Honeywell (Stand A712) is taking micro miniaturisation to new levels with its next generation of Micro-Electromechanical systems (MEMS).

Len Hones of Honeywell's AES Technology Centres of Excellence says MEMS units are getting smaller and smaller, but their capabilities are growing.

"The latest polymer MEMS systems have the same level of efficiency as human muscle tissue," Hones says.

"Current MEMS gun-hard 'chips' are able to withstand the 15,000-20,000g forces incurred when an artillery shell is fired. As they get smaller we could see MEMS technology applied to other objects too - a guided bullet is no longer science fiction."

MEMS devices are tiny machines, as small as 2/1000ths of a millimetre square, which can serve as either sensors or mechanical actuators. Honeywell uses MEMS as accelerometers in its aircraft navigation and missile guidance systems.

Hones says Honeywell is using MEMS technology in the production of 40,000 inertial measurement units (IMUs) a year. Technology in the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bomb could account for up to 30,000 IMUs annually.

The company is currently delivering 3,000 precision guidance systems a month and its products are used on nearly all precision-strike weapons.

The next-generation solid-state tactical MEMS gyros could result in a 2in3 IMU being in production by 2008. The company is also working on programmes for chip-scale atomic clocks and radios.

Source: Flight Daily News