The JAGER Project: GPS Jammer Hunting with a Multi-Purpose UAV Test Platform

James Spicer, Adrien Perkins, Louis Dressel, Mark James, Yu-Hsuan Chen, David S. De Lorenzo, Per Enge

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: The Jammer Acquisition with GPS Exploration & Reconnaissance (JAGER) project is designed to eliminate disruption caused by GPS jammers through their rapid localization. The jamming of the GPS satellite signal by a powerful, ground-based transmitter represents a grave threat to the many industries that rely on GPS for operation. This paper presents research demonstrating the development of a fully autonomous, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-based system for locating GPS jammers. The goal of our work is to localize a jammer to within 30 m in under 15 minutes in an area comparable to that of an airport, to be able to locate multiple, simultaneous jammers, and navigate in intermittent GPS and GPS-denied environments using a combination of GPS and alternate navigation aids. The system should be inexpensive and built from commercially available or open-source parts, software, avionics, and sensors. We have modified a commercially available airframe to be able to fly at high speed for up to 20 minutes with a 5 kg experimental payload. Experiments can be easily switched in and out using a unique, quick-release fastening mechanism. The UAV’s central autopilot and flight controller communicates navigation and status information between experimental payloads and the ground station using MAVLink protocol. For the jammer-hunting scenario, we implement both alternate position, navigation, and timing (APNT) and tracking experiments. The APNT equipment records position data at a wide range of frequencies and can determine the vehicle’s position in GPS-denied conditions. The tracking equipment uses a directional antenna and partially observable Markov decision process (POMDP)-based algorithms to calculate the jammer’s believed location. We present results of flight tests performed at JIFX 15-1 at Camp Roberts, CA, that recorded GPS, universal access transceiver (UAT), and distance measuring equipment (DME) data at a range of altitudes. The vehicle’s position can be calculated not only using GPS, but also from the UAT and DME information collected. This is the first step towards true, real-time GPS-denied navigation. We also present the path forward for integration and testing of the tracking equipment and algorithms over the coming months.
Published in: Proceedings of the 2015 International Technical Meeting of The Institute of Navigation
January 26 - 28, 2015
Laguna Cliffs Marriott
Dana Point, California
Pages: 62 - 70
Cite this article: Spicer, James, Perkins, Adrien, Dressel, Louis, James, Mark, Chen, Yu-Hsuan, De Lorenzo, David S., Enge, Per, "The JAGER Project: GPS Jammer Hunting with a Multi-Purpose UAV Test Platform," Proceedings of the 2015 International Technical Meeting of The Institute of Navigation, Dana Point, California, January 2015, pp. 62-70.
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