Northrop Grumman navigates on the Neuron UCAV demonstrator

  • 26-May-2016 04:09 EDT

Neuron is an experimental UCAV developed with international cooperation, led by France, and includes government and industry partners from Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Northrop Grumman's subsidiary in Germany, Northrop Grumman LITEF, teamed with Saab Aerosystems to provide the AHRS (attitude and heading reference system) for the Neuron unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator, which recently conducted more than 100 test flights in France, Italy, and Sweden.

Neuron is the first large-size stealth platform to be designed in Europe. The program aims to develop, test and sustain key technologies for use by European manufacturers in the next generation of unmanned aerial vehicles and combat aircraft.

The fiber-optic, gyro-compassing LCR-100 AHRS for the UCAV demonstrator is Technical Standard Order/ European Technical Standard Order (TSO/ETSO) certified and was developed according to DO-178 and DO-254 standards.

The LCR-100 is one of the key components of the sensors suite of Neuron used for navigation and flight guidance and control. The LCR-100 provides primary flight control information to the aircraft's flight control system, as well as hybrid inertial and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) navigation information through a separate GNSS unit.

Northrop Grumman says the weight, volume, and power consumption of this AHRS is about one-third of a comparable system fitted with mechanical gyros and is the culmination of over 10 years of research on fiber-optic gyros and MEMS (micro electromechanical systems. The LCR-100 provided the data in ARINC 429 format during all the Neuron flight test campaigns.

Dassault Aviation is the prime contractor for 10-m long, 12-m wide Neuron. Some of the specific technologies targeted by researchers relate to low signature (stealth) technology, flight testing, aerodynamics, avionics, fuel system, the critical part of the ground station, as well as the design and production of the main fuselage.

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