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Navy League 2023: US Navy awards Northrop Grumman AN/WSN-12 full-rate production contract

The USN awarded Northrop Grumman a full-rate production contract for AN/WSN-12 INS sensor packages. (Northrop Grumman)

The US Navy (USN) recently awarded Northrop Grumman a full-rate production contract for AN/WSN-12 Inertial Navigation System (INS) sensor packages, Rudy Fernandez, director of Maritime Systems and Integration at Northrop Grumman, confirmed to Janes on 3 April.

The company has delivered three AN/WSN-12 INS low-rate initial production (LRIP) sets – two for surface ships and one for submarines, with another LRIP submarine set expected in 2023 along with four full-rate initial production (FRIP) sets, two surface and two submarines – Fernandez told Janes during the Navy League Sea-Air-Space 2023 conference held in National Harbor, Maryland.

With the finalisation of the five-year contract on 30 March, Northrop Grumman has received an order of eight AN/WSN-12 full-rate production units, six for surface ships and two for submarines, he said. The first installation and demonstration should begin in 2023, he added.

Speaking about the enhanced INS compared with the earlier equipment, Fernandez said, β€œThe biggest difference is the accuracy of the system. When you shoot a weapon, your confidence level goes way up. It's a much more accurate system.”

The AN/WSN-12 INS should help the USN employ its distributed lethality concept, Fernandez added. β€œIt should help improve long-range fires capability.”

The AN/WSN-12 is based on the fibre-optic gyro (FOG), which was adapted for use in land and airborne systems at the start of this century. A key benefit of FOG technology was the ability to scale it up through the use of additional fibre, which provided increased accuracy and performance. As the AN/WSN-12 footprint is similar to the earlier system, replacing the systems should be relatively easy and non-invasive.

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