Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) as an all-weather method of the remote sensing, now it has been an important tool in oceanographic observations, object tracking, etc. Due to advances in neural networks (NN), researchers started to study SAR ship classification problems with deep learning (DL) in recent years. However, the limited labeled SAR ship data become a bottleneck to train a neural network. In this paper, convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are applied to ship classification by using SAR images with the small datasets. To solve the problem of over-fitting which often appeared in training small dataset, we proposed a new method of data augmentation and combined it with transfer learning. Based on experiments and tests, the performance is evaluated. The results show that the types of the ships can be classified in high accuracies and reveal the effectiveness of our proposed method.
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