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Radar Signature Measurement

The Aeronautical Division, thanks to the IDS Measurement Lab, can provide services for radar signature measurement, covering electromagnetic characterization of materials, RCS measurement of static targets, SAR/ISAR imaging, jet engine and rotor blade modulation measurement, and RCS measurement of flying targets.

Materials characterization

The Aeronautical Division provides electromagnetic characterization in terms of backscattering, shielding effectiveness and bulk properties (i.e. complex permittivity) for a wide range of materials (e.g. solid, liquid, granular, mixtures, dielectric, conductive, radar absorbing materials, nano-materials and meta-materials) and structures (frequency selective surfaces).

The possible test frequencies start at a few kHz and go up to 50 GHz.

RCS measurement of a static target

The Aeronautical Division provides turnkey RCS measurement services, in house or at the customer’s site, to characterize a wide range of possible structures and materials, such as radar absorbing materials (RAM), frequency selective surfaces (FSS), components and sub-assemblies (e.g. wings, cockpit, vent grids, etc.) and full scale platforms, providing outputs in different formats:

  • RCS as a function of frequency and aspect angle
  • High resolution range profiles
  • 2D and 3D radar images

Measurements are performed in near field conditions, both indoors as well as in an outdoor environment, to produce high resolution diagnostic radar imaging as well as RCS estimation. Minor site preparation and exploitation of IDS state-of-the-art hardware and software tools permit the achievement of extremely good results in terms of accuracy and sensitivity.

Major benefits of this approach: implements real time processing functions to immediately check the measurement results; allows measurement in strongly non anechoic environments; reduces target moving and measurement logistic problems.

SAR/ISAR imaging

Radar imaging is one of the major techniques to analyze and understand the electromagnetic scattering of complex objects and is a fundamental tool for a diagnostic analysis of the main scattering centres (hot spots) of a target. When target dimensions are much larger than the wavelength, a radar image allows the spatial localization in range and cross range of the radar returns from the scattering centers.

The IDS measurement system allows the production of 2D and 3D SAR and/or ISAR radar images from near-field measurements of the target under test, with a number of advantages with respect to the classic far-field RCS measurements.

The radar image, distorted due to a spherical wave front typical of near-field conditions, is corrected by post processing algorithms (near field to far field transformation), thus approximating the radar image that would be obtained when illuminating the target with a plane wave (i.e., in far-field).

Starting from the corrected “far-field like” radar image it is possible to obtain the RCS of the target, thus overcoming the need for outdoor long-range measurement setups, or indoor compact ranges.

RCS measurement of a flying target

The Aeronautical Division can provide measurement services, in house or at the customer’s site, to characterize the backscattering of full scale flying platforms in an operational environment.

This type of measurement is performed exploiting the FARAD (flying aircraft radar signature acquisition and determination) system, designed for operational testing, including flying platform assessment, acceptance and characterization.

The aircraft is automatically tracked while acquiring its total RCS in a typical operational configuration.

We are able to perform measurements in any measurement theatre since our measurement system is easily transportable and deployable.

Jet engine modulation measurement

Jet engine modulation (JEM) of radar returns is a phenomenon in the radar observation of a jet aircraft. The phenomenon occurs when radars observe a jet aircraft at an aspect angle that allows electromagnetic radiation to be backscattered from rotating blades and the moving part of the compressor of the jet engine. The rotational periodic motion of blades with respect to the aircraft, produces a periodic modulation on the signal scattered from the engine, in terms of both amplitude and phase. The modulation produces some lines in the spectrum (Doppler spectrum / Doppler shift), which are characteristic of the specific engine, therefore a fingerprint of the aircraft.

The Aeronautical Division can provide JEM measurement services, in house or at the customer’s site.