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Satcom for BVLOS Tested with Inertial Labs GPS/INS

By Mike Ball / 29 Jul 2019

Inertial Labs GPS-INS for UAV BVLOS satcom

Inertial Labs‘ INS-P GPS-aided INS has been integrated with a Cobham AVIATOR UAV 200 satcom terminal to test satcom connectivity for UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) operations. AirSatOne, an aviation satcom service provider, carried out the test of the integrated system, with the INS-P providing position, heading, pitch, roll, and velocity data as well as rapid connectivity from static or dynamic initialization.

The AVIATOR UAV 200 was specifically designed to provide satcom connectivity for UAV BVLOS operations. Such connectivity can be used to remotely pilot the aircraft and provide video feeds for surveillance and situational awareness. Cobham designed the satcom terminal with a unique low gain, electronically steered antenna allowing full Inmarsat hemisphere coverage to 5° elevation. To achieve this, the satcom terminal needs external navigation data. To support this requirement, Inertial Labs equipped its INS-P with an AVIATOR UAV 200-compliant data format.

Upon the UAV system’s initialization, the Inertial Labs INS-P precisely indicated 3D orientation, velocity as well as latitude and longitude utilizing its powerful tactical-grade IMU (1 deg/hr gyro), high precision GNSS receiver and gyro-compensated fluxgate magnetic compass. During testing, connectivity remained stable with no interruptions while rotating 360°, during pitch variations of greater than ±45°, and roll values up to 45°. The resulting accuracy: Position <1 meter; Heading <0.2°; and Pitch/Roll <0.1°.

“We subjected the INS-P and Cobham AVIATOR UAV 200 to aggressive maneuvers in pitch, roll and heading/yaw and found that the combination allowed connectivity at extreme angles; including maintaining connectivity beyond 60 degrees pitch and roll. To further note, the INS-P came online quickly, even faster than our requirements,” said Jo Kremsreiter, President at AirSatOne.

AirSatOne is a Satcom service provider that specializes in aircraft satcom. AirSatOne’s UAV and special mission customers use its services on airborne assets for border patrol, aerial surveillance, and other specialized activities. Their exclusive Flightstream SA includes network traffic control with prioritization to make sure high priority data reaches its destination even when 100% of the allocated bandwidth is being used. AirSatOne also provides Hybrid Satellite / Terrestrial connectivity with IP-Sec, Leased Line, and MPLS so that secure connectivity can be provided all the way to the user’s location.

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Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact