Limiting accuracy of height measurement for a precision radar altimeter in a low altitude flying vehicle above the sea surface

Aleksandr I. Baskakov, Alexey A. Komarov, Anna V. Ruban, Min Ho Ka

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This study presents mathematical analysis and numerical modeling for the estimation of measurement errors of height estimation over the sea surface for a precision radar altimeter installed in a low altitude flying vehicle. Reflective properties of the electromagnetic signals from the sea surface are determined by the local backscattering patterns of the sea surface illuminated. The height estimation of the flying vehicle from the received echo signals at the output of its tracking system is the sum of three factors: the first factor is the height to the average sea level the second is the bias of the estimation of the height, which is time‐varying and depends on the slope of large‐scale roughness; the third is the terms related to the surface topography. For the calculation of the estimation errors of the height measurement of a low altitude precision radar altimeter, a reasonable approximation of the large roughness of the sea surface by a deterministic function is necessary. In this study, we performed the derivation of the estimation function and the analysis of the limiting accuracy of the height measurement using the calculation of the estimation errors in spectral domain method describing the large‐scale sea surface roughness. The results obtained for the limiting accuracy of a flying vehicle at low altitude above the sea surface, allows to obtain reasonable system parameters minimizing height errors of the flight altitude.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2660
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul 2

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was financially supported by: RFBR and MCESSM, according to the research project No. 19‐57‐44001; Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2021R1A2C2006025), Korea.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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