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USAF selects Northrop Grumman to provide new navigation system for the F-16

January 6, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Northrop Grumman Corporation's newest fiber optic gyro inertial navigation system, the LN-260, has been selected by the U.S. Air Force as an avionics upgrade for the F-16 Multinational Fighter Program aircraft fleet.
"The Northrop Grumman LN-260 provides high reliability and improved aircraft navigation and targeting capabilities as a retrofit upgrade to existing aircraft and new production aircraft," said Mark Casady, vice president of navigation and positioning systems at Northrop Grumman's Navigation Systems Division. "Benefiting from low-noise fiber-optic-gyro technologies, the LN-260 eliminates the self-induced acceleration and velocity noise experienced by dithered laser-gyro systems, resulting in greatly reduced target location errors (TLE) and improved synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery."

"In a series of test flights earlier this year on an F-16 test aircraft and on board a Northrop Grumman testbed aircraft equipped with an F-16 fire control radar, the LN-260 demonstrated significant improvements in both navigation and targeting capabilities over the aircraft's current navigation system," said Gary Mallaley, LN-260 program manager at the company's Navigation Systems Division.

As a testimony to the LN-260's performance, Dave Bouchard, director of F-16 radar systems at Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems Division said, "We made 148 synthetic aperture radar maps with the LN-260 and found them among the best seen in our flight-test program."

The LN-260 is a completely integrated navigation system (INS) with a selective availability/anti-spoofing module compliant embedded global positioning system (GPS) receiver. The fully integrated, tightly coupled GPS inertial design provides superior performance relative to other embedded INS/GPS systems. Its modular open system architecture allows it to be easily adapted to new applications, to new system requirements and to improve performance of mission equipment and flight control systems.

The LN-260 inertial navigation system uses the advanced fiber-optic-gyroscope-based inertial sensor assembly already successfully deployed on the LN-251, currently in high-rate production at Northrop Grumman's Navigation System Division. The LN-260 INS/GPS replacement system offers combat aircraft high performance, high reliability, light weight and low power consumption.

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