R&S®SMBV100A – GNSS air test for pioneers

GNSS air test / Airbus case study

Taking helicopter flight safety to the next level

The satellite- based augmentation system (SBAS) technology provides powerful navigational aids to the aviation industry, for instance in advanced approach and landing systems for modern helicopter designs. Developers rely on highly accurate GNSS data simulation, to test such landing systems under all flight conditions. Rohde & Schwarz offers powerful GNSS simulations, meeting the following conditions for a successful test scenario.

The case

Airbus’ safe approach with GNSS air test

Improving the safety of helicopter flights, a safe approach to small airports or heliports without the need for a ground structure: this is what Airbus is striving for. Airbus wanted to implement localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approach procedures to allow a safe approach. This has clear applications in various emergency rescue operations and oil platform or military-related missions.

Airbus’ top priority: safety. Its helper: GNSS air test by Rohde & Schwarz

No matter whether it's demanding environments or weather conditions: Airbus offers a wide range of helicopters for business, government, military and law enforcement applications. Modern aviation instrument approach procedures such as localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) ensure safety during take-off, landing and in lower airspace. This procedure uses the highly accurate geopositioning data offered by GNSS together with a wide area augmentation system (WAAS), making it an ideal solution for flying in low visibility conditions without any ground support. Even in the most emergency scenarios, aircraft can operate safely.

Rohde & Schwarz fully supports the Hardware-in-the-Loop (HiL) test method. In addition to its award-winning solutions and industry-leading products, this is one of the reasons why Airbus chose Rohde & Schwarz as its GNSS provider.

©Airbus Helicopters - PECCHI Anthony

The solution

R&S®SMBV100A vector signal generator and GNSS simulator as the ideal HiL testing solution

Rohde & schwarz developed R&S®SMBV100A – a vector signal generator that supports all functionality and fulfils the following features:

  • real-time remote control
  • easy integration into a dynamic HiL environment
  • simulates the receiver movement in real time
  • the HiL Simulator is used to support the following metrics
  • position coordinates
  • kinetic parameters
  • vehicle position information

This data simulates updated receiver movements in real time. The R&S®SMBV100A is connected to the helicopter antenna input where it feeds in the GNSS signal for the satellite- based augmentation system (SBAS).

The FMS calculates the position settings based on the helicopter. This is performed by the Rohde & Schwarz vector signal generator. The GNSS receiver then calculates the position, which is fed back to the FMS. The next flight point is determined, and the loop continues. To ensure requirements such as a vertical alarm limit (VAL), it is essential for the simulation solution to repeatedly obtain the required GNSS signal with high precession and minimal deviation over the span of several hours. The R&S®SMBV100A successfully completed this task, effectively demonstrating the instrument’s full strength and performance.

Initial assessments based on simulated signals are performed on the helicopter test system before the LPV approach procedure is tested in real flight. This is a specially prepared rig with a fully equipped avionics system comprising the flight management system (FMS) and automatic flight control systems (AFCS) with all relevant actuators and sensors. Rig tests have the advantage that functionality, performance and failure handling of the prototype can be systematically monitored under controlled, reproducible and safe conditions.

SMBV100B vector signal generator
SMBV100B vector signal generator
SMBV100B vector signal generator
SMBV100B vector signal generator

R&S®SMBV100B vector signal generator

Continuing the success story of the well-known R&S®SMBV100A, Rohde&Schwarz has introduced the compact midrange vector signal generator R&S®SMBV100B.

  • Full-featured and reliable GNSS signal source
  • Advanced simulation capabilities for configuring complex and realistic GNSS scenarios for all major GNSS constellations (GPS, Gallileo, Glonass, Beidou)
  • Fully controlled test environment featuring signal propagation effects, system errors and additional modelling settings
'The R&S®SMBV100A is a very versatile and powerful tool. The support Rohde&Schwarz provided to fine tune the vector signal generator to our needs was awesome. We now have an affordable solution to test LPV approaches with hardware in the loop (HiL) at all our test benches.'
Ramiro Rodriguez, Expert in Avionic Integration Means, Airbus Helicopters S.A.S

Rohde & Schwarz – the ideal candidate for GNSS testing

Rohde & Schwarz offers a variety of solutions and instruments providing timely support to engineers. Besides Rohde & schwarz offers:

  • free firmware updates to make sure that costumers stay at the cutting edge of technological advancements for many years to come.
  • globe-spanning network of subsidiaries: Rohde & Schwarz experts are always close to their customers and partners
  • excellent instrument performance and reliable long-term support services allow customers to follow ambitious development roadmaps and reduce costs and risks at the same time.