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Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) operation in a bistatic configuration not only offers various advantages over its now well-established monostatic counterpart but also poses various challenges. As part of a research programme into the potential benefits and challenges of bistatic SAR, the Ingara fully polarimetric X-band airborne imaging radar system, developed and operated by the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation, was upgraded to conduct experimental SAR data collections in a bistatic geometry. Initial trials of the new bistatic SAR system were conducted between December 2007 and April 2008: these involved operation of the existing airborne radar in a fine-resolution (600 MHz bandwidth) circular spotlight-SAR mode, in conjunction with a newly developed fully polarimetric stationary ground-based bistatic receiver. These experimental trials produced a set of fully polarimetric simultaneously collected monostatic and bistatic SAR data, collected over a wide range of bistatic angles. Results from a preliminary analysis of the data have been encouraging: focussed fine-resolution imagery has been obtained, indicating the successful maintenance of synchronisation and phase stability between the independent airborne and ground-based systems. Furthermore, interferometric coherence has been demonstrated between single-pass simultaneously collected monostatic and bistatic images from the airborne and ground-based receivers, and between repeat-pass bistatic images from the ground-based receiver collected some 100 min apart. This study gives an overview of the Ingara bistatic SAR system, discusses the experiments and data processing and presents initial experimental results.
Date of Publication: June 2010