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Rockwell Collins navigation system selected for AeroVironment’s Global Observer Unmanned Aircraft System


The Rockwell Collins Athena 411 Inertial Navigation, Global Positioning, Air Data, Attitude, Heading, Reference System (INS/GPS/ADAHRS) has been selected by AeroVironment for their Global Observer. AeroVironment is developing Global Observer, a liquid hydrogen-powered Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) that will fly at an altitude of 65,000 feet for up to seven days, for the U.S. Special Operations Command as well as for other military and civilian applications.

Athena 411“We believe our proven high-performance, high-reliability solution, embodied in the compact, light-weight Athena 411, will enable the Global Observer to achieve its unique mission and performance goals,” said David Vos, senior director of Control Technologies for Rockwell Collins. “We look forward to working with AeroVironment to provide best-value navigation solutions for this advanced program.”

Developed for both UAS and military applications, the Rockwell Collins Athena 411 integrates solid-state gyros and accelerometers, magnetometer, GPS receiver and air data sensors into a single small unit. This highly reliable, strap-down system provides attitude and heading measurements with accuracy that is superior to traditional inertial navigation systems.

Rockwell Collins is also providing the Global Observer with our ARC-210 radio solution, which offers two-way, multi-mode voice and data communications over a 30 to 512 MHz frequency range. The system also includes embedded Ultra High Frequency (UHF) and Very High Frequency (VHF) anti-jam waveforms and other data link and secure communications features.

AeroVironment is developing and building the Global Observer aircraft over the next three years to demonstrate the ability to operate in the stratosphere for up to seven days without landing. The program is intended to demonstrate the tactical utility of a hydrogen-powered unmanned aircraft system for global, stratospheric, long-duration missions. A system consisting of two or three aircraft will provide continuous intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance or communications relay over an area of interest. In addition to military applications, the Global Observer is being developed to address critical civilian applications such as hurricane/storm tracking, weather monitoring, wildfire detection, and sustained support for relief operations


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