Spatial diversity in radars - Models and detection performance

Eran Fishler, Alexander Haimovich, Rick S. Blum, Leonard J. Cimini, Dmitry Chizhik, Reinaldo A. Valenzuela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1506 Scopus citations


Inspired by recent advances in multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) communications, this proposal introduces the statistical MIMO radar concept. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first time that the statistical MIMO is being proposed for radar. The fundamental difference between statistical MIMO and other radar array systems is that the latter seek to maximize the coherent processing gain, while statistical MIMO radar capitalizes on the diversity of target scattering to improve radar performance. Coherent processing is made possible by highly correlated signals at the receiver array, whereas in statistical MIMO radar, the signals received by the array elements are uncorrelated. Radar targets generally consist of many small elemental scatterers that are fused by the radar waveform and the processing at the receiver, to result in echoes with fluctuating amplitude and phase. It is well known that in conventional radar, slow fluctuations of the target radar cross section (RCS) result in target fades that degrade radar performance. By spacing the antenna elements at the transmitter and at the receiver such that the target angular spread is manifested, the MIMO radar can exploit the spatial diversity of target scatterers opening the way to a variety of new techniques that can improve radar performance. This paper focuses on the application of the target spatial diversity to improve detection performance. The optimal detector in the Neyman-Pearson sense is developed and analyzed for the statistical MIMO radar. It is shown that the optimal detector consists of noncoherent processing of the receiver sensors' outputs and that for cases of practical interest, detection performance is superior to that obtained through coherent processing. An optimal detector invariant to the signal and noise levels is also developed and analyzed. In this case as well, statistical MIMO radar provides great improvements over other types of array radars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-838
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Array processing
  • Multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO)
  • Radar


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