An in-depth overview of UAV datalinks

The use of a UAV datalink in order to use unmanned vehicles to carry out dangerous, dirty, and dull tasks can be quite beneficial. As prospective users continue to realize and understand these benefits, a rapidly growing market is being presented by the UAV industry. The requirements for the datalinks depend on the different tasks that a UAV has to perform. There are many variants of datalinks, and all of them have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Requirements And Tasks Of Datalinks For UAVs

Over the last two decades, the importance of Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) has increased. Today, multiple civilian and military tasks are performed using UAV systems. In the military field, UAVs are typically used for attacking, fire control and targeting, jamming, reconnaissance, and more. However, for a UAV to perform these tasks, information needs to be instantaneously exchanged between a ground-control station and the UAV. Thus, the information between them is exchanged by the UAV datalink.

Analog VS. Digital Datalinks For UAVs

In comparison to analog datalinks, digital datalinks are much better and are required for the use of powerful signal processing techniques. The problem with analog datalinks is that they use traditional modulation techniques in order to transmit signals. However, the approach taken by digital datalinks is quite different. First they digitize the original signal, and then they modulate the carier using the resulting data stream.

Types Of Datalinks For UAV

There are two basic types of datalinks for UAVs

Microwave Datalinks For UAV: When it comes to UAV applications, a microwave UAV datalink is the most dependable datalink for a UAV. The bandwidth available with this type of a datalink is large so live video can be transmitted. Microwave datalinks can resist jams because of their high bandwidth when combined with high gain antennas. The only disadvantage of microwave datalinks is that their coverage tends to be limited.

Satellite DataLinks For UAV: Satellite datalinks are modified versions of microwave datalinks, with the coverage limitations eliminated. Through satellite datalinks, UAVs can get worldwide coverage, depending on how many satellites are being used and the number of their orbits. However, satellite UAV data links may have certain limitations if military communication satellites with adequate wide-band capacity are not available.

UAV Datalink Design

The requirements regarding data-rate, jamming-resistance, and range are the integral factors in datalink design. These factors are very important for the success of military. However, the UAVs themselves impose certain requirements under which these requirements have to be fulfilled. Ultimately, requirements for greater mobility, highest feasible range, less mass and size, and more have to be fulfilled by datalinks for UAVs.

There is no off-the-shelf data link that is capable of immediately fulling all of these UAV requirements. Datalinks to fulfill these UAV requirements have to be specifically designed. However, custom designed datalinks also turned out to be the cost-effective solution. Usually they start from a design that already exists. Considering the expansion of the UAV industry and the growth of the market for datalinks, it has become quite convenient to find a quality UAV datalinks from a good manufacturer.