Live at IDEX: innovative tactical navigation system


The CheetahNAV tactical navigation system designed and developed by Etion Create (08 – E32) provides exceptional situational awareness and accurate position information when the vehicle crew is denied satellite navigation.

“It makes use of an advanced inertial measurement system (IMS), comprising several aids, including accelerometers and gyroscopes to provide accurate position, velocity, heading, pitch and roll of the platform using an advanced Kalman filter-based algorithm,” explains Mr Petrus Pelser, Etion Create managing director.

The tactical grade integral inertial measurement unit (IMU) ensures continued operation in GNSS jammed environments.

According to Pelser, the system provides dead-reckoning horizontal position accuracy of 0.2% of distance travelled in a GNSS denied situation. “This translates, as an example, to accuracy of just 20 metres over a distance of 10 kilometres.”

Some of the guidance cues the system provides to the crew during tactical manoeuvres include the vehicle’s current position, true heading and desired heading towards the next waypoint, current speed and time of arrival to reach the next waypoint. It also shows the pitch and roll attitude of the vehicle and the track it has travelled.

This data is displayed on a sunlight readable touch-screen enabled moving map display unit measuring 11.6” diagonal, in 16:9 TFT format, with a 1920×1080 resolution. Etion Create is also offering a slave unit for the vehicle driver, as the main display is operated by the commander of the vehicle. This slave unit, measuring 3.5” diagonal TFT, displays information that is specifically required by the driver.

Etion Create designed the CheetahNAV for harsh environments and conditions, such as desert battlefields. It can integrate with various communication systems and can be aligned with a large number of the satellite navigation constellations.

“As original design manufacturer (ODM), we at Etion Create focus the CheetahNAV on the export market, including the possibility of technology transfer for indigenous manufacturing,” said Pelser. “Importantly, we offer a multi-language option, which is certainly a key advantage in multinational operations that are almost the norm nowadays.”

Another important consideration is that the CheetahNAV is non-ITAR controlled.

Besides the CheetahNAV, several of Etion Create’s commercial off the shelf (COTS) FPGA modules are on display at IDEX 2021. These include the OpenVPX standard based VF360 and VF370 products, designed as embedded solutions for high-end processing applications, for instance on-board computers in aircraft, drones and vehicles.

According to Pelser, the VF family is ideal for bandwidth intensive applications, such as radar, networking, SIGINT, EW, SDR and video.

Another innovative product showcased by Etion Create is the HSNE 9008, designed for secure communications over public networks. Securing data from unauthorised access is vital to the safe operations of governments and enterprises. Whilst the company’s HSNE9000 Gateway devices are suited for different branch offices, the 9008 is a portable device for quick deployment and high mobility.