Posted by John Keller
Inertial measurement experts at the Northrop Grumman Navigation Systems Division in Woodland Hills, Calif., are developing a stand-alone micro-nuclear magnetic resonance gyro (micro-NMRG) for precision navigation and guidance in size- and power-constrained applications like personal navigation and unmanned vehicle navigation in areas where satellite navigation is unavailable.
Northrop Grumman is doing the micro gyro navigation work for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va. Northrop Grumman's micro-NMRG technology uses the spins of atomic nuclei to detect gyro rotation, and will provide comparable performance to a navigation-grade fiber-optic gyro in a small low-power package.
Experts from Northrop Grumman Navigation Systems are doing the work for the DARPA Micro-Technology for Positioning, Navigation and Timing (Micro-PNT) program. Northrop Grumman began the first phase of this effort in October 2005 and won a development contract based on past performance, including the design and testing of the device.
"A miniature gyro that provides precision navigation is an important development for protecting our warfighters by ensuring that they have the accurate positioning information they need at all times, even if GPS is unavailable," says Charles Volk, vice president and chief technology officer of Northrop Grumman Navigation Systems. "This phase of the program will allow us to demonstrate that this micro gyro technology can provide navigation grade performance in a small package and move it one step closer to the field."