Course syllabus


RRY080 Radar systems and applications lp4 VT22 (7.5 hp)

The course is offered by 
Department of Space, Earth and Environment
Chalmers University of Technology

Contact details of teachers

•    Lars Ulander, examiner, lectures,
•    Anis Elyouncha, exercise classes,
•    Albert Monteith, laboratory work,
•    Patrik Bennet, home exercise & laboratory work,

Course purpose and learning objectives

The course describes principles and properties of a radar, and how these are used in system design. System performance is analysed based on sub-system characteristics, digital signal processing and statistical detection theory. Examples of radar systems illustrate the practical applications.

Learning objectives are listed at the end of the course PM. They should be regularly checked by the students during the course, and they will also be reviewed during the last lecture.

Study plan and time schedule

A detailed Study plan and time schedule is available as a separate document here: General course information 

Main course literature

The course is based on parts of two books available as e-books at Chalmers Library, i.e. 
1. Sullivan, Radar foundations for imaging and advanced concepts, 2004
2. Richards, Sheer and Holm (eds), Principles of modern radar, basic principles, 2010
If you prefer, you can buy a paper copy of the Sullivan book at the STORE. 

An example book for extra reading is Richards, Fundamentals of Radar Signal Processing, 2014.  It is also available as e-book at the Chalmers Library.

Course design

The course is based on lectures and exercise classes. The course also includes a compulsory home exercise and compulsory laboratory work (2 + 2 h). Requirements for writing the reports are given in a separate document Writing a report.

Besides the two course books, there will be additional material provided by lecture slides, exercise handouts as well as the home exercise and laboratory work PMs. Exercise sets (extra problems with solutions) are available which students should work on outside class hours. Old exams with solutions are available to prepare for the written exam.

Two (extra) lectures on digital signal processing are included in the course in order to provide extra material and support the learning as well as preparing for the home exercise and laboratory work. The purpose of these lectures is to support the learning objectives on "Nyquist sampling theorem", "undersampling", "pulse compression", "matched filter", "SAR" and "pulse-Doppler radar". 

Two guest lectures are included in the course:
•    Günther Haase, (SMHI Norrköping)
•    Patrik Dammert, (Saab) 

One or two industry visits are included in the course.


The course examination consists of two reports (home exercise and laboratory work) and a written exam.

The two reports must be approved and the written exam grade must be 3, or higher, to pass the course and obtain the 7,5 hp credits. The course grade (3, 4 or 5) is equal to the grade obtained on the written exam. 

The two reports are corrected and checked in URKUND before approval. A detailed schedule, including deadline and review dates, for the home exercise report is given in the Study plan and time schedule.  The schedule for the laboratory work report will be given at the laboratory work session. 

The written exam paper has a maximum of 50 points. Nominal thresholds for grades 3, 4 and 5 are 20, 30 and 40 points. The examiner can decide to lower the thresholds if the written exam is more difficult than normal.

Bonus points are added to the written exam paper result. Each of the two reports must be submitted before the deadline to be eligible for bonus points. A report submitted before the deadline, and approved at the first review, gives 2 bonus point. Non-approval at the first review, followed by revision and submitted at the latest the day before the written exam, gives 1 point if approved at the second review (this year, the deadline is extended to 2 June 2022). The maximum number of bonus points on the written exam is 4. Bonus points can be used for the re-exam in August during the same year but not after that. 

Written exam: 31 May 2022, 14:00-18:00
Written re-exam: 19 Aug 2022, 14:00-18:00 

A formula sheet is available and will be included as part of the written exam paper and does not have to be brought by the student to the written exam.  

The following items are also allowed at the written exam:
•    Mathematics Handbook for Science and Engineering (BETA) by Råde and Westergren (equivalent mathematical handbook can be allowed after approval by the examiner)
•    Physics Handbook for Science and Engineering by Nordling and Österman (equivalent physics handbook can be allowed after approval by the examiner)
•    Dictionary
•    Electronic calculator (only calculators approved by Chalmers).

Academic integrity

The course examination is done through a written exam and two reports. To ensure the best possible academic climate in the course, each student is expected to respect the following points:
•    The home exercise is individual. This means that each student should solve the problems, write computer code and report results without direct help from fellow students or anyone else. However, discussions about general topics related to the home exercise are encouraged between students.
•    It is not allowed to copy text from books, internet or from other sources (e.g. your fellow students) without referring to the source.
•    Students who are suspected not to respect the rules of academic integrity will be reported to the President of Chalmers and risk possible disciplinary actions.

Changes to the course since the last occasion

The (extra) lectures on digital signal processing have been revised.

FMCW has been added to and ISAR has been removed from the learning objectives. 

Minor improvements to radar lab software.

Learning objectives

  • Describe how radars can be used to measure range with time-of-flight and radial velocity with Doppler shift
  • Define and calculate resolution in time, Doppler frequency, and angle 
  • Understand the Nyquist sampling theorem, define the Nyquist rate and describe the effects of undersampling
  • Define and compare coherent and non-coherent radar systems
  • Draw a simple block diagram for a radar system and describe the roles of the different components
  • Derive the radar equations (single and multiple pulses, search radar equation)
  • Use the radar equations to calculate signal-to-noise ratios and received powers for various radar systems
  • Use simple formulas to calculate radar cross-section for different objects
  • Derive for simple metallic radar retro-reflectors the effective area with the high-frequency approximation
  • Describe qualitatively the backscatter from a metallic sphere as a function of frequency and size
  • Use surface and volume backscattering coefficients in calculations of received power, signal-to-clutter ratio and clutter-to-noise ratio
  • Describe how the atmosphere affects the propagation of radar waves
  • Calculate the distance to the Earth’s radio horizon
  • Describe the effect of multi-path and calculate the received power for simple geometries relative to its free-space value.
  • Understand the use of random variables to describe noise in radar systems
  • Derive the matched filter
  • Derive the probability density function of Rayleigh fading
  • Calculate required signal-to-noise ratio for a given probability of detection and probability of false-alarm, and for different signal models (Swerling cases)
  • Describe what is meant by pulse compression
  • Calculate the output after pulse compression for simple waveforms
  • Understand how waveform design can improve detection performance
  • Choose appropriate waveforms for different uses and quantify their performance
  • Describe the principles of SAR, FMCW and pulse-Doppler radar, calculate resolution for different systems
  • Define different parameters for describing a system's ambiguity function and calculate those numerically.
  • Be aware of different applications of radar systems
  • Describe why radar is particularly suited for certain applications compared to other techniques
  • Understand the trade-offs involved in design of radar systems for different applications
  • Apply principles of radar system design and analysis to different applications and to quantify performance and suggest improvements in design

Course summary:

Date Details Due