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Air- and spaceborne imaging radar systems in forthcoming surveillance and reconnaissance tasks have to meet increasingly severe demands. The next generation of top-level synthetic aperture radar (SAR) systems will comprise, among others, high resolution and long-range imaging capabilities, highly sensitive ground moving target indication and a multitude of sophisticated operational modes. The variety of tasks can be fulfilled only by the use of a reconfigurable phased array antenna together with a comprehensive wideband system design and a multichannel capability. At FGAN a new experimental X-band radar has been conceived, which will possess in its final upgrade an electronically steerable phased array consisting of 16 autonomous and reconfigurable subapertures, five independent receive channels, and a total signal bandwidth of about 1.8 GHz. The sensor is called PAMIR (Phased Array Multifunctional Imaging Radar). It is envisaged to demonstrate SAR imaging at a very high resolution and for a long range. The fine resolution will also be achieved with inverse SAR (ISAR) imaging of ground moving objects. Furthermore, the number of receive channels will allow ground-moving target indication (GMTI) by space-time adaptive processing and single-pass interferometric SAR (IfSAR) with a very high 3-D resolution. In its current stage of extension PAMIR is operable with one receive channel and a mechanically steerable antenna array. The system design and the intended capabilities of PAMIR are described. Ground-based and airborne experimental results concerning high-resolution SAR and ISAR imaging are also presented.
Date of Publication: 2 June 2003