This paper is concerned with the fractional-order fault-tolerant tracking control design for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in the presence of external disturbance and actuator fault. Based on the functional decomposition, the dynamics of UAV is divided into velocity subsystem and altitude subsystem. Altitude, flight path angle, pitch angle and pitch rate are involved in the altitude subsystem. By using an adaptive mechanism, the fractional derivative of uncertainty including external disturbance and actuator fault is estimated. Moreover, in order to eliminate the problem of explosion of complexity in back-stepping approach, the high-gain observer is utilized to estimate the derivatives of virtual control signal. Furthermore, by using a fractional-order sliding surface involved with pitch dynamics, an adaptive fractional-order fault-tolerant control scheme is proposed for UAV. It is proved that all signals of the closed-loop system are bounded and the tracking error can converge to a small region containing zero via the Lyapunov analysis. Simulation results show that the proposed controller could achieve good tracking performance in the presence of actuator fault and external disturbance.

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