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Synthetic Radar Application Notes

This document is one in a series of ‘Applications Notes’ which describe how TMD products have been used in particular customers’ applications over the past decades.

This Application Note is dedicated to Synthetic Aperture Radar. An excerpt from the document is contained within this post but for more detail, and our Synthetic Aperture Radar Amplifiers product range, you can download the full document here –  TMD Synthetic Aperture Radar Amplifiers, or for more detailed product information you can download our Instrumentation Amplifiers product datasheets from our Instrumentation Amplifiers page.

TMD Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Amplifiers

Amplifiers for Synthetic Aperture Radars (SAR) or Imaging Radar, although evolved from general purpose radar transmitters, have special requirements associated with the application:

  • Long flight endurance
  • High reliability, MTTF and Availability
  • Broad bandwidth
  • Phase stability for high pulse compression
  • Long pulse width
  • Impulse response
  • Long term phase & amplitude stability
  • High efficiency
  • Noise performance for GMTI, if appropriate
  • Size and weight
  • Bespoke space envelope

Platforms are inhabited fixed wing and UAV. They come in three general types; High, Medium & Low altitude. Efficiency, reliability and performance are paramount, although the larger aircraft can be less concerned with efficiency. The SAR is often associated with an optical system, where the SAR provides wide area surveillance image with a resolution of 4 inches (10 cm) or better, whilst the optical system provides a high resolution “telescope”.

TMD has been involved with ISAR, SAR and GMTI since their inception in the early 1990s and significantly prior to the publication of the American OSD (Office of the secretary of Defence) 2002 “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Roadmap”. A very long track record of reliable supply and operational performance.

We have supplied a wide range of transmitters and TWTAs from S to Ku band for SAR applications over many years. The requirements for higher resolution has increased over this time and the transmitter specifications have therefore become more complex and demanding. TMD continues to improve the performance of amplifiers in line with requirements and is continually developing new product for bespoke customer solutions.

Some new systems are demanding higher frequency and we are able to offer up to 1 kW at 25% duty in Ka band, and up to 200 W CW in Ka band for FMCW processing.

The demand for amplifiers in SAR imaging systems continues to grow, from a few watts in the smallest air vehicles to many kilowatts in the high altitude long endurance platforms, it is unlikely that this demand will diminish in the near future.

TMD can supply Non-ITAR products for most powers and frequencies.