On the Design of a Large Aperture Radar for Target Imaging

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1 November 1968

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This paper describes the design, construction, and performance of an experimental radar, in which an electronically scanned X-band array is employed as the receiving antenna. Backscatter from targets uniformly illuminated from a separate transmitting antenna is intercepted by 128 horn antennas, unequally spaced over a nine-foot circular aperture. The received signals are processed electronically to provide a complete scan of a 30X30 degree field every ten milliseconds. Resulting target images were displayed on a cathode ray tube and recorded on 16-mm motion picture film, for varying conditions of target motion using monochromatic and frequency-modulated X-band illumination. Sequences of motion picture frames obtained from a rotating copper cone are presented, which demonstrate significant changes in the image and side-lobe interference patterns for small changes in target aspect angle. Side-lobe interference effects were reduced by integrating many antenna scans as the target rotated; a clear image of a foil letter R is presented that demonstrated this result. The main objective of this work was to test this radar technique as an approach to target recognition.