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We present a system characterisation of a passive bistatic radar (PBR). The system under investigation exploits dasiailluminators of opportunitypsila, which in this case are commercial, non-cooperative, VHF FM broadcast transmissions. The PBR under investigation demonstrates the detection of large passenger-jet aircraft in the airspace over greater London. FM based PBRs such as the type examined here have been shown to be effective at remote sensing of auroral turbulence, density irregularities in the E-region and F-region of the ionosphere and meteor trails. Detection of aircraft is an important step in attempting to remotely sense outer-atmospheric phenomena as aircraft scattered power is of a comparable magnitude and similar Doppler frequency to the natural phenomena described. This paper also analyses the merits of FM broadcast transmissions for use as radar signals. A system characterisation with performance predictions is presented. The results show that target detections have been achieved to ranges in excess of 70 km (bistatic range). Multiple broadcast channels from two different transmitters of opportunity enhance the case for deciding whether or not targets are present. Air-truth data provided by a mode S/ADS-B IFF receiver is used for comparison with the 2-D bistatic results.
Date of Conference: 14-17 Oct. 2008