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Sea Clutter

The understanding and modelling of radar sea clutter is central to the design and performance evaluation of radars in a maritime environment. The first part of the tutorial will introduce the methods used to describe radar sea clutter and show how physical and empirical models are developed.

The second part of the tutorial will show how clutter models are used to predict performance and analyse the performance of CFAR detection systems. This will concentrate on the application of the compound K distribution sea clutter model.

Author Information: 

Author: Prof Simon Watts & Dr Keith Ward

Prof Simon Watts

Simon Watts graduated from the University of Oxford in 1971 and obtained an MSc from the University of Birmingham in 1972. He is currently deputy Scientific Director of Thales UK, Aerospace Division and is also a Visiting Professor in the department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at University College London. He joined Thales (then EMI Electronics) in 1967 and since then has worked on a wide range of radar and EW projects. His research interests include the modelling of radar sea clutter and the development of signal processing techniques for radar target detection, and he obtained a PhD for work in these areas from the CNAA in 1987. He is author and co-author of over 35 journal and conference papers, and several patents. He was chairman of the international radar conference RADAR-97. He was appointed MBE in 1996 for services to the UK defence industry and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the IEE and Fellow of the IEEE.

Dr Keith Ward

Keith Ward was educated at the Universities of Cambridge and Birmingham. He is currently Technical Director (Radar Systems) at Igence Limited. He started his career at RSRE, Malvern in 1977, leaving in 1995 to found TW Research, which in 2008 merged with Igence. His research interests include: radar sea scattering, target detection & clutter reduction, performance modelling & simulation, ocean imaging, automatic target identification, and SAR processing & motion compensation. In addition he provides technical support for radar procurement projects and radar evaluation trials. He has served as Honorary Editor of IEE Proceedings Part F, as a member of IEE professional group E15, on conference organising committees, and as chairman of TTCP KTP3. He has published over 100 reports and papers, and received the following awards: IEE Electronics Letters Premium 1981, and Mountbatten Prize 1990. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the IET and a member of the IEEE.

Tutorial Outline: 

* Introduction
* The observed characteristics of sea clutter
* Statistical models of sea clutter
* Modelling radar scattering from the ocean surface
* Detection performance calculations
* Cell-averaging Constant False Alarm Rate (CFAR) performance in sea clutter
* Adaptation to changing clutter PDF
* Practical CFAR systems

Tutorial Text: 

K.D.Ward, R.J.A.Tough and S.Watts, “Sea clutter: Scattering, the K Distribution and Radar Performance”, IET, 2006