A clutter power computation procedure for airborne Doppler radar

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


This report presents a general procedure for estimating the average clutter power received by an airborne Doppler radar as a function of time and frequency. Its purpose is to construct the received power waveform at the output of a matched filter for use in the development of clutter maps related to Doppler signal processing.

In developing the algorithm, several of its features are given close examination; this includes a numerical and analytical justification for the azimuth to Doppler coordinate transformation, and the power spectrum returned to the airborne Doppler radar from the surface it illuminates. This algorithm produces a continuous power returned waveform versus time. Hence, this algorithm has the flexibility to accept any surface radar cross section, antenna gain, and pulse type (a matched filter receiver is assumed) as a function of range and azimuth.

It was discovered that the algorithm could be executed with significantly less computer time if the integration surface area was reduced by exploiting some physical insight. In addition, it was discovered through example that the refracting effects of the Earth's atmosphere become important as the radar's beam approaches the horizon.

Finally, return power waveforms are studied for two different situations: near nadir pointing, and near horizon pointing. The manner in which the matched filter ambiguity function and the spectrum of backscattered power combine to produce these waveforms is examined.