Radar re­flec­tor

Radar re­flec­tor
Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

Radar reflector

The re­flec­tor, with its three mu­tu­al­ly per­pen­dic­u­lar sur­faces, col­lects all of the in­ci­dent en­er­gy and sends it back di­rect­ly in the di­rec­tion from which it came – anal­o­gous to a cat’s eye road re­flec­tor in the vis­i­ble wave­length range. The to­tal en­er­gy ap­pears to come di­rect­ly from the in­ner cor­ner of the re­flec­tor. The po­si­tion of this rear cor­ner was mea­sured very pre­cise­ly us­ing GPS, so it can be de­ter­mined whether the radar da­ta is ge­o­met­ri­cal­ly pre­cise to with­in a few cen­time­tres. Pos­si­ble prob­lems in the hard­ware can be de­tect­ed, for ex­am­ple, by an ap­par­ent change in the po­si­tion of the re­flec­tor. The strength and phase re­la­tion­ships of the in­ci­dent hor­i­zon­tal­ly or ver­ti­cal­ly po­larised waves are eval­u­at­ed with the aim of en­sur­ing that the F-SAR hard­ware is func­tion­ing cor­rect­ly in the air­craft.

The reflector, with its three mutually perpendicular surfaces, collects all of the incident energy and sends it back directly in the direction from which it came – analogous to a cat’s eye road reflector in the visible wavelength range. The total energy appears to come directly from the inner corner of the reflector. The position of this rear corner was measured very precisely using GPS, so it can be determined whether the radar data is geometrically precise to within a few centimetres. Possible problems in the hardware can be detected, for example, by an apparent change in the position of the reflector. The strength and phase relationships of the incident horizontally or vertically polarised waves are evaluated with the aim of ensuring that the F-SAR hardware is functioning correctly in the aircraft.

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