Advanced signal processing tools for ballistic missile defence and space situational awareness

  • Adriano Rosario Persico

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The research presented in this Thesis deals with signal processing algorithms for the classification of sensitive targets for defence applications and with novel solutions for the detection of space objects. These novel tools include classification algorithms for Ballistic Targets (BTs) from both micro-Doppler (mD) and High Resolution Range Profiles (HRRPs) of a target, and a space-borne Passive Bistatic Radar (PBR) designed for exploiting the advantages guaranteed by the Forward Scattering (FS) configuration for the detection and identification of targets orbiting around the Earth.Nowadays the challenge of the identification of Ballistic Missile (BM) warheads in a cloud of decoys and debris is essential in order to optimize the use of ammunition resources. In this Thesis, two different and efficient robust frameworks are presented. Both the frameworks exploit in different fashions the effect in the radar return of micro-motions exhibited by the target during its flight.The first algorithm analyses the radar echo from the target in the time-frequency domain, with the aim to extract the mD information. Specifically, the Cadence Velocity Diagram (CVD) from the received signal is evaluated as mD profile of the target, where the mD components composing the radar echo and their repetition rates are shown.Different feature extraction approaches are proposed based on the estimation of statistical indices from the 1-Dimensional (1D) Averaged CVD (ACVD), on the evaluation of pseudo-Zerike (pZ) and Krawtchouk (Kr) image moments and on the use of 2-Dimensional (2D) Gabor filter, considering the CVD as 2D image. The reliability of the proposed feature extraction approaches is tested on both simulated and real data, demonstrating the adaptivity of the framework to different radar scenarios and to different amount of available resources.The real data are realized in laboratory, conducting an experiment for simulating the mD signature of a BT by using scaled replicas of the targets, a robotic manipulator for the micro-motions simulation and a Continuous Waveform (CW) radar for the radar measurements.The second algorithm is based on the computation of the Inverse Radon Transform (IRT) of the target signature, represented by a HRRP frame acquired within an entire period of the main rotating motion of the target, which are precession for warheads and tumbling for decoys. Following, pZ moments of the resulting transformation are evaluated as final feature vector for the classifier. The features guarantee robustness against the target dimensions and the initial phase and the angular velocity of its motion.The classification results on simulated data are shown for different polarization of the ElectroMagnetic (EM) radar waveform and for various operational conditions, confirming the the validity of the algorithm.The knowledge of space debris population is of fundamental importance for the safety of both the existing and new space missions. In this Thesis, a low budget solution to detect and possibly track space debris and satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is proposed.The concept consists in a space-borne PBR installed on a CubeSaT flying at low altitude and detecting the occultations of radio signals coming from existing satellites flying at higher altitudes. The feasibility of such a PBR system is conducted, with key performance such as metrics the minimumsize of detectable objects, taking into account visibility and frequency constraints on existing radio sources, the receiver size and the compatibility with current CubeSaT's technology.Different illuminator types and receiver altitudes are considered under the assumption that all illuminators and receivers are on circular orbits. Finally, the designed system can represent a possible solution to the the demand for Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) systems able to provide early warning and classifi
Date of Award13 Jun 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorCarmine Clemente (Supervisor) & John Soraghan (Supervisor)

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