Design of spectrally versatile forward-looking ground penetrating radar for detection of concealed targets

Brian R. Phelan, Marc A. Ressler, Gregory J. Mazzaro, Kelly D. Sherbondy, Ram Mohan Narayanan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations


The design of high-resolution radars which can operate in theater involves a careful consideration of the radar's radiated spectrum. While a wide bandwidth yields better target detectability and classification, it can also interfere with other devices and/or violate federal and international communication laws. Under the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Partnerships in Research Transition (PIRT) program, we are developing a Stepped-Frequency Radar (SFR) which allows for manipulation of the radiated spectrum, while still maintaining an effective ultra-wide bandwidth for achieving good range resolution. The SFR is a forward-looking, ultra-wideband (UWB) imaging radar capable of detecting concealed targets. This paper presents the research and analysis undertaken during the design of the SFR which will eventually complement an existing ARL system, the Synchronous Impulse REconstruction (SIRE) radar. The SFR is capable of excising prohibited frequency bands, while maintaining the down-range resolution capability of the original SIRE radar. The SFR has two transmit antennas and a 16-element receive antenna array, and this configuration achieves suitable cross-range resolution for target detection. The SFR, like the SIRE radar, is a vehicle mounted, forward-looking, ground penetrating radar (GPR) capable of using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology for the detection of subsurface targets via 3D imaging. Many contradicting design considerations are analyzed in this paper. The selection of system bandwidth, antenna types, number of antennas, frequency synthesizers, digitizers, receive amplifiers, wideband splitters, and many other components are critical to the design of the SFR. Leveraging commercial components and SIRE sub-systems were design factors offering an expedited time to the initial implementation of the radar while reducing overall costs. This SFR design will result in an ARL asset to support obscured target detection such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and landmines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRadar Sensor Technology XVII
StatePublished - 2013
EventRadar Sensor Technology XVII - Baltimore, MD, United States
Duration: Apr 29 2013May 1 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherRadar Sensor Technology XVII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBaltimore, MD

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Design of spectrally versatile forward-looking ground penetrating radar for detection of concealed targets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this