The Multi-Function RLG System Comes of Age: a Technical Update

Michael Hadfield, Ed Wheeler

Abstract: Ring laser gyro technology has matured to the point where RLG* systems have been in large-scale production for over 10 years. Their capabilities as basic aircraft reference and navigation systems are well proven. Their fielded mean time between failure (MTBF) values have 'rewritten the book on reliability, availability, and cost-of-ownership The stage has been set for expanding the functional capabilities of RLG inertial systems beyond basic position and velocity outputs, into the more dynamic realm of other sensor stabilization/motion compensation (radars, electro-optical sensors, weapons, etc.) and integrated navigation/night control applications. This paper discusses these expanded roles, and the capability of current RLG system technology to meet the more dynamic output requirements. In addition to linear velocity, we now need angular velocity and both angular/linear accelerations. Accuracy alone is not the issue. Jitter and other noise characteristics, as well as cross-coupling and higher order accuracy terms, must be specified and controlled more rigorously. These issues have been addressed in several studies and analyses, both for retrofit into today's aircraft and land vehicles, and for designed-in implementation into the new platforms of the 1990's (A TF, C-17, and various battlefield weapon/surveillance systems). The new information presented in this paper involves quantifying these dynamic parameters in terms of both the ranges of and reasons for the requirements. More significantly, perhaps, the actual results being achieved are presented-both in inertial system tests, and (the place that really counts) in the end application. Some very interesting flight test results with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) in the F-15 Eagle are summarized to demonstrate the results being achieved today
Published in: Proceedings of the 1989 National Technical Meeting of The Institute of Navigation
January 23 - 26, 1989
San Mateo, CA
Pages: 257 - 566
Cite this article: Hadfield, Michael, Wheeler, Ed, "The Multi-Function RLG System Comes of Age: a Technical Update," Proceedings of the 1989 National Technical Meeting of The Institute of Navigation, San Mateo, CA, January 1989, pp. 257-566.
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