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A Polarization Technique for Mitigating Low Grazing Angle Radar Sea Clutter

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Technical Report

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MIT Lincoln Laboratory Lexington United States

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Traditional detection schemes in conventional maritimesurveillance radars may suffer serious performance degradationdue to sea clutter, particularly in low-grazing-angle LGAgeometries. In such geometries, typical statistical assumptionsregarding sea clutter backscatter do not hold. Trackers can beoverwhelmed by false alarms, while objects of interest can bechallenging to detect. Despite several decades of attempts todevise a means of mitigating the effects of LGA sea clutter ontraditional detection schemes, minimal progress has been madein developing an approach that is both robust and practical.To supplement work exploring whether polarization informationmight offer an effective means of enhancing target detectionin sea clutter, MIT Lincoln Laboratory MIT LL collected a fullypolarimetric X-band radar dataset on the Atlantic coast of MassachusettsCape Ann in October 2015. Leveraging this dataset,MIT LL developed Polarimetric Co-location Layering PCL, analgorithm that uses a fundamental polarimetric characteristicof sea clutter to retain detections on objects of interest whilereducing the number of false alarms in a conventional singlepolarizationradar by as many as two orders of magnitude. PCL isrobust across waveform bandwidths, pulse repetition frequencies,and sea states. Moreover, PCL is practical It can plug directlyinto the standard radar signal processing chain

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