"RAPID FOG THP Project": iXblue Continues to Conquer Ground in its Quest for Ultimate Performance, Pushing Back the Limits of Inertial Navigation

SAINT-GERMAIN-EN-LAYE, France, October 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

Subsequent to the introduction of the Marins M7 high-performance inertial navigation unit onto the market in 2014, and the extremely positive sea tests and commercial successes which followed, iXblue has launched the "RAPID FOG Very High Performance" ["RAPID FOG Tres Haute Performance"] program, with the support of the French Ministry of Defense's procurement agency [Direction Generale de l'Armement - DGA]. The aim of this project is to design a sensor with performance of a drift of 1 Nm in 30 days of navigation.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161014/428731 )

Culminating in commercial successes with the British, German, Singapore, Swedish and US navies, the iXblue's Marins Series, consisting of the M3, M5 and M7, has now become "the" world standard in inertial navigation.

The Marins system owes its success in particular to the unique technology on which it is based: the Fiber-Optic Gyroscope (FOG) from iXblue. This sensor, which does not have any moving parts, is highly reliable and has a maintenance-free lifespan of over 15 years. Particularly energy efficient, it also has the advantage of producing no vibration, which is a real asset in terms of acoustic discretion. The result of 30 years of work, the FOG is today considered as the best gyroscope in the world: its performance is estimated to be unlimited in its precision.

Fiber-Optic Gyroscope technology can be used to equip a variety of military equipment requiring high-performance inertial navigation units: satellites, submarines, ships, aircraft, land vehicles and weapons. It is also fitted to a variety of civil equipment for space, offshore, marine and geoscience applications, in particular in marine environments.

iXblue is seeking to go even further by pushing back the limits of inertial navigation. Within the framework of the "RAPID FOG Very High Performance" project, iXblue has been working for the past few years to improve its FOG technology with a view to obtaining a sensor compatible with a performance of drift of one nautical mile in 30 days of navigation. To achieve this, work has been done, amongst other things, to modify the sensor architecture and overhaul the signal processing, as well as processes and optical components that are key to performance.

As a result, a demonstrator, capable of achieving a performance of one nautical mile in 30 days of navigation, has been assembled by iXblue and is to be delivered to the French DGA in the near future. 

Fabien Napolitano, Senior Vice President, R&D, is delighted with the results: "We have already successfully made a number of steps forward as part of this program. The results obtained confirm our original intuition: at the current time, the fiber-optic gyroscope is indeed the only type of sensor capable of achieving such high levels of performance. This means it is now possible to have access to the "near-ultimate" performance achieved, in their days, by the electromagnetic suspension gyroscopes; with the added plus, this time, of being able to take advantage of the undeniable benefits of a modern technology: reliability and robustness at an affordable price."

Thanks to its latest successes in research, iXblue, the world leader in performance for strap-down fiber optic gyroscopes, has been able to develop an inertial navigation unit offering ultimate levels of performance, intended for defense applications. In addition, the validated improvements will make it possible to obtain a better performance/footprint for applications in the civil sector, in particular on the submarine drone, offshore oil applications and mobile mapping markets.

Claire Andre, +33-1-30-08-88-88, pr@ixblue.com



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