The degree of polarization (DoP) can be utilized as a detection statistic in the polarimetric radar to achieve target detection performance improvement. In this paper, a polarimetric radar model is established, which includes reflections from both target and clutter at first. Then, probability density functions (PDFs) of the estimated DoP are expressed in closed form, which is derived from joint eigenvalue distributions of complex noncentral Wishart matrices. The detector is developed and evaluated theoretically on the basis of the statistical properties of the DoP. Finally, a comparison between the new DoP detector and single-polarization detector is presented against real data. The performance improvement is demonstrated by the comparison results.
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