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Preliminary Systems Evaluation for a Guidable Extended Range Tube Launched-UAV
ISSN: 1946-3855, e-ISSN: 1946-3901
Published October 18, 2011 by SAE International in United States
Citation: Wilhelm, J., Browning, P., Gautam, M., and Huebsch, W., "Preliminary Systems Evaluation for a Guidable Extended Range Tube Launched-UAV," SAE Int. J. Aerosp. 4(2):859-864, 2011, https://doi.org/10.4271/2011-01-2559.
Tube Launched-Unmanned Air Vehicles (TL-UAV) are munitions that alter their trajectories during flight to enhance the capabilities by possibly extending range, increasing loiter time through gliding, and/or having guided targeting capabilities. Traditional munition systems, specifically the tube-launched mortar rounds, are not guided. Performance of these "dumb" munitions could be enhanced by updating to TL-UAV and still utilize existing launch platforms with standard propellant detonation firing methods. The ability to actively control the flight path and extend range of a TL-UAV requires multiple onboard systems which need to be identified, integrated, assembled, and tested to meet cooperative function requirements. The main systems, for a mortar-based TL-UAV being developed at West Virginia University (WVU), are considered to be a central hub to process information, aerodynamic control devices, flight sensors, a video camera system, power management, and a wireless transceiver. A camera is used to provide video for a "man-in-the-loop" operator to steer the munition. A wireless transceiver relays flight information gathered by sensors such, as an IMU, to an operator and to receive operator control inputs. These systems do not naturally integrate with each other, therefore a central unit was used to handle and interpret signals from the systems. Each system has unique specifications for power and data requirements, which must be considered when selecting a central unit. Software running on the central unit handles processing of video, flight sensors, stability, control surface actuation, and course corrections received from an operator. Testing and assembly of the systems must meet stringent launch acceleration loading due to the ≻2,000 g's experienced during launch of the projectile. This paper describes the identification of appropriate systems, their interactions, and ruggedization methods for a TL-UAV that can glide to increase range and be video-relay guidable.