Passive mm-wave imaging from UAVs using aperture synthesis

A. R. Harvey, R. Appleby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Passive imaging using mm-waves offers very significant advantages in scientific and military surveillance. However, the relatively long wavelengths mean that for the resolutions that are typically sought, the input aperture of the imager needs to be quite large; typically in excess of one metre. Deployment of conventional dish antennae of these dimensions on small aircraft is highly problematic. The use of snapshot synthetic aperture interferometric radiometry (SAIR) offers an attractive route to integrating a two-dimensional antenna array into the structure of an aircraft so that the transverse effective dimensions of the antenna can be almost as large as the aircraft. We report here a study into the feasibility of deployment of a SAIR on unmanned airborne vehicles and the achievable performance parameters. Critical considerations are the achievement of acceptable sensitivity and angular resolution from a SAIR that does not require excessive complexity. It is shown that traditional approaches based on fully sampling the spatial frequencies in the scene are unable to simultaneously meet all of these criteria, but that a SAIR based on thinned sampling of the spatial frequencies shows promise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-98
Number of pages12
JournalAeronautical Journal
Issue number1068 SPEC.
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003


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