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Flight Control for Rotary Wing UAVs

GNSS Denied Navigation
GNSS Denied Navigation

Exceptional performance in GNSS-denied environments and under jamming attacks. The MIL-STD-461F qualified components and the advanced estimation logics allow precise dead-reckoning navigation even without reliable GNSS connectivity.          

Engine & Tail Failure Protection: Autorotation

UAV Navigation has developed a fully-functional and proven autorotation capability for helicopter UAV platforms. This highly advanced feature allows the autopilot to land the aircraft safely in case of a loss of engine power or tail rotor failure. A safe descent is performed, followed by a flare maneuver. During the maneuver, the operator can correct the trajectory to ensure a safer landing. UAV Navigation's VECTOR autopilot is one of the very few autopilots that features fully functional autorotation capability.

Fully Automatic Maritime Operations

The Flight Control Solution allows the creation of auto & land flight plans relative to moving references. This feature allows the execution of automatic ISTAR or the completion of sea operations involving moving targets.

High-Speed Applications

The Flight Control Solution can also be used to deploy high-speed applications as it comes with the “multiple gains settings” that allow automatic interpolation of gains depending on airspeed.

Camera Guided Mode

With its advanced geo-pointing functionality, the system is able to automatically follow the target coordinates provided by a camera either automatically (object tracking) or via manual input.

Efficient & Smooth Behaviour

Despite the strong crosswind, the system can re-orient the platform in order to reduce the aerodynamic load on control surfaces by optimizing endurance and performance during the mission. So, the control solution ensures smooth maneuvers, which decreases the acoustic emissions, battery or fuel consumption and reduces the overall mechanical wear and tear.

Since 2004, UAV Navigation has provided complete flight control solutions for rotary-wing platforms of all configurations and sizes. Current clients include manufacturers of conventional helicopters, intermeshing blade designs, coaxials, tandem rotors and multirotor designs.

The system is capable of controlling rotary wing designs of all sizes — from smaller platforms the weigh under twenty kilograms to those with an MTOW of 1,361 kilograms and more. As you may have figured out, UAV Navigation’s autopilots can be used for many different platform types; the same hardware is used but different software is loaded.

UAV Navigation has developed an advanced Hardware In the Loop (HIL) simulator to minimize risk during the development phase of a project. Upon receiving a client request, our engineers can simulate the client's platform in order to produce a set of gains specifically tailored to its flight characteristics.

The autopilot takes care of all the basic tasks of flying the platform safely, including fully auto take-off and landing, Return-To-Base, multiple waypoints, hover, etc. In addition to the basics, the autopilot can also interact with a wide variety of payloads, including complex gyro-stabilized gimbals (DST, UAV Vision, Octopus, etc.), transponders, laser altimeters, radar altimeters and laser designators for advanced functions such as geo-referenced pointing and target tracking.

 

The solution includes an advanced Flight Plan Editor to plan your mission including actions on waypoints, create flight profiles relative to moving references or memorize multiple flight plans including alternative and emergency landing plans. The autopilot also allows for the modification of the flight plan even if the aircraft is on flight.

Other Special Features for Rotary Wing Platforms

  • Compact unit. No external sensors, Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) or Mission Management Computer are required - they are integrated within the same box.
  • Capable to fly similarly to a fixed wing platformThe autopilot takes account of the prevailing wind condition and controls the helicopter to follow the track whilst maintaining the most efficient profile, pointing the nose into the wind.
  • Integrated governor. The autopilot features a built-in governor which is able to take readings directly from an RPM sensor. This allows the autopilot to manage engine power in order to maintain optimum RPM in all flight modes and phases of the mission. This function also allows the autopilot to manage completely automatic spool up of the rotor before take-off and also slow down before engine stop at the end of a mission. 
  • Certified Hardware. The hardware is certified to MIL-STD-810F and MIL-STD 461F.
  • Automatic Actions on Waypoints. The user can configure automatic actions on waypoints while planning the mission or during the operation itself. It is possible to determine the flight behavior of the UAV (overfly, loiter, hover, jumps between waypoints and flight plans…) as well as to schedule events such as switch activations for cargo release.
  • Altitude Protection. By taking advantage of readings from a radar or laser altimeter unit, the autopilot is able to maintain accurate height above ground, which can be critical for low altitude operations of hover maneuvers where a precise height must be maintained.
  • Use of integrated ADS. The use of an in-built Air Data System (ADS) allows the autopilot to fly according to airspeed and barometric altitude instead of using the GNSS signal. So, the VECTOR-600 autopilot is the best choice when the optimum performance of rotary-wing applications is essential.

     

Case Study

Case Study

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About

UAV Navigation is a privately-owned company that has specialized in the design of flight control solutions for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) since 2004. It is used by a variety of Tier 1 aerospace manufacturers in a wide range of UAV - also known as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) or 'drones'. These include high-performance tactical unmanned planes, aerial targets, mini-UAVs and helicopters.