Honeywell and Collins combine guidance

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Honeywell and Rockwell Collins have formed a joint company to develop and produce “deeply integrated” satellite/inertial navigation systems for precision-guided weapons. Initial applications will be guided projectiles, but the technology is expected to be used eventually in guided munitions and missiles.

The 50:50 joint venture, Integrated Guidance Systems, will unite Collins’ GPS receivers and Honeywell’s micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) inertial measurement units. The companies have been co-operating for some time, but formation of the joint venture “means we are tied together for the long term”, says Joel Houlton, vice-president and general manager of Honeywell’s missiles and munitions business unit.

By sharing hardware and signals between the GPS and MEMS elements, the deeply integrated guidance and navigation unit (DI-GNU) will be smaller and lighter, use less power and be more affordable than current satellite/inertial systems. Deep integration also increases accuracy when GPS is jammed or denied.

Live testing in guided projectiles is under way, and the DI-GNU is expected to be selected for a production application in mid-2006, says Houlton.

DAVID LEARMOUNT/MOSCOW