KVH Industries Inc. of Middletown, R.I., announced today it has been awarded a $730,000 Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant by the US Department of Defense to develop a smaller and lighter fiber optic gyro (FOG) -based northfinding module than currently available. The proposed system is intended to precisely determine azimuth and be used in applications not suitable to more expensive, heavier systems, such as man-portable mortars. The northfinding module is expected to permit users to quickly determine True North, critical for applications like indirect fire weapons such as mortars, far target location, or in situations where GPS measurements are unavailable, such as in a tunnel, deep forest, or urban canyon. "Northfinders currently available are based on inertial measurement technology, cost $40,000 or more, and weigh in excess of 12 lbs," said Dan Conway, KVH's vice president for military/commercial business development. "As a result, their use has been limited due to their high cost and a lack of easy portability. Our goal is to offer a FOG-based northfinding module with similar benefits for significantly less and at a fraction of the weight of these larger existing systems."