Using Digital Drives in Airborne and Battlefield Systems

In the present day, all countries pay a lot of attention to defense. Weapons management and troop deployment are just two of the numerous critical factors that can impact the result of field operations.

Aerial and ground-based antennas are used for surveillance and reconnaissance on foot and in the air. These systems are very important for effective field operations as well as for human safety. A majority of these systems are deployed in deserts and other harsh terrains, increasing the requirement for a steady and dependable operation to the already long list of challenges in these applications.

The Challenge

  • Precision tracking is needed for the telemetry
  • Direct upgrade from a stepper-based system
  • The environment needs operation in extended temperatures
  • The application has challenging requirements for weight and size

Elmo’s Solution

Elmo’s Hornet digital drive was chosen as it offers a compact form factor that is rated ideal for prolonged environmental conditions and comprises advanced on-board intelligence. The Hornet delivers the most efficient and state-of-the-art servo control in a highly compact package.

As several of the installation sites are desert-based or in aerial vehicles, the ability to endure prolonged temperature ranges is a crucial factor in choosing the drive and the other electronic parts in the system. The Hornet belongs to the Elmos ExtrIQ series of digital drive options. These ExtrIQ-based products adhere to MIL-Spec standards, not only for prolonged temperatures, but also for prolonged shock and vibration.

Furthermore, as incremental or digital encoders are usually impacted by harsh environments (shock, temperature, and vibration), resolvers that are stronger in challenging environments are used. The Hornet’s compact, integral resolver interface offers an extra benefit in this application.


The Hornet is a PCB-mounted device that allows efficient and economical implementation. This enables customers to easily combine various electronic systems/circuits, including the digital drive, on a single PCB board. The compact size of the Hornet allows users to place the drive on or near the load assembly or actual motor, thus reducing cable lengths and improving reliability.

pcb-mounted device

Hornet digital drive installed on Elmo’s evaluation PCB offering

The following command and feedback interfaces are used in this application:

  • Step and Direction
  • Resolver
  • RS-232


  • Hornet digital drive, 5 A cont/10 A peak, 7.5–59 V DC fitted with Resolver feedback
  • HOR-5/60R

elmo application studio software

EASII: Elmo Application Studio II Software

Miniature servo drive

Hornet: Miniature servo drive 20 A/100 V, 10 A/200 V

Why Elmo

  • Low weight and compact size
  • Extreme Environment Package Elmo Hornet+ MPC Tetra Compact
  • Positioning performance
  • Step and Direction
  • Command and feedback interfaces
  • Resolver interface
  • Active tracking accurate to 0.1°
  • RS-232 communication

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Elmo Motion Control Ltd.

For more information on this source, please visit Elmo Motion Control Ltd.


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