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June 2018, Volume 20 – Number 6 •


The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

IoT and Cloud Computing Gear Up for Military Duty Fail-Safe Data Storage for IoT Applications Defining an Intelligent Pin-Out for High Amperage DC/DC Converters Anatomy of the Drone – and Future Directions: How will the Killer/Stunner be put to Practice? 5 Steps to a 15+ Year Rackmount Computer Lifecycle

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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing JOURNAL

COTS (kots), n. 1. Commercial off-the-shelf. Terminology popularized in 1994 within U.S. DoD by SECDEF Wm. Perry’s “Perry Memo” that changed military industry purchasing and design guidelines, making Mil-Specs acceptable only by waiver. COTS is generally defined for technology, goods and services as: a) using commercial business practices and specifications, b) not developed under government funding, c) offered for sale to the general market, d) still must meet the program ORD. 2. Commercial business practices include the accepted practice of customer-paid minor modification to standard COTS products to meet the customer’s unique requirements. —Ant. When applied to the procurement of electronics for he U.S. Military, COTS is a procurement philosophy and does not imply commercial, office environment or any other durability grade. E.g., rad-hard components designed and offered for sale to the general market are COTS if they were developed by the company and not under government funding.


John Reardon, Publisher, COTS Journal


By Nilesh Badodekar





IoT and Cloud Computing Gear Up for Military Duty

Fail-Safe Data Storage for IoT Applications

06 Publisher’s Note

This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.


The Inside Track

Defining an Intelligent Pin-Out for High Amperage DC/DC Converters Anatomy of the Drone – and Future Directions: How will the Killer/Stunner be put to Practice? ?????


5 Steps to a 15+ Year Rackmount Computer Lifecycle Will Shirley, Technical Marketing Engineer


Editor’s Choice for June COTS Journal | June 2018


The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing



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COTS Journal | June 2018


John Reardon, Publisher

This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. – Winston Churchill The MALD-X came together in very short order and may prove to be one of the more beneficial programs to come out of the Pentagon lately. The small Miniature Air-Launch Decoy or MALD can cover large geographical regions; it can be

dynamically re-purposed and can loiter over the enemy for long periods of time. The MALD-X improves upon the modular nature of the MALD-J by communicating and getting direction from remote operators working along with

The DOD reports a successful demonstration of the miniature air-launched decoy technology upgraded with electronic warfare known as MALD-X. Pictured here is an earlier version of the MALD vehicles, manufactured by The Raytheon Company. Photo credit: Raytheon 6

COTS Journal | June 2018

others enhancements. (These operators are expected to be the crew of the EA-18G). In defining the feature set of the MALD-X that makes this program so unique, it would best be defined as versatile. There is the enhanced jamming of low frequency RADAR provided by Raytheon as part of a $34.8 million demonstration effort. It is able to classify, prioritize and ascribe jamming and decoy duties. The impact on the enemy’s decision-making and response times will be greatly degraded. Although autonomous, the MALD –X has an enhanced communication link allowing dynamic updates to mission plans. This coupled with the ability for payloads, can take this sacrificial craft from a defensive to that of an offensive platform. “The rapid development was made possible by the cross-service technical collaboration between the Air Force and

Navy”, said Chris Shank, SCO Director. “The MALD-X is handing over to the Navy to complete system development and transition to an operational capability. The superb cross-service technical teamwork is an exemplar for future innovative projects.” Although this is not the end of the MALD program, it does represent an incremental step in protecting aircrafts and allowing us to penetrate anti-access combat environments. So whether it is deployed to disorient and confuse the enemy, to jam low band RADAR or to carry a payloads, it is this Publisher’s view that the communication link marks a meaningful change to the MALD-X and opens it up to further advancement. Just what the future beholds for the MALD is yet unknown, so for now we can applaud the incremental changes to the X.

COTS Journal | June 2018




Raytheon, Safran developing next-gen Forward-Looking Infrared sights for combat vehicles New technologies will allow soldiers to see first, shoot first Raytheon will combine its electro-optical technology with Safran’s inertial measurement unit technology to engineer, manufacture and deliver the latest Forward-Looking Infrared, or FLIR, sights. The new systems will allow soldiers to see across long- and mid-wave bands simultaneously and at very long ranges with a stabilized line of sight.

“This memorandum of understanding between Safran and Raytheon sets a strong collaboration that will deliver next-generation equipment to regional allies and provide over-

match against their adversaries,” said Laurent Deur, Safran vice president of sales and marketing for land vehicles.

“This advanced sighting system technology will offer our military and allies a critical edge on the future battlefield,” said Kim Ernzen, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. “It will give them the ability to see first and shoot first, which is essential to surviving in combat.” Under the cooperative agreement, next-generation FLIR B-Kits will be integrated with Safran vision sights onto armored vehicles, as approved by the U.S. and French governments.

CTSi Successfully Flight Tests New Prototype Navigation System to Replace GPS in Highly Contested Environments for the Navy Along with partner L3 Technologies, the Enhanced Link Navigation System (ELNS) offers new solution to defeat enemy countermeasures to detect and disrupt allied signals CTSi and partner L3 Technologies completed flight-testing this month of a newly developed integrated communication and navigation system for use in highly contested and GPS-denied environments. Designated the Enhanced Link Navigation System (ELNS), the prototype was built under a Navy $8.7M Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR)

A U.S. Army soldier watches over tanks in his unit with a 3rd Gen Forward-Looking Infrared-equipped Long Range Advanced Scout Surveillance System during Decisive Action Rotation 18-01 in October 2017 at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California. (U.S. Army photo)

Phase III contract and flight tested at the St. Mary’s County Regional Airport near Patuxent River, MD. “Our team put ELNS in the air in less than 18 months. It worked the first time and every time during 15 flights which included 152 approaches,” said Ian Gallimore, CTSi Chief Technology Officer. He went on to say that ELNS provided area navigation to replace GPS at ranges in excess of 50 nautical miles all the way through landing. Pilots from Airtec, who provided turn-key flight test support, said during test events, “These needles are… money,” and “ELNS is as good as any instrument landing system I’ve flown, I’d fly it in the weather.” Martin King, Navy Project Manager, added “ELNS is scalable for unmanned aircraft in

all Groups, from those needing high integrity like MQ-25, to small unmanned aircraft on tight weight budgets. ELNS is the first system to bring GPS-denied navigation capability to small UAS. By combining significant investments in related fields to create a whole new capability like this, ELNS takes Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) for air vehicles in a compelling new direction.” ELNS utilizes L3 Technologies’ waveforms that defeat adversary strategies to detect and disrupt allied signals, using waveforms that are essential in communications-denied, and GPS-denied environments. “There is a strong fit between what ELNS brings and the threats that our forces are facing today,” said Tom Sanders, CTSi Chief Executive Officer.

COTS Journal | June 2018




T-Kartor USA Awarded IDIQ Contract to Support the Aeronautical Safety of Navigation Mission for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)

In support of NGA’s JANUS multiple award Indefinite Delivery – Indefinite Quantity contract valued at $320M over a ten-year period, T-Kartor USA will collect and manage NGA’s worldwide Airfield Foundation Data and Vertical Obstructions data. As NGA is transitioning to a GEOINT Broker role leveraging content of both national and international partners, T-Kartor USA will provide production, modernization and innovative solutions to enhance current Aeronautical Navigation Office capabilities. “Our diverse and dynamic team provides strong product knowledge and a commitment to a continuous policy of modernization and in-

Concurrent Technologies expands product capabilities with LynxSecure Separation Kernel Hypervisor Concurrent Technologies, a leading supplier of processor solutions for demanding environments, has partnered with Lynx Software Technologies to provide solutions for applications requiring a secure virtualized environment. The LynxSecure Separation Kernel Hypervisor enables simultaneous operation of general purpose and real-time operating systems whilst meeting the security needs of the US Department of Defense. It is particularly suitable for use on Concurrent Technologies’ rugged server TR C4x/msd and TR G4x/msd boards, that are available with 12-core Intel® Xeon® processor D-1500 and up to 64GBytes of DDR4 ECC memory. These boards, in conjunction with LynxSecure hypervisor technology, are suitable for high performance computing tasks that are common in ground and vehicle based military applications. By having sufficient compute and memory resources, each processor board can run several self-contained, secure guest operating systems including Windows®, Linux and real-time operating systems such as LynxOS and LynxOS-178. Glen Fawcett, CEO of Concurrent Technologies Plc, commented: “Our Intel® processor based boards have hardware virtualization 10

COTS Journal | June 2018

novation. Our company is honored to have the opportunity to support one of our nation’s most important missions,” said Simon Bailey, CEO of T-Kartor USA. T-Kartor USA is an agile, innovative small business combining cartographic, GIS and programming skills to deliver high quality and affordable solutions. T-Kartor USA located in St Louis, Missouri, is a subsidiary of T-Kartor capabilities and by partnering with Lynx Software Technologies, our customers can take advantage of these features to create solutions that are capable of meeting stringent security requirements. In addition, these customers can consolidate several applications on a single server board like TR G4x/msd to significantly reduce the size, weight and power (SWaP) characteristics of their solution which is very attractive”.

Group AB, a privately-owned entity founded in Kristianstad, Sweden in 1985. T-Kartor has offices in five countries: Sweden, Norway, Finland, UK and St Louis, Missouri. T-Kartor Group AB is committed to providing services and platforms for geospatial solutions, seamless one-featureone-time map production, world-class city wayfinding, and integrated public transport information.

John Blevins, Director of Product Marketing of Lynx Software Technologies added “Our LynxSecure separation kernel hypervisor is a great fit with the Concurrent Technologies’ range of rugged processor modules because it offers a compelling security solution for mission critical systems. This is achieved by separating the guest operating systems and application code into self-contained partitions so that they can be modified without impacting the security architecture.”

Concurrent Technologies has partnered with Lynx Software Technologies to provide solutions for applications requiring a secure virtualized environment

The Cambridge Pixel Supplies Radar Acquisition and Display Technology to Lockheed Martin Canada Cambridge Pixel, a developer of radar display, tracking and recording sub-systems, is supplying its radar acquisition and display technology to Lockheed Martin Canada for integration with its innovative naval Combat Management System 330. The Cambridge Pixel scan converter runs in each display console to convert the polar-format network video into a PPI or B-Scan representation for display to the operator. The radar image must be scaled and adjusted to match the view being requested by the operator. The radar image can then be combined with the map graphics, such as nautical charts, and overlay symbols, such as track positions. The combined multi-layer picture is then presented to the user. The CMS has full control over the presentation of the radar imagery, including colour, brightness, fading, trails and scan correlation. David Johnson, CEO, said: “Our business is radar and we are thrilled that Lockheed Martin Canada has chosen to use our technology in its CMS 330 system, which is now deployed on four different classes of ship across three different navies.” Cambridge Pixel’s radar technology is used in naval, air traffic control, vessel traffic, commercial shipping,security, surveillance and airborne radar applications. Its systems have been implemented in mission critical applications with companies such as BAE Systems, Frontier Electronic Systems, Lockheed Martin, Barco Defence, Blighter Surveillance Systems, Exelis, Kelvin Hughes, Navtech Radar, Raytheon, Royal Thai Air Force, Saab, Hanwha, Sofresud and Tellumat.


VadaTech Announces new ADC/DAC Modules with Xilinx UltraScale+™ XCVU13P VadaTech, a leading manufacturer of integrated systems, embedded boards, enabling software and application-ready platforms, announces the AMC587 and AMC588. These modules couple high-performance RF front end with an XCVU13P providing signal processing bandwidth at over 20 TeraMACs of DSP compute performance in the compact AdvancedMC (AMC) form factor. OpenVPX versions of these modules are planned for later this year. The AMC587 provides dual-channel 12bit ADC with sample rates of up to 6.4GSPS (TI ADC12DJ3200, ADC12DJ2700, or ADC12DJ1600), or quad inputs at 3.2 GSPS, and a dual 16-bit DAC (Analog Devices AD9162 orAD9164) with update rate of up to 12 GSPS and direct RF synthesis at 6 GSPS. This makes it suitable for signal capture/analysis applications such as COMINT/ SIGINT, radar,

research and instrumentation. The unit has an on-board, re-configurable UltraScale+™ XCVU13P FPGA which interfaces directly to ADC/DAC. The FPGA is supported by a single bank of DDR4 memory, allowing for large buffer sizes to be stored during processing as well as for queuing the data to the host. The AMC588 is a wideband transceiver with four AD9371 connected to a Virtex UltraScale+™ FPGA. This provides eight transceivers channels with a frequency range of 300 MHz to 6 GHz, making it suitable for SDR, BTS, antenna systems, research and instrumentation. The module is compatible with ADI RadioVerse™ design tools and is supported by full VHDL reference design with source code. The on-board re-configurable UltraScale+™ XCVU13P FPGA interfaces via JESD204B directly to wideband transceivers. The FPGA is supported by a single bank of DDR4 memory channels (64-bit wide for a total of 8GB).

The AMC758

Lockheed Martin’s naval Combat Management System 330, featuring Cambridge Pixel’s radar acquisition and display technology, is deployed by three different navies and on four different classes of ship, including the Royal Canadian Navy’s upgraded Halifaxclass frigates – seen pictured is HMCS Calgary.

COTS Journal | June 2018




SWaP-optimized, Open Standardsbased Platform Improves Performance for Rugged, Space-constrained Applications Elma enhances line of rugged embedded services routers

• Easy CPU, storage and I/O upgrades reduce tech refresh costs • Configurable design uses Type 6 COM Express and mini PCIe modules • Highly flexible, expandable I/O enables fast system redefinition Elma Electronic Inc. now offers the ComSys-5301, a highly rugged embedded computing system designed for SWaP-constrained, harsh environments. Based on the industry standard COM Express and mini PCIe form factors, the modular computer is easily configured and upgraded with application-targeted I/O, CPU and storage. Designed using Elma’s extensive packaging expertise, the new ComSys-5301 endures tough environmental conditions to provide highly reliable, long-term performance. With special attention paid to SWaP optimization, the system is lightweight and energy-efficient, while still offering high performance processing. The integration of advanced computing technology with a rugged, compact design makes the ComSys-5301 perfect for use in ground vehicles, unmanned systems and vehicles, drilling and mining operations, command centers and other mission critical applications. The fanless ComSys-5301 uses passive conduction cooling and features a 4th Gen Intel Celeron CPU, solid state storage, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and flexible I/O configurations. Robust MIL-38999 connectors ensure that the I/O interfaces can withstand severe environmental conditions, such as intense shock, vibration and humidity, typically found in rugged, mobile applications. 12

COTS Journal | June 2018

DoD-compliant Removable Storage Module Added to Aitech’s Low Power, High Performance Rugged Compact PC (RCP)

Aitech Defense Systems Inc. now offers its A172, a low-power, high performance rugged compact PC (RCP) with a removable storage module that meets DoD 5220.22-M for quick/secure erase. The 1 TB, secure SSD offers MLC and SLC NAND Flash as well as a sustainable read/ write speed of up to 400 MB/sec. The low-profile A172 is a compact 10.24” x 7.09” x 1.8” (260 mm x 180 mm x 46 mm), featuring a powerful Intel Core i7 or Xeon processor and multiple standardized modules. Easily customizable I/O, CPU, storage and operating system options enable the unit to be cost-effectively engineered for specific application requirements. In addition, the RCP offers added design flexibility with DVI and RS-170A RGBHV video output options, optional WiFi and frame grabber video inputs as well as TPM (trusted platform management) and a 50 ms holdup option for increased system reliability. Available with three Intel processor options and two standard I/O versions, the modular A172 can be configured to handle several data processing environments, especially in high impact, space-constrained applications that need high throughput and secure storage. These typically include manned and unmanned robotic ground and underwater vehicles (UGV/UUV) as well as manned and unmanned fixed- and rotary-wing airborne (UAV) platforms. The RCP can also be used in complete mission computers for these types of unmanned vehicles.

Ethernet interfaces, four USB 2.0 interfaces and eight serial ports with multiple RS232, RS422 or RS485 configurations as well as two CANbus and eight single-ended, buffered LVTTL discrete digital I/O ports. Two single link DVI outputs and an audio line with stereo in/out round out the available I/O. An optional frame grabber provides up to eight channels of composite PAL/NTSC inputs, capturing all channels simultaneously, for image capture and stabilization with or without graphics overlays. This aids in ISR red/blue force tracking and threat assessment. The unit includes two standard mini PCIe slots and two mSATA sites to further increase system functionality and optional internal SSDs provide data capture and sensor logging. Operating systems include 64-bit Windows (7 and 10), Linux, VxWorks, custom or no OS preinstalled as ordering options. Cadmium-free units can also be chosen. The IP65 environmental sealing and natural convection cooling contribute to the A172’s ability to withstand harsh, rugged environments. With an integrated power input line filter and supporting a wide input voltage range from 10 VDC to 32 VDC, the A172 increases system power flexibility. The input is also MIL-STD-704 and MIL-STD-1275 compliant for power and electrical integrity across the entire voltage range. Operating temperature is -40°C to +65°C (-40°F to +149°F). An optional developer’s kit provides a universal AC/DC power supply, all fully terminated cables with industry standard connectors and a CD-ROM with software drivers to facilitate immediate, out-of-the-box development.

Designed using a standard Type 6 COM Express module, the flexible A172 can be customized with specific processor types for less complex system integration. Equally as important, this facilitates cost-effective technology insertion upgrades as needed. The rugged unit offers two standard I/O variants, with user-specific configura- New A172 also incorporates expanded data protection features, additions available. Options include tional customization options up to four independent Gigabit



Lockheed Martin Awarded a $364 million production contract for Army Tactical Missile System Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) announced a $364 million production contract for Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles for the U.S. Army and a Foreign Military Sales customer.

and reliability while in theater. Each ATACMS missile is packaged in a Guided Missile Launch Assembly pod, and is fired from the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) family of launchers. For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin

Missiles and Fire Control has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions, providing highly reliable, combat-proven systems like MLRS, High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, ATACMS and GMLRS to domestic and international customers.

The program will allow the military services to upgrade their existing Block 1 missiles with new technology and double the range, while extending the missiles’ shelf life by more than 10 years and providing warfighters the latest surface-to-surface missile capability. Both the SLEP and new ATACMS rounds will be produced at Lockheed Martin’s Precision Fires Production Center of Excellence in Camden, Arkansas. All missiles under this contract are scheduled to be delivered by January 2021. Lockheed Martin has produced more than 3,850 ATACMS missiles. More than 600 ATACMS have been fired in combat, and the system has demonstrated extremely high rates of accuracy

Molex Announces Acquisition of BittWare New Hampshire company specializes in high-end FPGA computing platforms designed to improve performance and time-to-revenue for OEMs Molex, a leading global manufacturer of electronic solutions, announced today the acquisition of BittWare, Inc., a global leading provider of computing systems featuring field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) deployed in data center compute and network packet processing applications. “Among the foremost FPGA computing platform developers, BittWare brings an impressive breadth of board-level computing technologies, integrated systems and software expertise,” said Tim Ruff, senior vice president of Molex. According to Mark Gilliam, president of Interconnect Systems International, a Molex company, “The acquisition expands on the ca-

The Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) is a conventional surface-to-surface artillery weapon system capable of striking targets well beyond the range of existing Army cannons, rockets and other missiles. ATACMS missiles are fired from the MLRS M270 and M270A1 weapons platform. The ATACMS Block I Missile was very successful in Operation Desert Storm. (Photos by Lockheed Martin)

pabilities of Molex and its subsidiary Nallatech to address the rising demand for FPGA-based high-performance compute and network processing solutions.” Headquartered in Concord, NH, BittWare provides solutions based on FPGA technology from Intel ( formerly Altera) and Xilinx. Many of the world’s leading companies use BittWare FPGA solutions to provide the processing power for demanding applications in compute and data center, military and aerospace, government, instrumentation and test, financial services, broadcast and video. “FPGA-based platforms have become a strategically important driver of machine learning, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, network acceleration, IoT, and other megatrends. As a Molex subsidiary, now working with Nallatech, I believe we will have the critical mass to bring new resources, better processes, and economies of scale to our valued customers and this rapidly growing industry as a whole,” said Jeff Milrod, president and CEO of BittWare.

BittWare commercial products turn the latest FPGA device features into reliable board-level solutions, suitable for both development and deployment in integrated servers. The company serves original equipment manufacture (OEM) customers, who value the decades of engineering experience BittWare brings to designing custom solutions and manufacturing them at scale with partners such as Benchmark Electronics. BittWare products are supported with extensive tools, FPGA IP, and in-house technical support staff. Philpott Ball & Werner, LLC acted as BittWare’s financial advisor. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. COTS Journal | June 2018


READER’S CHOICE In case you missed it: COTs presents our most popular articles from past issues.

IoT and Cloud Computing Gear Up for Military Duty IoT and Cloud Computing solutions from the commercial world are becoming attractive to defense applications as virtualized computing and sensor networking take center stage. John Reardon, Publisher, COTS Journal


COTS Journal | June 2018

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud Computing phenomena continue to skyrocket in the consumer, industrial and IT markets, the defense industry is eager to leverage whatever they can from those technologies. What gets confusing however is that the underlying parts of IoT and “the cloud” are pretty much the same things the U.S. military has been evolving toward for several years now. Case in point: the military has long been interested in perfecting ways to move data captured from a multitude of sensors and collecting it on a virtualized “cloud” network where it can be used from any remote location. But instead of “IoT’ the military has been calling that “Net-Centric” operations for over a decade now. This network-centric idea includes programs to build joint architectures and roadmaps for integrating joint airborne networking capabilities with the evolving ground, maritime and space networks. Note that the military talking about a “Global Information Grid” long before terms like “the cloud” entered the mainstream.

Question of Terminology The challenge therefore gets to be a little bit of identifying what products and technologies serve the needs of military cloud computing and military IoT even when the terminology may not include “cloud” or “IoT. In its basic sense an IoT network is a connection of sensors, embedded devices and systems. Military cloud computing was Mercury Systems’ motivation to re-entered the ATCA two years ago with its Ensemble HDS8613 dual Intel Xeon server-class processor ATCA blade and the Ensemble SFM8104 40 Gb/s Ethernet/ InfiniBand ATCA switch. But there are many vendors in the military embedded computing industry that make high-density severs capable of virtualizing computing without using the word “cloud” in their market. There are many that make networking technologies that function like IoT gateways without using the term “IoT”. And there are numerous vendors expert in technologies that capture and aggregate sensor data and never use terms like “IoT Edge devices”.

One can’t get into the topic of network-centric technologies without including the role of Cisco Systems. The DoD has collaborated closely with Cisco in multiple core network and edge-implantations of the DoD’s networks including what is today called the DoD Information Network (DoDIN). Moreover, routing, switching, unified communications, and security technologies from Cisco enables all the wired and wireless (SATCOM) infrastructures necessary for the DoD’s global coverage. In addition, Cisco technologies are used in net-centric tactical communications programs in all branches of the U.S. Military. Among those programs are the Army’s Warfighter Information Network -Tactical (WIN-T); the Air Force’s Theater Deployable Communications (TDC); the Navy’s Automated Digital Network System (ADNS); and the Marine Corps’ Comm On the Move. Airborne platforms using Cisco technologies include the Navy P3 and TRITON Air Force AWACS, JSTARS, VIP Aircraft, C130s, and Global Hawk.

COTS Journal | June 2018



The system provides up to Up to 24x 3.5 inch HDDs providing up to 240 Terabytes of storage and 4x 2.5-inch HDD/SSDs providing an additional 8 Terabytes of cache storage.

Figure 1: TThe XPand6052 system integrates an XMC/PMC-based Embedded Services Router (ESR) router that runs Cisco IOS Software with Cisco Mobile Ready Net capabilities.

It can be argued that the desire to use gear from the IT and telecom industries driven the kinds of form factor choices used in some military programs. For example, the emergence of 1U rackmount servers in military vehicle mounted systems happened because system developers needed computing systems to work alongside 1U rackmount routers from Cisco and other comms gear from various vendors. Fast forward to today, and that idea has inverted itself: now Cisco’s-switching and routing technologies are being embedded into the box-level products of Cisco’s partners in our embedded computing industry.

Embedded Routing Technology Along those lines, vendors including Curtiss Wright, Extreme Engineering, Elma and General Micro Systems offer a variety of boardand box-level system that provide the functionality of a Cisco router either stand-alone or now often integrated with many other mission computing hardware. The need for unwieldy rack-mounted gear becomes unnecessary when more rugged stand-alone box systems can provide the same functionality. An example along those lines is Extreme Engineering Solutions’ XPand6052 box level system integrates the XPedite5205: an XMC/PMC-based Embedded Services Router (ESR) router that runs Cisco IOS Software with Cisco Mobile Ready Net capabilities (Figure 1).


COTS Journal | June 2018

Meanwhile there are several embedded computing technology companies that are aggressively pursuing the industrial IoT and Cloud Computing market segments alongside—many of which also play in the defense market. It remains to be seen whether or not those companies will have a leg up when it comes to applying IoT and Cloud Computing to military applications. Along those lines, WIN Enterprise last fall introduced its PL-81060, a high-performance server with dual Cavium ThunderX processors optimized as a Cloud and Data Center server (Figure 2). From the 64-bit ARMv8 server processor family, the dual Cavium ThunderX CN8890-2000 processors boast 48 cores each.

In another example, in October Eurotech announced the EDCK 4001, a new Everyware Device Cloud Development Kit that bundles all the hardware and software needed to prototype, develop, test and integrate a complete IoT solution that bridges the gap between sensors, devices and the cloud. While targeted for industrial applications, it’s clear that there’s applicability to defense IoT implementations as well. The EDCK 4001 Development Kit lets users model their use cases starting from a realistic template that integrates all the key elements typical of an industrial IoT chain (Gateway, PLC, field devices, field protocols, cloud services). The EDCK 4001 Development Kit includes a ReliaGATE 10-11, Eurotech’s IoT Gateway for industrial applications, and a PLC connected to a demo board fitted with digital and analog controls. The kit provides all the Virtual Machine, Framework and middleware needed for an IoT implementation. It includes a trial license of Everyware Cloud (EC), Eurotech’s IoT Integration Platform. EC, which provides cloud-based access, visualization and management of the device, and additional services like data storage, analytics and remote software deployment and update.

Hyperconverged Virtualization While a number of vendors have embraced the idea of coverage embedded computing, KALEAO has made it the centerpiece of its of

Figure 2: The PL-81060 is a high-performance server with dual Cavium ThunderX processors optimized as a Cloud and Data Center server with up to 240 Terabytes of storage. The dual Cavium ThunderX CN8890-2000 processors boast 48 cores each.

A50_COTs_2_25x9_875.qxp_A45.qxd 7/23/18 11:12 A

DC-DC Converters Transformers & Inductors DC-DC Converters Figure 2: KMAX dynamically defines “physicalized” computing resources and assigns them directly to virtual machines and applications, without unnecessary software layers.

ferings. Last fall the company introduced its KMAX system that provides compute, storage and networking in an integrated platform. As a hyperconverged platform, KMAX dynamically defines “physicalized” computing resources and assigns them directly to virtual machines and applications, without unnecessary software layers (Figure 3). It uses an ultra-efficient lightweight hypervisor called a microvisor. The microvisor works seamlessly with hardware to orchestrate global pools of software defined and hardware-accelerated resources. KMAX removes the performance overhead that is typical when layering applications over a virtualized, hyperconverged platform running on commodity hardware. The hyperconverged and orchestration functionality can be used to efficiency implement, deliver and manage cloud services, without incurring the typical virtualization compromise between agility and performance. The KMAX uses ARM 64-bit hardware to achieve low power consumption, data locality, high density and high performance. In terms of performance density KMAX provides 1536 CPU cores, 370 Terabytes of all flash storage and 960 Gbits/s in 3U Rackspace. KALEAO claims that’s up to 10 times the performance density than today’s typical hyperconverged offerings, blades and rackmount solutions.

Net Virtualization Solution ADLINK Technology and Wind River— both separately with well-established backgrounds in the IoT space—recently teamed up to establish joint lab facilities in Shanghai, China and San Jose, CA, US, to promote the adoption of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). The Research & Development centers will feature Wind River Titanium Server software running on ADLINK’s hardware platform based on the Modular Industrial Cloud Architecture (MICA) open framework. The combination of technologies will offer a platform for software manufacturers, system device suppliers and service providers to test software rapidly through preliminary platform verification and system optimization. Wind River’s Titanium Server is a complete, commercial NFV infrastructure (NFVI) software platform that delivers carrier grade reliability and performance for NFV applications. By integrating Titanium Server with ADLINK’s rugged hardware platforms, NFV can be achieved at the network edge or in the data center, providing users with greater opportunities to maximize the performance and capacity of their NFV implementation and reduce operating expenses.

2V to 10,000 VDC Outputs 1-300 Watt Modules

• MIL/COTS/Industrial Models • Regulated/Isolated/Adjustable Programmable Standard Models • New High Input Voltages to 900VDC • AS9100C Facility/US Manufactured • Military Upgrades and Custom Modules

Transformers & Inductors

Surface Mount & Thru Hole

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COTS Journal | June 2018



Fail-Safe Data Storage for IoT Applications By Nilesh Badodekar

For decades, the basic architecture of remote sensing nodes consisted of a controller, sensor, local storage memory, network connectivity interface and battery. This architecture has been replicated in all the systems that interact with real world inputs. In an industrial automation system, controllers monitor several sensors at varying rates, store time-stamped sensor data in local memory or expansion memory, and transfer data via industry standard buses like ProfiBus, etc. For an automotive ADAS system or an Event Data Recorder (EDR) system, several MCUs are simultaneously collecting and controlling the electronics of the car for a better driving


COTS Journal | June 2018

experience and fail-safe data logging. A military system requires similar functionality for life-critical sensor data that either gets recorded locally or is uploaded periodically to a central network. All these systems are trying to solve the fundamental problem of collecting data, storing critical parts of it, and taking appropriate action based on data analytics. However, they all have different priorities. Industrial systems tend to capture massive amounts of data in short intervals from a wide variety of sensors and must maintain a detailed log locally as well as remotely. An automotive system might

generate data at a slower rate but data retention is critical and in some cases, data loss can be life threatening. Since most cars tend to run for over a decade, the long-term reliability of storage tends to be a critical criterion when selecting the appropriate memory. Portable systems, on the other hand, tend to prioritize power consumption when selecting the optimal memory technology. Medical implants or hearing aids are highly optimized to store data accurately while consuming the lowest power possible, as these systems operate on a battery supply. Designing fail-safe data storage, with long-term reliability and low power consumption, is one of the criti

cal challenges facing the designers of military systems. With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), every device in the field can begin communicating over the network. A conservative estimate predicts that over 10 billion devices will be connected by the year 2020. Beyond military system, IOT will include cars, industrial automation equipment, medical implants, and new age devices like wearables, smart homes, etc. Next-generation 5G networks are already being deployed in several parts of the world and are expected to handle a majority of the traffic coming from these devices. But there are several unanswered questions which data scientists and system designers are trying to address today. • Which devices need to be connected to the cloud? • How much information needs to be broadcasted? • How much processing can be done locally? • Who pays for the cloud? A trivial approach is to upload everything to the cloud and handle processing remotely. While this may work for smaller and isolated systems, once the world becomes more connected and a plethora of systems are trying to upload information, we’ll need to consider the cost of network vs local storage and process-

ing. An autonomous vehicle can generate several gigabytes of data per hour while driving. To anticipate future demand, now is the time to decide what to transfer and what to store locally for compressed transfer later. The same problem will be faced by industrial and medical system designers. Industry 4.0 is already migrating from “upload everything to the cloud” to a “process locally and upload smartly” approach. This makes choosing the optimal local data storage relevant for future systems. These systems will need reliable, low power, fail-safe memories for storing critical data. One approach is to use available Flash memory to log data. Flash technology is designed for efficient read operations and hence it has become ubiquitous for boot code and firmware storage. As Flash is already available to the system, designers may make the easy choice to use a Flash for data logging without understanding the technology limitations of Flash when it comes to performing write operations. A Flash cell can be “programmed” to contain new data only if the cell is erased beforehand. Programming a cell allows a change from logic ‘1’ state to logic ‘0’. During the next update, if the cells needs to hold a logic ‘1’, the cell must first be erased. To optimize erase speed and program times, Flash manufacturers have created different page, block, and sector architectures. A page

is the smallest quantum of data that can be programmed into the Flash at one time. Flash devices contain an internal page size buffer that allows for temporary storage of data. Once the transfer from the external interface is complete, the device initiates a page program operation on a page that is already erased in the main array. If this page contains old data, then it must be erased prior to a program operation. Every time an erase is performed, the Flash cell deteriorates. This phenomenon is quantified as endurance in a Flash datasheet. Typically, the best Flash devices are rated for endurance cycling of one hundred thousand erase-program cycles and are no longer guaranteed to reliably store data after reaching this limit. While this number appears large on paper, we will demonstrate that this device endurance falls short quickly even in low-end data logging systems. Some manufacturers implement byte programming and delayed programming from buffer to Flash memory. While these features do simplify the program operation into the device, they do not alleviate the Flash devices from the underlying technology limitation of endurance. To compensate for these limitations, the system designer is forced to implement a complex file system to handle wear leveling of Flash cells (i.e., spread wear evenly throughout the cells). The software overhead of a file system slows down the system.

Figure 1: a comparative analysis of packet size versus sampling rate and how it wears down a Flash memory if it is used for datalogging. COTS Journal | June 2018


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Let us evaluate scenarios where designers may consider a Flash-based memory for data logging. In industrial automation and asset management systems, sensor nodes tend to capture data several times per second, periodically sampling several different kinds of sensors. The node then assembles the packets for a network upload. Typically, these data packets can range from 16-bytes to 128-bytes. As there is always a risk of power failure, these packets are stored on a non-volatile memory to avoid data loss. Vibration sensors or stepper motor position sensors provide short bursts of data every few milliseconds while sensors like temperature or humidity provide data once every second, but the logged data packet is comprised of data from several sensors. The tables on previous page provide a comparative analysis of packet size versus sampling rate and how it wears down a Flash memory if it is used for datalogging. This example uses an 8Mbyte of Flash with 10^5 endurance cycles The following graphs provide an interpretation of this data. We observe that for a lowend system, logging 8-16 bytes of data every 1 ms, an 8 Mbyte Flash wears out in under 5

years. An automotive or an industrial system is expected to be in field for over a decade. A low cost, high-risk option of simply adding more Flash memory requires a complex file system to handle wear levelling in Flash devices. If a file system is not implemented, then the system needs to handle the periodic chip erase cycles once the whole memory is rolled over. This problem only gets aggravated in today’s IoT world with ever-increasing data collecting terminals. Flash-based memories are well-suited for boot code and firmware storage, where the number of write cycles don’t exceed more than 1000 throughout the lifetime of the product in field. An ideal approach to address the data-logging problem would be to use a high endurance, instantly non-volatile memory which does not put data at risk due to program and erase delays. Ferroelectric RAMs (FRAM) are suited to address these kinds of applications. FRAM offers endurance cycles of 10^14 cycles, has instant non-volatility, and does not require program and erase operations. Any data that has entered the device interface is instantly stored. To put this in context, a 4-Mbit FRAM can log 128-byte data packet streams every 10us and not wear out for over a thousand years.

FRAM memory cells consume power only when they are being written or read, so standby power consumption is on the order of a few microAmperes. This makes it feasible to operate FRAM memories in devices that run on batteries. Hearing aids and high-end medical wearables designed to sample heartbeats are examples of power-sensitive applications where FRAM can provide the low power and high endurance performance required. In automotive systems, where data is continuously logged into memory, a Flash-based system will fail to capture data during the “program” periods of Flash. In contrast, FRAM-based logging offers high reliability for these systems. The high endurance, ultra-low power consumption, and instant non-volatility of FRAM make it compelling alternative memory for critical data logging in the connected world. Today, FRAM memories are available for specific markets like Automotive and Industrial. FRAM also supports SPI, I2C, and parallel interfaces with densities ranging from 4 Kbits to 4 Mbits. For more details on designing failsafe data storage for IoT applications, see Interfacing FRAM using SPI and Designing an FRAM Data Logger.

Figure 2: Endurance v/s Packet size for different sample rates COTS Journal | June 2018



Defining an Intelligent Pin-Out for High Amperage DC/DC Converters SynQor Introduction As the power voltage for digital circuits falls to the 1.0-1.5V range, and as the power consumed on a load board increases, dc/dc converter modules are being asked to deliver very high output currents. For example, while 5 years ago a half-brick converter could deliver only 30A, today’s highest amperage half-brick converters deliver 100A. Similarly, 5 years ago quarter-brick converters delivered 15A; now they can deliver 60A. To handle this very high level of current, the number of output power pins needs to be doubled. The question remains: where should the extra pins be located? Ideally, the chosen locations should be both optimal for the user and a standard for the converter industry. Unfortunately, several manufacturers have already released products with incompatible extra pin locations. It is therefore up to the consumers to decide which pin location will become the new standard. The purpose of this article is to provide some technical guidance for this decision.

Why do I need to double the power pins? First, it is important to understand that the need to double the number of power pins is not due to the pin’s electrical resistance. An 80 mil diameter copper pin has a resistance of about 20µΩ. When this pin carries 100A, its power dissipation is 0.2W. Since the 100A flows out of the V+ pin and back into the Return (or Ground) pin, a total of 0.4W is lost. By doubling the number of power pins, a savings of only 0.2W is realized. To put this in perspective, a 1.2Vout, 100A converter operating at 83% efficiency dissipates about 25W. Instead, the reason to double the power pins is to reduce the dissipation that occurs on the load board as the output current spreads outward from the pin in the board’s power plane. To understand this point, consider a load board that 22

COTS Journal | June 2018

SynQor’s high amperage half-brick and quarterbrick converters feature an alternative pin-out solution that offers significant performance advantages.

is 12 inches on a side. Assume that the board has four loads, each drawing 25A of current, distributed around the board as shown in Figure 1 see next page, and that a 100A half-brick converter is mounted near one edge of the board. Further assume that the power plane connecting the converter to the loads is made from 1 oz. copper and has a resistance per square of 1mΩ (which takes into account the many vias that generally interrupt it).

Measuring the Voltage Drop Figure 2 on next page shows the voltage profile across the power plane when only one

power pin is used for each terminal of the converter. Note that in this figure, the converter’s pin is the V+ pin (current is flowing out of it), but the nominal dc voltage at this pin (e.g. 1.2V) has been removed from the scale so that we can focus entirely on the voltage drop from the pin to the load. Note also that the simulation includes thermal relief spokes around the pin, although they cannot be seen at this scale. From this simulation we can see an 80 mV drop at a distance of about 6 inches from the pin. This large drop occurs because the current has to first spread out from a small point (the pin) before it can take full advantage of

Figure 3: The voltage profile across the V+ power plane for the case where the converter has two pins for each terminal located adjacent to each other. (The nominal dc voltage has been removed from the scale.) Figure 1: An example load board with a 100A halfbrick converter supplying four 25A loads through 1 oz. power planes.

the width of the power plane. The resistance of this “spreading� region is high. At 100A, the 80 mV results in 8W of dissipation, and that number is again doubled when you take into account the dissipation caused when the current returns to the converter at the Return pin. Both the 16W of dissipation, and the 160mV of voltage drop (13.3% of 1.2V), are too large. Now consider the voltage profile of Figure 3,

in which a second power pin has been added for the V+ terminal. The location of this pin is 0.2 inches inside of (and inline with) the original pin (see Figure 5a on next page). (Note that with the scale of Figure 3 it is not possible to discern the second pin from the first.) This adjacent pin location may be convenient for the layout of the converter, but it does very little to correct the problem for the user. The voltage drop at a comparable point 6 inches away from the converter is about 10mV less

Figure 2: The voltage profile across the V+ power plane for the case where the converter has only one pin for each terminal. (The nominal dc voltage has been removed from the scale.)

than the case where only one terminal pin is used. The total power savings is therefore only 2W out of the 16W. The reason for this marginal improvement can be understood by examining how the current spreads out from the pin. As the simulations show, it takes several inches for the current to spread out enough to take advantage of the width of the power plane. But since the two pins are located only 0.2 inches apart (see Figure 5a), their currents quickly overlap, and

Figure 4: The voltage profile across the V+ power plane for the SynQor solution where the converter has two pins for each terminal located on opposite sides of the converter. (The nominal dc voltage has been removed from the scale.)

COTS Journal | June 2018


Figure 5a: Extra pin location where the same terminal pins are located adjacent to each other.

Figure 5b: SynQor extra pin location where same terminal pins are located on opposite sides of the converter.

it is as though there were just one pin. The advantage of having two pins is limited to the region immediately surrounding the pins, and that region contributes only a small part of the total spreading resistance.

of the spreading still occurs before the two currents overlap, and the design is therefore superior to one in which the two pins of a given terminal are adjacent and only 0.15 inches or less apart.

However, now look what happens when the extra pin is located on the other side of the half-brick converter, 0.2 inches outside of (and inline with) the pin of the opposite polarity as in the SynQor converter (see Figure 5b on previuos page). As the voltage profile in Figure 4 on previous page shows, the voltage drop at a comparable point 6 inches away from the converter is about 40 mV lower than the case where only one terminal pin is used. The total power savings in this case is 8W out of the 16W.

As a final point, the preferred extra pin locations shown in Figures 5b and 6 do more than simply reduce power dissipation in the load board. Some of the heat that a converter creates travels down the pins and spreads out onto the load board. How much heat flows this way depends on how hot the load board is from other sources of dissipation. In our half-brick example above, we saw that the power dissipated in the power plane in the vicinity of the converter was reduced by 8W by

using the preferred pin locations. This reduction makes the load board in the region of the converter that much cooler, and allows more heat to flow down the pins from the converter. This results in a cooler and therefore more reliable converter.

Conclusion Design engineers have much at stake with any new standards that are adopted in the industry. Their voice should be heard as to which pin-out design provides the best overall solution. Any decision on standardization for the high current brick pin-out should take into consideration the technical merits of competing solutions.

This substantial improvement occurs because the two pins, in this case, are 1.6 inches apart instead of 0.2 inches. As such, the current from each pin nearly finishes its spreading before it overlaps with the other current, and the effective spreading resistance is nearly cut in half due to the two parallel paths. Clearly, the extra pin location shown in Figure 5b is superior to the location shown in Figure 5a from the users point of view. A similar statement can be made for the preferred location of the extra pins on a quarter-brick converter. Figure 6 shows this approach where the extra pins are located 0.15 inches outside of (and inline with) the original pins, with opposite terminals adjacent to each other. Although the distance between the two pins of a given terminal is now only 0.75 inches for this smaller converter, much 24

COTS Journal | June 2018

Figure 6: The preferred location of the extra pins for a high amperage quarter-brick.

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Anatomy of the Drone – and Future Directions: How will the Killer/Stunner be put to Practice? ???????????

Although the history of UAVs and Drones charts back to World War II, the proliferation and diversity of these miracle platforms has created a rich Market for Defense Contractors/ Integrators and in kind for Embedded Technology companies. General sentiments vary, from drones are effective and provide a critical means of safety/security to drones provide an unfair advantage and are a threat to innocent human lives. As this controversy wages, the reality is that drones have redefined and reshaped the meaning of Warfare. Today, there are well over 200 varieties of drones that vary by type and mission-critical application. They go by formidable names like Global Hawk, Predator, Shadow, Raven, Valkyrie, Dragon Eye and Black Hornet. Countries with armed drones include the U.S., U.K., China, Israel, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, South Africa, Russia, Somalia – and the list continues to grow. Looking solely at Defense and Military applications, these platforms have four (4) primary uses: • Target & Decoy UAVs – ground/aerial gunnery focused on a target that simulates an enemy missile or aircraft • Reconnaissance UAVs – keeping a watchful eye on Intelligence in the Battlefield • Combat UAVs – attack capability for high-risk missions • R&D UAVs – fosters the continuous development of technology to be integrated and deployed into future combat & field operations.

Black Hornet Nano Micro-Drone demonstrated by British Armed Services

Most of the technology companies that got 26

COTS Journal | June 2018

into the game early (circa 1990) and saw the raw Market potential, have ridden the curve for decades and realized many benefits, including alignment with key Research organizations, major platform builders, Defense Contractors and select Program Offices/Agencies (cross-military lines) that fund and support these programs and platforms. This Market has evolved from the early-stages working with DARPA on hosting a Foliage Penetrating Radar System (FOPEN) on the

Global Hawk (High-Endurance UAV platform), by leveraging a high-density, DSP multi-computing architecture to equipping Predator with an on-board, SBC configuration to support a weapons & munition system to the introduction of utilizing drones for Urban Warfare (to do the front-end scouting and terrain mapping) utilizing a customized graphics processing engine. Drones have gone beyond being Intelligent – with advances for on-board, Linguistics/Arti

ficial Intelligence/Decision Support and other capabilities allowing drones to have their own language to cross-communicate and become fully autonomous.

The technology exists today and we are seeing miniaturization continue with the advent of swarms of Micro-Drones being developed, some with a “Killer/Stunner” purpose.

Drones are becoming one of the bridges to fully realize Interoperability between land, sea and air vehicles.

Several Defense Contractors are also working with the “bright light” Technology Centers to develop microscopic-sized, drones not visible to the human eye that initially will be used

for highly-sensitive, surveillance, reconnaissance and personal targeting and penetration. This Market has experienced rapid acceleration and has a story that can only be rivaled by the best Science Fiction writers, although one has to wonder: Did WOPR have it right – that it preferred a Nice Game of Chess?


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5 Steps to a 15+ Year Rackmount Computer Lifecycle Will Shirley, Technical Marketing Engineer

So just how should you select a rackmount computer that can have a 15+ year lifecycle with proper revision control?

Many applications, such as government, military, medical, and embedded system designs struggle with the typical computer product lifecycles. Most commercial-grade computer have a 1-2 year lifecycle before the computer is EOL (End of Life). There are also very few assurances that the rack mount computer is properly revision-controlled so you can rest assured that nothing inside the computer changes the form, fit, or function. Engineers spend a lot of time and energy determining the right specs, validating the product, getting industry certifications, and then finally getting to full production...and in many cases this spec, test, and certification process can take longer than the computer’s 1-2 year lifecycle.

Start off on the right foot Component selection is crucial Intel recently announced that their newest CPUs and chipsets will be in production for 15 years. Find a processor board supplier that designs and builds their products for as long as possible. At Trenton Systems, we publicly say “7+ years”, but the average processor board tends to have at least 10 years of availability. At the end of the product lifecycle Trenton will notify the customer that the product is going EOL and work to procure parts so that the customer can continue production for many more years to come.


COTS Journal | June 2018

Many commercially available parts (hard drives, 3rd party PCIe cards, etc.) may not have the longevity you need. Make sure you thoroughly interrogate each supplier up front. Don’t just take their word for it; ask to see their ISO 9001 quality procedures (EOL process, manufacturing controls, etc.) In most cases, you are not likely to get 15+ year availability out of a hard drive supplier, as an example, so you need to work with your industrial computer manufacturer to understand their test & approval processes (rev control) for alternate parts. Validate and approve multiple sources for electronic components (capacitors, resistors, I.C.s) so that other sources remain available should one go obsolete. Avoid single sourcing your components. Select a supplier that retains manufacturing process capabilities for older generation products such as RoHS, leaded versus unleaded, clean versus no-clean, etc.

Future-proof your spec Most applications that need a 15+ year product lifecycle are not typically concerned about being on the cutting edge of technology, but it’s important to ensure that you are not designing in a spec that industry trends show to be dwindling technologies. For example, DVD optical media and traditional spinning hard drives

are not likely to be around 15 years from now. Whereas, future revisions of USB and PCI Express are likely to be backwards compatible in the future, making them a safer bet. Start your spec and test process before the computer platform is released. Work with the future in mind. Remember, your goal is to get as many years as possible in production, so you don’t want to spec in a rackmount computer system from the start that has already been in production for a few years. Having a working partnership with your industrial computer supplier is crucial. In many cases the computer supplier can get beta / prototype systems in your lab for testing software even before the product is released to the general market. This could potentially add months to a system’s lifecycle, and provides the peace of mind that comes from knowing your application software is running on a proven platform.

Ensure you get the same form, fit, and function computer through the whole lifecycle I hear too many stories of industrial computer manufacturers that make significant changes to the product so that they can extend the lifecycle. That’s cheating—and more importantly, prohibited by many Military and Government procurement contracts—and it may affect your software or product reliability. I understand that sometimes smaller components (i.e., oscillators) may become obsolete, but at what level does it affect the form, fit, or function of the computer? That’s an engineering decision…not an accounting decision. An

engineer needs to thoroughly review the specs for the new part and in many cases, bring the prototype part into the lab for testing. Let your computer supplier know just how sensitive your application is to revision changes. If you need to verify every single change down to the component level then they need a formal system in place to keep you in the loop. Most applications only want/need to be informed if the change could potentially affect the form, fit, or function of the computer. For example, changing the CPU would have obvious implications on your software and that’s an extreme change…but if a resistor on the processor board changes from 5% tolerance to 1% you may not necessarily want to be involved. There is a lot of grey area in the middle so be open and upfront with your computer supplier about your needs.

Don’t forget about product warranty What good does it do to have a 15+ year product lifecycle if the supplier can’t repair the products? If, after the warranty period expires, you see fans failing or hard drive crashes, you would be stuck and their 15+ availability doesn’t do you much good. Make sure your computer supplier takes repairs and warranty seriously and doesn’t just push you into their “latest and greatest” products.

Last time buy process At some point there will be a definitive EOL part with no form, fit, or function alternate that will force the computer to go EOL. Ensure that your supplier has the proper notification process in place to let you know in advance

that the product is going EOL. This should be a formal and automatic quality procedure to notify active customers with as much notice as possible. Many times this notification process is called a Product Information Notice (PIN). Work with your supplier to stock EOL parts. In most cases it’s just a few parts that are impacting the EOL status. You don’t want fully built computers sitting in your inventory collecting dust, your accounting group doesn’t want to be liable for the whole product, and you don’t want your warranty ticking away. A good rackmount computer manufacturer will work with you and just make you liable for the actual EOL parts and you can come to an agreement on how many more sets of parts will get you the extra years of lifecycle your application needs.

In Conclusion Component selection is important if you wish to future-proof your rackmount server and achieve a 15+ year product lifecycle. You must monitor form, fit, and function to ensure no shortcuts are implemented that could negatively impact software performance or hardware compatibility. An experienced industrial rackmount computer manufacturer will have the processes in place necessary to ensure strict revision control and should offer an above industry average warranty. Additionally, experienced, in-house technical support with access to design and test engineers will ensure any issues you encounter can be quickly resolved. Finally, a defined EOL process will provide you with the time necessary to deal with product obsolescence concerns and potential modernization and upgrade pathways.

COTS Journal | June 2018


Solving the power challenges of SWaP-C requirements for Avionics Computers

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June 2018


New Quad-port Gigabit Ethernet XMC Modules Available in RJ45, SFP, and Rear I/O Versions to Meet a Variety of Application Requirements

Three new 1GbE Network Interface Card (NIC) mezzanine modules provide a flexible, highdensity solution for Ethernet communication over fiber or copper media. Acromag’s new XMC610 Series modules provide four independent gigabit Ethernet interface ports when used on VME, VPX, PCIe or other embedded computing carrier boards. The industry-leading Intel® I350 Ethernet Controller interfaces with the PCIe bus via four high-speed serial lanes on the XMC P15 connector. Three models are available. The XMC611 model offers four RJ45 connectors on the front panel for copper cabling while the XMC612 substitutes four SFP connectors to additionally support fiber optic media. The rear I/O model XMC613 routes four 1000BASE-T connections to the P16 connector and is compatible with conduction-cooling frames. Designed for COTS applications, these XMC modules are ideal for use in defense, aerospace, industrial, and scientific research computing systems. All versions are lead-free with prices starting at $670.

BOXX Introduces the World’s Most Advanced Computer Workstation APEXX D5 with Intel® Xeon ® Scalable Processors Supports up to 56 CPU Cores and Five GPUs for the Most Demanding Workflows. BOXX Technologies, the leading innovator of high-performance computer workstations, rendering systems, and servers, has introduced the APEXX D5, the world’s most advanced professional workstation. Built to accommodate complex rendering, broadcast graphics, multi-display walls, or the training of deep neural networks, the highly configurable APEXX D5 reaches new levels of rendering and simulation performance. “In many cases, industries have specific workflow requirements that can only be solved with the ultimate hardware, said Shoaib Mohammad, BOXX VP of Marketing and Business Development. “APEXX D5 offers a level of performance not found in any other workstation.” The most advanced x86 workstation on

“As we continue to move our I/O products forward onto PCIe platforms via XMC modules, we saw a need to expand our Ethernet offering starting with these three boards” stated Russell Nieves, Acromag’s Vice President of Sales. “As a world leader in I/O, we will continue to release additional products with higher speeds to keep pace with our customers’ evolving requirements.” Employing Intel’s advanced I350 4-port gigabit Ethernet controller, these networking modules introduce new levels of performance the market, the liquid-cooled APEXX 5 can be custom-configured with up to five NVIDIA® Quadro™,GeForce™, or AMD® Radeon Pro™ graphics

including improved power management technologies, such as energy-efficient Ethernet and direct memory access coalescing. Other enhancements add flexibility for virtual functions and increased offload capabilities. Auto-negotiation supports 10/100/1000 Mbps data rates. A 3.3V low power design and extended temperature operation from -40 to 85°C further simplify system integration. Acromag

cards, as well as a multitude of hard drives, memory, and CPU cores. Featuring dual Intel® Xeon® SP processors for up to 56 cores and up to 2TB DDR42666MHz ECC Reg system memory, APEXX D5 is ideal for GPU rendering in V-Ray®, Octane Render, and Redshift, as well as open source machine learning software like TensorFlow. “As more and more industries incorporate deep learning into their operations, BOXX is leading the way with an outstanding line of AI solutions like the APEXX D5,” said Mohammad. “In addition, this state-of-the-art workstation is a perfect solution for complex rendering, real-time broadcast graphics, multi-display walls, and other unique applications.” For further information and pricing on APEXX D5, contact BOXX at 1-877-877-2699. Learn more about APEXX workstations, BOXX rendering and deep learning solutions, BOXX Finance options, and how to contact worldwide resellers, by visiting BOXX Technologies.

COTS Journal | June 2018



COT’S PICKS Annapolis Micro Systems Partners with TE Connectivity to Introduce FPGA Boards with High Density RF Connectors

These cutting-edge COTS boards integrate up to two Xilinx Virtex® UltraScale+™ FPGAs and a Xilinx Zynq® UltraScale+ MPSoC motherboard controller. Each board also has one (3U) or two (6U) WILD FMC+ (WFMC+™) next generation I/O site(s), for dense, high-bandwidth ADCs and/or DACs.

Annapolis Micro Systems, a leading FPGA board and systems supplier, and TE Connectivity (TE), a rugged connector and sensor manufacturer, announced today three new high-performance FPGA boards that feature the NanoRF module. The halfsize NanoRF is designed to fit into the VITA 67.3 form factor and supports 70 GHz bandwidth, with more than double the RF contact density of existing VITA 67 solutions.

Eliminating the need for front panel coaxial cables, the NanoRF design leverages the alignment features of optical (VITA 66) modules. A floating insert on the backplane pre-aligns the RF contact array before the contacts start to engage. This rugged precision alignment is critical in blindmate plug-in architecture, which requires high reliability under extreme conditions.

The three new OpenVPX boards are now available for delivery: • WILDSTAR 3XB0 3U OpenVPX FPGA Processor • WILDSTAR 3XB1 3U OpenVPX FPGA Processor • WILDSTAR 6XB2 6U OpenVPX FPGA Processor

“The NanoRF gives us super high density out the backplane in a really tight package,” said Noah Donaldson, Annapolis Micro Systems Chief Technology Officer. “This breakthrough connectivity allows us to utilize the full performance capability of these

super-powered FPGA boards and our high-channelcount I/O cards.” TE gave Annapolis early access to the NanoRF; widespread launch will take place in August. The three FPGA processors supplement Annapolis’ WILD™ EcoSystem. The EcoSystem is an interoperable portfolio of rugged high-performance OpenVPX and PCIe COTS boards and systems that are used for challenging data acquisition, digital signal processing, and data storage applications. The FPGA boards are designed for advanced High Performance Computing (HPC) and Electronic Warfare (EW) applications, including DRFM, beamforming, sensor processing, wireless communication, and radar signal processing. Annapolis Micro Systems .

3XB0 with 12-contact NanoRF, circled in red. Photo also shows an 8-Channel WILD FMC+ 8A30 ADC Mezzanine.

The widest selection of VPX power supplies, without the high cost of full-customization Most manufacturers offer just a few VPX power supplies off the shelf. The Behlman VPXtra® series offers 20 diverse COTS DC to DC, AC to DC and hold-up units that can be configured for a wide range of high-end industrial and military airborne, shipboard, ground and mobile applications – without the cost of full-custom development.

• Xtra-reliable design, Xtra-rugged construction • State-of-the-art engineering standard • Both 3U and 6U, VITA 62, OpenVPX compliant Insist on the leader. Not just VPX, VPXtra®

ORBIT POWER GROUP Behlman Electronics • 631-435-0410 • 32

COTS Journal | June 2018

June 2018

COT’S PICKS Avalex Technologies introduces its new rugged, powerfull and lightweight AST3127 12” thin profile aviation tablet computer with capacitive touchscreen Avalex Technologies, a leading military aviation tablet manufacturer, have announced the introduction of the new AST3127, 12” thin-profile, ruggedized aviation tablet computer developed specifically for military air transport aircraft. “Up until now crews flying legacy transports like the KC-10, C-130 and C-17 have not had the benefits of large-format, touchscreen displays on the flight deck,” stated Tony Hatten, Vice President of Business Development for Avalex Technologies. “Our new AST3127 thin-profile, fully-qualified and ruggedized aviation tablet computer delivers an array of situational awareness enhancing capabilities to the flight crews of these aircraft without the high costs of complete avionics upgrades.” “The large-format, capacitive touchscreen display and high-speed graphics capabilities enables flight crews to quickly access critical mission information including real-time updates of mission progress, maps, weather, terrain and full-size approach plates,” he stated. “In addition, to provide the highest level of definition and image visibility in any cockpit lighting conditions, the new AST3127 tablet has a fully-sunlight readable 12.1” WXGA display.”

About the new Avalex Technologies AST3127 12” aviation tablet computer: • Fully Mil-Spec qualified portable tablet computer • 12.1” 16:9 aspect ratio WXGA display with 1280 x 800 resolution • Enables large format viewing of approach plates, charts, maps, weather, terrain and mission information • Capacitive touchscreen with pinch-zoomswipe capabilities • Lightweight, only 2.5” deep • Dual core Intel 17 high-speed processor • Gigabit Ethernet or USB port connectivity • Solid-state drive or SD card for quick uploads of critical mission data • Standard panel or swing-arm mounting capabilities • Night Vision Imaging System compatibility optional • And more. “Avalex has a long history of providing cost-effective cockpit display solutions that deliver the highest-degree of capabilities and reliability to our brave military flight crews around the world,” Hatten said. “By bringing new-generation functionality and situational awareness to the crews flying our legacy transport aircraft, the AST3127 is helping our crews complete their missions safer and with greater success.” Avalex Technologies

New Librero SoC PolarFire Design Suite from Microsemi Introducing the Libero® system-on-chip (SoC) PolarFire Design Suite, with lower static power devices to the PolarFire field-programmable-gate array (FPGA) family and delivering even greater productivity. Available now, the Libero SoC PolarFire Design Suite v2.2 gives designers access to “L” series PolarFire devices which deliver 30 percent lower static power over standard PolarFire FPGAs, making them ideal for low power portable defense and professional grade consumer systems. With FPGAs, software is as important as the caliber of FPGAs being utilized for design. Microsemi’s investment in its Libero SoC PolarFire Design Suite continues to support the industry’s growing interest in FPGA technology. The newly enhanced design suite enables faster design completion with a 15 percent improvement in runtime for place and route, together with a 2.5x runtime improvement for programming file generation. The latest software release further reduces design flow bottlenecks with new support for pre-design transceiver modeling. Since the first release of the Libero SoC PolarFire Design Suite, customers across communications, defenseand industrial markets have adopted PolarFire FPGAs to substantially lower their systems’ total cost of ownership by taking advantage of the family’s 35 to 50 percent lower power advantage over competing devices, as well as the ability to operate in harsh thermal environments. “Libero SoC PolarFire Design Suite version 2.2 further supports adoption of our PolarFire FPGAs, which expands our addressable FPGA market to more than $2.5 billion covering both the low end and mid-range markets,” said Rajeev Jayaraman, vice president of software and systems engineering at Microsemi. “The latest release’s introduction of lower static power devices and emphasis on productivity gains underscores our overall commitment to provide designers with tools which are comprehensive, easy to use and easy to adopt for low power FPGA designs.”

New, ultra-thin 12” fully-qualified, aviation tablet computer brings next-generation, large format approach plates, charts, weather, maps and situational awareness capabilities into the cockpits of legacy military transport aircraft. 34

COTS Journal | June 2018

Microsemi’s Libero SoC PolarFire v2.2 software toolset is now available for download from Microsemi’s website. Microsemi Corporation

June 2018


Mercury Systems Debuts Defense Industry’s First Secure Solid-State Drive Featuring MLC Flash Technology

Performance-enhancing algorithms with embedded security deliver sustained, high-speed read/write operations for unpredictable and hostile military environments Mercury Systems, Inc. launched its new BuiltSECURE™ TRRUST-Stor® solid-state drive (SSD) featuring high-speed serial ATA and non-volatile memory express interfaces to a host computing system. The new secure SSD product

marries one terabyte of industrial-grade multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash with Mercury’s exclusive ARMOR® 4 NAND processor. With a compact, military-hardened 2.5-inch form factor enclosure, Mercury’s new design architecture sustains 1GB per second read and write operations in environmentally rugged military applications without sacrificing security. State-of-the-art defense electronics incorporate numerous sensor systems for real-time data collection. As more of these sensor systems are deployed in military platforms, each system is also tasked with storing larger volumes of data per unit of time. These rich data streams must be stored for off-line analysis where the smallest signals of military interest must be discerned. However, continuous high-speed operation in thermally and mechanically stressful military environments places a tremendous demand on data storage devices to operate without interruption for extended periods of time. Further complicating this scenario, these systems also require the strongest encryption technology to ensure robust data protection in the event of enemy capture.

“Having perfected the implementation of security in a commercial SSD purpose-built for the defense industry, we have now expanded the breadth of our secure SSD portfolio to address applications appropriate for MLC flash memory technology without compromising the integrity of highly valuable data,” said Iain Mackie, Vice President and General Manager of Mercury’s Microelectronics Secure Solutions group. “Today, defense prime contractors and our nation’s warfighters can leverage our most affordable, battle-tested BuiltSECURE technology for their most sophisticated defense electronics systems.” Conventional SSD devices, with bolt-on security solutions adapted for military applications, rely upon commercial-grade NAND flash memory paired with mass-produced SSD controllers of foreign origin. Upon exposure to the extremes in temperature common to military environments, these devices throttle down data transfer rates, thus compromising mission success. In contrast, Mercury’s new secure SSD for heavy-duty read/write operation is precision engineered to deliver sustainable, high-speed data transfers over an industrial temperature range of -40 to +85 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, Mercury’s new product was designed to operate during the extreme mechanical shock and vibration conditions encountered in military deployments. As with all of Mercury’s commercial SSD devices, customers selecting the new TRRUST-Stor product can rest assured that its BuiltSECURE technology has received FIPS 197 certification of compliance to the advanced encryption standard with 256 bit keys in the XTS block cipher mode (AES-256 XTS). Mercury’s resolute commitment to security extends far beyond product design and into the cadence of its daily operations. The Company’s entire portfolio of advanced digital microelectronic solutions are designed and manufactured in a Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA)-accredited facility for design, packaging, test and broker services. Mercury’s dedication to excellence in all aspects of industrial security has been recognized with several of its facilities having received a Superior rating from the Defense Security Service (DSS). Super Micro Computer, Inc.

Concurrent Technologies reloads VME product line based on latest generation processors Concurrent Technologies, a leading supplier of processor solutions for demanding environments, announces two new VME boards for long life-cycle deployments that are expected to remain in the market beyond 2030. VP B7x/ msd is based on an 8th generation Intel® Xeon® processor for applications that need high compute or virtualization capability. VP F6x/msd is optimized to maximize I/O capability and is suitable for those applications that need to boot legacy operating systems. Air-cooled products are available for evaluation and rugged conduction-cooled versions are scheduled, pending the conclusion of environmental qualification testing. VP B7x/msd is based around a six-core Intel® Xeon® processor E-2176M ( formerly known as Coffee Lake) and up to 32Gbytes of DDR4 memory. VP F6x/msd is fitted with a four-core Intel® Xeon® processor E3-1505L v6 and includes dual PMC/XMC sites plus an option for two additional PMC modules using a carrier card in a 2-slot configuration. Both boards have a site for a SATA based Flash drive up to 128Gbytes, an M.2 site for up to 1Tbytes of high speed PCI Express® NVMe storage and an adapter for a 2-5inch Solid State Disk. In addition, a variety of USB, RS232, Gigabit Ethernet and display interfaces are supported. For security conscious customers, Concurrent Technologies offers several options: a TPM 2.0 device and Secure Boot are standard features with Sanitization Utilities and our Guardian Security Package also available. Guardian enables customers to deploy sensitive applications through a range of hardware, firmware and software features that deter tampering and lock access to intellectual property. Glen Fawcett, CEO of Concurrent Technologies, commented: “We announced our previous VME boards in 2015 to provide users with dependable products that they could deploy in a range of environmental conditions. This announcement enhances our portfolio and further extends the life-cycle for those customers committed to the VMEbus standard through the implementation of some of the latest processors.” Concurrent Technologies

COTS Journal | June 2018


June 2018


Abaco Wins Order to Help Equip Fleet of Fighter Aircraft • Product Lifecycle Management program ensures continued product availability for long term programs • Demonstrates continuing viability of VME architecture

Abaco announced that it had won an order from a leading aerospace and defense company involved in the design, fabrication and assembly of aircraft, jet engines, helicopters and their spare parts. The order is for a quantity of Abaco’s PowerXtreme PPC4B 6U VME single board computers that will be deployed in the light combat aircraft of a major US ally. The order is valued at $1.8 million. Design of the fighter aircraft began in the 1990s, with the maiden flight taking place in 2007. Abaco’s PPC4B was originally designed-in to the platform, and this order supports the latest production run. “The PPC4B is no longer in production, but such is the nature of Abaco’s Lifetime Product Lifecycle Management program, we were able to commit to the customer at the time of first order that we would continue to supply both products for as long as they were needed – and we’re continuing to live up to that commitment,” said John Muller, Chief Growth Officer, Abaco Systems. “For the customer, the benefit is that the extensive qualification of the aircraft’s mission computer that originally took place does not require to be repeated – saving substantially in both time and expense.” ”The order also demonstrates the truth of our assertion that the VME architecture will continue to be important for the foreseeable future,” 36

COTS Journal | June 2018

Muller continued. “There are many similar programs that have been deployed for a decade or more where the design is proven and trusted, and where re-qualification would be an intolerable burden. We will continue to develop new VMEbased products, and to support those we have previously announced, for as long as our customers need us to.”

Abaco introduced its first full military 6U VME single board computer in 1986. Since that time, the PowerXtreme family has been regularly enhanced to leverage the newest technologies, enabling customers to achieve higher performance at minimal cost with upgrades that are form, fit and function compatible with their predecessors. Over the past 30+ years, Abaco has developed more than 80 products based on the VME architecture. Many thousands of PowerXtreme family single board computers have been deployed, including by the US Navy’s MK-48 ADCAP/ACOT program. The newest addition to the PowerXtreme family is the PPC11A, which takes advantage of the latest QorIQ™ T2081/T1042 Power Architecture™ processors to provide a straightforward, low risk, cost-effective upgrade path/technology insertion opportunity for existing users. This brings the benefits of AltiVec™ co-processing to a 4-core platform, each of which is dual threaded, offering eight virtual e6500 cores. Customers would typically see a 2x improvement in performance compared with the predecessor board. The PPC11A is available in two versions, providing customers with the ability to choose the best power/performance match for the planned application. Abaco Systems

Elma’s Open VPX CMOSS Backplane Supporting the DoD C4ISR Modular Open Suite of Standards for hardware convergence

With you at every stage! Elma Electronic Inc., USA


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Add Removable SSDs To Your VME System

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• VME boards with SATA, USB or SCSI interface • Fixed or removable options using COTS SSDs • Removable module rated for 100,000 mating cycles • Discrete controlled military secure erase options • P2 adapters available

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COTS Journal | June 2018

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