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Navigation performance using the aeronautical communication system LDACS1 by flight trials

Schneckenburger, Nicolas and Elwischger, Bernhard and Belabbas, Boubeker and Shutin, Dmitriy and Circiu, Mihaela-Simona and Suess, Matthias and Schnell, Michael and Furthner, Johann and Meurer, Michael (2013) Navigation performance using the aeronautical communication system LDACS1 by flight trials. European Navigation Conference, 23.-25. Mar. 2013, Vienna, Austria.



The communication, navigation and surveillance (CNS) structure in the civil aviation sector is currently undergoing a major modernization process: A large number of old, analog systems have either already reached their capacity limit or are expected to do so in the near future. As for communication aspects, the current analog voice radio system will have to be substituted by a more efficient system to be able to keep pace with the current growth of the civil air traffic. One of the most promising candidates for the future air traffic management (ATM) data link is the L-band digital aeronautical communication system – type 1 (LDACS1) [1]. LDACS1 is largely based on 4th generation telecommunication technology and employs orthogonal frequency-division multiplex (OFDM) as modulation. Compared to the current analogue systems, it offers a vastly increased capacity, scalability, and efficiency. In the sector of aircraft navigation, currently also a change of paradigm is happening. In the past, pilots had to rely on DME (distance measuring equipment) and VOR (VHF omnidirectional radio range). Compared to state-of-the-art navigation aids, these systems offer only a poor performance while being spectrally inefficient. Therefore, in the future the aircraft will increasingly rely on GNSS (global navigation satellite systems) offering a highly superior navigation performance compared to the legacy systems. To guarantee the required degree of integrity, the GNSS systems will be accompanied with a ground or satellite based augmentation system (G/SBAS). However, an increased use of GNSS brings new challenges with regard to integrity, continuity and availability of the navigational information. Due to the low power levels received from a distant satellite, navigation is susceptible to intentional or unintentional interference. Hence a parallel backup navigational infrastructure, referred to as alternative positioning, navigation and timing (APNT), needs to be employed. This system can be used when GNSS services are temporary unavailable. Currently, different approaches to design a backup system for GNSS exist. Most proposals rely on an increased use of the DME technology. However, this exhibits different drawbacks: First of all, a costly extension of the infrastructure is required. Secondly, the spectrally inefficient DME system would be expanded and use additional spectrum resources needed for the deployment of the required new communication system in the L-band. Therefore, the approach of using the future communication system LDACS1 for navigation is evaluated in this paper. As shown in [2], positioning with an OFDM system is generally possible with high precision. Navigation using LDACS1 has been proposed in [3], where the theoretically possible bounds for precision of range measurements are assessed. To verify the practical ability of LDACS1 to act as an APNT system for GNSS backup, DLR has carried out a measurement campaign in November 2012. Four LDACS1 ground stations were set up in a rectangular shape about 40 kilometers apart from each other. For the measurement a Dassault Falcon 20 aircraft with an onboard receiver flew several patterns within the test area at various altitudes. According to the theoretical limits for transmission at a reduced power of 39 dBm, LDACS1 should deliver reliable and precise navigation for aircraft between the stations. Typical challenges for navigation with LDACS1 are similar to those of GNSS systems, e.g. multipath resolution or interference of other systems. In particular, the LDACS1 bandwidth of 500 kHz makes the resolution of close multi-paths troublesome. A major challenge during the campaign was the synchronization of the ground stations. A synchronization accuracy in the range of nanoseconds was desired to avoid concealment of measurement errors by synchronization errors. To make statements about the impact on positioning precision, both synchronization error and variance have to be assessed for every point in time during the campaign. For this purpose, oven-controlled Rubidium clocks at the stations were monitored in a calibrated setup by high precision dual frequency GNSS timing receivers. The calibrated setup is required to mitigate the effect of hardware biases affecting the synchronization performance. This approach allows an analysis of the clock biases and drifts up to nanosecond level by the application of a common-view time transfer technique. It is independent from the GNSS receivers’ position, velocity, and time (PVT) solutions, which merely served as backup [4]. A first analysis of the data indicates that under good conditions the LDACS1 system offers a performance considerably better than DME systems. However, the performance may be degraded in cases of strong interference by other systems or strong multipath situations. The final paper starts with a brief description of the LDACS1 standard. It is followed by a detailed description of the measurement campaign setup, including the specific challenges which had to be solved to conduct the campaign. This is followed by an assessment of the performance of the ground station synchronization, and the presentation of first results for the pseudo range generation and position determination. Therefore an elaborate description and discussion of the employed algorithms is necessary. The paper concludes with an outlook on the future work to be conducted in the field of LDACS1 navigation.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/81532/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech, Paper)
Title:Navigation performance using the aeronautical communication system LDACS1 by flight trials
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Schneckenburger, Nicolasnicolas.schneckenburger (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Elwischger, Bernhardbernhard.elwischger (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Belabbas, Boubekerboubeker.belabbas (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Shutin, DmitriyDmitriy.Shutin (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Circiu, Mihaela-SimonaMihaela-Simona.Circiu (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Suess, Matthiasmatthias.suess (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Schnell, MichaelMichael.Schnell (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Furthner, JohannJohann.Furthner (at) dlrUNSPECIFIED
Meurer, MichaelMichael.Meurer (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Date:April 2013
Refereed publication:No
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:OFDM, LDACS, LDACS1, Navigation, Signals of opportunity, Aviation applications
Event Title:European Navigation Conference
Event Location:Vienna, Austria
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:23.-25. Mar. 2013
Organizer:European Group of Institutes of Navigation (EUGIN)
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:ATM and Operation (old)
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AO - Air Traffic Management and Operation
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Communication and Navigation
Deposited By: Schneckenburger, Nicolas
Deposited On:05 Aug 2013 09:49
Last Modified:31 Jul 2019 19:40

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