Position Estimation for Projectiles Using Low-cost Sensors and Flight Dynamics

Report No. ARL-TR-5994
Authors: Luisa D. Fairfax and Frank E. Fresconi
Date/Pages: April 2012; 38 pages
Abstract: Navigation of gun-launched precision munitions using affordable technologies is investigated. Estimation algorithms were developed to blend flight dynamic models with measurements from inertial sensors and, if available, global positioning system (GPS). The launch and flight characteristics of the unique, gun-launched environment were exploited both in the state estimator and for novel heuristic parameter identification. The algorithm included using low-cost inertial sensor arrays and general GPS availability. Experimental results from guided mortar flights indicate that the algorithm with only inertial sensor measurements yields position errors less than 40 m over a 30-s flight. Position errors from the experiments decrease slightly using loose coupling when GPS is available. Simulations were conducted to assess algorithm performance over a wider range of conditions. These results demonstrate that position errors are less than tens of meters for flight times of interest to munitions. Estimation is intolerant to inertial sensor errors due to the novel manner in which known flight dynamics are used to compensate measurements. Overall, this effort shows that navigation error resulting from a low throughput algorithm using affordable inertial sensors is sufficient to increase system accuracy for munitions.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: April 1, 2012