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Navigation system for the antenna tracking on board a small UAV


V.I. Kulakova – Ph.D. (Eng.), Head of Department, LTD «Special Technological Center» (St. Petesburg)
A.Yu. Sokharev – Leading Research Scientist, LTD «Special Technological Center» (St. Petesburg)

The article considers the problem of integrated SINS/GNSS navigation system development for high-precision antenna phase center (APC) positioning on board of a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to maintain the aperture synthesis. Section 1 of the study
describes the impact of antenna phase center positioning errors on the aperture synthesis process and details synthetic aperture na-vigation maintenance requirements. The navigation system should use MEMS units and meet all these requirements operating in hard conditions including strong vibrations, sudden change in the vibration spectrum, UAV angular fluctuations and trajectory instabilities of large amplitudes (that can reach some tens of centimeters depending on the wind force). Section 2 lays out the structure of the developed navigation system (fig. 1) for APC tracking which has the following features and functions: high navigation data update rate (500 Hz), high bandwidth of inertial measurement units (200 Hz), time synchronization for navigation data up to 1 ms, lever arm effect account, numerical integration of the kinematic equations for the case of complex spatial movement [7], evaluation of true sampling rate for IMU data with the subsequent usage of the adjusted sampling period in the procedures of numerical integration, continuous correction of errors of accelerometers and gyroscopes according to their estimates in the Kalman filter. The final section contains the results of a flight experiment for the operating frequency 2600 MHz (λ= 11 cm). An unmanned aerial vehicle Orlan-10 produced by LTD «Special Technological Center» [6] was used as a carrier. The duration of one session of aperture synthesis was 5 seconds (fig. 7). Despite the large path fluctuation, the use of the navigation data allows to fulfill the conditions for signal coherence over the aperture and to achieve a good quality of aperture synthesis substantially along the entire route (fig. 8).

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