South African Etion Create offers its CheetahNAV vehicle navigation system for export and possible technology transfer

9 September 2020 – A new military vehicle navigation system designed and developed by Pretoria-based Etion Create is now ready for the local and export markets.

Designed for harsh environments and battlefield conditions, the CheetahNAV provides outstanding situational awareness. The crew of a light military vehicle can count on highly accurate position information, irrespective of whether they are denied satellite navigation. This is achieved through an advanced inertial measurement system (IMS), comprising several aids, including a gyro-compensated compass and an advanced Kalman filter-based algorithm.

“We are confident that the system provides dead-reckoning horizontal position accuracy of 0.2% of distance travelled in a GNSS denied situation,” said Jan Hurter, senior product manager. “This translates, by way of example, to accuracy of just 200 metres over a distance of 100 kilometres.”

The CheetahNAV can integrate with any number of different 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 the vehicle in tactical situations. The tactical grade integral inertial measurement unit (IMU) ensures jamming-free operation.

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 desired speed to reach the next waypoint or destination on time, and the next waypoint or destination. 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 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.

Significant benefits of the CheetahNAV system include ruggedness for extreme battlefield conditions and 28V or 12V DC operation in line with military standards. Moreover, it boasts a high operational reliability.

“It is important to note that Etion Create as original design manufacturer (ODM), is focusing the CheetahNAV on the export market, including the possibility of technology transfer for indigenous manufacturing,” said Hurter. “Besides we offer a multi-language option, which is certainly a key advantage in multinational operations that are almost the norm nowadays.”

Importantly, the CheetahNAV is non-ITAR controlled, which is the preference of most land forces around the world today to meet their battlefield management requirements.

Having utilised the building blocks of previously developed MOTS (military off-the-shelf) technologies, Etion Create considers the system to be at a high TRL (technology readiness level), and thus available for the export market.

Photo courtesy Etion Create