The paper deals with the detection of fluctuating targets in the presence of compound-Gaussian clutter. We show that the optimum receiver, according to the Neyman-Pearson criterion, is canonical in that its structure is independent of the clutter amplitude probability density function. Moreover it is interpretable as a conventional square law receiver with an adaptive threshold. The performance analysis shows that the proposed detector largely outperforms the conventional receiver. Unfortunately the Neyman-Pearson receiver is hardly implementable since it requires the knowledge of the target strength. Nevertheless it not only provides guidance for the design of suboptimal realizable detectors, but also its performance is an upper bound for those achievable by any other detector
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