Interference hunting during UAV flight & test


Detect and locate interference during UAV maneuvers

For effective operation of military UAVs (Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles), in both live operations and test scenarios, over 10 separate frequency bands may be used at once. This is in order to operate the array of different navigation, communications, situational awareness and payload control systems on board.

These frequency bands are generally shared by various other military communications systems, as well as being shared with commercial users who may reside close to UAV test sites. VHF and ISM bands are becoming especially congested leading to an increased risk of interference.

The problem of interference is amplified when the system in question is a UAV. Experience interference when using a handheld radio, and you can simply change channel and try again. Experience interference to a UAV worth over $10 million as it’s landing, and it could be a much more expensive and dangerous problem.

The RF spectrum needs to be monitored both before and during UAV test runs to prevent and mitigate any interference. Sources of interference from other military and commercial systems need to be identifiable and locatable to facilitate frequency deconfliction. Any spectrum monitoring system needs to cover the wide range of frequencies which may be used by UAVs from VHF to SATCOM bands.

Test runs without the risk

Installing an RF monitoring system in and around a UAV takeoff/landing site allows expensive UAVs to be tested with assurance that if a crash does occur it won’t be a result of interference that could have been prevented.

Installing a network of RFeye Nodes can be used to monitor spectrum from 9 kHz to 18 GHz in real time. All frequency bands used by UAV systems can be checked for interference and congestion prior to take off. This allows frequency deconfliction to be carried out through channel reassignment and unknown sources of interference to be investigated and located using our geolocation software. Real-time monitoring also provides up to date RF situational awareness during the flight so that the effects of any new interference sources can be mitigated.

Even where interference originates from far outside the test facility, the source can still be located. This allows deliberate or accidental misuse of spectrum by commercial users to be identified and steps taken to resolve the conflict.

Our real-time spectrum monitoring and geolocation systems can be used for general interference hunting and spectrum management applications in addition to UAV test applications.

Additional Benefits

The system can also be used for general spectrum management applications. Using 3D TDOA software with the RFeye network can also provide an additional system to track UAVs in flight.

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