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Software Enhancements to Improve Inertial Measurement Unit Performance




The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals, their country of origin, and what tasks each would accomplish in the statement of work in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation.

OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate innovative approaches for advanced and adaptive software that enhances any Inertial Measurement Unit’s (IMUs) long duration performance through severe environments. The expectation is to increase IMU accuracy by reducing sensor error accumulation.

DESCRIPTION: IMUs provide onboard navigational and positional capability to aid guidance and tracking systems. Gyroscopes and accelerometers employed in missile defense IMU applications encounter severe shock and vibration during all phases of operation. In addition, IMU in flight systems (interceptors, airborne platforms, and space assets) are constrained by limits on size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) while requiring high performance. This topic seeks innovations which increase IMU accuracy and decrease SWaP while enabling continuous operation through harsh environments without degradation in performance. In particular, the government seeks innovative software solutions that reduce total error accumulation to enhance the performance capabilities of any IMU during long operating times to include operation in harsh environments and without the use of external aids. The performance improvements provided by the software are expected to be at least two times better than the current state of the art IMU. Solutions should address both the software and the desired implementation electronics. Emphasis will be placed on solutions that are portable, modular, do not increase the SWaP-C, and can be easily implemented on existing or new IMUs.

PHASE I: Develop the conceptual framework or preliminary design for the new and innovative IMU software and electronics that exceeds current IMU performance. Perform modeling, simulation and analysis (MS&A) and/or laboratory experimentation to demonstrate the proof of concept. Proof of concept demonstration may be subscale and used in conjunction with MS&A results to verify scaling laws, feasibility and demonstrate the ability to maintain performance standards in realistic flight environments. Although not desired, Offeror’s are highly encouraged to team with manufacturers capable of incorporating the developed technology into useable product lines. The Government will not provide contact information. Deliver an initial design for the prototype along with performance estimates, software analysis and IMU integration/implementation path.

PHASE II: Complete critical design, demonstrate and validate the use of the technology on an IMU prototype. Evaluate the effectiveness of the technology against a non-enhanced IMU for missile defense applications through testing in simulated environments. Updated MS&A and characterization testing within the financial and schedule constraints of the program will be performed to show level of performance achieved compared to stated government goals and comparison between predictions and test results.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Work with missile defense integrators to integrate the software technology into a critical system application, for a missile defense application system level test-bed and testing in a relevant environment. This phase will demonstrate the application to one or more government element systems, subsystems, or components as well as the product’s performance improvements. When complete, an analysis will be conducted to evaluate the ability of the technology to provide accurate navigation capability in a real world situation.


  • Missile Defense Agency. Undated. Overview of missile defense systems. Retrieved from
  • Department of Defense. Undated. Link to documents with some information on some BMD near-term and long-term capabilities. Retrieved from
  • Department of Defense. Undated. MIL-STD-810, Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests.
  • SMC-S-016. Undated. Air Force Space Command and Space and Missile Systems Center document. Test Requirements for Launch, Upper-Stage and Space Vehicles.
  • Northrop Grumman. 2013. “LN-200 FOG Family Advanced Airborne IMU/AHRS." Retrieved from
  • Honeywell. 2012. “Inertial Measurement Units.” Retrieved from

KEYWORDS: IMU, software, electronics, inertial measurement unit

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