Northrop’s Shipboard Navigation System is Now Approved by the US Coast Guard

Northrop Grumman’s SeaFIND (Sea Fiber Optic Gyrocompass Inertial Navigation with Data Distribution) has been type-approved by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), formally certifying its use as a shipboard gyrocompass system for navigation for nations that need the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) compliance.

SeaFIND provides proven navigation capabilities in a compact and affordable package, making it ideal for applications where low cost, as well as reduced size, weight and power requirements, are critical. It is the first maritime inertial navigation system to move from the existing ring laser technology to Northrop Grumman’s new enhanced fiber optic gyro technology (eFOG). The system has embedded navigation data distribution capabilities, leveraging Northrop Grumman’s proprietary algorithms for low data latency and allowing for the system to interface with a multitude of users that require accurate position and timing.

The system is designed using a modular system architecture and is comprised of an inertial measurement unit (IMU) and a separate electronics unit (EU) connected via a single cable. Its smaller coil size and denser IMU package allow for flexible installation in tight places.

Applications include guidance systems for unmanned underwater vehicles and unmanned surface vehicles, coastal and offshore patrol vessels, as well as small, medium and large surface vessels. SeaFIND is non-ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) and available for use by domestic and international navies.

Following a rigorous process of test and evaluation, the USCG has officially type-approved the SeaFIND system, proving its compatibility and conformity to the IMO’s requirements for a gyrocompass system in addition to its capabilities as an inertial navigator and navigation data distribution system for ships. The USCG certification includes the European Community’s (EC) Mark of Conformity (wheelmark) under the mutual recognition agreement between the U.S. and the EC for type approval.

Todd Leavitt, vice president, maritime systems & integration, Northrop Grumman, commented that, in addition to SeaFIND’s low size, weight and power (SWAP), affordability and reliable performance in a GPS denied environment, being type-approved makes it very attractive to customers throughout the world. This certification demonstrates that the system is compliant with a common standard and benchmark.

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