You are here

Lightweight, Robust, Ruggedized North Finding Technology


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Integrated Sensing and Cyber 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 the Announcement. 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: The purpose of this topic is to demonstrate a rugged, lightweight, compact north-finding technology that can provide a precise measurement of heading relative to true north in GPS-denied environments and in the presence of interference, such as magnetic fields or overcast skies. DESCRIPTION: Recent advances in MEMS-based technology offer the promise of rapidly measuring azimuth with high accuracy and in a small, ruggedized form factor. The desired application for this technology is the orientation of weapons platforms (e.g., mortar systems), radar system configuration. The technology should also be suitable as a and-alone navigation aid for soldiers in austere environments,. The technology should offer the capability to provide the measured heading to the user or to a host system in which the technology is embedded. PHASE I: Design a proof-of-concept for a lightweight, compact north-finding system capable of either standalone or platform-integrated operation. The design should include hardware and software integration and a detailed description of how a user or system integrator would interact with the system. The final deliverables will be a breadboard demonstration of the proposed technology and a concept design presentation featuring anticipated performance, size, weight, power and cost estimates for the system. PHASE II: Develop and deliver a TRL 7 prototype low-cost north-finding device that can be utilized as a standalone system or as a component of a larger system. Demonstrate the sensor in a relevant representative environment. The prototype must have a modular open system architecture that can be integrated into existing and future Army systems for demonstration, testing and evaluation across a range of training and operational environments. The prototype should be able to measure heading relative to True North to within Threshold [T] 1, objective [O] 0.2 degree(s). The prototype should include a detailed interface design that would allow a systems integrator to easily incorporate the north-finding technology into its system. The prototype should feature a user manual describing how a user can perform a heading measurement in a standalone use case. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: A low-cost, lightweight north-finding technology can be utilized in systems that otherwise do not have an easy and accurate way to determine heading to north due to interference, such as counter-UAS or counter-fire radar systems. The north-finding capability would enhance products like the Army’s Weaponized Universal Lightweight Fire Control (WULF) system, enabling it to more accurately calculate mortar firing solutions for users. For Soldiers navigating unfamiliar terrain, the system could be set down and allowed to perform a measurement to provide the soldier with a heading for orienteering in place of the M2 Compass. In the commercial market, north-finding would be useful for surveyors to obtain accurate measurements of landmark positions or on ships as an alternative to larger navigation tools currently in use. REFERENCES: 1. Gade, Kenneth. The Seven Ways to Find Heading. Journal of Navigation, 955-970. 2016. 2. FIELD MANUAL 23-90. Mortars. March 2000. 3. Lechner, Wolfgang. AZIMUTH DETERMINATION WITH INERTIAL SYSTEMS, International Federation of Surveyors – FIG Proceedings 4. Hovde, Stian. Compact Sensor System for Target Localization, 2017. 5. The road to providing a faster, more accurate mortar firing system | Article | The United States Army 6. Kaplan, George H. Determining the Position and Motion of a Vessel from Celestial Observations. 7. Matthews et al. Azimuth Determination using a Low Noise Ring Laser Gyro Inertial Measurement Unit. Report Number AFGL-TR-82-0356. 8. FIELD MANUAL 3-25.26. Map Reading and Land Navigation. 2001 KEYWORDS: Navigation; north-finding; MEMS; orientation.
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government