Some stand-alone airborne systems of target reconnaissance such as a missile seeker head use range-gated laser active imaging to visualize a target in the scene. To center the visualized zone on the target, it is important to know the distance between the active imaging system and the target. However, as this exact distance is not known before the detection of the target, it can be only estimated. This estimated distance can be erroneous () with some technological drifts (gyrometric drift, accelerometric drift, missile position error, etc.). To be able to evaluate the impact of a distance estimation error on target illuminance in active imaging, the expressions of the illuminance attenuation ratio according to the decentered target position with regard to the visualized zone were determined. These different equations will be used to determine, in future stand-alone reconnaissance systems, the target signal-to-noise ratio as a function of the localization error. Generally speaking, two modes of visualization were used: first by using a fixed width of the visualized zone, and second by increasing the width of the visualized zone as a function of the distance. The defined different expressions allowed us to study the illuminance behavior of the target with regard to the value of the gap (difference between the estimated distance and the real distance) for each mode of visualization. The results showed that from a target distance of about 1 km, the visualization mode with variable zone width allowed us to decrease the target illuminance less during a gap caused by an estimation error of the target distance.
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