Inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) imaging based on the range-Doppler (RD) imaging algorithm has been proved to be effective at the case of the target moves smoothly. However, for the maneuvering target, due to the Doppler frequency of the received signals, which can be regarded approximately as chirp signals, is time-varying, the conventional RD imaging algorithm is not appropriate anymore. In consideration of the fractional Fourier transform (FRFT) having an advantage in concentrating the energy of the chirp signal, a novel technique of ISAR image formation of the maneuvering target through exploiting the FRFT is proposed. Different from the traditional Wigner–Ville distribution (WVD) and other bilinear time–frequency distributions, the FRFT is a linear operator so that it cannot be affected by the cross-terms for the multicomponent signals. The validity of the introduced method is validated with the results of ISAR imaging for simulated and real data.
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