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Target Tracking Using Sum-Difference Monopulse Radar

This example shows how to use the phased.SumDifferenceMonopulseTracker System object™ to track a moving target. The phased.SumDifferenceMonopulseTracker tracker solves for the direction of a target from signals arriving on a uniform linear array (ULA). The sum-difference monopulse algorithm requires a prior estimate of the target direction which is assumed to be close to the actual direction. In a tracker, the current estimate serves as the prior information for the next estimate. The target is a narrowband 500 MHz emitter moving at a constant velocity of 800 kph. For a ULA array, the steering vector depends only upon the broadside angle. The broadside angle is the angle between the source direction and a plane normal to the linear array. Any arriving signal is specified by its broadside angle.

Create the target platform and define its motion

Assume the target is located at [0,10000,20000] with respect to the radar in the radar's local coordinate system. Assume that the target is moving along the y-axis toward the radar at 800 kph.

x0 = [0,10000,20000].';
v0 = -800;
v0 = v0*1000/3600;
targetplatform = phased.Platform(x0,[0,v0,0].');

Set up the ULA array

The monopulse tracker uses a ULA array which consists of 8 isotropic antenna elements. The element spacing is set to one-half the signal wavelength.

fc = 500e6;
c = physconst('LightSpeed');
lam = c/fc;
antenna = phased.IsotropicAntennaElement('FrequencyRange',[100e6,800e6],...
array = phased.ULA('Element',antenna,'NumElements',8,...

Assume a narrowband signal. This kind of signal can be simulated using the phased.SteeringVector System object.

steervec = phased.SteeringVector('SensorArray',array);

Tracking Loop

Initialize the tracking loop. Create the phased.SumDifferenceMonopulseTracker System object.

tracker = phased.SumDifferenceMonopulseTracker('SensorArray',array,...

At each time step, compute the broadside angle of the target with respect to the array. Set the step time to 0.5 seconds.

T  = 0.5;
nsteps = 40;
t = (1:nsteps)*T;

Setup data vectors for storing and displaying results

rng = zeros(1,nsteps);
broadang_actual = zeros(1,nsteps);
broadang_est = zeros(1,nsteps);
angerr = zeros(1,nsteps);

Step through the tracking loop. First provide an estimate of the initial broadside angle. In this simulation, the actual broadside angle is known but add an error of five degrees.

[tgtrng,tgtang_actual] = rangeangle(x0,[0,0,0].');
broadang0 = az2broadside(tgtang_actual(1),tgtang_actual(2));
broadang_prev = broadang0 + 5.0; % add some sort of error
  1. Compute the actual broadside angle, broadang_actual.

  2. Compute the signal, signl, from the actual broadside angle, using the phased.SteeringVector System object.

  3. Using the phased.SumDifferenceMonopulseTracker tracker, estimate the broadside angle, broadang_est, from the signal. The broadside angle derived from a previous step serves as an initial estimate for the current step.

  4. Compute the difference between the estimated broadside angle, broadang_est, and actual broadside angle, broadang_actual. This is a measure of how good the solution is.

for n = 1:nsteps
    x = targetplatform(T);
    [rng(n),tgtang_actual] = rangeangle(x,[0,0,0].');
    broadang_actual(n) = az2broadside(tgtang_actual(1),tgtang_actual(2));
    signl = steervec(fc,broadang_actual(n)).';
    broadang_est(n) = tracker(signl,broadang_prev);
    broadang_prev = broadang_est(n);
    angerr(n) = broadang_est(n) - broadang_actual(n);


Plot the range as a function of time showing the point of closest approach.

xlabel('time (sec)')
ylabel('Range (km)')

Plot the estimated broadside angle as a function of time.

xlabel('time (sec)')
ylabel('Broadside angle (deg)')

A monopulse tracker cannot solve for the direction angle if the angular separation between samples is too large. The maximum allowable angular separation is approximately one-half the null-to-null beamwidth of the array. For an 8-element, half-wavelength-spaced ULA, the half-beamwidth is approximately 14.3 degrees at broadside. In this simulation, the largest angular difference between samples is

maxangdiff = max(abs(diff(broadang_est)));

The angular separation between samples is less than the half-beamwidth.

Plot the angle error. This is the difference between the estimated angle and the actual angle. The plot shows a very small error, on the order of microdegrees.

xlabel('time (sec)')
ylabel('Angle error (deg)')

See Also