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ECS introduces new datalink system for unmanned applications

UK-based Enterprise Control Systems (ECS) has launched a new RF datalink device aimed at the unmanned systems market.

The new Tove datalink has been optimised for reduced size, weight, and power (SWaP) applications and is aimed specifically at unmanned aerial, ground, and surface vehicles (UAVs, UGVs, and USVs).

ECS had earlier focused on manufacturing tactical datalinks for manned aircraft, as well as counter-UAV (C-UAV) and counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) jammers, among other systems.

Tove digital RF datalink for unmanned applications. (Enterprise Control Systems )

Tove digital RF datalink for unmanned applications. (Enterprise Control Systems)

Tove is based on the company's Evenlode datalink which is designed for larger platforms such as fixed-wing aircraft, Jackson White, director of business development at ECS, told Janes.

However, the unmanned market naturally requires a smaller payload, he said. This has been achieved by integrating the system with software defined radios (SDRs), which minimises the circuitry and other components, while also reducing the power consumption of the radio.

The technology still delivers high-definition data formats through multiple channels, White said, such as transmitting a UAV's video feed to a ground station. It is also backward compatible with ECS's current receiver systems.

“Existing ECS defence customers can continue to use their current infrastructure,” said White.

Tove's development was driven by a growing demand from military and other customers who are increasingly reliant on unmanned systems. ECS – which was recently acquired by US-based SPX Corporation – said in a separate statement that Tove can cost-effectively conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions in air, at sea, or on land, out to ranges of up to 100 km. The SDR technology also helps enable a robust long-range connection with the ability to rapidly regain a link.

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