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The International Consortium for Telemetry Spectrum. Trends in Aeronautical Flight Test Telemetry. Timothy Chalfant & Gerhard Mayer Edwards AFB ICTS . International Seminar AeroIndia 2009 Bangalore. Approved for Public Release Case AFFTC-08334

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trends in aeronautical flight test telemetry

The International Consortium for Telemetry Spectrum

Trends in Aeronautical Flight Test Telemetry

Timothy Chalfant & Gerhard Mayer

Edwards AFB ICTS

International Seminar AeroIndia 2009 Bangalore

Approved for Public Release Case AFFTC-08334

Distribution A: Distribution is unlimited

  • General Trends (G. Mayer)
    • The Spectrum Problem
    • The Role of the ICTS
    • WRC´07 Resolutions

2. Future Trends in FT Telemetry (T.Chalfant)

    • Flight Test Telemetry in C –Band
    • Network Topologies
    • Telemetry Standards

3. Summary and Conclusions

general trends in flight test telemetry
General Trends in flight test telemetry
  • More measured parameters per mission

e.g. 3000 (AB 300), >30 000 (AB 380)

  • Higher amplitude & time resolution

8b & 10us (1970), 32b & 100 ns (2008)

  • From PCM to packetized transmission

protocol overhead !

  • Leading to increased data rates

100 kbps (1970) , 40 Mbps (2008)

  • More frequency spectrum required !
the spectrum problem
The spectrum problem
  • Spectrum allocated for flight testing (1400 to 2450 MHz) has been outstripped by an exponential growth in required measurements and data rates
  • The existing telemetry bands are increasingly affected by encroachment from commercial interests and have been reduced internationally
  • Interference from unlicenced wireless devices has impacted the use of the remaining spectrum

International Consortium for Telemetry Spectrum

To Ensure the Future Availability of

Electromagnetic Spectrum

for Telemetering

The ICTS is an international advocacy group of telemetry practitioners committed to promoting the benefits of electromagnetic spectrum for telemetering applications.

  • Is a sponsored group of the International Foundation for Telemetering (IFT) – a not-for-profit organisation that hosts the annual Int. Telemetering Conference.
  • Comprises membership from Government, Industry, and Academia across the ITU regions
  • Is organised (mirroring the three ITU regions) for a regional co-ordination and communication/ networking (mainly using e-communication methods)
  • Under the rules of its IFT charter, the ICTS has no“official position” on spectrum requirements in the context of the WRC
main objectives
Main Objectives

In this endeavor, the main objectives of the ICTS are:

  • Create a forum for information exchange on potential telemetry spectrum issues,
  • inform national, regional, and international spectrum managers of the importance of telemetry to their economy and security and
  • inform and inviteopen participation in the group to all telemetrypractitioners; including government; industry, academia, etc. and share information on the use, research, and development of new technologies for improving the use of telemetry spectrum.
situation just before wrc 2007
Situation just before WRC 2007
  • 5 additional bands for AMT were under study of

AI 1.5 (4.4 to 6.7GHz). All bands are considered to have other users (existing occupants).

  • The CPM was the primary decision basis for delegates, commenting on advantages / disadvantages, on basis of compatibility and technical studies discussed at the WP8B.
  • ICTS information booth during the WRC 2007, to show the importance of AI 1.5 to the delegates and decision makers of ALL nations.



Europe Africa



Except in Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Syrian Arab Republic, Sudan, Tunisia






Except Brasil, ,Cuba, French overseas deptmts



Except Brazil, Cuba, French overseas depts, Guatemala, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela












5030 MHz

5091 MHz

4400 MHz

5150 MHz

5925 MHz

4940 MHz

5250 MHz

6700 MHz

Documents : 305 (COM 4), 335 (Plenary) ; 336 (Plenary)

Documents : 305 (COM 4), 335 (Plenary) ; 336 (Plenary)

Documents : 305 (COM 4),


2. Future Trends in Flight Test Telemetry

  • C-Band Telemetry Operation
  • Network Topologies
  • Telemetry Standards
flight test telemetry in c band
Flight Test Telemetry in C-Band
  • Link budget comparing C- to S-Band

fc= 5170 MHz, λC = 5,8 cm; fS = 2320 MHz, λS = 13 cm

free space attenuation increase, Δα ~ (λS/λC)² -7dB

gnd antenna* gain can compensate, GR~(λC/λS)² +7dB

aperture angle of gnd antenna,* ~ λC/λSβc = 0,45 x βs

flight antenna, wide area coverage identical gain 0dB

  • Influence weather & environment

additional Atmospheric loss in wet regions (40° lat.) -3dB

less gnd reflections expected at low elevation angles

higher “roughness” of terrain, proportional λs/λc, generates diffuse refraction patterns instead reflections.

* same effective antenna area for C-and S-Band assumed

cteip topics related to c band implementation
CTEIP topics related to C-band Implementation
  • Multi-mode, multi-band transmitters & control interfaces
  • TM receiver changes required
  • Multi-carrier, single-carrier waveforms
  • Implementation of FEC and LDPC
  • TM platform integration issues with C-band
  • Integration into spectrum management systems
  • Ob & Gnd multiband antennae systems
  • Using & adaption existing tracking algorithms
immediate development testing efforts
Immediate Development & Testing Efforts
  • C-Band Hardware

airborne FM/PCM transmitters available

IRIG 106 Standard multimode transmitters in developmt

Retrofit gnd antennae, down convert signals

US DoD project already supported initial flight trials

  • Operational Aspects

Tracking systems & algorithms need up front evaluation

Initial flight trials show no channel anomalies

Preserve existing TM link for safety of life / flight

Make Bi-directional wireless network connection to TAs:

Dynamic bandwidth (spectrum) sharing based upon priority and quality of service

Improved transmission quality (error free delivery)

Access to data recorded on TA storage device

Ability to change configuration of TA instrumentation

Flight Simulators

Network Telemetry Topology

The iNET Project



  • Telemetry Network System (TmNS) Encompasses:
    • Vehicle Network (vNET) (Test Article, TA)
    • RF Network (rfNET)
    • Ground Network [Interface only (gNET)]
    • Serial Streaming Telemetry (SST) Link

Courtesy US DoD/CTEIP iNET Program Office

inet project description


Network Data Acquisition Unit

Network Solid State Recorder

Crypto Device

Aircraft Antenna

Ground Antenna

Network Transceiver

Flight Simulators



iNETProject Description

TmNS Encompasses:




  • iNET Deliverables:
  • TmNS
  • Network Manager
  • Spectrum Manager
  • Architecture
  • Standards

Vehicle Data Acquisition Network

Range Network Interface

Vehicle Data Acquisition Network

Dedicated Legacy

TM Link

Dedicated Legacy

TM Link



Vehicle Data Acquisition Network

Dedicated Legacy TM Link

Modified TM Processing Apps


Network Instrumentation carts

Courtesy US DoD/CTEIP iNET Program Office


iNET Technical Parameters (notional)

Courtesy US DoD/CTEIP iNET Program Office

telemetry standards
Telemetry Standards
  • European Telemetry Standards Committee
    • Europe (and others)
  • Telemetry Standards Coordinating Council
    • Chartered by the Int’l Foundation for Telemetering
  • Range Commanders Council (US DOD)
    • Aka Inter-Range Instrumentation Group (IRIG)
    • Stds made available to ETSC and TSCC
rcc telemetry standards
RCC Telemetry Standards
  • New Standards
    • Planned Releases
      • New TM Bands
      • TM Networks (IRIG-106 Vol 2)
    • IRIG-106 (Telemetry Standards) Recent Releases
      • release every 2 years
      • New Modulation (SOQPSK)
      • New Digital Recorder formats (Ch-10)
      • Updates to TM Attributes Standard
      • Stds for expression of Measurement Uncertainty
      • On-Board Networks
      • CPM/Advance Modulation
  • The 2007 WRC succeeded in securing additional radio spectrum resources for aeronautical telemetry. An immediate use must be initiated!
  • The new “WRC-bands” will allow the implication of wide band TM links into flight test missions.

In Region 3 (Asia & Pacific) up to 59 MHz of usable bandwidth will be allocable.

  • Components & systems for either new state-of-the art equipment or for upgrade of existing systems are already in work. Tracking systems & algorithms need an up front evaluation.
  • The Indian FT community needs to occupy the bands or they will lose access to critical spectrum.

Commercial interests are hunting to catch more spectrum !!

  • Test ranges involved in international T & E missions should utilize telemetering capabilities in the new bands as soon as possible, especially the global harmonized part from 5091 to 5150 MHz.
  • Indian goverment was supporting AI 1.5 in the WRC-07 process in a very cooperative way.
  • Therefore India Industry and government (HAL, DRDO, etc) is encouraged to take the next consequent step, to implement the C-band telemetry capability in their test ranges in these bands.
further information
Further information

ICTS Web site:

IFT Web site: www.telemetry .org

ITU Web site:

ERO web site:


Telemetry engineers

do it with frequency!

Are you getting enough?