Small UAV Accurate Geolocation and Discrimination

Period of Performance: 04/21/2011 - 04/19/2013


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Scientific Applications & Research Associates
6300 Gateway Dr. Array
Cypress, CA 90630
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: Five small UAV payloads were designed that can detect and geolocate RF emitters. These systems provide coverage for VHF, UHF, GSM-900e, and GSM-1800. These systems are size, weight, and power compatible with Wasp, Raven, and Puma UAVs. Each system is a scalable and modular design, which allows for improved performance capabilities on larger UAVs, such as Shadow or Predator. For Phase II, we will fabricate three SAGE systems that cover VHF/UHF and develop a ground station that displays real-time geolocation results during flight testing. For risk reduction, geolocation testing will be conducted in 3 phases and we will demonstrate that system is capable of geolocating RF emitters in each phase of testing: mobile ground-based testing, flight testing as a captive-carry pod, and flight testing on a UAV. BENEFIT: The RF emitter locating technology to be developed in this program has both wide Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) applications. Military uses of this system include locating enemy communication radios, cell phones, data links, jammers, remote detonation transmitters, and radars. Specific applications include Blue Force tracking or Combat Search and Rescue. While this system initially would be carried on a UAV, the technology is platform independent and could be used on manned airplanes, helicopters, tanks, APCs, and as a hand-held unit for troops. For civilian applications, DHS has already recognized and tasked the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to address the risk of US airports being disrupted by RF emitters. A hand-held variant of this system could readily assist DHS enforcement teams in locating such terrorist devices and even in apprehending the perpetrators. Also, smaller low cost units could be used at each airport for monitoring FAA communication channels to ensure flight safety.