AMTA Paper Archive
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INTA's free space NRL arch system and calibration for absorber material characterization
In order to measure the performance of microwave absorbing materials a broadband free- space measurement system constructed in INTA. The is a kind of N RL Arch that gives us the possibility of measurements in d ifferent configurations. It comprises a set of dielect ric loaded rectangular waveguide antennas, coaxial vector analyzer, sample support and a computer. A TRL calibration technique in the plate near field is developed taking advantage of the calibration functions implemented in the network analyzer and the time domain gating. We introduce the use of typical RCS calibration standards as the calibration reflect standards. It gives us the possibility of performing the near field free space calibration in the same way that it is usually done in waveguide, but for directions di fferent to the normal. This calibration allows us to check the edge diffraction behaviour of the samples in the measurement and is thought to be adecuated for thin materials.
Calibrated real-time RCS measurements using the DDRE modular radar system (MRS)
The Modular Radar System has been developed at the Danish Defence Research Establishment (DDRE) in cooperation with the Danish company CRIMP. The unique system is capable of performing nearly all types of calibrated radar measurements. The modularized highly flexible system is presented along with a number of measurement. RCS of very small targets at short ranges 400'- l 000', medium range measurements of Navy targets, aircraft and chaff at ranges from 1-10 nautical miles. The real time high resolution range profiles are used for positive identification of "hot spots" on Navy vessels leading to very efficient RCS reductions.
3-D high resolution radar imaging using the MUSIC algorithm
Superresolution techniques based on the Multiple Signal Classification (MUSIC) have recently been applied to two-dimensional (2-D) Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) imaging with demonstrated results. These techniques exhibit much higher spa tial resolution than other approaches using a 2-D Fourier transform. This paper a MUSIC based superresolution algorithm for 3-D radar imaging, which is especially useful for measurements with both small frequency and aspect angle (in azimuth and elevation) spans. This algorithm models the measured 3-D data set as a sum of point source emissions plus noise. Once the positions in the 3-D space of such scattering centers are obtained using the MU SIC algorithm, the weights (or RCS) of the scattering centers are obtained through a pseudo-inverse matrix inversion computed by means of a Singular Value De composition (SYD).
Fiber optic link phase thermal noise performance in a coherent bistatic instrumentation radar
Instrumentation grade, coherent, bistatic, radar cross section (RCS) measurement systems require a reliable low-noise method to link the reference, local oscillator (LO) and intermediate frequency (IF) coherent signals between the transmit and receive subsystems. One approach to this is the use of a fiber optic link (FOL). Phase noise measurements have been performed on a distributed feedback (DFB) type laser transmitter-photodiode receiver link with a delay of up to 2.26 kilometers, operating at 5 GHz, using a standard HP 3048A phase noise test measurement setup. System level tests have been performed, incorporating a FOL into a coherent bistatic instrumentation radar system local oscillator path, and performing image processing on an emulated target A first level analysis was conducted regarding the effects of the thermal noise on the radar perfonnance.
Full characterization of the test zone fields using an RCS method
Characterisation of the test zone field in a Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR) is traditionally done by scanning with a probe. The test zone field can thus be measured more or less directly at any position by the probe. This method, however, has some serious disadvantages. In this paper the scanning probe method is compared with a characterisation method using a reference target such as a flat plate, bar or cylinder. It will be shown that from an RCS measurement of the reference target, an accurate test zone field can be determined using Fourier transformation. An analysis of this method together with experimental verifications which validate the approach will be presented. A comparison between the probe and reference target method is also given.
RCS range characterization using an orbiting sphere
Proper characterization of metal walled chambers or other non-anechoic facilities is normally difficult and time consuming. A novel technique for rapid charac terization is described that is available to high PRF, pulsed, chirp radar systems. A sphere is tethered to a crosspiece mounted on the axis of a motor using a fine cord. The system can be mounted on the ceiling or affixed to a variable height pole. adjusting the motor speed and length of the cord, a stable orbit is achieved having a fixed radius and height above the suspension point. Chirp data can be processed into range-time-intensity (RTI) plots that provide clear evidence of multipath and beam taper. By changing the orbit parameters it is possible to characterize a large volume and remedy problems in a very short period of time.
Accuracy of RCS measurements
Some precautions necessary for accurate RCS measurements using a short model range are discussed. Sources of error in these measurements such as non ideal range geometry, misalignment of the target and inappropriate time domain gating are discussed. A simple technique to estimate possible errors in RCS measurements due to factors such as bistatic angle due to finite separation of source and receive horns and finite length of the measurement range, is presented. The range of RCS values that can be measured within defined error bonds is identified.
Antenna/RCS range evaluation using a spherical synthetic aperture radar
We describe an imaging technique which allows the isolation of sources of unwanted radiation on an antenna/RCS range. The necessary data may be collected by using a roll-over azimuth mount to scan a probe over a spherical measurement surface.
Accurate gain calibration procedure for large antennas
Gain calibration of circular horns and radiation pattern integration applying patterns in two principle planes only is accurate and does not require large computational or measurement effort. This technique is thus more practical than the integration over the entire angular domain, required in case of rectangular horns. However, for many types of AUT’s, additional errors may occur due to the differences in aperture size of the AUT and standard gain horn. The AUT will in many cases have physically larger aperture dimensions. Consequently, unknown test-zone field variations across this aperture can result in additional errors in gain determination. The new method uses a flat plate as a reference target. An RCS measurement of the flat plate is used to derive test-zone field characteristics over the same physical area as the AUT. Combined with the accurate gain calibration described above, field information is available over the entire area of interest and the accuracy in gain determination is increased. In this paper, experimental results and practical considerations of the method will be presented.
Performance analysis of the image-based near field-to-far field transformation
At last year’s conference we presented the discrete implementation of an image-based near field to far field transform (IB-NFFFT) for predicting far field radar cross-section (RCS) from spherically-scanned near field measurements, along with some preliminary transform results using numerically-simulated data. This paper quantifies this expected performance in terms of the RCS prediction error (RMS dB difference) using numerically-simulated data for two ten wavelength-long canonical bodies, a thin wire and a conesphere. It will be shown that for the highly-resonant wire target, the NFFFT’s algorithm performance is limited by the multiple interactions resulting from the travelling wave reflections between the end of the wire, except at near broadside aspect angles. Conversely, very good performance is obtained for the conesphere at nearly all aspect angles, except very close to nose and tail-on. We will also shown that the IB-NFFFT algorithm performance is robust with respect to clutter and scan angle coverage.
Performance comparison of the analog and digital ramps in a linear-FM chirp RCS measurement radar
The designer of a linear-FM homodyne RCS measurement system must consider the nonlinearity present in the chirp waveform. Two basic methods employed in obtaining the chirp waveform are to apply either a digital ramp or an analog ramp to a YIG oscillator source. Nonlinearity can occur as the result of the characteristics of the YIG oscillator and the applied ramp waveform. The point spread functions useful in characterizing the performance of both the digital and analog ramp excited YIG oscillator systems are given. Both range resolution and dynamic range of the measurement system are dependent on the target range and can be adversely effected by the nonlinearity. Theory shows that the point spread function of a digital ramp is suitable for short range RCS measurements. However the analog ramp system has improved performance at extended range. By using the analog ramp, we have been able to improve performance of RCS measurements over the digital ramp. Experimental data from both the digital and analog ramp systems are provided.
A Small-size, heavy-duty RCS AZ/EL rotator pylon tip
So far, Azimuth-over-Elevation rotators on RCS pylon tips were of large size (typically 10” for 500 lb. load, over 2’ for a 6000 lb. load). Therefore, RCS measurements of small but heavy targets were very difficult if not impossible to perform. The new design supports loads of 5,000 lb. with an Azimuth turntable diameter of only 136 mm, close to the pylon’s maximum width. The Azimuth and Elevation axes mechanisms are hidden inside the pylon body. The Azimmuth rotator is mounted on the top surface of the elevation main plate. The Elevation plate is attached to the pylon tip on one side and on the other side to the actuator, which is attached to the base of the tip. The actuator drives the Elevation plate to the required rotation angle. Even with its small size, the new design does not compromise on performance. The Azimuth axis moves a full 360° continuous motion at 22 deg/min with 0.03° accuracy, 0.03° backlash and 0.01° repeatability. The Elevation axis moves in a 0°-40° sector at 1.5 deg/min with 0.05° accuracy, 0.05° backlash and 0.01° repeatability.
ISAR imaging using UWB noise radar
It is possible to build a very inexpensive radar which transmits wide band radio noise. On receive, the signal is cross correlated with a delayed version of the transmitted signal. In this paper we will discuss the design and operation of a UWB noise radar which was installed in the OSU compact RCS measurement range. Scattering measurements were made for a number of targets over 360 degrees of aspect angle. Calibration was performed, and then the data converted to ISAR images. Example ISAR images will be shown.
Diagnostic imaging radar system for the F-117A stealth fighter
The U.S. Air Force is currently building deployable Diagnostic Imaging Radar (DIR) systems to perform quality control (QC) low-observable (LO) measurements of the F-117 fighter. Each system is a stepped-pulse frequency synthetic aperture radar (SAR) built by System Planning Corporation (SPC) combined with analytical software developed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory for generating radar images that will be interpreted to ensure LO integrity. The DIR systems will be used at fixed operating sites such as the F-117A main operating base, the F-117A maintenance depot, and any sites worldwide to which the aircraft may deploy. The F-117A DIR is the first field-level deployable radar cross section (RCS) measurement system for an operational weapon platform that is designed for use by the maintenance squadron. This paper discusses the critical issues of QC measurements for LO systems. It also describes the test requirements that are driving the development of DIR, and highlights the radar and SAR positioner requirements. Also presented is an overview of the diagnostic software and the algorithms used for detecting RCS anomalies and predicting maintenance actions for problem correction by flight-line crews.
3-D imaging of a T-72M at 35 and 95 GHz
Millimeter Wave (MMW) Radar Cross Section (RCS) measurements of full scale ground vehicles are used to develop and validate scattering models for smart weapons applications (target detection, discrimination and classification algorithms) and Hardware-in-the-Loop (HITL) missile simulations. This paper describes a series of MMW RCS measurements performed at Range C-52, Eglin AFB FL on a T-72M in a field environment using an exiting instrumentation radar (with slight modifications to allow for accurate height adjustment) and in-scene phase reference. The test methodology, instrumentation systems, 3-D Imaging Algorithm and sample data sets at 35 and 95 GHz will be presented as well as a detailed sensitivity analysis and discussion of error effects.
Indoor low frequency radar cross section measurements at VHF/UHF bands
In recent years there has been much interest in developing low frequency radar cross section (RCS) measurement capability indoors. Some of the principal reasons for an indoor environment are high security, all-weather 24-hour operation, and low cost. This paper describes recent efforts to implement VHF/UHF RCS measurement capability down to 100 MHz using the large compact-range collimator in the Bistatic Anechoic Chamber (BAC) at Point Mugu. The process leading to this capability has given rise to a number of technical insights that govern successful test results. An emphasis is placed on calibration and processing methodology and on measurement validation using long cylindrical targets and comparing the results with method-of-moment computer predictions and with measurements made at other facilities.
A 160 GHz polarimetric compact range for scale model RCS measurements
A fully-polarimetric compact range operating at 160 GHz has been developed for obtaining X-band RCS measurements on 1:16th scale model targets. The transceiver consists of a fast switching, stepped, CW, X-band synthesizer driving dual X16 transmit multiplier chains and dual X16 local oscillator multiplier chains. The system alternately transmits horizontal (H) and vertical (V) radiation while simultaneously receiving H and V. Software range-gating is used to reject unwanted spurious responses in the compact range. A flat disk and a rotating circular dihedral are used for polarimetric as well as RCS calibration. Cross-pol rejection ratios of better than 40 dB are routinely achieved. The compact range reflector consists of a 60” diameter, CNC machined aluminum mirror fed from the side to produce a clean 20” quiet zone. A description of this 160 GHz compact range along with measurement examples are presented in this paper.
Radar cross section range characterization
Radar cross section (RCS) range characterization and certification are essential to improve the quality and accuracy of RCS measurements by establishing consistent standards and practices throughout the RCS industry. Comprehensive characterization and certification programs (to be recommended as standards) are being developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) together with the Government Radar Cross Section Measurement Working Group (RCSMWG). We discuss in detail the long term technical program and the well-defined technical criteria intended to ensure RCS measurement integrity. The determination of significant sources of errors, and a quantitative assessment of their impact on measurement uncertainty is emphasized. We briefly describe ongoing technical work and present some results in the areas of system integrity checks, dynamic and static sphere calibrations, noise and clutter reduction in polarimetric calibrations, quiet-zone evaluation and overall uncertainty analysis of RCS measurement systems.
Radar target scatter (RATSCAT) division low frequency range characterization
The RATSCAT Radar Cross Section (RCS) measurement facility at Holloman AFB, NM is working to satisfy DoD and program office desires for certifies RCS data. The first step is to characterize the Low Frequency portion of the RATSCAT Mainsite Integrated Radar Measurement System (IRMS). This step is critical to identifying error budgets, background levels, and calibration procedures to support various test programs with certified data. This paper addresses characterization results in the 150 – 250 MHz frequency range. System noise, clutter, background and generic target measurements are presented and discussed. The use of background subtraction on an outdoor range is reviewed and results are presented. Computer predictions of generic targets are used to help determine measurement accuracy.
A Top-down versus bottom-up RCS range certification approach
A new approach for certification of RCS ranges is discussed. This new approach is based on evaluating the major expected sources of errors in a RCS range rather than evaluating each and every error source and then defining the error bar for a given RCS measurement. The new approach is, therefore, called a top-down approach. Based on our experience with many indoor RCS ranges, we can say that the main sources of errors in RCS measurements are range related. (stray signals, chamber drift, target/mount interactions etc.) One should, therefore, critically evaluate these errors such that the performance level of the range can be verified. A test approach is defined to characterize the range related errors. Various tests are based on the RCS measurement of specific targets, and thus, can be easily performed using standard RCS measurement procedure. This approach will provide range operators with the needed information to justify the use of their range to measure RCS of a given target. Also, one can spend more effort fixing the error sources which lead to large RCS measurement errors.
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