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The fundamental concepts of sideways-looking radar are examined for both spatial processing with real apertures and temporal processing with synthetic apertures. The analogies between the different processing methods are identified in terms of the single target performance. Principal properties analysed are the resolution and signal/noise ratio. In addition, the effect of many scatterers is discussed for both co-operative and un-co-operative targets. The statistics and spectrum of the received signal are derived and the dependence on the scatterer properties is demonstrated. It is shown that the determining factor is the number of independent scattering regions per resolution cell. In each case the implications of the findings in terms of possible system design are discussed.