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In this paper, we present a new technique to exploit the data acquired simultaneously by multiple radar sensors carried by multiple air platforms to increase the cross-range resolution of inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) images of rotating targets. This distributed ISAR technique is devised for two different cases: 1) multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) case with each platform carrying an active radar that transmits and receives RF waveforms and 2) multistatic case with a single platform carrying an active radar (transmitting and receiving) and the remaining platforms equipped with passive sensors (namely, receiving only). The processing chain proposed for the distributed ISAR is shown, together with the results obtained against simulated ISAR data for both the MIMO and the multistatic cases. The performance analysis shows that the proposed technique is able to provide an increase of the cross-range resolution up to the number of platforms in the multistatic case and even higher in the MIMO case, if the platforms are properly located. This is of great benefit in applications where the target rotation angle is insufficient to guarantee the desired resolution. A typical case is the imaging of ship targets with rotation induced by the sea swell structure under low sea state conditions. To make the results appealing for practical application, the performance degradation is also analyzed arising from errors in the knowledge of both the target rotation motion and the acquisition geometry. Experimental data collected by a ground-based radar operating together with a rotating platform are processed by following the presented distributed ISAR technique to validate the proposed approach.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:48 , Issue: 8 )
Date of Publication: Aug. 2010