Varley Group/CTSi and L3 Technologies have unveiled the US Navy’s latest drone technological upgrade at Avalon Airshow.
The Enhanced Link Navigation System (ELNS) prototype was delivered under a US Navy $8.7 million Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase III contract, with flight testing recently completed near Patuxtent River, Maryland.
“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.”
The integrated communication and navigation system uses L3 Technologies’ waveforms 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.
Navy project manager Martin King 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.”