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A miniaturised W-band radar for UAV-SAR application

: Essen, H.; Bräutigam, M.; Sommer, R.; Wahlen, A.; Johannes, W.; Wilcke, J.; Stanko, S.; Schlechtweg, M.; Tessmann, A.

European Space Agency -ESA-, Paris; European Space Research and Technology Centre -ESTEC-, Noordwijk:
Joint 5th ESA Workshop on Millimetre Wave Technology and Applications and 31st ESA Antenna Workshop Millimetre and sub-millimetre waves - From technologies to systems 2009 : 18-20 May 2009, ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
Noordwijk: ESA Publications Division, 2009
Workshop on Millimetre Wave Technology and Applications <5, 2009, Noordwijk>
Antenna Workshop "Millimetre and Sub-Millimetre Waves - From Technologies to Systems" <31, 2009, Noordwijk>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IAF ()

While for decades radars in the 94-GHz region of the electromagnetic spectrum were mainly developed for military applications, nowadays a range of other applications mainly concerning security and safety can be served by miniaturizes mm-wave radars. The technology is considerably different from that used in the past. One terminal devices like Gunn- and IMPATT oscillators with limited bandwidth and Schottky Barrier Mixers with also limited noise performance were the key components while today HEMT based LNAs and MPAs / HPAs exhibiting nearly full waveband performance and low noise figures are in common use.
With this technological background and the demand for airborne surveillance of civilian traffic ways and any other large scale human activities or environmental changes, a study was stared towards a low cost mm-wave Synthetic Aperture Radar on board a model aircraft with remote control and data transfer to the ground based realtime processor.
Based upon this guideline a miniaturized experimental radar at 94 GHz was designed with the aim to be used on board of a remotely piloted model aircraft. This highly advanced front-end technique was combined with of-the-shelf model aircraft hardware and miniaturized GPS and data transmission equipment, which is readily available. Goal of the project is to demonstrate, that using modern 94-GHz front-end technique combined with achievable back-end components it is possible to set up a versatile SAR system, usable for a wide range of remote sensing applications at medium range. A further item of the study is to demonstrate, that W-band is the optimum choice for this type of application as the required technology is available and as well physical effects, like better contrast, lower speckle etc. as ease of signal processing, like short aperture time, robustness against movements of the carrier platform are in favour of the higher mm-wave band.