A Turkish firm has developed a national navigation system as an alternative or supplement to GPS to provide sensitive location information for aircraft and other vehicles, company officials said Thursday.
STM Defense Technologies said a version of its TerraFlite terrain-aided autonomous navigation system will be used by Turkish Armed Forces helicopters.
STM developed an algorithm to allow aircraft to find their location on their own without using GPS or Global Positioning System. The system’s cutting-edge technology can provide sensitive location information where GPS fails.
TerraFlite's research and development project started in 2012 with the financial support of the Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council (TUBITAK) and the help of Ankara University’s Electric-Electronic Engineering Department.
The company has an international patent on TerraFlite, and research for the invention has been published in scientific journals.
Like a flashlight during a blackout
TerraFlite measures ground terrain features through a radar altimeter and correlates those features to provide precise aircraft position equal to or better than GPS.
GPS devices can fail due to either external electronic interference or bad weather, leading to flight difficulties or even crashes.
GPS provides data using satellite signals. Its accuracy increases the more satellites it uses, but in time of war, signals can be diverted or tampered with. TerraFlite can be activated when GPS is interrupted, particularly in times of crisis and war, or if there is a risk of deception, and it continues to provide accurate location information.
The company compares TerraFlite to a flashlight used during a blackout, something that can be critical in a crisis.
Using TerraFlite does not mean that GPS will disappear. The system's performance can be improved when it is used with GPS.
Only a system made in the US could rival TerraFlite, and there are few such solutions that can meet the needs of the defense sector.
The system can be used for missiles and ships along with air and land vehicles and its range can be expanded.
STM Defense Technologies, established by the decree of the Defense Industry Executive Committee, provides system engineering, technical support, project management, technology transfer, and logistics support services for the Turkish Armed Forces and the Defense Industries Undersecretariat.