Waveguide invariant focusing for broadband beamforming in an oceanic waveguide.
The performance of broadband sonar array processing can degrade significantly in shallow-water environments when interference becomes angularly spread due to multipath propagation. Particularly for towed line arrays near endfire, elevation angle spreading of multipath interference often results in masking of weaker sources of interest. While adaptive beamforming in a series of narrow frequency bands can suppress coherent multipath interference, this approach requires long observation times to estimate the required narrowband covariance matrices. To form wideband covariance matrices which can be estimated with less observation time, plane-wave focusing methods have been used to avoid interference covariance matrix rank inflation. This paper extends wideband focusing to the case of coherent multipath interference. The approach presented here, called waveguide invariant focusing (WIF), exploits a robust relationship for the frequency dependence of horizontal wave number differences. Unlike matched-field methods, WIF does not model multipath wave fronts but rather makes the interference appear to occupy the same rank-one subspace across frequency. This permits formation of wideband covariance matrices without interference rank inflation. Simulation experiments in a realistic ocean environment indicate that adaptive beamforming using WIF covariance matrices can provide a significant array gain improvement over conventional adaptive methods with limited observation time.
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