Honeywell's digital ring laser gyro

13th February 2024
Kristian McCann

Gyroscopes or Gyros, are critical rotation sensing elements used in navigation systems (such as: inertial navigation systems (INS), attitude and heading reference systems (AHRS) or inertial measurement units (IMUs)) for manned and unmanned aircraft, spacecraft, marine vehicles and surface vehicles. 

In addition, gyroscopes are important elements in platform stabilisation systems (i.e. antenna stabilisation), and where accurate pointing and/or targeting is required.

Manufactured by US based Honeywell Aerospace, the company has been involved in gyroscope product development since Elmer Sperry invented the gyrocompass in 1910. Honeywell have products and extensive domain knowledge in gyro technologies including spinning mass mechanical gyros, fibre-optic gyros, Micro-electro-mechanical gyros and ring laser gyros (RLG). Honeywell's GG1320 digital ring laser gyro is the industry standard for precision rotation measurement. Many thousands are in daily use on Land, Sea and Air, commercial and military platforms. It is an affordable high performance inertial sensor with the electronics, power supply and sense element packaged into an easy-to-use compact unit. The user supplies an input voltage and, under rotation, the GG1320 provides a compensated rotation digital output.

The principle of operation of a RLG is two counter-propagating laser beams have different frequencies with the difference dependent on rotation rate. Measurement of this difference provides the rotation angle or rotation rate about the RLG's sensitive axis. Honeywell's GG1320 RLG has demonstrated capability of measuring an arc-second of rotation.

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