Small UAV Accurate Geolocation and Discrimination

Period of Performance: 02/12/2009 - 05/11/2010


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Trident Systems, Inc.
10201 Fairfax Boulevard Array
Fairfax, VA 22030
Principal Investigator


Recent advances in electronics miniaturization, unmanned vehicles, and battlefield communications & networking hold the potential to expand the capabilities RF threat geolocation, as well as make it more powerful, mobile, and collaborative. Advances in extremely low-power signal processing architectures, coupled with the increasing viability of small unmanned aircraft for tactical missions, can further leverage these capabilities by providing an in situ collection platform for gathering this signal information in the tactical environment, with the capability of maneuvering into direct RF line-of-sight to the potential threat emitter. In this effort, Trident will leverage its current capabilities in miniature direction-finding and distributed TDOA geolocation solutions to develop a small-footprint RF detection/discrimination/geolocation payload architecture that scales performance and capabilities across a range of small UAV platforms, from sub-meter to 4+ meter wingspans. Trident will identify the scope of functionality required to address threat geolocation in a real-world environment, developing a requirements specification covering all aspects of the problem space. An architecture will then be developed that addresses this functionality across a range of small UAV sizes and signal types, followed by a detailed modeling and simulation effort to demonstrate the validity of the architectural approach. BENEFIT: The successful development of this small UAV-based RF geolocation system will provide a significant new real-time capability in geolocation of adversaries in a tactical environment, enhancing tactical situational awareness and warfighter effectiveness, and providing a new tool for use in detection of wireless IED triggers. In the civilian realm, this capability offers utility in search and rescue operations, as well as providing RF detection capabilities for border surveillance in homeland defense.