Engineers at Ross-Hime Designs Inc., Minneapolis (www.anthrobot.com), developed a lightweight, low-cost seeker gimbal for the U. S. militaryâ€™s Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) that doubled the sensing or receiving cone area â€” and thereby increased target-detection range by 30%. Until now, missile seekers, the devices that scan for radar, IR, and laser signals, have used gimbals with heavy-nested rings that interfere with the sensors and limit the seekers size and range of motion. In the Super Seeker, the traditional inner gimbal ring is cut in half and tilted 45Â° to improve clearance. Now the bulkhead does double duty as the azimuth-bearing mounting location. This let the company increase the surface of the dish and radar plane to twice that of conventional gimbals. The dish has a 6.375-in. diameter, just a little less than the missileâ€™s overall diameter of 7 in. The dish can also swivel an additional 5Â° in azimuth and 20Â° in elevation, a 14% improvement. The new design cut 10 lb from the previous version and added shock and vibration isolation. The simpler design also cut costs for the seeker gimbal by an order of magnitude over previous designs, according to the company.
For a video of the seeker in action, go to http://tiny.cc/iykrz.