Navy Trident Missile Test Featured Draper Guidance System
CAMBRIDGE, MA – The TRIDENT II Weapons System is the primary strategic deterrent for both the United States and the United Kingdom. The U.S. military plans to continue using the system through 2040 and beyond, and needs to maintain confidence that the missiles maintain their reliability and accuracy.
Draper oversees the effort to upgrade and maintain the Fleet Ballistic Missile MK6 guidance system, which enables the missile to operate with a high degree of accuracy without relying on external aids like GPS signals. The company used a modular, model-based engineering approach in designing the guidance systems, which reduces integration time and allows for early detection of problems prior to expensive prototype testing.
The Navy demonstrated the performance of the life extension electronics packages as part of unarmed test flights launched from the USS Kentucky on November 7 and 9 as part of Demonstration and Shakedown operation (DASO-26) on the Pacific Range. The final planned developmental flight test is scheduled for next summer.
“As the Navy’s strategic guidance prime contractor, Draper has designed and supported the guidance system for every Fleet Ballistic Missile deployed since the program began in 1955. We look forward to continuing to support the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs organization with this critical mission for decades to come,” said Steven DiTullio, Draper’s vice president for strategic systems.
As Draper designed the guidance system life extension packages demonstrated during these tests, the company incorporated new sensors, electronics and software into the guidance system, while reusing numerous mechanical components of the existing system, resulting in significant cost avoidance. The work took advantage of Draper’s expertise in high-performance guidance technologies, as well as fault detection and identification to ensure that hardware, software and mechanical parts will not malfunction or fail.
Draper develops novel PN&T solutions by combining precision instrumentation, advanced hardware technology, comprehensive algorithm and software development skills, and unique infrastructure and test resources to deploy system solutions. The scope of these efforts generally focuses on guidance, navigation, and control GN&C-related needs, ranging from highly accurate, inertial solutions for (ICBMs) and inertial/stellar solutions for SLBMs, to integrated Inertial Navigation System(INS)/GPS solutions for gun-fired munitions, to multisensor configurations for soldier navigation in GPS-challenged environments. Emerging technologies under development that leverage and advance commercial technology offerings include celestial navigation (compact star cameras), inertial navigation (MEMS, cold atom sensors), precision time transfer (precision optics, chip-scale atomic clocks) and vision-based navigation (cell phone cameras, combinatorial signal processing algorithms).
Draper combines mission planning, PN&T, situational awareness, and novel GN&C designs to develop and deploy autonomous platforms for ground, air, sea and undersea needs. These systems range in complexity from human-in-the-loop to systems that operate without any human intervention. The design of these systems generally involves decomposing the mission needs into sets of scenarios that result in trade studies that lead to an optimized solution with key performance requirements. Draper continues to advance the field of autonomy through research in the areas of mission planning, sensing and perception, mobility, learning, real-time performance evaluation and human trust in autonomous systems.
Draper develops precision instrumentation systems that exceed the state-of-the-art in key parameters (input range, accuracy, stability, bandwidth, ruggedness, etc.) that are designed specifically to operate in our sponsor’s most challenging environments (high shock, high temperature, radiation, etc.). As a recognized leader in the development and application of precision instrumentation solutions for platforms ranging from missiles to people to micro-Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Draper finds or develops state-of-the-art components (gyros, accelerometers, magnetometers, precision clocks, optical systems, etc.) that meet the demanding size, weight, power and cost needs of our sponsors and applies extensive system design capabilities consisting of modeling, mechanical and electrical design, packaging and development-level testing to realize instrumentation solutions that meet these critical and demanding needs.
Draper has developed mission-critical fault-tolerant systems for more than four decades. These systems are deployed in space, air, and undersea platforms that require extremely high reliability to accomplish challenging missions. These solutions incorporate robust hardware and software partitioning to achieve fault detection, identification and reconfiguration. Physical redundancy or multiple, identical designs protect against random hardware failures and employ rigor in evaluating differences in computed results to achieve exact consensus, even in the presence of faults. The latest designs leverage cost-effective, multicore commercial processors to implement software-based redundancy management systems in compact single-board layouts that perform the key timing, communication, synchronization and voting algorithm functions needed to maintain seamless operation after one, two or three arbitrary faults of individual components.
Draper has continued to advance the understanding and application of human-centered engineering to optimize the interaction and capabilities of the human’s ability to better understand, assimilate and convey information for critical decisions and tasks. Through its Human-Centered Solutions capability, Draper enables accomplishment of users’ most critical missions by seamlessly integrating technology into a user’s workflow. This work leverages human-computer interaction through emerging findings in applied psychophysiology and cognitive neuroscience. Draper has deep skills in the design, development, and deployment of systems to support cognition – for users seated at desks, on the move with mobile devices or maneuvering in the cockpit of vehicles – and collaboration across human-human and human-autonomous teams.