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The Science Thread

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AS a private pilot, I have had two mechanical gyro failures over the years.
Neither was life threatening, but in eech case, was a costly exercise to replace.
of aircraft owners have a heavy but useless gyro sitting somewhere in a box on a shelf , just in case.
These mechanical gyros have over time been replaced with solid state versions, lighter, more accurate, less prone to drift and with so few moving parts, far more reliable.
Now , SAFRAN has devleoped a crystal resonater type gyro that has no moving parts at all, is maller and lighter, and is maintenance free.

Everybody thinks they know what a gyroscope is: it spins at high speed, the whole assembly goes somewhere inside an aircraft or ship and it tells you which way is up and which way is north. And it’s probably quite big and delicate.

That may once have been true, but not any more. SAFRAN Electronics & Defense has developed what it believes is a game changer called the HRG Crystal gyro. HRG stands for Hemispherical Resonator Gyroscope; it has no moving parts so is maintenance-free.

The gyro is an integral part of a new generation of Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) that’s light, small and tough enough to be used on manned and unmanned aircraft, surface ships, submarines and guided missiles.

The product of 10 years of development and progressive miniaturisation, SAFRAN believes its HRG Crystal technology offers the highest accuracy available in the world at the lowest cost. The company’s Australian sales and marketing director, Anthony Bianco, says that in submarine applications it provides the capability you would find in a current nuclear-powered submarine at one 20th of the cost, in a package the size of half a shoebox.
The US Government’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) tested SAFRAN’s HRG Crystal technology and found, to use the industry jargon, its Size Weight and Power (SWAP) requirements are an order of magnitude lower than for any other system. For unmanned systems it provides location accuracy for its cost and SWAP needs that is unavailable elsewhere.

Every INS gyro “drifts” during a mission, but the drift of an HRG Crystal navigation system has proven to be tiny. So, if the GPS network is brought down by hostile action, a submarine or surface ship can still navigate accurately for almost a month without needing any external reference. And its guided weapons can still function as advertised.
Furthermore, if the ADF wanted to jam hostile GPS signals in contested areas, the navy, RAAF and army could still operate there safely if they had this technology on-board, Bianco says.

“We have seen this extensively in Ukraine where ‘navigation warfare’ and the jamming of GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) signals has become so prolific that the military have had to reduce their over-reliance on GPS significantly,” Bianco says.

“There are a plethora of adverse GNSS signal events in the South China Sea and the situation continues to deteriorate in this regard.

“It’s hard to imagine a future conflict where navigation warfare won’t be prevalent.”

The INS “drift” problem was eased slightly when traditional gyros were replaced by Ring Laser Gyroscopes and then by Fibre Optic Gyros (FOGs), but SAFRAN took a conscious decision 15 years ago to focus instead on the then-nascent technology of HRG Crystals.
A small, robust gyro with no moving parts and without the complication of large fibre optic windings provides obvious advantages on the battlefield as well as the factory. Its shock and vibration resilience has seen it dominate artillery firing, targeting and pointing application markets, Bianco says.

The company’s R&D has given it a 10-year lead. SAFRAN has mastered both the technology itself and the essential miniaturisation that allows it to be deployed in a wide variety of military applications. The company’s HRG Crystal technology has now been adopted by the US DoD, French Armed Forces and the majority of NATO and allied countries.

Just one other company in the world (to Bianco’s knowledge) manufactures HRG Crystal INSs and it is based in the US. That company hasn’t managed yet to miniaturise the system but the US Department of Defence acknowledges the value of HRG Crystal technology and has acquired several thousand different systems that use it.

Here in Australia, Bianco can see emerging opportunities in the navy’s Continuous Naval Shipbuilding program as well as in upgrades to existing surface ships and submarines.

Australian military customers have also taken a keen interest in the technology for a number of autonomous platform applications, he says, and preparations are underway to extensively trial the technology.

Looking further ahead, SAFRAN believes quantum technology will provide the next revolution in Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) systems. But these are three to 10 years away, depending on the application, Bianco says, and there are still question marks over exactly how deployable a quantum system will be, or which military applications it can succeed in.

Quantum will further enhance current navigation systems but, as Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation and Defence’s own published quantum roadmaps point out, quantum advancements will not replace current inertial technologies universally. So HRG Crystals represent the leading edge of current INS technology.

“Our Defence force needs ready solutions now, which they can upgrade with quantum sensors in the future, which is exactly what we are providing,” he says.
I will probably have retired from flying before these little gems make their way into GA.
Mick
 
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AS a private pilot, I have had two mechanical gyro failures over the years.
Neither was life threatening, but in eech case, was a costly exercise to replace.
of aircraft owners have a heavy but useless gyro sitting somewhere in a box on a shelf , just in case.
These mechanical gyros have over time been replaced with solid state versions, lighter, more accurate, less prone to drift and with so few moving parts, far more reliable.
Now , SAFRAN has devleoped a crystal resonater type gyro that has no moving parts at all, is maller and lighter, and is maintenance free.


I will probably have retired from flying before these little gems make their way into GA.
Mick
Solid state gyros are used in drones I believe.
 
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Solid state gyros are used in drones I believe.
Most deffinitely Horace.
They are used in GA aircraft already, initially widely i the experimental/homebuilt area, but more recently have got TSO certification and used now in production aircraft.
I installed them in my own homebuilt experimental aircraft and worked flawlessly over the last ten years.
The ones used for yaw are the size of half a matchbox and about the same weight.
Theses new types of gyros are next level.
Mick
 

wayneL

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Exciting progress for Queensland researchers in quantum computing.

That pretty amazing, holy Dooley!

100 times colder than outer space (whatever that means) seem a bit hyperbolic though, considering baseline temp is about 3°K (0°K being the theoretically lowest temperature possible)? Maybe the journo's interpretation of what he said?
 
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That pretty amazing, holy Dooley!

100 times colder than outer space (whatever that means) seem a bit hyperbolic though, considering baseline temp is about 3°K (0°K being the theoretically lowest temperature possible)? Maybe the journo's interpretation of what he said?
Its possible that it could be 100 times colder than outer space, means it is "only" 0.03 degrees K
The record for the coldest temperature is 38 trillionths of a degree kelvin ( see Live science ), even if it was only for a few milli seconds.
Reckon my mother in law had a cold stare that was close to zero Kelvin.
Mick
 
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The beautiful symmetry of mathematics.
Mick
1699911988082.png
 
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Just when scientists are confident thay know pretty much everything, along comes something that ruins their confidence levels.
From Eureka Alert
Osaka, Japan – A high-energy particle falls from space to the Earth’s surface—it is not clear where it came from or even what it is, exactly. This may sound like something out of science fiction, but it is in fact a scientific reality, as evidenced by the research led by Associate Professor Toshihiro Fujii from the Graduate School of Science and Nambu Yoichiro Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics at Osaka Metropolitan University.

Cosmic rays are energetic charged particles originating from galactic and extragalactic sources. Cosmic rays with extremely high energy are exceptionally rare; they can reach greater than 1018 electron volts or one exa-electron volt (EeV), which is roughly a million times higher than achieved by the most powerful accelerators ever made by humans.

Chasing after such rays from space, Professor Fujii and an international team of scientists have been conducting the Telescope Array experiment since 2008. This specialized cosmic ray detector consists of 507 scintillator surface stations, covering an expansive detection area of 700 square kilometers in Utah, United States. On May 27, 2021, the researchers detected a particle with a whopping energy level of 244 EeV.

“When I first discovered this ultra-high-energy cosmic ray, I thought there must have been a mistake, as it showed an energy level unprecedented in the last 3 decades,” shared Professor Fujii.

Such an energy level is comparable to that of the most energetic cosmic ray ever observed, dubbed the “Oh-My-God” particle, which had an estimated energy of 320 EeV when detected in 1991.

Of the many candidates for the particle’s name, Professor Fujii and colleagues settled on “Amaterasu,” after the sun goddess that, according to Shinto beliefs, was instrumental in the creation of Japan.

The Amaterasu particle is perhaps as mysterious as the Japanese goddess herself. Where did it come from? What exactly was it? These questions remain. There is hope that the Amaterasu particle will pave the way for illuminating the origins of cosmic rays.

“No promising astronomical object matching the direction from which the cosmic ray arrived has been identified, suggesting possibilities of unknown astronomical phenomena and novel physical origins beyond the Standard Model,” Professor Fujii mused. “In the future, we commit to continue operating the Telescope Array experiment, as we embark, through our ongoing upgraded experiment with fourfold sensitivities, dubbed TAx4, and next-generation observatories, on a more detailed investigation into the source of this extremely energetic particle.”

Their findings are set for publication in Science on November 24, 2023.
mick
 
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Sometimes, great inventions and technological masterpieces just never make it.
The Concorde was a prime example.
It was just not practical to mass produce, was hideously expensive to produce and run, despite being super quick and comfortable.
Another was the hover craft.
It was going to revolutionise transport, but despite valiant attempts like the large cross channel craft between UK and France, just never took off.
Mick
 
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Sometimes, great inventions and technological masterpieces just never make it.
The Concorde was a prime example.
It was just not practical to mass produce, was hideously expensive to produce and run, despite being super quick and comfortable.
Another was the hover craft.
It was going to revolutionise transport, but despite valiant attempts like the large cross channel craft between UK and France.
Mick


Hovercraft are still used by the US military , but the chunnel made the hovercraft crossings of the English channel obsolete.

 

Dona Ferentes

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What was the ride like ?
stilted, weaving around with surges and stops, as it dodged maritime traffic, and quite a roll as it ran across the fetch .

Not as bad a trip as Incat catamaran trip Bell Bay to Port Welshpool in the early 90s, going S to N in a WSW swell. At 4 hours, any time saving was lost by having to find land legs again, before driving through Gippsland. That service only lasted one summer season.
 
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