An Algorithm for Automatic Target Recognition Using Passive Radar and an EKF for Estimating Aircraft Orientation
Ehrman, Lisa M.
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Rather than emitting pulses, passive radar systems rely on illuminators of opportunity, such as TV and FM radio, to illuminate potential targets. These systems are attractive since they allow receivers to operate without emitting energy, rendering them covert. Until recently, most of the research regarding passive radar has focused on detecting and tracking targets. This dissertation focuses on extending the capabilities of passive radar systems to include automatic target recognition. The target recognition algorithm described in this dissertation uses the radar cross section (RCS) of potential targets, collected over a short period of time, as the key information for target recognition. To make the simulated RCS as accurate as possible, the received signal model accounts for aircraft position and orientation, propagation losses, and antenna gain patterns. An extended Kalman filter (EKF) estimates the target's orientation (and uncertainty in the estimate) from velocity measurements obtained from the passive radar tracker. Coupling the aircraft orientation and state with the known antenna locations permits computation of the incident and observed azimuth and elevation angles. The Fast Illinois Solver Code (FISC) simulates the RCS of potential target classes as a function of these angles. Thus, the approximated incident and observed angles allow the appropriate RCS to be extracted from a database of FISC results. Using this process, the RCS of each aircraft in the target class is simulated as though each is executing the same maneuver as the target detected by the system. Two additional scaling processes are required to transform the RCS into a power profile (magnitude only) simulating the signal in the receiver. First, the RCS is scaled by the Advanced Refractive Effects Prediction System (AREPS) code to account for propagation losses that occur as functions of altitude and range. Then, the Numerical Electromagnetic Code (NEC2) computes the antenna gain pattern, further scaling the RCS. A Rician likelihood model compares the scaled RCS of the illuminated aircraft with those of the potential targets. To improve the robustness of the result, the algorithm jointly optimizes over feasible orientation profiles and target types via dynamic programming.