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Miniaturization of GPS Alternative Survey Equipment



TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Battlespace, Electronics, Sensors

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PM114, Armor & Fire Support (PM AFSS)

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Develop miniaturized inertial survey system which can meet the current IPADS performance requirements with significant reductions in form factor and weight. The system must support artillery missions by obtaining accurate Survey Control Points (SCPs) and to lay azimuths for indirect fire. In doing so, the IPADS provides a common grid at the accuracies required to support indirect fire missions as opposed to standalone Global Positioning System (GPS) systems which provide an absolute GPS solution.

DESCRIPTION: The current IPADS system utilizes an inertial system supplemented by GPS for use when reception is available as an alternative to re-zeroing at a standstill. However, the current system is based on 10-15 year old inertial navigation sensor technology. While the current system can meet the survey requirement, it requires multiple Marines to lift and install based on the weight and size of the baseplate and IPADS frame. An innovative approach is sought in order to reduce the size and weight of the material solution (less than 30 pounds is desirable) to allow a single Marine to transport and install the system while maintaining system performance. In an effort to highlight technical challenges, it is most difficult to meet the current IPADS requirement that the system shall achieve azimuth accuracy of 0.4 mils Probable Error (PE) from 0 degrees to 65 degrees North or South latitude and 0.6 mils PE from 65 degrees to 75 degrees North or South latitude. Also the IPADS system must meet the threshold requirements in the performance specification without utilizing GPS.

PHASE I: Develop concepts for a miniaturized inertial survey system that meets the previously established IPADS requirements. Analysis (survey tolerance stack-up studies, for example) should clearly demonstrate a system approach where component development and integration will result in a high probability of achieving survey performance goals while allowing weight and size to enable a one Marine transport and installation. Phase I results will also include details on the hardware/software which will comprise the system to clearly illustrate the projected size/weight. Subsequently, Phase I will include a Phase II development plan to prototype and evaluate the system.

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II development plan, a prototype solution of the miniaturized survey system should be evaluated and compared against the current IPADS performance specification when installed in or transported by a vehicle. The company will prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Marine Corps use. The expected transition product is a TRL level 6 prototype miniaturized inertial survey system.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: This effort will require completion of a production representative design that satisfies the performance, cost, logistical, and schedule goals of the IPADS replacement program. Private Sector Commercial Potential: Inertial based survey and navigation equipment and more specifically, the sensors to enable the capability have commercial applications for automotive use, survey equipment applications, autonomous navigation for manned and unmanned aircraft, ground vehicles, ships, and submersibles.

Many automotive systems rely on inertial sensors as one of several triggers to other systems. Additionally, survey capabilities in GPS limited environments rely on GPS base stations as a repeater where a highly accurate inertial system could supplant that technology if cost effective. Furthermore, navigation for aircraft can benefit in urban areas and other locations where GPS signals are unavailable or confounded by multipath.


  • Performance Specification, Improved Position and Azimuth Determining System (IPADS), MILPRF- 52955D, 7 April 2007.
  • USMC Organizational and Operational (O&O) Concept for the Improved Azimuth and Position Determining System (IPADS), 1 July 2003.
  • Operational Requirements Document (ORD) for the Improved Position and Azimuth Determining Systems (IPADS), 10 September 2006.

Operational Requirements Document (ORD) for the Improved Position and Azimuth Determining Systems (IPADS), 10 September 2006.

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