A comprehensive service for reviewing commercial and government radar cross-section ranges is being offered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The reviews address measurement procedures, instrumentation and analysis of uncertainty budgets.
NIST's Electromagnetic Fields Division, located at the Boulder (Colo.) Laboratories, offers the reviews on request and at cost in an effort to assess and improve the accuracy and consistency of radar cross-section, or RCS, measurements throughout the antenna industry. After undertaking the in-depth review, NIST provides a report that summarizes the results, including a typical uncertainty analysis.
A review involves an exchange of visits. First, NIST staff visit the range to become familiar with its configuration and operating procedures. Then, the range's representatives spend a few days at NIST/Boulder giving a more in-depth overview of their facility, including its capabilities, instrumentation, procedures, and uncertainty and data analysis methods.
The review is designed to be cooperative and helpful. It provides a means of transferring some of NIST's years of experience in microwave measurements to industry and other agencies. As a result of the review, the representatives gain a better understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and accuracy of their facility, and an idea of where improvements would be most beneficial. This review process can be an excellent first step toward an eventual certification plan.
The radar cross-section range review program is similar to another review program conducted by NIST on near-field antenna measurement ranges.
A paper, "Proposed Analysis of RCS Measurement Uncertainty" by R.C. Wittmann, M.H. Francis, L.A. Muth and R.L. Lewis (Proceedings of the 16th Annual Meeting & Symposium, Antenna Measurement Techniques Association, Oct. 3-7, 1994, Long Beach, Calif.), describes the technical basis of the program. For a copy, contact Sarabeth Moynihan, Div. 104, NIST, Boulder, Colo. 80303-3328, (303) 497-3237, fax: (303) 497-5222, e-mail: moynihan [at] micf.nist.gov (via Internet).
For more information about RCS range reviews, contact Lorant Muth, Div. 813, NIST, Boulder, Colo. 80303-3328, (303) 497-3603, e-mail: muth [at] boulder.nist.gov (via Internet).
As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.