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MEMS IMU Solutions for Missile Defense Applications


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sensors, Weapons

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 accelerometers, gyros, and inertial measurement units (IMUs), based on micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technologies capable of performing under missile defense application shock and vibration environments.


DESCRIPTION: Gyroscopes and accelerometers employed in missile defense IMU applications encounter severe shock and vibration during storage, transport, launch, staging, deployment, and engagement. In addition, IMUs 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. Current state-of-the-art tactical IMUs utilize optical technology (ring laser gyros and fiber optic gyros) which can be sensitive to temperature, shock and vibration. MEMS technology promise to offer smaller, lighter, and less expensive to produce IMUs than optical systems since integrated circuit manufacturing production techniques are utilized in MEMS fabrication. However, MEMS based IMUs have been known to experience performance degradation while operating through stressing shock and vibration environments. Proposed MEMS solutions should focus on producing reliable, durable, and accurate components that operate without performance degradation under all shock and vibration environments encountered by flight systems. Current industry standard tactical IMUs (e.g. LN-200 FOG and HG1700 IMUs) provide baseline SWaP and performance standards for any proposed effort.

Also, applicable portions of Department of Defense document MIL-STD-810, Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests, and the Air Force Space Command and Space and Missile Systems Center document SMC-S-016, Test Requirements for Launch, Upper-Stage and Space Vehicles, may serve as useful guides for the testing.

In addition to typical accelerometer and gyro performance values used to quantify performance, two performance ranges should be considered. The first is the shock response spectrum amplitude (g) versus frequency (Hz) range and, the second, for vibration, is the power spectral densities (g^2/Hz) versus frequency (Hz) range.


PHASE I: Conduct experimental and/or modeling efforts to demonstrate proof-of-principle of the proposed technology to operate in high shock and vibration environments. Demonstrate the technological ability to maintain performance standards in realistic environments.


PHASE II: Build and demonstrate the functionality of a MEMS prototype and its ability to be utilized for missile defense accelerometer, gyro, and IMU applications. Demonstrate applicability to both selected military and commercial applications.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The cost avoidance realized by employing this technology would be significant. Hence, the anticipated Phase III program customers would include a wide range of current weapon system programs. During this phase, the effort calls for engineering and development, test and evaluation, and hardware qualification.


COMMERCIALIZATION: The proposed technology would be anticipated to have a high level of interest for the aerospace and testing industries where ever accelerometers and/or gyros are practical.


KEYWORDS: MEMS, IMU, Accelerometer, Gyro

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