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22 Oct 13. Northrop Grumman Corporation has developed and demonstrated a new micro-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Gyro (micro-NMRG) prototype for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), providing precision navigation for size- and power-constrained applications. The development of a hermetically sealed micro-NMRG that meets precision navigation requirements along with a successful prototype demonstration marks the fourth and final phase of DARPA’s Navigation-Grade Integrated Micro Gyroscopes (NGIMG) program. The culmination of the eight-year program is a micro-NMRG that offers near navigation-grade performance for the next generation of high-precision inertial sensors. Northrop Grumman’s micro-NMRG technology uses the spin of atomic nuclei to detect and measure rotation, providing comparable performance to a navigation-grade fiber-optic gyro in a small, lightweight, low power package. Additionally, the gyro has no moving parts and is not inherently sensitive to vibration and acceleration. The technology can be used in any application requiring small size and low power precision navigation, including personal and unmanned vehicle navigation in GPS-denied or GPS-challenged locations.
“Our miniature gyro technology offers unprecedented size, weight and power savings in a compact package, exceeding program requirements,” said Charles Volk, vice president of Northrop Grumman’s Advanced Navigation Systems business unit. “This important technology can help protect our warfighters by offering highly accurate positioning information, regardless of GPS availability.”
The NGIMG effort is part of DARPA’s Micro-Technology for Positioning, Navigation and Timing program that aims to develop technology for self-contained, chip-scale inertial navigation and precision guidance. Northrop Grumman began the first phase of the NGIMG effort in October 2005 and has consistently met or exceeded the performance goals of each program phase.
28 Oct 13. Army pushes capability sets for tactical nets. U.S. Army tactical networks are gradually evolving through a series of upgrades called “capability sets” that seek to apply lessons learned on the battlefield. The latest version, Capability Set 13, was deployed last year with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan. Program officials said they are leveraging the lessons learned while “operating in austere environments” along with the service’s Network Integration Evaluation initiative to develop future capability sets. The goal, according to Brig. Gen. Dan Hughes, program executive officer for Army tactical command, control and communications, is a “tactical network that allows us to [provide soldiers] with something like what they have at their houses.” Hence, there is a heavy emphasis on simplifying the use of tactical networks on the battlefield, Hughes added. “We’re going to work on a common operating environment” that is “simple to use,”
Hughes said. Once users are trained on a common platform, Hughes said they can move on to “graduate-level analysis.” Another goal, added Col. Mark Elliott, director of the Army’s LandWarNet Mission Command, is integrating Army network components into a “single, holistic approach.” Hughes and Elliott spoke Oct. 22 during the Association of the U.S. Army exhibition in Washington. Elliott said the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation is intended to bring “soldiers, materiel developers, engineers and testers together in a realistic operational environment.” NIE was launched in June 2011 and Capability Set 13 was deployed with the 10th Mountain Division in July 2012. Based on that battlefield experience, the Army office is beginning development of Capability Set 14. Elliott said he remains focused on supporting deployed forces but his office is now looking at tactical network upgrades as the war in Afghanistan winds