We develop a bistatic model for airborne lidar returns collected by an imaging array from underwater objects, incorporating additional returns from the surrounding water medium and ocean bottom. Our results provide a generalization of the monostatic model by Walker and McLean. In the bistatic scheme the transmitter and receiver are spatially separated or are not coaligned. This generality is necessary for a precise description of an imaging array such as a CCD, which may be viewed as a collection of receiver elements, with each transmitter-element pair forming a bistatic configuration. More generally, the receiver may consist of photomultiplier tubes, photodiodes, or any of a variety of optical receivers, and the imaging array can range in size from a CCD array to a multiple-platform airborne lidar system involving multiple aircraft. The majority of this research is devoted to a derivation of the bistatic lidar equations, which account for multiple scattering and absorption in the water column. We then describe the application of these equations to the modeling and simulation of an imaging array. We show an example of a simulated lidar return and compare it with a real ocean lidar return, obtained by a CCD array.
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