Radar Cross Section Fundamentals

  • Eugene F. Knott


The radar cross section of an object exposed to a radar is a fictitious area that describes the intensity of the wave reflected back to the radar. The RCS, as it is known in the trade, can be stated in very simple terms: it is the projected area of an electrically large, perfectly conducting sphere whose echo strength would match that of the target if we were to replace the target with the sphere. By electrically large we mean a sphere at least several wavelengths in diameter, and the projected area is simply πa 2, where a is the radius of the sphere. The metal sphere is entirely fictitious, but does convey to most people a mental concept of an equivalent physical size for a radar target.


Circular Polarization Spherical Wave Radar Cross Section Cylindrical Wave Aspect Angle 
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© Van Nostrand Reinhold 1993

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  • Eugene F. Knott

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