AMTA Paper Archive
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Target positioning error effects on RCS magnitude and phase responses in ISAR data
Coherent subtraction algorithms, such as specular subtraction, require precision target alignment with the imaging radar. A few degrees of phase change could significantly degrade the performance of coherent subtraction algorithms. This paper provides an analysis of target position measurement errors have on ISAR data. The paper addresses how traditional position errors impact phase and image focusing. Target rotational positioning errors are also evaluated for their impact on magnitude errors from specular misalignment and polarization sensitive scattering and image phase errors from height-of-focus limitations. Several tables of data provide a useful reference to ISAR data experimenters and users.
Application of planar near field measurement techniques for large phased array testing
Despite their high cost, phased array antennas are becoming popular for radar applications because of their ability to provide reliable information even in a hostile environment. Evaluation of these antennas requires parameters like gain, radiation pattern, beam width, sidelobe (both near and far off) azimuth and elevation null depth, etc. to be tested over the entire range of frequency spots and scan angles. Typically, if the number of frequency spots are 24 and the number of beam positions for which the measurement has to be done are about 100, then the total number of measurements needed to generate the required data are 7200. In addition, phased arrays with a space feed have to be initially collimated at all the spot frequencies. The outdoor testing of these many parameters may not be convenient, and at times it may even be impossible. The planar near field measurement technique provides a systematic and accurate method of measuring large array antennas for all the required parameters.
Stereo optical tracker for compact range models
A Precision Optical Measurement System (POMS) has been designed, constructed and tested for tracking the position (x,y,z) and orientation (roll, pitch, yaw) of models in Boeing's 9-77 Compact Radar Range. A stereo triangulation technique is implemented using two remote sensor units separated by a known baseline. Each unit measures pointing angles (azimuth and elevation) to optical targets on a model. Four different reference systems are used for calibration and alignment of the system's components and two platforms. Pointing angle data and calibration corrections are processed at high rates to give near real-time feedback to the mechanical positioning system of the model. The positional accuracy of the system is (plus minus) .010 inches at a distance of 85 feet while using low RCS reflective tape targets. The precision measurement capabilities and applications of the system are discussed.
String support system for RCS measurements
The target support system at Boeing Defense & Space Group's 9-77 Compact Range includes a new string support system. The string support system consists of twelve string reels, six each of the High Capacity String Reels (HCSR). The string reel system is used to suspend and manipulate a target for radar cross section (RCS) measurements, primarily at frequencies below 1.5 GHz. The string reel system is capable of supporting targets up to 10,000 pounds and 40' in length and width. The manipulation and handling of targets, is a major consideration in a RCS measurement test plan. The following paper discusses the newly installed string reel system, enhancements to the 9-77 Range equipment which directly affect the use of the string support system, and future developments planned for the system.
Measurement of Constitutive Parameters at Microwave Frequencies
To characterize a material's electrical performance or to understand a material's affects (sic) on electromagnetic systems, the constitutive parameters (e, u) of the material must be determined accurately. Materials with high dielectric constants, high loss tangents, or which are layered or complex (e.g., frequency selective surfaces, radomes, radar absorbing material, etc.) are difficult to measure and analyze. For example, germanium is an infrared window substrate in high performance aircraft. The germanium is doped to 1 - 4 ()-cm to raise the maximum operating temperature and to provide electromagnetic shielding. The material is very brittle. The standard methods (coaxial, waveguide, and cavity) are difficult to use. The brittle germanium pieces cannot be made thin enough or have a center conductor hole inserted making coaxial donuts are nearly impossible to fabricate and use. Usable waveguide samples absorb the transmitted energy needed in standard waveguide tests. The brittle sample cannot be made thin enough for X-band measurements or above. The sample, having a high dielectric constant, and having a high conductivity, reduces the Q of resonance techniques difficult and not repeatable. This paper discusses our methodology and shows comparisons with calculations. The technique is based on reflection measurements against a ground plane standard. This technique requires more measurements than other techniques, but the results are numerically more stable.
A New wideband dual linear feed for prime focus compact ranges
Performance trade-offs are investigated between the use of clustered waveguide bandwidth feeds and the use of one multi-octave bandwidth single aperture feed in a prime focus compact range for dual linear polarization. The results show that feed structure may be used for advantage for the particular test requirements of compact range systems for Radar Cross Section Measurement.
Achievable measurement speed for antennas and radar cross section measurements
The new HP 8530A microwave receiver has been designed specifically for antenna and radar cross section (RCS) measurement applications. With its capabilities and features, high-speed single parameter and multiple parameter measurements are possible. High-Speed measurements are a necessity for certain applications but oftentimes other factors will determine the actual test time. Measurement speed for various applications will be discussed and, more specifically, multiple parameter measurements using the HP 8530A’s internal multiplexer or external PIN switching.
Ramp sweep accuracy of RCS measurements using the HP 8530A
The frequency accuracy of the HP 8530A receiver and HP 8360 Series synthesizers in ramp sweep is measured using a delay line discriminator. The effect of the frequency error on measurement accuracy is derived for radar cross section (RCS) measurements of one and two point constant-amplitude, scatterers and for background subtraction. The results of swept and synthesized frequency measurements are compared, showing that the errors due to ramp sweep are negligibly small for practical RCS measurements.
Comparison of TRACKSAR and autofocus diagnostic radar imaging systems
This paper describes the technique and advancement of diagnostic radar imaging technology by comparing past SAR and ISAR techniques to the more recent advancement of Autofocus SAR techniques. This recent advancement has meant the relaxation of the stringent mechanical stability requirements needed to produce high quality, high dynamic range, calibrated RCS images.
Antenna measurements for advanced T/R module arrays
Advanced airborne radar antennas will consist of ultra low sidelobe arrays of thousands of T/R modules and radiating elements. The detrimental effects of the aircraft structure on the antenna performance becomes increasingly important for ultra low sidelobe antennas will require large aperture, high fidelity antenna test facilities. In this paper, the major errors associated with measurement of an ultra low sidelobe antenna on the far field range are isolated and demonstrated by computer simulation. Data from measurements of a T/R module array on a scale model aircraft is provided to demonstrate typical sircraft effects on antenna performance.
Complete scattering matrix RCS measurements in the McDonnell Douglas Technologies radar measurement center
Radar Cross Section (RCS) measurements are typically made at linear polarizations (usually horizontal and vertical) and the transmit and receive polarizations are the same (co-polarized). In addition, however, it is sometimes desirable to measure the cross-polarized RCS of a target (i.e., transmit horizontal, receive vertical or vice-versa). A complete set of both co-and cross-polarized RCS of a target is called a scattering matrix. This paper describes the algorithm used for calibrating a scattering matrix measurement in the McDonnell Douglas Technologies Inc. (MDTI), Radar Measurement Center (RMC). Verification data collected at Ka band on various targets is included to validate the algorithm and implementing computer code.
Concurrent RCS measurements
The radar cross section (RCS) of a target depends on nature environment as well as many physical variables. The objective of a compact range is to exclude environmental effects on RCS measurements of a target. It is also true for time gated RCS measurements as well. RCS obtained in above manners is more suitable for a space borne than for a ground based target. The contribution from surrounding environment is an inseparable part of RCS for a ship, truck, bridge, and building. We need a suitable method to characterize RCS of a ground based target and its dependence on the environment. The uncontrollable natural change makes environmentally dependent RCS results difficult to compare for a ground based target measured at different time instants. A way to reduce the uncertainties induced from changes is to exhaust all possible RCS measurements before the change. A measurement of this kind is referred to as a concurrent RCS measurement, which in a sense is equivalent to take an optical picture of a rapidly changing object with a strobe light. The step frequency radar located at Chesapeake Bay Detachment of Naval Research Laboratory is such a radar, which is equivalent to at least 45 single frequency radars operating simultaneously from 2.0-18.0 Ghz. Last year, we briefly mentioned this radar in our presentation. We will make a detail discussion of this radar and its capability on concurrent RCS measurements.
Some differences between gated CW and pulse radars in RCS and imaging measurements
This paper compare some of the features and capabilities of gated CW and pulse radars for RCS and imaging measurements. At the conceptual level, these two types of radars are very similar. The primary conceptual difference is that a pulse radar has a relatively high bandwidth receiver while a gated CW system has a relatively narrow bandwidth receiver. The measures of performance of an RCS and imaging system include sensitivity, measurement time, clutter rejection, dynamic range and accuracy. Other considerations such as inter-pulse modulation may be important in some cases. For some applications, typically where long ranges are involved, a pulse system has significant performance advantages. For many applications, the performance advantage of a pulse system is not significant, particularly when viewed in light of the large difference in cost. This is particularly true of Quality Assurance applications which are normally characterized by both short range and lower budgets. Typically, the price of a gated CW system is in the range of ¼ to ½ the price of a comparable pulse system. This paper discusses general similarities and differences in the fundamental operating characteristics of the two systems. Specific performance measures are discussed including system sensitivity, gate performance, clutter rejection, and measurement times. Other considerations such as pulse modulation are discussed. A summary of the various considerations is presented in order to give the reader an understanding of the applications for which a gated CW system is more appropriate.
A New calibration technique for bistatic RCS measurements
A bistatic calibration technique for wide-band, full-polarimetric instrumentation radars is presented in this paper. First general bistatic measurement problems are discussed, as there are the coordinate systems, the definition of polarization and the bistatic scattering behavior of convenient calibration targets. In chapter two the new calibration approach is presented. The general mathematical and physical description of errors introduced in the bistatic system is based on the radiation transfer matrix. The calibration procedure is discussed for the application with a vector network analyzer based instrumentation radar. For verification purposes measurements were performed on several targets.
Radar cross section measurements for computer code validation
Computer codes for the computation of scattering are based on physical, mathematical, and numerical assumptions and approximations that impact the accuracy of the results in ways that are not obvious or quantifiable analytically. This paper stresses the usefulness of a concurrent measurement program to provide reliable RCS data for targets of special interest in establishing the range of validity of the various assumptions upon which a specific computer code is based. This in turn assists in developing “modelling guidelines” restricting the design of computer models for input to the code such that reasonable accurate results are likely to be obtained.
Surface wave radar cross section measurements
Two measurement systems for Radar Cross Section (RCS) measurements are described. One system employs propagation over a ground plane whereas the other system employs free space propagation in an anechoic chamber for target illumination. A comparison of measured data for different targets over a wide range of frequencies is presented. The measured data is also compared to RCS data computed using the Numerical Electromagnetics Code (NEC) computer program. The results may be useful for evaluating radar systems operating in the HF band of frequencies.
Doppler and MTI radar cross-section simulation, measurement, and analysis of rotating bodies and bodies in motion
This paper considers the radar cross-section (RCS) simulation, measurement, and analysis of rotating structures found in today’s modern airframes. Addressed will be scattering characteristics from helicopter main and tail rotor systems; how these characteristics can be simulated, measured, and reduced to identify the individual scatterers withing the helicopter. The effect of radar system parameters on the scattered signal will also be discussed. Finally, actual RCS measurements from helicopters in flight wil be resented and analyzed using the above discussed techniques.
Error budget performance analysis for compact radar range
The target designer using a compact range to verify the predicted RCS of his target needs to know what measurement errors are introduced by the range. The underlying definition of RCS assumes that the target is in the far-field, in free-space, and illuminated by a plane wave. This condition is approximated in a compact range. However, to the extent that these conditions are not met, the RCS measurement is in error. This paper, using the results of the preceding companion paper1, formulates an error budget which shows the typical sources that contribute to the RCS measurement error in a compact range. The error sources are separated into two categories, according to whether they depend on the target or not. Receiver noise is an example of a target independent error source, as are calibration errors, feed reverberation (“ringdown”), target support scattering and chamber clutter which arrives within the target range gate. The target dependent error sources include quiet zone ripple, cross polarization components, and multipath which correspond to reflections of stray non-collimated energy from the target which arrives at the receiver at the same time as the desired target return. These error contributors depend on the manner in which the target interacts with the total quiet zone-field, and the bistatic RCS which the target may present to any off-axis illumination. Results presented in this paper are based on the design of a small compact range which is under construction at RRI. The results include a comprehensive error budget and an assessment of the range performance.
Compact range performance
A performance simulation for analyzing the measurements of target RCS in a compact radar range has been applied to a small indoor range which will be installed at RRI. A dual reflector collimator has been examined with respect to both quiet-zone quality and the amount of stray energy in the chamber which eventually end up as clutter or multipath interference. The complicated ray geometries, beyond the reach of hand calculation, are discovered by complete tracing of all the rays from the feed source. The ray pats which interfere with target measurements are shown convincingly by graphical display. Vector clutter subtraction is widely used in compact ranges in order to reduce the background clutter to an acceptable level. Some of the effects which limit the effectiveness of clutter subtraction are also addressed in the paper. The sources of measurement errors which are obtained by this simulation are used in the measurement-error budget analysis, which is the subject of the follow-on paper.
A Novel, bistatic, fully polarimetric radar cross-section measurement facility
A new radar cross-section (RCS) measurement facility has been designed and built at the Houston Advanced Research Center in Houston, Texas. This facility is capable of performing fully polarimetric RCS measurements over a frequency bandwidth of 2-40 GHz ad nearly an entire hemisphere of bistatic angles. What makes this facility unique is the fact that both the transmit and receive antennas are mounted on moveable platforms. The transmit antenna is fixed at 0º azimuth, but can be positioned anywhere from 10º to approximately 165º in elevation. The receive antenna can be positioned anywhere from 0º to 180º in azimuth and the same range in elevation as the transmit antenna. Monostatic measurements can be approximated by moving the transmit and receive antennas close together. The radar equipment is built around the HP 8510 vector network analyzer, and the measurement process is controlled and automated by an HP UNIX workstation running HP’s Visual Engineering Environment software.
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