On 6 December 2011, 2Excel Aviation invited Enterprise Control Systems (ECS) to participate in their Industry Day. 2Excel Aviation operates from Sywell Airfield near Northampton. ECS has worked with Scimitar, the test and evaluation arm of 2Excel Aviation as part of both companies rapid application design ethos. The 2Excel Aviation Piper Navajo aircraft have flown ECS Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex (COFDM) link systems in various configurations during that last 12 months.
At the recent Industry Day, the two companies carried out a live demonstration of the new EVENLODE COFDM Internet Protocol (IP) link to an invited audience drawn from the Ministry of Defence and Industry. During the demonstration, live full motion video from a turret camera mounted on the nose of the aircraft was transmitted to the ground. Simultaneously, an IP network camera, mounted inside the cabin of the Navajo, was controlled from the ground via the EVENLODE link and the video displayed to the audience. EVENLODE has recently been used to support trials on a 2Excel Navajo employing a series of integrated sensors. The Industry Day demonstration was a significant milestone in the presentation of this innovative system.
EVENLODE is a light, modular, encrypted data terminal designed primarily for employment on unmanned ariel vehicles (UAVs) to provide high quality transmission of video, audio and data downlink products. EVENLODE can be deployed in air-to-ground, air-to-air, ground-to-air and, ground-to-ground roles and is compatible with a range of Information Exchange Requirements.
EVENLODE, being a bi-directional transceiver, provides the user with a remote control interface. In an air-to-ground role the ground-based user may control the video management system allowing selection of source video and data to be transmitted. Sensors may also be controlled, as demonstrated at the Industry Day, with the ability to pan-tilt-zoom control the network camera.
Avionics Full Duplex Switched Ethernet (AFDX) provides a high speed data network for sensor information, replacing legacy air platform data buses. EVENLODE has been designed to interface seamlessly with AFDX whilst also retaining compatibility with legacy ECS COFDM systems.
The user has full control of the COFDM parameters of the down and up links allowing a pair of EVENLODE data terminals to provide a short-range fast-speed data dump or a resilient link at longer range. ECS has made use of the flexibility and agility of the 2Excel operation to de-risk the development of EVENLODE and other link equipment. As EVENLODE evolves in conjunction with other systems, the 2Excel Aviation platforms will effectively operate as a surrogate UAV. The next step in the journey will be the development of an agile ground IP distribution system.
Chris Norton, one of the 2Excel Aviation directors, said: "Having great sensors, on flexible aircraft, flown by capable people is now commonplace. Swiftly and reliably getting relevant information out of those sensors and to the people that need it has always been the weak link. EVENLODE does this. More importantly, in harnessing the power of the internet, it gives those people, wherever they are, the means to choose what they look at and how they do so in real time. As such, it will revolutionise surveillance."
ECS looks forward to working together with 2Excel Aviation and other partners in the future to develop this innovative and flexible capability.