Controlled reception pattern antenna (CRPA) systems are the state of the art in maximising reception of authentic GNSS signals while rejecting interference and false (spoofed) signals.
Technologies such as military aircraft, drones, and autonomous vehicles all rely on CRPA systems for reliable and accurate positioning even in interference-rich environments. To ensure the highest levels of reliability and integrity, CRPA systems must be thoroughly tested in a wide range of realistic scenarios, presenting significant challenges for design, engineering and integration teams.
Test challenges of CRPA systems
Combining sophisticated multi-element antennas with multi-GNSS receivers, advanced beamforming and/or null steering algorithms, and sometimes also inertial sensor fusion algorithms, CRPA systems are extremely complex and require extensive testing at both subsystem (receiver only) and system (antenna + receiver) levels.
Field testing is particularly challenging, given that permits are needed to introduce jamming or spoofing signals into the live environment, the environment is not controllable or repeatable, and signals are limited to those in view at the test location. Conducting trials on an outdoor range is also time consuming and often cost prohibitive.
For these reasons, lab-based simulation is the most effective, efficient and cost-optimal method of testing CRPA systems. For ultimate reliability, it’s essential to choose simulation equipment that’s designed to meet the unique challenges of CRPA testing.
State-of-the-art CRPA testing with Spirent’s GSS9000 Series Advanced Multi-element Simulation System
Spirent has been developing high-performance GNSS signal simulation hardware and software for over 30 years, working closely with military, government, defence and space organisations to address their most rigorous and challenging test requirements.
Our GSS9000 Series Advanced Multi-element Simulation system is a state-of-the-art, integrated hardware and software system that supports coaxial RF testing of any multi-element CRPA system.
A powerful, flexible and future-proof solution that addresses even the most complex test requirements, the GSS9000 Series Advanced Multi-element GNSS Simulation system offers a broad, scalable and continually updated feature set, including:
Simulation of 16+ elements: In conducted RF testing where the physical antenna is not present, the simulator must be capable of modelling the individual signal reception pattern at each antenna element. The GSS9000 Series can simulate 16+ individual elements, addressing even the most complex current and future antenna designs.
1000+ simultaneous independent channels/signals: Coherent simulation of multi-frequency, multi-GNSS signals, signals from spoofers and/or repeaters, and interference from multiple jammers – including support for BFEA jamming waveforms. Performance is maintained under all configurations, enabling rich, realistic and challenging test scenarios.
Generation of all known GNSS signals: With timely implementations of newly released ICDs. Ultra-low phase noise and unrivalled pseudorange accuracy provide the most realistic environment for testing CRPAs, even in high-dynamic and high-jerk scenarios.
High-fidelity generation of classified and encrypted signals: Spirent has been the trusted supplier of restricted GNSS signals – including GPS MNSA and Galileo PRS – for over 30 years, delivering rapid implementation and proven performance.
Flexible signal modification: The GSS9000 Series supports non-SIS ICDs, as well as different modulation types and filtering options, enabling users to stay at the forefront of development by designing and using new signals ahead of the industry.
>130 dB jammer to GNSS nominal signal ratio: Coupled with high channel density and flexibility, this gives users the power to simulate even the most aggressive jamming scenarios.
Multi-stream I/Q input: Incorporate custom waveforms and interference created in digital I/Q format via Spirent SimIQ software SimIQ enables the generation of custom in-band non-GNSS signals, making the most of the unrivalled signal generation architecture of Spirent’s hardware.
3D multipath simulation: Spirent Sim3D software enables signal propagation to be accurately modelled in a geo-realistic 3D environment – offering far greater realism for complex multipath environments than traditional statistical models.
EGI/IMU signal simulation: The SimINERTIAL add-on module for Spirent’s SimGEN control software enables simulated signals from inertial sensors to be integrated coherently into test scenarios, allowing users to characterise the performance of an integrated or embedded GNSS/Inertial solution.
Selecting and configuring a multi-element simulation system for CRPA testing is a non-trivial undertaking, requiring specialist knowledge and expertise. Spirent’s experienced Professional Services team are available to advise and assist with any CRPA testing challenges, including specifying, configuring and installing a Spirent GSS9000 Series Advanced Multi-element Simulation System to meet your specific requirements, and integrating the system with other elements of the wider test environment.
To find out more about unrivalled CRPA testing with Spirent, read our white paper, Characterising CRPAs and Other Adaptive Antennas.