
A Broadband Materials Measurements Technique Building Upon the Implementation of Coaxial Probes
T. Holzheimer (Intelligence and Information systems), November 2003
A Technique is presented that allows for broadband nondestructive material electrical parameter measurements. Electrical parameters of a large number of materials are not readily available over extremely broad bandwidths (multiple octaves as an example). This information is required for accurate modeling of microwave circuits and antenna(s). These parameters consist of complex permittivity and complex permeability that result in loss due to the types and thickness of materials to be used. A Method is required that allows for fast, accurate and low cost measurements of the materials under test. The technique of using dual coaxial probes provides a solution that can be applied to numerous materials including thin films. It takes advantage of the full frequency extent of the network analyzer. This measurement uses dual coaxial probes, as compared to the implementation of cavity resonators, coaxial lines, waveguides and free space measurements, and performs the measurement in a 2-port calibration procedure. The resultant analytical solution is a transcendental equation with complex arguments. The Coaxial probes are described and can be easily made with available components where the only limitation is the valid component frequency bandwidth. Several material examples show the expected accuracy versus frequency range of this measurement technique.
Array Element Phase Determination From Time-Domain Measurements
H.M. Aumann (Massachusetts Institute of Technology),F.G. Willwerth (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), K.A. Tuttle (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), November 2003
A technique is presented for determining the insertion phase of array elements directly from time domain measurements. It is shown that the Inverse Discrete Fourier Transform (IDFT) commonly used in swept frequency time delay measurements may yield unreliable phase results. A compensation to the IDFT is proposed which allows the phase of an array element to be accurately estimated from time domain data without gating and without taking a second DFT. The technique is applied to determine the insertion attenuation and phase of the elements in a linear L-band phased array. Compared to conventional array calibrations, the removal of extraneous range reflections implicit to the time domain technique resulted in a significant improvement in measurement accuracy.
Wideband Optically Multiplexed Beamformer Architecture (WOMBAt) Transmit Mode
R.D. Davis (Naval Surface Warfare Center),K. Thompson (Naval Surface Warfare Center), P. Couper (Technology Service Corporation), T. Closser (Naval Surface Warfare Center), November 2003
A Wideband Optically Multiplexed Beamformer Architecture (WOMBAt) was developed and characterized at the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center Active Array Measurement Test Bed (AAMTB) facility. The project includes development and integration of the true-time delay (TTD) WOMBAt photonic beamformer with the Active Array Measurement Test Vehicle (AAMTV). The AAMTV is a 64-channel transmit-receive (TR) module based phased array beamformer that is integrated with the AAMTB facility 12’x9’ planar near-field scanner. The AAMTV provides phase trimming and a small amount of delay using electrical components while the WOMBAt provides longer delays using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) optical components typically manufactured for the telecommunication industry. By integrating the WOMBAt with the AAMTV, a highly flexible test environment was achieved that includes system calibration, multi-frequency scanning, and antenna pattern analysis. Phase I receive tests for this system were previously described and presented to AMTA[1] in 2002. This paper will describe the results of reconfiguring the AAMTV into a transmit architecture for Phase II. WOMBAt successfully demonstrated wideband TTD in both receive and transmit configurations at angles greater than the system goal of ±65º while exceeding all other system level performance goals. System level performance included a beam squint of less than 1.1º for receive and 0.5º for transmit, a worse case amplitude variation of 2.4 dB receive and 1.6 dB transmit and differential delays of less than 3.5 picoseconds.
An Effective and Practical Polarimetric Calibration Technique
D.E. Morales (EG&G Technical Services, Inc.),C.A. Johnson (EG&G Technical Services, Inc.), G.P. Guidi (EG&G Technical Services, Inc.), November 2003
The National RCS Test Facility (NRTF) has designed, fabricated, and implemented an efficient and robust calibration procedure and test body applicable to pylon based monostatic RCS measurements. Our unique calibration test body provides physical separation between the calibration device and pylon allowing the pylon to be outside the range gate of the calibration device. This separation reduces the calibration device uncertainty due to target support contamination and interaction. Spectral analysis and feature extraction of rotational dihedral/dipole data allows further rejection of background noise and clutter that possess different angular dependencies from those of the dihedral/dipole. Due to the significant reduction in the achievable crosspolarization isolation that occurs with a small degree of positioning error in dihedral/dipole roll angle, a data driven search algorithm has been developed to select the two dihedral/dipole angles used by the polarimetric distortion compensation algorithm.
Cam RCS Dual-Cal Standard, The
W.D. Wood (Air Force Institute of Technology),P.J. Collins (National RCS Test Facility), T. Conn (EG&G), November 2003
We introduce a new calibration standard geometry for use in a static RCS measurement system that can simultaneously offer multiple “exact” RCS values based on a simple azimuth rotation of the object. Called the “cam,” the new calibration device eliminates the problem of frequency nulls exhibited by other resonantsized cal devices by shifting the nulls through azimuthal rotation. Furthermore, the “cam” facilitates the use of dual-calibration RCS measurements without the need to mount a second cal standard. The “cam” is practical to fabricate and deploy; it is conducting, composed of flat and constant-radius singly-curved surfaces, and is compatible with standard pylon rotator mounts. High-accuracy computational results from moment-method modeling are presented to show the efficacy of the new standard.
Development of a MATLAB Toolbox to Assist in the Process of RCS Range Calibration
R.J. Jost (Utah State University),B.M. Welsh (Mission Research Corporation), November 2003
Over the past few years, range certification activities have become more commonplace, as industry, government and academia have embraced the process and acted to implement documented procedures at their facilities. There is now a significant amount of documentation laying out the process, as well as templates to assist ranges in developing their range books. To date, however, there have been fewer examples of useful tools to assist the ranges in better understanding how the process will affect their specific range. The authors have developed a first generation MATLAB toolbox designed to provide ranges a “what-if” capability to see the impact of specific range errors on the range’s operations. Included within the toolbox are several types of additive and multiplicative errors, as well as means of modeling various aspects of radar operation.
An Approach to the Evaluation of Uncertainties for Complex RCS Measurement Data
J. Pinto (BAE SYSTEMS Advanced Technology Centre),K.L. Ford (BAE SYSTEMS Advanced Technology Centre), L.D. Hill (BAE SYSTEMS Advanced Technology Centre), November 2003
The Radar Cross Section (RCS) measurement facility operated by the Stealth Materials Department of BAE SYSTEMS Advanced Technology Centre in the UK is an invaluable tool for the development of low observable (LO) materials and designs. Specifically, it permits the effect of signature control measures, when applied to a design, to be demonstrated empirically in terms of the impact on the RCS. The facility is operated within a 3m by 3m by 12m anechoic chamber where pseudo-monostatic, co-polar, stepped frequency data for a target can be collected in a single measurement run over a frequency range of 2- 18GHz, and for a range of azimuth and elevation angles using a Vector Network Analyser (VNA). The data recorded consists of the complex voltage reflection coefficients (VRC) for the chosen range of aspect angles. This includes data for the target, mount, calibration object, and the associated calibration object mounting where significant. All data processing is conducted offline using a bespoke post processing software routine which implements software time domain gating of the raw data transformed into the time domain prior to calibration. The significant sources of type A (random) and B (systematic) uncertainties for the range are identified, grouped, and an approach to the determination of an uncertainty budget for the complex S21 data is presented. The method is based upon the UKAS M3003 guidelines for the treatment of uncertainties that may be expressed by the use of real, rather than complex numbers. However, a method of assessment of the uncertainties in both real and imaginary parts of the complex data is presented. Finally, the uncertainties estimated for the raw VRC data collected are propagated through the calibration and the uncertainty associated with the complex RCS of a simple target is presented.
ARKEN, A Measurement System for Dynamic Full-Scale RCS Measurements and ECM Evaluations in Operational Environments
S. Gadd (Swedish defence research agency FOI),J. Gustavsson (Swedish defence research agency FOI), M. Wilow (Swedish defence research agency FOI), N. Karlsson (Swedish defence research agency FOI), N-U Jonsson (Swedish defence research agency FOI), November 2003
To determine the radar cross section of full-scale objects in their operational environment, and for doing countermeasure evaluations, a radar measurement system has been developed. The system is mobile and flexible and can hence be placed in different surroundings. Its main objective is to make trustworthy and accurate measurements of the RCS of ground-, seaand air targets. This is achieved by a calibration procedure that is performed in connection to all measurements. The measurement system is well suited for RCS measurements in dynamic scenarios. The system can transmit radar signals that resemble the signals of existing threat systems. This property together with the fact that the system at the same time measures both the RCS of the target and the effects of ECM make the system well suited for ECM evaluation. Measurements have been made of many different types of targets on land, at sea and in the air. Different types of ECM, e.g. chaff, has also been evaluated.
Uncertainty Analysis on the RCS Measurements From a Pair of Ultraspheres
A.W. Reed (The Boeing Company),C.N. Ericksen (The Boeing Company), D.P. Morgan (The Boeing Company), P.S.P. Wei (The Boeing Company), November 2002
In 2001, the Boeing 9-77 Indoor Compact Range successfully passed the range certification process. In preparation and during the On-Site Review in October 2001, RCS data on a pair of ultraspheres for the dualcalibration were collected. In this paper, we analyzed the data with regard to uncertainty analysis. An empirical approach for compensating the systematic error is presented.
WINDSAT Antenna Testing
W.L. Lippincott (Naval Research Laboratory),T. Gutwein (Microstar Corporation), November 2002
WINDSAT is a satellite system designed to be a demonstration of passive microwave polarimetry to measure ocean surface wind speed and direction. The polarimeter works off the crosspol components of the antenna, necessitating high performance requirements both in the building and testing of the antenna. The calibration of the reflector antenna system will be discussed in this paper, along with various analysis done for the project and verified by range measurement.


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