Study of Factors Affecting the Successful Recovery of Fixed-Wing UAVs Onboard Surface Vessels


  1. Wong, F.C.
  2. Veilleux, F.
  3. Gagnon, E.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Valcartier, Valcartier QUE (CAN)
Maritime forces have a good need for ship-based UAVs to extend their observation horizon and to increase situational awareness. The principal logistical problem for a ship-based fixed-wing UAV is the recovery of the vehicle because it requires the vehicle to pass from steady air into turbulent air. If UAV's are to be used onboard ships. a reliable method is needed to ensure recovery of these UAV's. A study was undertaken to identify the parameters that affect successful ship recovery of fixed-wing UAV's. The study focused on how the airwake. UAV flight characteristics and autopilot characteristics interacted along the UAV's trajectory to allow or to hinder a successful recovery. The analysis consisted of a series of Monte Carlo runs where the UAV passed through a virtual airwake towards a hypothetical capture device. The trajectory, miss distance and control surface effort were used to calculate performance metrics. I was found that lower frigate speed, higher UAV speed and wider off-beam location of the capture device all contributed to increased probability of successful recovery.
Report Number
DRDC-VALCARTIER-SL-2009-191 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
01 Jan 2009
Number of Pages
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