Passive Aircraft Altimetry using GPS as a Bistatic Radar : A simulation model

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för systemteknik; Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för systemteknik

Abstract: A common way to measure height in aerial vehicles is to use a radar height altimeter (RHM). Since the RHM transmits radar pulses that can be detected, a passive alternative would be desirable in military applications. The idea to use reflected signals from the Global Positioning System (GPS) as a bistatic radar, has been established over the last years. The GPS signals are already present and would not reveal aeroplanes in covert operations. In this thesis, the use of reflected GPS signals as a bistatic, passive altimeter is examined. A simulation model has been developed and implemented, and simulations using the model have been done. Different types of ground cover have been investigated, both water and land types, with varying reflectivity and scattering behaviour. For larger terrain variations, e.g. mountains and valleys, a ground elevation database has been used. Furthermore, several parameters, like the antenna coverage and the satellite elevation angle, have been varied and the result of this examined. The results of these simulations show that measuring height is possible for bothsea and land surfaces. The accuracy depends on several error factors, like a bias originating from surface roughness and measurement errors due to noise in the receiver. The simulations also show that the most important design parameter is the antenna, which must be designed to give a sufficiently large SNR, capture the specular reflection and avoid unwanted reflections.

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