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X-WALD Report Summary

Project ID: 619236
Funded under: FP7-JTI
Country: Italy

Periodic Report Summary 2 - X-WALD (Avionic X-band Weather signal modeling and processing vALidation through real Data acquisition and analysis)

Project Context and Objectives:
The MAIN OBJECTIVE of the X-WALD project is to plan and run ad- hoc measurements finalized to test, validate and optimize:

1) the CleoSimradar signal simulator;
2) the radar signal processing and weather classification algorithms implemented on an EFB in the KLEANproject;
3) the EFB GUI interfaces for the advanced display of weather classifications and decision-making advices developed in KLEAN

To achieve this goal, the following SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES are aimed at:

1) X-BAND polarimetric radar overview, selection and acquisition. The radar must be suitable to be mounted on airborne platform for gathering data in presence of weather events in compliance with the JU-SGO goals.
2) planning the ad-hoc measurement campaign in well-monitored selected scenarios ;
3) experiments conduction and data acquisition;
4) validation, optimization and SW refinement of the avionic polarimetric radar signal simulator (CleoSim)
5) validation and optimization of the EFB weather radar signal processing and trajectory optimization algorithms (KLEAN project)
6) refine the EFB GUI in accordance with the new needs resulting from the experimental data analysis;
7) EFB SW refinement and implementation to a level TRL5 (Technology Readiness Level 5)

The innovative contributions of the proposal are:

i) Analysis, selection and customization of experimental avionic radar with system characteristics suitable to be installed on an airborne platform and able to carry out measurements also in adverse meteorological conditions.
ii) Avionic polarimetric data acquisition during selected meteorological events, concurrently monitored by auxiliary ground-based polarimetric weather radar(s) and insitu meteorological sensors.
iii) Validation and optimization of the CleoSim radar simulator in meteorologicalscenarios a priori characterized by auxiliary sensors.
iv) Validation and optimization of the radar signal processing and weather classification algorithms in comparison with other external radar data and in situ meteorological sensors.
v) Reliability test of the trajectory optimization algorithms through the use of a mission/flight simulator that reproduces the measurement conditions, in which the optimum trajectories estimated by the real data are applied.
vi) Validation and reliability testing of the customized EFB developed in KLEANto real operative scenarios.

Project Results:
1st period

Radar Signal simulator, polarimetric signal processing and trajectory optimization algorithms implemented in the EFB have been developed into two previous projects, namely the CLEOPATRA and the KLEAN. The analysis of the results achieved in CLEOPATRA and KLEAN have been carried out. The functionalities of simulators and algorithms as well as the characteristics and behaviour of the EFB where the SW is implemented have been deeply analysed.
The final radar architecture suitable for the measurement campaign to be conducted in the X-WALD project has been consolidated, the updating of HW devices for the fulfilment of the project requirements have been done. A market analysis of the possible service providers for the experimental measurement have been carried out.

2nd period
Some upgrades have been carried out for the MetaXWR X band weather radar system. The RF front end has been updated to allow for pulsed waveforms and for being able to handle more transmitting power; a new parabolic dish antenna has been manufactured; a Pan and Tilt unit has been introduced, together with a navigation system for precise motion tracking of aircraft platform.
The displacement of the different subsystems on board and the routing strategies of cables have been approached in collaboration by MetaSensing and Diamond. Some interface among the rotator and the parabolic antenna have been re-designed in order to fit the system inside the pod and to allow for the antenna scanning without the antenna to hit the internal of the pod. The physical installation of the system on board of the aircraft has been performed at the Diamond Aircraft facilities in Wiener Neustadt (Austria).
The different sub-systems have singularly been tested. The RF unit and PAM performances have been checked by extensive lab measurements. During December 9th and 10th, 2015 the integration of the radar system has been finalized and tested. On December 11th, 2015, the aircraft was ready for the pick-up and ferry to Netherlands, for the acquisitions.
On Sunday 13th of December 2015 the radar mounted aircraft flew to Teuge, where the international airport is set as the basis of operations for the first measurement campaign. The targeted area for acquisitions has been the airfield in the neighbourhood of the weather measurement tower at the Cabauw experimental site for atmospheric research in the Netherlands (CESAR). Besides for the conventional instrumentation usually active at the tower, a scientist from CNIT was also present with a disdrometer for spot ground precipitation monitoring.
The acquisitions have been carried out in CW50. The first day of the campaign (Monday 14th of December) has been exploited for test acquisitions, to check the radar system behaviour in operational conditions. A second acquisition flight has been performed on 16th December 2015. During the night a frontal system was coming from Ireland and UK over the Netherlands. Once there, however, the weather associated with this frontal system was low cloud with rain and drizzle or mist. The forecast was definitely nice in the following days, preventing any other acquisition during the remaining days of the campaign. A second measurement campaign is planned in February 2016 in Italy.
A study on the method of simulator validation and trajectory algorithm optimization has been initiated.. A validation on spectral signatures and a validation on the statistical behaviour of the polarimetric observable has been performed, utilizing as input for the simulator the mesoscale data. The weather radar post processor and the Q-AI trajectory optimization tools have been upgraded following Pilot’s comments provided during tests for TLR5 of the WRPP and the tests of the TACTIC project.
The KLEAN software tool running on the NEXIS EFB has been upgraded. The EFB with the upgraded version of the KLEAN tool has been used for passing the TRL5 of the WRPP in June 2015 and the TRL5 of the Q-AI in December 2015.

Potential Impact:
The aim of the CleanSky System for Green Operations ITD, and specifically the Management of Trajectory and Mission (MTM) work package, is to demonstrate that the mitigation of external noise generated by the aircraft and the reduction of emissions (main environmental goals of ACARE, the European Technology Platform for Aeronautics and Air Transport) can be supported by the prediction of the new Green trajectory development.

To this purpose, avionic polarimetric radar has been proposed as a new advanced system to better sensing weather phenomena. New polarimetric radar signal processing algorithms has been developed for weather classification as well as trajectory optimization techniques based on Q-AI approach. Such algorithms have been implemented in an EFB in the KLEAN project and tested on simulated data generated by the CleoSim signal simulator realized in the CLEOPATRA project . Algorithm assessment is strongly affected by the reliability of the radar data simulator, therefore it is not really clear if any conclusion coming out from the performance analysis results is not really clear if it is due to the algorithm behaviour or if they are partially influenced by the processed data.
X-WALD will give a concrete solution to these doubts by planning specific measurements planned and tailored to validate and refine both the CleoSim and the weather classification algorithms.
The results of X-WALD will have a strong impact on the MTM work packages and on the whole SGO-ITD partner member because:
1) A reliable avionic polarimetric weather radar simulator will be available that represents a valuable tool for generating any kind of radar data in any meteo condition situation, so saving money and effort in conducting a multitude of real measurements.
2) The benefits of the weather classification and trajectory optimization algorithms to the reduction of noise pollution and gas emissions will be quantitatively demonstrate on real data.
3) Tests on the behaviour of the EFB in a real scenario can be conducted also assessing the impact that these new decision-aid tools have on the pilots.
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Record Number: 188008 / Last updated on: 2016-08-24