LOS & BLOS Secure and Robust Data Links for UAVs

Date: Issue 70 - September 2016

CTech Technology Group (CTG), consisting of CTech Information Technologies, Martin Telecom and ClickNET subsidiaries, designs and manufactures communication systems for military and civilian applications. CTG was originally established in 2005 for developing jamming resistant Satellite Communication (SATCOM) systems. It also provides commercial satellite communication solutions, satellite capacity and membership based Internet services. CTG is a distinguished member of the prestigious TURKSAT-6A indigenous satellite development consortium, which constitutes the biggest R&D program the country has embarked on to date.  CTG is responsible from developing the Telemetry, Tele-Command and Ranging (TCR) module which will be used to control and manage the communications of the satellite with the ground station.

CTG has locally pioneered in the development of SATCOM products and solutions for the unmanned and manned aerial platforms, to alleviate the country’s dependence on foreign technology.

CTG, in close cooperation and collaboration with Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) and following the recent technological trends and developments as well as the local requirements, has defined a roadmap for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) data links, which was released in 2012. Tactical Line-of-Sight (LOS) solutions were developed first, which were followed by SATCOM based strategic Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS) solutions, in compliance with the roadmap. CTG products are being developed in cooperation with SSM and leading local UAV platform developers, and in accordance with this, CTG has been designated as the BLOS data link technology provider for ANKA UAV System Mass Production Project (ANKA-S).

The solutions under development are targeted for use on many different UAV platforms. Therefore; compatibility of the solutions with all pertinent standards, such as NATO, ITU and MIL-STD, has been assigned a very high priority.  The data bandwidth requirement on UAVs depends upon the amount of data generated by the sensors onboard, and is usually around 8-10 Mbps. The operational range of a UAV system, for LOS applications, is limited by the communication range, which is about 150 km, taking all weather conditions into account for the operation in C-Band. All CTG UAV data link products, for LOS and BLOS applications, are being developed employing proprietary reusable technology libraries.

Our solutions are qualified to fulfill the operational requirements in ground data terminal and air data terminal architectures, and in accordance with the communication privacy policy, they function in the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) configuration.  UAV behavioral modeling was done, in addition to assessing and determining the operational requirements. The designs of the airborne and ground data terminals were based on the requirements necessitated by the control center operations and the UAV modeling. Networking requirements were determined taking simultaneous flight of multiple UAVs into account. Security (encryption) and robustness (high availability) of the connections are other top priority issues. Providing resistance to jamming and lowering the interception probability of the Command and Control (C2) communications is an additional property imposed by contemporary military systems over UAV data links.  CTG has a good history and experience, gained over the years, on indigenous waveform development, as well as Low Probability Intercept (LPI) and Electronic Protective Measures (EPM) technologies to satisfy above mentioned features and properties. Bringing these in-house technologies to BLOS data links are in progress and would remarkably distinguish CTG from other competitors.

CTG has been one of the pioneers of using EPM technology on NATO STANAG-4606 SATCOM modems, which is based on Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technique.

CTG communication product range for aerospace applications will further be enhanced and diversified with emerging requirements and industry trends, especially in the fields of data compression, new indigenous waveforms and potentially data fusion on airborne and ground platforms. Employment of these technologies would possibly and temporarily lower the pressure on “need for speed” over the data links. Utilization of H.265 data compression technology would provide a practical and quick remedy to help with this issue. 

CTG is a leading innovation house and technology solution center, especially in the aerospace field, covering a wide range of airborne, ground and satellite communication applications, with its well founded and established vision, technology, expertise and know-how.