Pan Pacific Symposium Conference Proceedings


Author: Zafer Tuncali et al.
Company: University of MD Mech. Engr.
Date Published: 2/10/2004   Conference: Pan Pacific Symposium

Abstract: Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) is one of the critical new technologies revolutionizing U.S. militaryweapons and information systems. The infusion of MEMS into military systems is accelerating due to the demand for reduced component size and cost, without sacrificing higher performance, precision and reliability.

This paper aims to present a summary of both military and commercial MEMS devices and technologies that are currently being used or will potentially be used by the US military. A critical application of MEMS in the military is the artillery shell because they have the most stringent performance requirements. Therefore this paper is mainly focused on research for MEMS based smart artillery components. MEMS based Inertial Measurement devices are briefly introduced and their usage in Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) to guide smart projectiles is discussed.

Various sources of information including recent technical papers from military and civilian researchers and institutes have been reviewed. New trends and common interests regarding MEMS technologies are identified. The future applications and significance of the MEMS devices in the military hardware is predicted. Further, a significant hindrance to early adoption in some cases is discussed with special emphasis to packaging.

Besides describing the state-of-the-art MEMS technologies, a brief discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of the use of this technology in military hardware is presented. This discussion is based on the limited examples of applications that we have reviewed during this study. New MEMS devices are compared to the parts they replace with respect to various criteria including functionality, performance and cost.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) supports a significant portion of the MEMS research in industry and academia. DARPA is motivated to see that industry develops and markets innovative technologies and devices so that they will be readily available for procurement by the military in large quantities for use in its weapons and other systems. Based on this important fact, the interaction and interchangeability potential of military and non-military MEMS devices is discussed to assess the possibility of using off the shelf MEMS components for military applications.

Key words: MEMS, inertial navigation unit, inertial measurement unit, smart artillery.

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