Freeman, Anthony (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USA)
Ambiguities are an aliasing effect caused by the periodic sampling of the scene backscatter inherent to pulsed radar systems such as Synthetic Aperture radar (SAR). In this paper we take a fresh look at the relationship between SAR range and azimuth ambiguity constraints on the allowable pulse repetition frequency (PRF) and the antenna length. We show that for high squint angles smaller antennas may be feasible in some cases. For some applications, the ability to form a synthetic aperture at high squint angles is desirable, but the size of the antenna causes problems in the design of systems capable of such operation. This is because the SAR system design is optimized for a side-looking geometry. In two examples design examples we take a suboptimum antenna size and examine the performance in terms of azimuth resolution and swath width as a function of squint angle. We show that for stripmap SARs, the swath width is usually worse for off-boresight squint angles, because it is severely limited by range walk, except in cases where we relax the spatial resolution. We consider the implications for the design of modest-resolution, narrow swath, scanning “SAR scatterometers”.