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High Altitude/High Opening Parachutist Navigation System (HAHO-PNS)

Military parachutists frequently carry a navigation computer/system that provides the parachutist with information (e.g., altitude, wind speed, ground speed, etc.) which can then be used by the parachutist as he controls his parachute. These navigation systems are either hand-held or chest-mounted. The obvious drawback of the hand-held systems is that they must be held while simultaneously attempting to control the parachute. The chest-mounted systems include a display that the parachutist must look downward to view. However, inclement weather can make such viewing difficult or impossible. Furthermore, the chest region of a parachutist is generally considered to be a valuable location for the mounting of other mission-essential equipment.

The Naval Surface Warfare Center-Panama City, Florida (NSWC-PC) is interested in working with a manufacturing company under a Cooperative Research And Development Agreement (CRADA), or other flexible joint-development agreement, to complete the production design of the High Altitude/High Opening Parachutist Navigation System (HAHO-PNS), and have the manufacturer produce 2,000 systems. Military personnel conducting in-air parachute navigation during HAHO parachute insertion missions would use the completed production systems.

NSWC-PC has produced a number of prototype helmet-mounted HAHO-PNS systems inclusive of custom-written embedded navigation software. The prototypes comprise a conformal navigation pod attached to the helmet, and small micro display and optic attached to the goggle. They have undergone extensive testing and evaluation by military Special Forces personnel. The US Navy holds a patent titled, ?HELMET-MOUNTED PARACHUTIST NAVIGATION SYSTEM? (# 6,934,633), issued August 23, 2005 on the system.

In early 2006 NSWC-PC sought interested firms with the technical experience and capability to work closely with NSWC-PC to complete a production design of the HAHO-PNS and manufacture the resultant military systems. Candidate firms should have experience in the design, integration, and fabrication of integrated electronic systems, miniature electronic components, microprocessors, Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) GPS systems, micro displays, and optical systems. Also, experience and ability to design and manufacture electronic devices for use in rugged military environments (temperature extremes, humidity, rain, salt, sand, high shock and vibration, etc.). Since the HAHO-PNS is a military system, the candidate firm must be a currently approved facility for handling and working with SAASM GPS systems.

This parachutist navigation system utilizes a display adapted to be attached to a side vision area of a parachutist's goggles such that upward and downward fields of view through the goggles are unobstructed. A housing, adapted to be attached to a parachutist's helmet, supports therein a plurality of components to include a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver for receiving GPS signals and a processor coupled to the GPS receiver. The processor is provided with mission data to include a landing zone, wind speed as a function of altitude and a preferred altitude at the landing zone. The processor uses the mission data and GPS signals to generate a plurality of display-formatted data sets to include a display-formatted data set of the mission data, a display-formatted data set of location data indicated by the GPS signals, and a display-formatted data set of computed data generated by the processor using the mission data and location data. Coupled to the processor is a user-controlled input device used to select at least one of the plurality of display-formatted data sets for output to the display. Located remotely with respect to the housing is a means for up loading the mission data to the processor.

The navigation system includes the following three essential elements: a goggle-mounted display, a helmet-mounted navigation pod, and a controller that is either temporarily hardwired to navigation pod or able to be coupled thereto in a wireless fashion. A goggle-mounted display (which can be a monochrome or color display device) is mounted to a side or peripheral vision area (i.e., left or right side) of goggles. It is preferred that the display be located approximately midway between the top and bottom of the viewing area of the goggles so as not to obstruct the parachutist's upward or downward views. In this way, the display will not interfere with the parachutist's ability to see his parachute, shroud lines, release buckles, chest worn equipment, or the ground during landing. The display can utilize any standard night/day display technology such as a liquid crystal display (LCD), an organic light emitting diode display (OLED), or a field emission display (FED), just to name a few. Further, the display could be mounted to the goggles in such a way that the display could be rotated slightly up/down and/or left/right to accommodate a particular user's needs. Still further, magnifying optics could be included or added to the display as needed.

Parachutist navigation data is easily viewed in all weather conditions without obstructing one's view of other essential parachute equipment. The system requires minimal use of the parachutist's hands. Since the display is indexed to the parachutist's helmet/goggles, the display will always appear stable to the user regardless of head movement.




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