Passive Multi-frequency Forward-Scatter Radar Measurements of Airborne Targets using Broadcasting Signals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Micaela Contu
  • Alessandro De Luca
  • Andrew Stove
  • Debora Pastina
  • Pierfrancesco Lombardo
  • Aurora Baruzzi
  • Diego Cristallini

External organisations

  • Fraunhofer Institute of High Frequency Physics and Radar techniques
  • DIET, University of Rome la Sapienza


This paper demonstrates the feasibility and effectiveness of Forward Scatter Radar (FSR) target detection based on the signals of opportunity made available by standard Radio and TV broadcast transmission stations. This Passive FSR (P-FSR) operation is obtained by means of a simple and robust correlation process based on self-mixing. This is shown to be very effective in extracting the characteristic FSR modulation produced by airborne targets, from the signals received from FM, DAB and DVB transmitters of opportunity. Target detectability is discussed as a function of the carrier frequency, the target size and its height at the baseline crossing. Experimental results are shown using a wide variety of sources of opportunity, target types, baselines and receiver configurations. The target signatures obtained from the different illuminators are compared and ways of extracting the kinematic parameters of the aircraft are discussed. This validates the claimed effectiveness and robustness of the P-FSR with the presented processing scheme.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1067 - 1087
JournalIEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, IEEE US
Issue number3
Early online date27 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • passive radar