Ground control stations for unmanned air vehicles (Review Paper)

  • G. Natarajan Aeronautical Development Establishment, Bangalore
Keywords: Unmanned air vehicle, Ground control station, Mission planning, Data link, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, Military intelligence gathering


"During the last five decades, the world has witnessed tremendous growth in the military aircraft technology and the air defence weapons technology. Use of manned aircraft for routine reconnaissance/surveillance missions has become a less preferred option due to possible high attrition rate. Currently, the high political cost of human life has practically earmarked the roles of reconnaissance and surveillance missions to the unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). Almost every major country has a UAV program of its own and this interest has spawned intensive research in the field of UAVs. Presently, the UAVs come in all shapes and sizes, from palm top micro UAVs to giant strategic UAVs that can loiter over targets for extended periods of time. Though UAVs are capable of operating at different levels of autonomy, these are generally controlled from a ground control station (GCS). The GCS is the nerve centre of activity during UAV missions and provides necessary capability to plan and execute UAV missions. The GCS incorporates facilities, such as communication, displays, mission planning and data exploitation. The GCS architecture is highly processor-oriented and hence the computer hardware and software technologies play a major role in the realisation of this vital system. This paper gives an overview of the GCS, its architecture and the current state-of-the-art in various subsystem technologies.
How to Cite
Natarajan, G. (2002). Ground control stations for unmanned air vehicles (Review Paper). Defence Science Journal, 51(3), 229-237.
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