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Results from trials of a planar, incoherent, synthetic aperture sonar for underwater imaging

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3 Author(s)
K. Y. Foo ; Dept. of Electron., Univ. of Birmingham, Birmingham ; P. R. Atkins ; T. Collins

Synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) techniques can yield high-resolution images with a small physical array. Their application in the underwater environment is usually confined to the deployment and synthesis of linear apertures. Incoherent SAS processing is a suboptimal approach compared with coherent SAS processing as the absence of phase information results in an inferior along-track resolution and a higher sidelobe level. The absence of phase information implies that incoherent processing is not constrained by phase-aliasing. Incoherent SAS can accommodate non-uniform inter-ping spacing and is tolerant to trajectory estimation errors of the order of the range-compressed pulse length. This presents new opportunities for a robust surveying system. Apertures of nonlinear shapes can be synthesised depending on the nature and requirement of the specific application and environment. Surveys can be conducted with minimal hardware deployment, such as by a diver. On the basis of this concept, tank trial results of a 3-dimensional incoherent SAS technique utilising the synthesis of 2D apertures are presented. Broadband pulses are employed to achieve optimal survey resolution. The feasibility of this technique is demonstrated for both monostatic and single-transmit, multiple-receive configurations. Practical results are shown for arbitrary-surface apertures sampled at non-uniformly separated positions.

Published in:

IET Radar, Sonar & Navigation  (Volume:2 ,  Issue: 3 )