Etion Create unveils CheetahNAV tactical navigation system


Etion Create has unveiled a new tactical navigation system for light military vehicles that it is offering to the local and export markets. The new CheetahNAV stands out for its ability to operate in Global Navigation Satellite System-denied environments.

Designed for harsh environments and battlefield conditions, CheetahNAV can integrate with any number of different inertial navigation system (INS) systems and can be aligned with any of the satellite navigation constellations. Combined with GNSS and compass information, the system enables dead-reckoning and accurate positioning of a vehicle in tactical situations.

The tactical grade integral inertial measurement unit (IMU) ensures jamming-free operation. The IMU is assisted by several aids, including a gyro-compensated compass and an advanced Kalman filter-based algorithm.

CheetahNAV uses real-time moving map technology to provide the driver and vehicle crew with accurate situational awareness information, combining inertial, GPS and compass information for accurately navigating between pre-set waypoints.

The system shows vehicle true heading, desired heading, current speed, desired speed to reach the next waypoint or destination at the planned time, current position, next waypoint/position, distance to the next waypoint/position, pitch and roll of the vehicle and track travelled by the vehicle. This is all shown on a touchscreen moving map display with a 1920×1080 pixel resolution.

Etion Create is also offering a slave unit for the vehicle driver, as the main display might be positioned elsewhere in a space constrained vehicle. This slave unit, measuring 3.5” diagonal TFT, displays information that is specifically required by the driver.

As CheetahNAV has been designed for military use, it is dust, humidity, temperature and shock protected. It can use either 28 or 12 volt DC systems.

Tobie van Loggerenberg, Executive Manager: Business Development at Etion Create, told defenceWeb that CheetahNAV was offered in response to requirements from customers in the Middle East. “We were able to offer a mature solution by customisation of hardware and software components with a proven history in a very short time scale, he said, with development taking around two years.

He explained that although there are competing products, Etion Create has developed CheetahNAV with its clients in the Middle East in mind and is open to information and technology sharing – technology transfer is an option. As CheetahNAV is non-ITAR, customers around the world can use it for their navigation and battlefield management needs.

Etion Create also offers a multi-language option, which is a key advantage in multinational operations that are almost the norm nowadays.

The company expects to sign its first CheetahNAV export sales in the very near future, but also has customers for its spinoff smart display, which is sold as a standalone component.

CheetahNAV is being marketed to any military or paramilitary entity that requires land vehicle platform navigation, van Loggerenberg said. The Middle East and Asia are key regions, but there have also been some expressions of interest from Africa. CheetahNAV will be displayed at the IDEX trade show in Abu Dhabi next February.

Etion Create (formerly Parsec) has been supplying electronic technology products and solutions to defence customers for more than 20 years, for land, sea and air applications. It also operates in the aerospace, information security, mining and industrial sectors.

The formation of Etion allows it to offer turnkey professional engineering solutions from the early system concept stages through to final product manufacturing and logistic support.

On the defence side, Etion Create offers customised solutions in the following categories: signal processing platforms for radar; signal processing units for electronic warfare, weapons integration and weapon control systems, mil-std communication interfaces, mission computers and display electronic units, and test equipment. Etion Create previously developed camera sensor electronics for an optical helmet tracker solution for the Eurofighter and Gripen fighter jets used by European air forces as well as the South African Air Force.

Etion Create has orders for the manufacturing of electronics for defence applications from local clients in South Africa and is providing products to the South African National Defence Force’s Defence Intelligence division. In 2018 Etion Create launched its VF370 Single Board Computer (SBC) and this recently completed final qualification for airborne applications with one of its clients.

The company is also busy in the information security domain, and has a number of products that provide virtual private networking capabilities. A new field is in medicine, with Etion Create teaming up with an overseas supplier to manufacture some products in South Africa, including the Cube 25NIV non-invasive ventilator.