Cognitive Computation

, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 809–824 | Cite as

A New Algorithm for SAR Image Target Recognition Based on an Improved Deep Convolutional Neural Network

  • Fei Gao
  • Teng HuangEmail author
  • Jinping SunEmail author
  • Jun Wang
  • Amir Hussain
  • Erfu Yang


In an attempt to exploit the automatic feature extraction ability of biologically-inspired deep learning models, and enhance the learning of target features, we propose a novel deep learning algorithm. This is based on a deep convolutional neural network (DCNN) trained with an improved cost function, and combined with a support vector machine (SVM). Specifically, class separation information, which explicitly facilitates intra-class compactness and inter-class separability in the process of learning features, is added to an improved cost function as a regularization term, to enhance the DCNN’s feature extraction ability. The enhanced DCNN is applied to learn the features of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images, and the SVM is utilized to map features into output labels. Simulation experiments are performed using benchmark SAR image data from the Moving and Stationary Target Acquisition and Recognition (MSTAR) database. Comparative results demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed method, with an average accuracy of 99% on ten types of targets, including variants and articulated targets. We conclude that our proposed DCNN method has significant potential to be exploited for SAR image target recognition, and can serve as a new benchmark for the research community.


Synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) images Automatic target recognition (ATR) Deep convolutional neural network (DCNN) Support vector machine (SVM) Class separation information 


Funding Information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (61771027; 61071139; 61471019; 61671035), the Scientific Research Foundation of Guangxi Education Department (KY 2015LX444), and the Scientific Research and Technology Development Project of Wuzhou, Guangxi, China (201402205). Dr E. Yang was supported in part under the RSE-NNSFC Joint Project (2017–2019) (6161101383) with China University of Petroleum (Huadong). Professor A. Hussain was supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant no. EP/M026981/1.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Electronic and Information EngineeringBeihang UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Division of Computing Science and MathsUniversity of StirlingScotlandUK
  3. 3.Space Mechatronic Systems Technology Laboratory, Department of Design, Manufacture and Engineering ManagementUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK

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