Northrop Grumman has received a contract from the US Navy to develop replacement inertial navigation systems (INS-R), which are installed on combat and support ships.

The INS-R is designed to support the new navy assured positioning navigation and timing (A-PNT) architecture.

The A-PNT is expected to provide increased navigation accuracy for the US Navy in challenging maritime combat environments.

"The INS-R will be the foundation of the assured position, navigation and timing suite for virtually all navy ships."

Under the contract, Northrop will develop fibre-optic gyro sensor at its facilities.

The firm will also integrate the sensor into the inertial measuring unit, and will incorporate the navigation algorithms at its facility in Charlottesville, Virginia, US.

Northrop Grumman maritime systems business unit vice-president Todd Leavitt said: "The INS-R will be the foundation of the assured position, navigation and timing suite for virtually all navy ships.

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"Our inertial navigation system will provide very accurate position and attitude information for the navy’s combat and support ships to help them accomplish their demanding missions."

The $19.8m one-year contract comes with options, which if exercised bring the total value of the contract to $47.8m over five years.

Recently, the US Navy and Northrop completed a three-week operational assessment (OA) period for the MQ-8C Fire Scout at Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu, California.

During the OA, the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter was assessed for its performance, endurance and reliability against maritime and surveyed land targets.