The US Navy’s latest drone technological upgrade will be shown for the first time in Australia at the Avalon Air Show by the Varley Group/CTSi and L3 Technologies today.
The joint venture completed flight-testing recently of a newly developed integrated communication and navigation system for drones and military aircraft operating in highly contested and GPS-denied environments.
Designated the Enhanced Link Navigation System (ELNS), the prototype was built under a US Navy $8.7M Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase III contract and flight tested at the St. Mary’s County Regional Airport near Patuxent River, MD.
“Our team put ELNS in the air in less than 18 months. It worked the first time and every time during 15 flights which included 152 approaches,” said Ian Gallimore, CTSi Chief Technology Officer.
“ELNS provided area navigation to replace GPS at ranges in excess of 50 nautical miles all the way through landing. Pilots from Airtec, who provided turn-key flight test support, said during test events, “These needles are… money,” and “ELNS is as good as any instrument landing system I’ve flown, I’d fly it in the weather.”
Martin King, Navy Project Manager, added “ELNS is scalable for unmanned aircraft in all Groups, from those needing high integrity like MQ-25, to small unmanned aircraft on tight weight budgets. ELNS is the first system to bring GPS-denied navigation capability to small UAS. By combining significant investments in related fields to create a whole new capability like this, ELNS takes Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) for air vehicles in a compelling new direction.”
ELNS utilises L3 Technologies’ waveforms that defeat adversary strategies to detect and disrupt allied signals, using waveforms that are essential in communications-denied and GPS-denied environments
“There is a strong fit between what ELNS brings and the threats that our forces are facing today,” said Tom Sanders, CTSi Chief Executive Officer.