Coude Path Gimbal Design
Coude path gimbals provide an optical path from the base or vehicle through to the payload optics. The mirror folds must be tightly design with relay optics, other optics and the gimbal rotating axes. Sometimes a fast steering mirror (FSM) is used as one of the folds to provide additional actuation or stabilization of the line-of-sight. The key advantage of a coude path is that it allows part of the optical package to be located off-gimbal. The stabilized gimbal coude path may be for a high power laser source that cannot be physically and thermally packaged into the gimbal payload. The coude path may enable a large sensor to be located remotely, reducing the size of the inertial stabilization system or reducing protrusion into the airstream of the gimbal system.
IJK Controls is familiar with gyro stabilized gimbals with a coude path for several applications. In response to a request from a major prime contractor, IJK architected and designed an infrared search-and-track (IRST) gimbal system incorporating a coude path into a unique three-axis stabilization assembly. The compact assembly provides line-of-sight stabilization over a full hemispherical field of regard, enabling a new offering.