A Resilient Navigation Solution To Enable BVLOS UAS Missions in Jamming Conditions
Ben Mohr, Honeywell; Ben Sandford, Infinidome; Marek Fojtach, Honeywell; Moshe Kaplan, Infinidome; Mohan Jacob, Honeywell; Omer Sharar, Infinidome
Location: Ballroom C
Alternate Number 1
GPS signal is a critical input for DoD UAS. Many current UAS are unable to complete their mission or even return safely home without GPS. Low cost jammers are now ubiquitous and readily available to our adversaries. For defense, homeland security, and even commercial enterprise applications, GPS jamming and disruption will constitute a major barrier to full BVLOS autonomous drone operations.
Honeywell and infiniDome have jointly developed a “Resilient Navigation System” that provides a multi-layered solution enabling autonomy in both GPS challenged and denied environments, This system is being utilized by several tier 1 UAS manufacturers and defense suppliers. We present this unique, low SWAP-C approach which includes three layers of protection. This presentation will include flight test results from live jamming scenarios.
Our approach is a combination of inertial navigation with protected GPS, integrated with alternative navigation capabilities, all in a low SWAP-C form factor. This provides a “resilient navigation” foundation platform which ensures that UAV flights and operations are able to withstand jamming attacks and GPS outages. Combined with monitoring and detection capabilities, we believe such a solution will provide DoD with unprecedented operational capability in GPS-contested environments.
This approach follows the recent recommendations of PNTAB  which protects not only the GPS signal from being jammed but when combined with a small form factor inertial navigation solution such as a MEMS-based sensor, and a radar that acts as a Velocity Aiding System, provides a multi-layer holistic solution. The solution does not require replacing any part of the existing UAV system but rather is fully retrofit and is integrated seamlessly with common UAV controllers.
Details of the proposed solution
Today’s UAVs are highly optimized by their respective OEMs- from choosing the right rotors, through the chassis and motor all the way to the drone operator interface. This includes developing a navigation system that is comprised of off-the-shelf GNSS receiver, antennas, and other components. Our Resilient Navigation Solution addresses the problem of GPS degraded and denied navigation for UAV manufacturers. The solution is made up of 3 layers of protection: A MEMs based INS/GPS, a GNSS anti-jamming module, and a radar-based velocity aiding system. The system is highly integrated with the drone’s controller and SWaP-C optimized for use on Group 2 and 3 UAS.
In this solution, the MEMs-based INS aggregates data from two inputs; the protected GNSS input and an input from an alternative navigation source such as a radar-aided velocity system (RVS), which is completely independent of GNSS. The INS provides stable and smoothed navigational data, even in challenging environments by using data fusion approaches with Enhanced Kalman Filter algorithms to act as a smart aggregator of all inputs and provide assured navigation data to the flight controller.
By attenuating the jamming power, the GPSdome anti-jam system creates a protection layer around the UAV making it 20x-50x more resilient to attacks. GPSdome's minimal size, weight and power consumption make it an ideal fit for the Resilient Navigation System. Integrated with the HCINS’s advanced logic, it significantly enhances the availability of GNSS data for the platform.
Inertial/Sensor Fusion Layer:
Leveraging Honeywell’s inertial navigation sensors and algorithms, the HCINS fuses navigational data from multiple sources with proprietary Kalman Filters to determine location, velocity, and heading all in a compact and light form factor. Honeywell’s MEMS-based HCINS minimizes drift even when no external inputs are available.
Alternative Navigation Layer:
The Honeywell Radar Velocity System (HRVS) is a small, lightweight and low-power radar-based navigation-aiding system. The HRVS uses millimeter wave radar (mmWave) technology (60-64GHz or 76-81 GHz) to provide doppler measurements of velocity. Combined with the HCINS, even at full GNSS denial, a drift error of less than 3% is achieved.
The system can be extended to create a full-stack solution allowing safe BVLOS UAV operations in GPS-challenged or even fully GPS-denied environments.
In this approach, the resilient navigation system is combined with our GPS attack monitoring solution based on miniature sensors, which can be either on ground infrastructure, or on vehicles or the UAVs themselves. These can continuously monitor, detect and alert when and where GPS jamming or spoofing attacks take place.
In addition to military operations in contested environments, this full stack solution can enable UAV BVLOS operations in the NAS (National Airspace System), which will in turn support future DoD interoperability needs. We believe that this combined solution will enable safely operating UAVs in BVLOS or fully autonomous missions by adding resiliency to the drones themselves and to the area at which they operate.
Solution testing and results
The Resilient Navigation System has been demonstrated under GPS challenged and denied environments in multiple different events. In November 2021, a demo was performed in Israel, and attended by Israeli defense primes, drone and UAV manufacturers and government end-users. The testing was performed at the testing range in the Center of Israel where 2 military-grade directional jammers (different types & modulations) provided the jamming. The demonstration showed that a UAV protected by the Resilient Navigation System, under a GPS challenged and fully denied environment, can perform BVLOS and autonomous tasks accurately and safely without needing to assume manual control of the UAV.
Additional testing and demonstration has been performed in multiple other venues, with more planned. This presentation will include flight test results from live jamming tests.
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