Amplitude characteristics of littoral sea clutter data at K-band and W-band

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Sea clutter data at millimeter wave frequencies are quite limited in the literature. Recent advancements in millimeter wave radar technology have created a potential for its use in maritime surveillance and autonomy. Hence, collecting data at this frequency range is of great interest to both academia and industry. This study reports on a field trial conducted at St Andrews in winter 2020 to collect littoral sea clutter data using K-band (24 GHz) and W-band (94 GHz) radar systems. Extensive data collection was done during the trial, where this work specifically concentrates on analysis of the amplitude characteristics of the sea clutter returns. Analysis of the dataset shows that the radar backscatter was heavily dominated by sea-spikes. The modal normalized radar cross section (NRCS) values for Bragg, burst and whitecap scattering are measured to be -47, -30 and -17 dB respectively at 24 GHz in horizontal polarization and -48, -26 and -12 dB respectively at 94 GHz in circular polarization, measured at grazing angles of 1-3°. The backscatter from the smooth surface is found to be below the noise floor equivalent NRCS (-65 dB). Also, the power spectrum analysis of range-time intensity plots is discussed, revealing information on the sea surface dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2022 IEEE radar conference proceedings
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781728153698
ISBN (Print)9781728153681
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2022
Event2022 IEEE Radar Conference (RadarConf'22) - New York, United States
Duration: 21 Mar 202225 Mar 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the IEEE radar conference
ISSN (Print)1097-5764
ISSN (Electronic)2640-7736


Conference2022 IEEE Radar Conference (RadarConf'22)
Abbreviated titleRadarConf'22
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York
Internet address


  • Sea clutter
  • Sea spikes
  • Breaking waves
  • Millimeter wave
  • FMCW


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