UAV Navigation teams with Cobham to Provide Outstanding SATCOM Solution for UAVs

Cobham’s compact SATCOM system for UAVs, together with either UAV Navigation’s POLAR AHRS or VECTOR autopilot, provides a high quality SATCOM capability for UAV platforms.

As advanced technologies within the UAV industry improve and become increasingly available to platform manufacturers, the autonomy and range of UAV platforms is also expanding, meaning that Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS) operations are becoming more common. This in turn puts pressure on traditional RF datalinks which face particular challenges in a BLOS situation and quickly run into physical limitations caused by a variety of factors, including the atmosphere and curvature of the Earth.

Government programs such as PREDATOR (USA) and HERON (Israel) have used Satellite Communications (SATCOM) technology to overcome such range restrictions. However, SATCOM has traditionally been expensive, bulky, heavy, and with limited bandwidth.

The latest systems on the market are now making SATCOM technology available to a much wider audience, with compact and cost-effective SATCOM systems weighing as little as 1.45 kg now available for integration into UAV platforms.

UAV Navigation is proud to announce its collaboration with Cobham to develop a small, light and cost-effective SATCOM solution available to the UAV community. UAV Navigation’s POLAR AHRS unit is integrated with Cobham’s AVIATOR UAV 200 in order to provide a reliable and very cost-effective SATCOM unit.

POLAR is a high-end, MEMS-based, Air Data Attitude and Heading Reference System (ADAHRS) and Inertial Navigation System (INS). It has been designed for system integration in avionics and other attitude sensing applications. Its reduced size, weight and interface options mean that it can be readily embedded into a system integrator’s product.

In addition to being used either as a standalone unit or as an OEM component within a system, the POLAR is also used as the ADAHRS unit within UAV Navigation’s range of autopilots, providing precise attitude estimation, dead reckoning navigation and exceptional performance in highly dynamic conditions.

POLAR has proven itself in a wide variety of dynamic environments giving outstanding results – particularly in terms of inertial navigation, where it has held its own against Fibre-Optic Gyroscope Systems (FOGS) units – a staggering achievement when we remember that it is based on MEMS technology. Although primarily designed for aeronautical applications, the POLAR has also proven to be a great solution for other attitude sensing applications, such as terrestrial and marine platforms (e.g. antenna, weapon or camera array stabilization).

AVIATOR UAV 200 is a revolutionary new solution from Cobham. It redefines UAV SATCOM connectivity by integrating everything into one compact, lightweight box. Weighing just 1.45 kg AVIATOR UAV 200 is a remarkable 76% lighter than anything comparable on the market, yet it still delivers Inmarsat Class 4 services, up to 200 kbps data and full control of data channels.

With AVIATOR UAV 200, operators can now send flight commands to a UAV in near real time on BLOS missions. By making immediate route adjustments as and when necessary, mission flexibility is enhanced and platform security also benefits. AVIATOR UAV 200 connects back to base via Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband service, providing a reliable command and control communication link for BLOS operations, as well as a real time feed from on-board payload sensors, via a single channel ‘always on’ data service. AVIATOR UAV 200 is by far the smallest SATCOM device in its class for UAVs.

When paired with the AVIATOR UAV 200, the POLAR provides translational and rotational dynamics parameters to enable precise satellite tracking and pointing.

Several UAV clients are already using the POLAR to enhance the AVIATOR UAV 200 system with excellent results.

Alternatively, the platform can be equipped with a full UAV Navigation Flight Control System, based on the VECTOR autopilot. Information from the POLAR inside the VECTOR can be used by the AVIATOR UAV 200 in the same way to enhance satellite tracking and pointing.

About UAV Navigation

UAV Navigation is a privately-owned company that has specialized in the design of flight control solutions for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) since 2004.

UAV Navigation’s flight control solutions are used by a variety of Tier 1 aerospace manufacturers in a wide range of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) – also known as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) or ‘drones’. These include high-performance tactical unmanned planes, aerial targets, mini-UAVs and helicopters.

The cornerstone of the Company’s success is a comprehensive, in-house capability to develop Attitude & Heading Reference Systems (AHRS),  flight control algorithms and to fuse the data provided by multiple sensors (GPS, airspeed, magnetometers, gyroscopes, accelerometers etc). The autopilots are characterized by their reliability and robustness, with over 60,000 flight hours in all kinds of weather and on all kinds of platform.