Enhanced MHD Effect Rate Gyro (EMERG)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Missile Defense Agency
Contract: HQ00603C0067
Agency Tracking Number: 031-0680
Amount: $69,676.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2003
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
1300 Britt SE, Albuquerque, NM, 87123
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Darren Laughlin
 Principal Investigator
 (505) 767-1224
Business Contact
 Anthony Tenorio
Title: President/CEO
Phone: (505) 767-1203
Email: tenorio@aptec.com
Research Institution
There is a demand for enhanced performance gyros used in advanced inertial reference units (aIRUs) required in Space Based Laser systems and space based surveillance systems. The current high performance gyros are marginal in meeting the SBL aIRUperformance requirements and are very expensive. Applied Technology Associates (ATA) proposes to develop a breakthrough angular rate gyroscope that has the potential of unprecedented accuracy, low linear acceleration sensitivity, high reliability, andsuperior accuracy in the presence of high angular rates and accelerations. ATA had previously developed an innovative rate sensing technology based on magnetohydrodynamic principles referred to as the MHD effect rate gyro, or MERG. The MERG performance(5 deg/hr drift) had only approached a fraction of its theoretical limit. ATA proposes innovative design enhancements of the MERG to ultimately meet the SBL IRU performance requirements at a potentially much lower cost than current gyro technologies. Theenhanced MERG, or EMERG, will incorporate significant improvements to allow decreasing the MERG demonstrated drift rate of 5 deg/hr to less than 0.001 deg/hr. The EMERG could potentially provide the best and lowest cost long-term solution for SBL and ABLIRU applications where precision acquisition, pointing, and tracking are critical. The gyro market in guidance, navigation, attitude, position, pointing, and tracking applications had been investigated for the EMERG, and its derivatives, and was found tobe approximately 140,000 gyros per year with a total market value of over $500 million. The current market is dominated by high cost commercial aircraft applications and moderate cost tactical missile applications. Over the next ten years the market sizewill nearly double, but the mix will change. It will be dominated by a much higher volume of low cost gyros for automotive applications, and munitions and projectiles. Much of the current development emphasis is on micro-electromechanical (MEMS) gyrosand low cost fiber optic gyros (FOG).The obvious market for the EMERG designed for the Advanced Inertial Reference Unit is in the high performance ABL, SBL, and space-based surveillance systems. However, lower cost versions of the EMERG are expected to fill the performance/cost niche thatexists between the potentially low cost, low performance MEMS gyros, and the higher cost, higher performance ring laser gyros (RLG) , fiber optic gyros (FOG), hemispherical resonator gyros (HRGs), and high performance dynamically tuned gyros (DTGs). Thisniche exists for a packaged inertial measurement unit (IMU) that includes up to three gyros and three accelerometers in a single package with digital output. The IMU must be priced to sell at less than $5,000 (@10,000/yr) per three axis IMU (3 gyros, 3accelerometers), and performance must include drift rates in the 0.1¿/hr range. An IMU at this price and performance will significantly differentiate the EMERG from the competing systems. The cost of FOG and RLG based IMUs is about $20,000 (in smallquantities), and the drift rate performance of a MEMS gyro based IMUs is typically greater than 30¿/hr.In general, the market segments in which the EMERG would successfully compete include munitions and projectiles, tactical missiles, and platform/sensor stabilization, and in aircraft, ship, and land navigation.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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