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Friday, April 13, 2018

Modernized Draper Guidance System Enables Successful Trident II D5 Missile Test

CAMBRIDGE, MA—With the successful launch of two Trident II D5 Life Extension missiles that were equipped with a guidance system developed by Draper, Navy submarine USS Nebraska demonstrated the readiness of the crew and strategic weapon system. The unarmed test missiles were launched as part of Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) 28 in the Pacific Test Range off the coast of Southern California.

The Trident II Weapons System was initially engineered to serve until 2027. When the Navy announced an initiative to extend its life to 2042, the challenge was to modernize the system and introduce life-extending modular design capabilities while continuing to meet the Navy’s stringent performance and budget requirements.

The test served as a milestone for the design, development and modernization of Draper’s MARK 6 guidance system, which is used in the Trident II, according to Steve DiTullio, Draper’s vice president for strategic systems.

“The successful completion of DASO 28 was not only an important milestone for the USS Nebraska, but also an important demonstration of the reliable and credible leg of its strategic deterrent capability for years to come,” DiTullio said.

As the U.S. 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. DASO 28 serves as another milestone in Draper’s more than 60-year support of the U.S. Navy’s mission by delivering a modernized guidance system for the Trident II D5 missile.

The Trident boost guidance system enables the missiles to operate in harsh environments, including radiation, with extreme accuracy. The missile’s acceleration, velocity and position are calculated based upon precision instruments and the missile is directed to the target without using any external reference aids.

The submerged USS Nebraska launches an unarmed Trident II missile in the Pacific Ocean. (Credit: U.S. Navy)
Capabilities Used
Positioning, Navigation & Timing (PNT)

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).

Autonomous Systems

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.

Precision Instrumentation

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.

Fault-Tolerant Systems

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.

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