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Northrop developing miniature navigation system for DARPA

A new miniature INS that combines micro-electro-mechanical system and nuclear magnetic resonance gyro technologies is being developed by Northrop Grumman.
By Richard Tomkins   |   June 6, 2014 at 12:21 PM  |  Updated June 6, 2014 at 12:44 PM   |   Comments

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WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., June 6 (UPI) -- A miniature inertial navigation system is to be built by Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under an Army contract.

The award is for one year and has an initial value of $648,000. Its potential value, however, would be an estimated at $13.4 million if multiple contract options were exercised.

Northrop said that under the award it will develop a miniaturized inertial measurement unit for DARPA's C-SCAN program by combining bulk acoustic wave MEMS -- micro-electro-mechanical system -- gyro and nuclear magnetic resonance gyro technologies. The work will involve maturing the NMR gyro, shrinking the package's current size and developing a new precision optical accelerometer.

DARPA's C-SCAN, or Chip-Scale Combinatorial Atomic Navigator, is for the integration of micro-electro-mechanical system and atomic inertial guidance technologies into a single inertial measurement unit with a fast start-up time and long-term performance.

"This microsystem has the potential to significantly reduce the size, weight, power requirement and cost of precision navigation systems," said Charles Volk, vice president, Advanced Navigation Systems business unit, Northrop Grumman. "Additionally, the system will reduce dependence on GPS and other external signals, ensuring uncompromised navigation and guidance for warfighters."

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