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Modeling and simulation strategies for radar cross section (RCS) prediction are reviewed, and a novel FDTD-based virtual RCS prediction tool is introduced in this two-part paper. Part 1 is reserved for a tutorial review. Concepts and definitions related to RCS modeling are outlined. Analytical approaches, i.e., high-frequency asymptotics (HFA), as well as powerful time- and frequency-domain numerical methods, are given. Canonical examples using the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) Method, the method of moments (MoM), and physical optics (PO) are presented.