Northrop Grumman to Improve Navigation and Geo-Registration Technology

The Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded Northrop Grumman Corp. a phase two inertial navigation system-related contract to continue improving GPS-challenged navigation and geo-registration, states a company release. In phase one of the Maintain Accurate Geo-registration via Image-nav Compensation (MAGIC) program, Northrop Grumman developed a prototype for a vision-aided inertial navigation system able to function in GPS-denied conditions. As part of their phase two contract, Northrop Grumman will flight-test the system and add a 3-D map generation function. “Our positioning and geo-registration solution will help to precisely locate our own aircraft positions and target locations, particularly in challenging, high-threat environments where the adversary might be jamming GPS,” said Charles Volk, vice president of Northrop Grumman’s advanced navigation systems business unit. “Additionally, this will increase the situational awareness of warfighters and help to keep them safer.” Geo-registration of data allows warfighters to more easily locate targets and share coordinates with other aircraft, while geo-registration of images is helpful for gathering intelligence, states the release. The MAGIC program was designed to help advance geo-registration and navigation technology using a combination of light-weight, low-cost cameras, an inertial measurement unit, and GPS data.