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Three-Dimensional Radar Imaging
A three-dimensional (3-D) imaging capability based on a linear FM measurement radar has been developed. This capability provides a means of resolving radar scattering centers in three dimensions, allowing the more accurate feature location and enabling the possibility of separating target returns from undesired environmental clutter. An existing portable radar cross section (RCS) measurement system was modified to incorporate a 3-D imaging capability. This modification allowed the system to remain highly portable and provide quick turnaround time with a typical measurement cycle comprising 20 minutes of data collection, followed by viewable 3D imagery within 5 minutes. The entire measurement system is comprised of a planar scanner and a single equipment rack. A 3-D RCS data set varies by frequency, azimuth, and elevation, and is obtained by scanning the radar antennas in azimuth and elevation. Innovative development of useful data visualization tools was one of the key efforts in this project. Visualization approaches include employing a mesh computer aided design (CAD) model aligned in 3-D space to the image data. The image is mapped to the surface of the model and the user can then move around the model to view it from any aspect in real time.
Technique for the Approximate Compensation of Antenna Illumination Taper from Near Field Measured, ISAR Data Sets, A
This paper presents an approximate, practical technique for the compensation of antenna pattern amplitude taper effects that occur in near field RCS data. The technique uses inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) data sets. Complete pattern determination uses an iterative approach over target rotation angle and frequency bandwidth, with a series of near field ISAR images as input to obtain the corresponding corrected, near field, frequency/azimuth pattern data. Assumed is direct target illumination using a source with a known angular illumination pattern. The technique and its application environment in the Boeing Near Field Test Facility is described. It is then demonstrated using a near field data collection range of 100 feet from the target center of rotation. The approach is shown to be effective for target sizes with cross range extents extending to the one-way 3 dB points of the illumination taper (two-way 6 dB points). Demonstration of compensation performance and a study of accuracy achievable versus the near field image parameters used is presented.
Helicopter Based RCS Measurements
A helicopter-based radar cross section (RCS) measurement system was designed and demonstrated during the past year. The system was a novel combination of modified and un-modified commercial off the shelf (COTS) equipment and software, a minor amount of new hardware, and extensive prior experience. Validation was accomplished using known calibration standards and existing test practices relevant to this type of system, and data were collected and processed for a number of targets of opportunity. The primary subsystems include the measurement radar, the helicopter, antennas and associated mount, boresighted video and recorder, and the calibration tools. The SCI1000 radar was employed because of the combination of its excellent performance at the desired test target range and its minimal physical and power demands. The Bell 500 helicopter was chosen for its size and its wide availability on the world market. Data products were RCS vs. aspect, downrange profile history, and two-dimensional imaging following pre-processing by a robust motion compensation algorithm.
New DASA Measurement Facility -- RaSigma
RCS measurements at in service aircraft often require fast RCS - analysis capabilities. DaimlerChrysler Aerospace therefore extended its RaSigma facilities with a turntable and elevation system especially designed for RCS measurements at aircrafts. The designer and supplier of the turntable and elevation system was the German company HD GmbH. Aircraft with a maximum weight of 75 t can be raised to a height of approximately 13 m. The aircraft is supported by three girders at its landing gears or other hard points. The test range ist 300m long (today) and can increase up to 3000m . RCS measurement are performed in the gated CW mode. The RaSigma outdoor range operates in elevation range mode, with a special antenna design for a homogeneous field distribution over object height and frequency.
Displacement of Collimator Beam for Extended Target RCS Measurements
Compact range collimating reflectors provide far-field conditions for radar signature measurements. Traditionally, the quiet zone is presented uniformly about the collimator boresight and depends upon both the size of the reflector and the beamwidth of the illuminating antenna, with a maximum determined by the reflector dimensions. Targets are placed in the center of the quiet zone and rotated about the center of gravity (cg) during measurement. Limitations on target size are defined by the quiet zone bounds. For large targets with a non-central cg location, a portion of the target may extend beyond the quiet zone boundary. A technique for synthesizing a larger quiet zone uses displacement of the collimator beam by means of feed point offset to allow far-field measurement of an asymmetrically-mounted extended target. Simultaneous measurements for each offset are then combined to produce the complete measurement. This technique was implemented for measurements of an ARIES ballistic missile target.
Wholebody RCS Estimates from Zone Measurements
Operationally active hangers are not well suited for making wholebody RCS measurements for aircraft signature diagnostics. While it is much more feasible to make localized regional or zone measurements in a hanger, the utility of such data for determining overall signature growth has significant limitations. The most obvious limitation is not having all the information necessary to re-assemble the wholebody signature. In this paper we present some discussion and experimental results which explore the limiting factors associated with estimating an entire aircraft signature from localized regional (zone) measurements. An example will be shown where zonal measurement data is inserted into a reference image and then reconstructed to form two-dimensional frequency vs aspect angle RCS. It is shown that a precise coherent alignment of the zone image with the reference wholebody image is not necessary and that only a coarse incoherent alignment is needed if only RCS statistics are desired. This is an important finding which leads to conclusion that it is logistically feasible to make zonal measurements and reconstruct a wholebody RCS estimate for impact analysis.
MMW Instrumentation Systems for RCS Measurements & Applications
A variety of unique instrumentation radars have been developed by the RF & MMW Systems Division at Eglin Air Force Base in order to support both static and dynam ic Radar Cross Section (RCS) measurements for Smart Weapons Applications. These systems include an airborne multispectral instrumentation suite that was used to collect target signatures in various terrain and environmental conditions (95 GHz Radar Mapping System - 95RMS), a look-down tower based radar designed to perform RCS measurements on ground vehicles (MMW Instrumentation, High Resolution Imaging Radar System MIHRIRS), two high power (35 & 95 GHz) systems capable of mapping/measuring both attenuation and backscatter properties of Obscurants and Chaff (MMW Radar Obscurant Characterization System MROCS: 1&2), and a Materials Measurement System (MMS) which provides complex free space, bistatic attenuation and reflectivity data on Radar Absorbing Materials (RAM), paints, nets and specialized coatings/materials. This paper will describe the instrumentation systems, calibration procedures and measurement techniques used for data collection as well as several applications which support modelina and simulation activities in the Smart Weapon community.
Digital Receiver Technology for High-Speed Near-Field Antenna Measurements
High-speed receivers for near-field antenna and RCS measurements have traditionally been one-of-a-kind, expensive, difficult to interface and lacking in software support. Advances in digital signal processing, computer technology and software development now provide the means to economically solve these problems. NSI offers a high speed receiver subsystem, the Panther 6000 series, that allows multiplexed beam and frequency measurements at a rate of 80,000 independent amplitude and phase measurement points per second. The Panther 6000 receiver directly digitizes the 20 MHz IF test and reference input channels, and includes a high speed beam controller (HSBC) to sequence the measurement process. The HSBC receives an input trigger to initiate a measurement sequence of user-defined frequencies and beam or pol states. NSI also offers a multi-channel all-digital receiver subsystem, the Panther 6500, to interface directly with Digital Beam Forming (DBF) antennas. The Panther 6500 allows up to 16 channels of l and Q digital input (16 bits each) with 90 dB dynamic range per channel. The all-digital DBF receiver reduces the cost, complexity and performance limitations associated with conventional instrumentation in DBF antenna measurement applications. All Panther series receivers are fully integrated with the NSI97 antenna measurement software and operate with existing microwave sources, mixers and IF distribution equipment.
MRC Compact Range Reflector System
Over the last ten years, MRC has designed, fabricated, and installed a number of compact range reflector systems. This paper presents such reflector programs illustrating a variety of alternatives for reflector composition. Such programs include the MRC Scattering Measurements Lab (SML), the Air Force Research Lab's Advanced RCS Measurements Range (ARMR), Honeywell's Antenna Measurements Range, the new GE/NT Compact Range, and the new TRW Compact Antenna Test Range. Variations within these programs include single or dual-reflector configurations, single piece to panelized designs, and all composite to all aluminum construction. All approaches present excellent alternatives for various compact range needs.
524 GHz Polarimetric Compact Range for Scale Model RCS Measurements, A
A fully-polarimetric compact range operating at 524 GHz has been developed for obtaining Ka-band RCS measurements on 1:16th scale model targets. The transceiver consists of a fast switching, stepped, C W , X-band synthesizer driving dual X 4 8 transmitmultiplier chains and dual X 4 8 local oscillator multiplier chains. Software range-gating is used to reject unwanted spurious responses in the compact range. A motorized target positioning system allows for fully automated sequencing of calibration and target measurements over a desired set of target aspect and depression angles. A flat disk and a dihedral at two seam orientations are used for both polarization and R C S calibration. Cross-polarization rejection ratios of better than 45 d B are routinely achieved. The compact range reflector consists of a 1.5m diameter aluminum reflector fed from the side to produce a 0. 5 m diameter quiet zone. Targets are measured in free-space or on a variety of ground planes designed to model most typical grou nd surfaces. A description of this 524 GHz compact range along with 30 ISA R measurement examples are presented in this paper.
RATSCAT Technical Enhancements and Upgrades
RATSCAT has pursued a wide gamut of technical enhancements and upgrades to its Mainsite and RATSCAT Advanced Measurement System (RAMS) locations. Acquisition of three radar systems has provided RATSCAT with the most capable radar systems available. RAMS is capable of acquiring full scattering matrix (FSM) data from 120 MHz to 36 GHz. Mainsite is capable of acquiring bistatic FSM data from 2 GHz to 18 GHz and monostatic FSM data from 1 GHz to 36 GHz. RATSCAT is pursuing unparalleled background levels through the acquisition of new pylon technology at RAMS and is expanding its target handling capability via construction of additional target storage as well as the addition of a mobile target handling shelter and new 50' and 14' pylons at Mainsite. RATSCAT has acquired a full feature data processing capability at both sites that uses a reflective memory interface between data acquisition and data processing resulting in faster validation of data cuts. Through acquisition programs and partnership with industry RATSCAT has improved their RCS test capability to become the technical leader in outdoor static RCS testing.
Boeing Near-Field Test Facility (NFTF) Upgrades & Design Tradeoffs
The Boeing Near Field Test Facility (NFTF) in St. Louis, MO was constructed in 1991 to conduct near field RCS measurements of production parts, models, and full-scale operational aircraft. Facility upgrades were identified in 1997 to support operational aircraft testing, such as the F/A-18 E/F. Target rotation mechanization, measurement antennas, and the test radar were identified as requiring upgrades. The target rotation hardware was upgraded to a 40-foot diameter turntable capable of handling production fighter aircraft. Antennas were mounted in an elevation box, which also contains the radar and an absorber aperture. The elevation box translates vertically, and pitches in elevation for different view angles. A new Lintek Elan radar, with a frequency range of 2ml8 GHz, 200 Watt Traveling Wave Tube (TWT) amplifiers, and Programmable Multi-Axis Controller cards (PMAC), controls all motion in the facility. In addition, modifications to the facility were completed to improve efficiency and ergonomics.
Advanced Antenna and RCS Measurement Software
ARCS acquisition software for antenna and RCS measurements has been modified such that it is now based on LabWindows/CVI of National Instruments. With open system architecture, industry-standard tools and platform flexibility, new ARCS software delivers all components which are required for an advanced antenna and RCS measurement system. This means tht the portability and modularity of the software is increased considerably. Such a concept has the major advantage of simple adaptation/modification by the user, for instance by adding new menu pages. The virtual instrument concept of CVI guarantees easy adaptation of the newest interface technology, such as USB and firewire. Furthermore, there is a large base of instrument drivers which can be readily used to extend the measurement capabilities of ARCS in a minimum of time Special care is taken in the design of the user interface. This is to avoid complex procedu res for entering measurement parameters. Even less experienced operators must be comfortable with the software and be able to perform complex calibration and data acquisition procedures. Finally, a large number of application programs is written for advanced antenna and RCS calibration, microwave holography, ISAR imaging and frequency extrapolation techniques.
3-D Radar Cross Section Imaging Using Interferometric ISAR Technique
In this paper, we present an interferometric in verse synthetic aperture radar (IF-ISAR) image processing technique for three-dimensional (3-D) radar cross section (RCS) imaging of complex radar targets. A general bistatic 3-D imaging geomet ry and the corresponding 3-D image pro cessing algorithm which relates the interferomet ric phase to the target altitude are developed. The impact of multiple scattering centers on al tit ude image formation is discussed. 3-D RCS image formation examples from both indoor and outdoor test range data are demonstrated for complex radar targets.
Assessment of the NIST DoD RCS Demonstration Project, An
During the last 6 years scientists at NIST have been focusing on radar cross section (RCS) measurements to improve RCS uncertainty analysis, and to develop new measurement and calibration artifacts and procedures. In addition, NIST has been asked to provide technical support to the DoD RCS self-certification effort. In this talk I review the technical accomplishments of the program, and will make suggestions for future research to improve RCS calibration and measurement technology. I will also present the structure of the certi fication process, and discuss NIST's role in the ongoing certification activities.
Compact Range for RCS & Antenna Measurements: System Description, A
The design of a compact range facility in the National University of Singapore is presented. The range is designed for antenna and RCS measurements from L band to Ka-band and for test objects up to about 2 metres in size. The reflector in the range is parabolic in shape with a focal length of 3.5 metres. The instrumentation is standard measurement equipment with some purpose-built controllers for the positioners and the scanner.
Projection of Near-Field Data to Far-Field
Near-field ground-to-ground imaging systems are widely used to discover damage that could degrade the radar signature of low observable vehicles. However, these systems cannot presently assess the impact of this damage on the far-field signature of these vehicles. We describe progress made on a method to accurately project the near-field data from these to the far field. Near-field data for the algorithm development is provided by the hybrid finite element/integral equation RCS computer code SWITCH. The near-field data is processed to extract the near-field scattering centers using imaging. The imaging algorithm used differs from the usual far-field imaging formulation in that it incorporates some near-field physics. The processing algorithm, which incorporates a modified version of the CLEAN technique, verifies that the scattering centers that were extracted reproduce the original data when illuminated in the near-field. These near-field scattering centers are then illuminated by a plane wave to produce far-field data. This procedure was tested using VHF band scattering data for a full size treated planform. The near field data was projected to the far-field and then compared to data from a far-field SWITCH computation.
Columbus -- An ISAR Navigator
Analyzing very large ISAR RCS data files using traditional processing software is often a cumbersome experience. The user is often forced to print out hundreds of images manually to get an overview. We propose a solution to this problem. A generalized ISAR algorithm is utilized to automatically generate a series of complex images, creating a "movie" of images with all the information in every pixel. Regions of interest can be zoomed in or scaled to the desired range. Regions can be gated out and the corresponding RCS. presented. The time to perform analysis tasks can be reduced by factors of 10-100. The implementation, which also contains modules for filtering and statistics, has been named Columbus. The use of Matlab and C provides portable code and a flexible platform for further development.
Systems Analysis of the Response From A Linear FM Radar, A
The measurement of the frequency response of complex targets of interest for the purpose of radar cross section (RCS) analysis has become a common task for modern radar ranges. When carefully done to avoid transients, the stepped frequency continuous wave (CW) method directly measures the frequency response of the target. On the other hand, dechirp-on-receive processing utilized by linear frequency modulated (LFM) radars introduces certain distortions to the measurement that are rarely fully considered. In this paper, we derive the relationship between the true frequency response of a target and what is measured with an LFM radar utilizing dechirp-on-receive. One can use this relationship to analyze the effects of the LFM processing as a function of the target geometry or scattering mechanisms and radar parameters. Radar parameters may then be selected so as to minimize the differences between the LFM measured response and the true frequency response of the target.
Target Support Interaction Errors in RCS Measurements
Recently there has been a large effort to improve RCS range performance. Reducing errors associated with an RCS measurement requires the identification of stray signal sources, highly accurate calibration, and an understanding of the target mount interactions. This paper will illustrate the potential errors resulting from target mount interaction. A complex RCS target of generic shapes was designed to illustrate target support interactions. Target features include a front wedge shape, a rear circular shape and a vertical fin. All the target features are separable in time using a 2-18 Ghz measurement system. The target features were designed to strongly interact with the ogival pylon. Measurements using the metal ogival support show strong interactions resulting from the shadowing effect produced by the metal ogival pylon. The measurements were repeated using a foam column mount. Since the foam column interacts much less strongly than the metal ogive, the foam column results are much more accurate.
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