The Microwave Sensors Branch of the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) recently evaluated the potential of a commercially available borehole radar system for an underground target detection application. We used this ground-penetrating system, which is capable of operation at either 100 or 250 MHz, to conduct experiments at a locally constructed test site. Since the site's soil characteristics would severely impact conclusions drawn from the collected data, we also obtained and analyzed soil samples in order to determine the electrical properties of the earth in the vicinity of the boreholes. In addition, we modeled and then built a canonical target, using this canonical target as an input to electromagnetic simulations. The outputs from these simulations guided us in the analysis and interpretation of the collected radar data.
In this paper, we present a description of both the data collection itself and the results of a posteriori analysis of the collected data. We begin by describing the test site along with the procedures that we followed when conducting the experiments. Next, we present a soil analysis and the expected target radar cross section (RCS) obtained from the electromagnetic modeling simulations. We then discuss the implications of these results for system performance. Finally, we present an analysis of real data from the collection and compare it to what we expect based on the soil analysis and the output of the electromagnetic models. Collectively, these analyses provide an indication of the borehole radar's true potential for detecting underground targets.