Obtaining High Quality RCS Measurements with a Very Large Foam Column

Authors: Marion Baggett, Tom Thomas

A large compact range facility required a foam column for RCS testing where the center of the quiet zone was six meters above the floor level. The RCS measurement after vector background subtraction, had to be accurate down to a –50 dBsm level from 1.5 GHz to 40 GHz. A foam column was constructed from a single billet of material. The foam column was evaluated as to its RCS level in both whole body and ISAR imaging modes. This paper describes the specification, construction and RCS evaluation of this column in the compact range facility. The column was evaluated at single frequencies and with RCS images from 2 GHz to 36 GHz using a gated CW radar. Data is presented that shows the effects of the column on the response of a calibration sphere and the response of the column itself. A study of the foam column imaging response used as the background for vector background subtraction is also described. Targets in the –60 dBsm range were successfully imaged with vector background subtraction of the foam column.

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