Compressive radar imaging has attracted considerable attention because it substantially reduces imaging time through directly compressive sampling. However, a problem that must be addressed for compressive radar imaging systems is the high computational complexity of reconstruction of sparse signals. In this paper, a novel algorithm, called two-dimensional (2D) normalized iterative hard thresholding (NIHT) or 2D-NIHT algorithm, is proposed to directly reconstruct radar images in the matrix domain. The reconstruction performance of 2D-NIHT algorithm was validated by an experiment on recovering a synthetic 2D sparse signal, and the superiority of the 2D-NIHT algorithm to the NIHT algorithm was demonstrated by a comprehensive comparison of its reconstruction performance. Moreover, to be used in compressive radar imaging systems, a 2D sampling model was also proposed to compress the range and azimuth data simultaneously. The practical application of the 2D-NIHT algorithm in radar systems was validated by recovering two radar scenes with noise at different signal-to-noise ratios, and the results showed that the 2D-NIHT algorithm could reconstruct radar scenes with a high probability of exact recovery in the matrix domain. In addition, the reconstruction performance of the 2D-NIHT algorithm was compared with four existing efficient reconstruction algorithms using the two radar scenes, and the results illustrated that, compared to the other algorithms, the 2D-NIHT algorithm could dramatically reduce the computational complexity in signal reconstruction and successfully reconstruct 2D sparse images with a high probability of exact recovery.
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