A new inertial navigator
Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a contract to develop a miniaturised navigation grade inertial system.
The US company is to develop the system for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to provide 'an affordable solution in GPS-challenged environments'.
DARPA's 'Chip-Scale Combinatorial Atomic Navigator' (C-SCAN) programme aims to integrate micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) and atomic inertial guidance technologies into a single inertial measurement unit (IMU) - providing stable long-term performance with a fast start-up time.
Northrop Grumman will develop the miniaturised IMU combining bulk acoustic wave MEMS gyro and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) gyro technologies. This includes maturing the NMR gyro, shrinking the package's current size and developing a new precision optical accelerometer.
The cost-plus-fixed-fee contract has an initial value of $648,000 (£385,000, €475,000) - but with a potential value of $13.4 (£8.0, €9.8) million, with multiple options, after the initial 12-month base contract.
A company VP explains:
'This microsystem has the potential to significantly reduce the size, weight, power requirement and cost of precision navigation systems. Additionally, the system will reduce dependence on GPS and other external signals, ensuring uncompromised navigation and guidance for warfighters.'
Potential applications for such advanced navigation sensor chips include targetting, positioning, guidance, navigation and smart weapons.
Details from Northrop Grumman below . .