Radar signatures of sea lions at K-band and W-band

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The millimetre wave radar signatures of sea lions collected from three animals in the outdoor seal pool available at the Sea Mammal Research Unit in St Andrews in the Autumn of 2021 is reported. The objective is to study the radar amplitude and Doppler signatures of the animals when their full body or part thereof is above water, which is important for the application of autonomous marine navigation. The data was collected using 24 GHz (K-band) and 77 GHz (W-band) Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave radars with linear polarisation. It has been demonstrated that the sea lions were very clearly detected by the radars with Signal to Noise Ratio greater than 30 dB at a range of 40 m. The calculated modal radar cross section (RCS) of the sea lions in HH polarisation at 24 and 77 GHz vary from −48 to −26 dBsm and −48 to −28 dBsm respectively, corresponding to the different body parts and the amount of exposure to the radar beam. In VV polarisation, the modal RCS value range is from −49 to −26 dBsm and −49 to −22 dBsm respectively. The corresponding maximum RCS and the Cumulative Distribution Function results are also reported.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-157
Number of pages11
JournalIET Radar Sonar and Navigation
Issue number1
Early online date20 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2024


  • Radar
  • Radar cross-sections
  • Sea clutter


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