Graceful Degradation An Airborne Surveillance Radar Perspective
Active electronically scanned antenna (AESA)-based radars imbibe the desirable feature of ‘graceful degradation’. Such radars use miniaturised transmit-receive (TR) modules and a failure of few modules does not lead to failure of the mission. For example, in AESA-based ground MTI radar, failure of a few modules does not affect the array performance. In such a case, the static ground clutter is centred on zero frequency does not have a motion dependent Doppler spread. However, in airborne AESA radars, the ground clutter has an angle dependent Doppler frequency due to the platform motion and clutter leaking in through antenna side-lobes. Hence, the antenna side lobe levels dictate the side lobe clutter against which target detection is to be performed. The detection performance is governed by the signal to interference plus noise ratio (SINR). For Airborne surveillance radar the effect of random and systematic failures of TR modules and their effect on SINR is characterised. It is shown that single channel processing does not effectively provide the graceful degradation feature as the SINR loss due to failures is significant. However, the effect of systematic failure on SINR loss is less as compared to random failures. An effective scheme for feeding the array is also proposed.
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