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LEAR ASTRONICS INKS EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTION PACT FOR ALCATEL SEL FIBER OPTIC GYROS IN NORTH AMERICA

 LEAR ASTRONICS INKS EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTION PACT
 FOR ALCATEL SEL FIBER OPTIC GYROS IN NORTH AMERICA
 SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Lear Astronics Corp. (Astronics), a GEC plc company headquartered here, has signed a distribution agreement, and an option for technology transfer under a manufacturing agreement, with Alcatel Standard Elektrik Lorenz AG (Alcatel SEL) Defense and Aerospace Division, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.
 This agreement grants Astronics exclusive marketing rights to Alcatel SEL's fiber optic gyroscope (FOG) product line in North America. In addition, Alcatel SEL also grants Astronics an option for the right to manufacture FOG sensors and subsystems under license at a facility in the United States, once market development activities have generated sufficient order volumes.
 FOGs are the latest generation of rotation rate sensors being designed into new instruments and equipment used for a variety of military and commercial applications. These range from attitude heading reference and inertial measurement systems in aircraft and other vehicles, to uses such as platform/antenna stabilizers, directional oil well drilling reference systems, and robotics position references, to name a few.
 "We are excited by the opportunities for business expansion that this agreement presents to Astronics in both commercial and military market sectors," said Mary Burns, a marketing manager for the company. "Given the current demand for FOG devices, we expect to meet the aggressive targets that have been set for sales in North America and exercise our right to manufacture FOGs locally in the future."
 Burns indicated that to her knowledge Alcatel SEL is currently the only FOG manufacturer in volume production in the world, offering two single-axis rotation rate sensor versions, with specifications appropriate for medium and higher accuracy requirements. She said that a number of leading defense electronics organizations have announced plans to ship competing units by 1994.
 Burns explained that FOGs measure rotation rates as phase shifts of light travel within a coil of optical fiber; these shifts are measured using interferometric techniques. FOG sensors are very reliable under harsh conditions and very cost effective when compared to mechanical or other gyroscope alternatives in the same performance range.
 Currently Astronics and its sister company, GEC-Marconi Electronic Systems in Wayne, N.J., use FOGs as components in their advanced flight controls, avionics and guidance systems. Both companies are participating with Alcatel SEL in further refinement of the FOG product line, including development of new multi-axis sensors and assemblies, as well as complete inertial measurement units.
 "This means that our customers will always have access to the latest FOG technology and application engineering support," Burns said. "This should help our North American customers speed new FOG- based sensing solutions to global markets in as short a time as possible."
 For more information on FOGs or other advanced products, contact Lear Astronics 3400 Airport Ave., P.O. Box 442, Santa Monica, CA 90406-0442, or at 310-915-6043.
 Alcatel SEL AG Defense and Aerospace Division is one of the largest defense electronics operations in Germany, employing more than 2,500 people at three major facilities. The company is recognized for advanced systems technologies in the areas of communications, surveillance and reconnaissance C3I, electronic warfare and air traffic control. SEL is a wholly owned subsidiary of telecommunications giant Alcatel NV.
 Lear Astronics Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of GEC plc of England, has established a worldwide reputation as a leader in flight control systems technology. The company has pioneered autopilot, automatic landing, and digital fly-by-wire systems for more than 70 aircraft over a four-decade period. Astronics also leads the way in the areas of unmanned aircraft, remotely piloted vehicles, and small tactical radars.
 Backgrounder for Fiber Optic Gyros (FOGs)
 Fiber optic gyros are optical rotation rate sensors that employ ring interferometry to analyze the phase shift of light waves within a closed optical path caused by motion (the Sagnac effect). In current production units, the long light propagation distance needed for high measurement sensitivity is provided by a coil of optical fiber 100 meters long.
 In operation, light from a diode is split into two beams that are fed into opposing ends of the fiber coil. The two beams are superimposed and the interference monitored. If the coil is rotated around its axis, light traveling in the direction of rotation has to propagate over a longer path than light travelling in the opposite direction, causing a phase shift between the two beams. This phase difference can be monitored as a variation of an interference pattern, and converted to an analog or digital electrical signal proportional to the rate of rotation.
 FOGs have a number of distinct advantages over conventional mechanical gyroscopes in the 1 to 50 degree/hour drift performance category. These include:
 -- no run up or warm up time requirement;
 -- immunity to shock, vibration and acceleration;
 -- long operational life even under harsh conditions; and
 -- cost effective with no maintenance requirements.
 -0- 8/18/92
 /CONTACT: Mary Burns of Lear Astronics, 310-915-6043, or John Dillon of Speer, Young & Hollander, 213-487-2363, for Lear Astronics/ CO: Lear Astronics ST: California IN: CPR ARO SU:


AL -- LA003 -- 0937 08/18/92 12:03 EDT
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Date:Aug 18, 1992
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