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SMALLER, SMARTER AND SLEEKER

BATTLESPACE visited Atlantic Inertial Systems in Plymouth

History of AIS

It is worth looking at the history of the UK arm of AIS before we look at the technology.

AIS started its life as a subsidiary of Sperry Corporation of the USA. The company was founded in 1910 as the Sperry Gyroscope Company by Elmer Ambrose Sperry to manufacture navigation equipment, chiefly his own inventions – the marine gyrostabilizer and the gyrocompass at 40 Flatbush Avenue Extension in Downtown Brooklyn.[1] During World War I the company diversified into aircraft components including bomb sights and fire control systems. In their early decades, Sperry Gyroscope and related companies were concentrated on Long Island, New York, especially in Nassau County. Over the years, it diversified to other locations.

British Sperry operations began in 1913 at a small factory in Pimlico, London. The first customer was the Admiralty, and HM Submarine E.l was the first of many British warships to have a marine gyro compass. Adoption of this aid by the merchant service followed the Great War, the first British ship so fitted being RMS Aquitania in 1919. In 1915 Sperry in Britain became the Sperry Gyroscope Co Ltd, with head offices in Victoria Street, London. Two years later, to meet increasing demand, production facilities were transferred to larger premises at Shepherds Bush. The development of flight instruments and automatic flight control proceeded concurrently with the marine applications.

Plymouth was set up in 1975 (or mid 70’s), the premises were acquired from the then Remington Rand.

Sperry then sold their Gyroscope Division to BAE in 1982.

Atlantic Inertial Systems, previously BASE was created following its divestiture from BAE Systems to J.F. Lehman & Co, a US investment company, in August 2007. AIS has facilities in Cheshire CT, Heath, OH and Totowa NJ, in the USA, and in Plymouth, UK and employs over 800 personnel worldwide providing a range of Inertial Sensors, Inertial Measurement Units & Inertial Navigation Systems for guidance, control and navigation of platforms, systems and weapons in worldwide aerospace and defence markets. The company also provides TERPROM® the world’s most advanced digital terrain system which provides terrain referenced navigation, predictive ground proximity warning and weapon aiming capabilities.

On November 17th 2009 Goodrich Corporation signed an agreement with an investment affiliate of J.F. Lehman & Company to acquire AIS Global Holdings LLC (AIS). Sales in 2009 for the business were approximately $180 million, and are expected to grow significantly over the next several years. The purchase price was approximately $375 million.

AIS employs approximately 800 people at facilities located in Cheshire, Conn; Heath, Ohio; Plymouth, UK; and Totowa, N.J. Major customers include defense prime contractors as well as U.S. and allied military forces around the world. Primary products include inertial sensors, inertial measurement units (IMUs), integrated IMU/GPS systems, stability systems, and terrain avoidance systems for missiles, military aircraft and land systems. AIS will become part of Goodrich’s Sensors and Integrated Systems business, within its Electronic Systems segment.

AIS is a leading supplier of mission critical hardware to 250 programs in 28 countries and has a proud heritage stretching back over 90 years through BAE Systems, Plessey, Allied Signal, Kearfott and Sperry.

AIS has extensive capabilities including:
* Systems Design
* Kalman Filter Design
* High Volume Production of Inertial Sensors and Systems
* Systems Test
* MEMS Sensor Design and Fabrication
* Mission Simulation

In this article, we will concentrate on the production of inertial sensors and systems

Inertial Sensors and Sensor Systems

Before we describe the products being produced by AIS, we should look at the development of the gyroscope. Gyroscopes appear in practically every form of

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