COTS Journal, September 2020

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September 2020, Volume 22 – Number 9 •

The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

JOURNAL Facing the Threat of a Potential FPGA Shortage: a Call to Action Software Defined Radio and the Future of Test and Simulation

The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing 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.


By Martin Hart, Chief Executive Officer, TopLine Corporation



Facing the Threat of a Potential FPGA Shortage: a Call to Action 6

Publisher’s Note 889 Strikes Fear in Sub-contractors

8 The Inside Track

Software Defined Radio and the Future of Test and Simulation By Brandon Malatest, Founder of Per Vices


Editor’s Choice for September

Cover Image A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying NASA astronaut and Retired Marine Corps Col. Douglas Hurley and fellow crew member Robert Behnken is seen in this false color infrared exposure as it launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station, May 30.

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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing





AD TRAFFIC Vaughn Orchard



Tom Williams

Glenn ImObersteg Robert Hoffman






COTS Journal | September 2020

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John Reardon, Publisher

889 Strikes Fear

in Sub-contractors

The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council recently released an interim rule governing Section 889(a)(1) (B) of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.

cameras and surveillance tools employed that never were considered a threat and consequently will require a complete audit to accurately identify.

All U.S. government contractors should take heed.

So as the debate of terms such as “Use” or “Entity” continues, so does the debate as to terms “Substantial”

Defense contractors now have until September 30th to implement the ban on Chinese telecommunications products from companies such as Huawei. ZTE and others. Your initial thoughts are that you don’t have any worries. That the product that you sell is specific and you are confident that you can represent that the company is in compliance – but are you? Let me ask: • Do you have a remote office that communicates through a Huawei router – possibly your overseas office? • Does the trucking company moving your materials use logistical tools from a listed company? • Does the camera used for security purposes come from Dahua (A listed company)? Quoting research from Forescount dated May of 2019, they found 27,000 Huawei, and close to 14,000 ZTE devices were connected to public sector networks. And of course, this doesn’t include the numerous video 6

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U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping make joint statements at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

or “Essential”. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence or ODNI is working on plans to create a “green list” of 1500 to 2000 low-risk concerns. These include suppliers of office supplies, food services, janitorial services, and similar products or services. But as you move to laptops, desktops, cell phones, and other devices that transmit data – considered “Red List” – exemptions will be harder. And for those of you that supply key ingredients for weapon systems or C4ISR (out at the edge), exemptions will be dealt with individually and assumed to be nearly impossible. The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council will consider extending waivers to allow for exceptions, but all indications are that the process will be both arduous as well as possibly jeopardize a vendor’s standing as a supplier. The position that it will only take one device to compromise an entire network coupled with the fear that our Congressional leaders have of China continues to amplify these stringent requirements. Huawei is leading the fight to abolish 889 by filing a lawsuit against the American Government claiming

... they found 27,000 Huawei, and close to 14,000 ZTE devices were connected to public sector networks.

that they harming the American People by prohibiting a free market. They go on to claim that this is not Constitutional and will cause other governments to adopt a similar stance even though there is no history or evidence of a threat. Huawei has convoluted ownership that is described as a “Collective” but it is interesting that significant funds are paid to a “Trade Union” that is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. It is also interesting to note that Huawei has been highly vocal against allowing foreign suppliers of telecommunications equipment within China as a national security threat. I sympathize with those that claim this market is already difficult, but if you haven’t already taken action to affirm that you are in compliance, you may be jeopardizing all your hard work to date. After conquering all the rigorous technical concerns to lose an opportunity due to the inability to clearly represent compliance would be a shame. The Prohibition Section 889 creates a general prohibition on telecommunications or video surveillance equipment or services produced or provided by the following companies (and associated subsidiaries or affiliates): • Huawei Technologies Company; or • ZTE Corporation It also prohibits equipment or services used specifically for national security purposes, such as public safety or security of government facilities, provided by the following companies (and associated subsidiaries or affiliates): • Hytera Communications Corporation; • Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company; or • Dahua Technology Company

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Northrop Grumman’s EGI-M Navigation System Completes Critical Design Review Northrop Grumman Corporation has completed the critical design review (CDR) milestone for the Embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) / Inertial Navigation System (INS)-Modernization, or EGI-M, program. Northrop Grumman’s EGI-M Navigation System Completes Critical Design Review. The F-22 is one of the lead platforms for EGI-M integration. “The completion of this milestone is a key step in bringing necessary navigation capability upgrades to our warfighters,” said Brandon White, vice president, navigation and positioning systems, Northrop Grumman. “With its open architecture and government ownership of the key internal interfaces, EGI-M’s next-generation navigation solution allows the government to quickly insert emerging capabilities from 3rd parties while maintaining cybersecurity and airworthiness.” EGI-M provides state-of-the-art airborne


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navigation capabilities with an open architecture that enables rapid responses to future threats. The fully modernized system integrates new M-Code capable GPS receivers, provides interoperability with civil controlled air space, and implements a new resilient time capability. Northrop Grumman’s unique, modular platform interface design enables backward compatibility with existing platform footprint and interfaces (A-Kits), allowing current platforms to easily integrate and deploy Northrop Grumman’s EGI-M solution. At the same time, EGI-M’s modular software/hardware, coupled with government ownership of key interfaces, allows EGI-M to benefit from rapid upgrades with the best of breed software and hardware technologies now and in the future. Northrop Grumman has been on contract for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of EGI-M since November

2018. The CDR milestone marks the completion of the detailed hardware and software design of the EGI-M product line. The launch platforms for Northrop Grumman’s EGI-M are F-22 and E-2D. Additional fixed-wing and rotary-wing platforms across the Department of Defense and allied forces have already selected Northrop Grumman’s EGI-M as their future navigation solution. Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense, and cyberspace to meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology, and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products, and services. L3Harris Technologies will lead a team to help transform the U.S. Air Force’s flight simulator training used to help develop highly skilled aircrews.



Lockheed Martin Selected To Integrate Missile Warning Onto EGS Via FORGE Modernized satellite mission software will advance space resiliency and efficiency

The Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center awarded a $51.2 million contract on Aug. 3, 2020, to Lockheed Martin to architect, design, develop, integrate, test, and validate the Geosynchronous (GEO) Non-Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment (ITWAA) Ops Migration to Enterprise Ground Services (EGS) (GNOME) mission software onto the next-generation Enterprise Ground System (EGS). GNOME will integrate Mission Management and Telemetry, Tracking, and Commanding (TT&C) for the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO 5 or GEO 6 satellite onto the

EGS framework, as well as serve as a command and control (C2) pathfinder for the follow-on Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) satellites. GNOME will be rapidly developed and integrated using Agile software methodologies, which have a proven track record over a decade for many Lockheed Martin Space customers. Agile lets us deliver iterative features and fix bugs as we go. It dramatically improves the software engineering quality and delivery timelines while avoiding cost overruns that previous software delivery models sometimes face. The U.S. Space Force is focused on building a more flexible, resilient, and survivable missile early warning system, while also reducing long-term sustainment and operations costs. Our nation’s advanced infrared surveillance satellites will soon be integrated via the

Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution (FORGE) onto the next-generation ground system, the Government-owned, open-architecture, EGS system. FORGE and EGS are programs within the Cross-Mission Ground & Communications Enterprise directorate at SMC. The directorate was established to integrate and modernize tactical, operational, and data transport ground capabilities across the space enterprise. Lockheed Martin has worked in tandem with the U.S. military as its lead missile warning mission integrator for the past 20 years. The company has designed and launched four SBIRS GEO missile warning satellites; is modernizing the design of the SBIRS GEO 5/6 spacecraft to provide more resiliency and efficiency; is developing Block 0 of the Next Generation OPIR GEO missile warning satellites, and has served as lead sustainment and operations contractor.

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Two NATO countries choose Safran’s latest-generation E-NYX™ night vision goggles

Safran Electronics & Defense recorded the first two orders for its new E-NYXTM wide fieldof-view night vision goggles (NVG) at the end of June. Combining extremely lightweight with enhanced reliability, robustness, and performance, in particular, due to its expanded 47° field of view, E-NYXTM has been selected by two NATO countries that recently confirmed their plans to join the Takuba Task Force(1). E-NYXTM is Safran’s Enhanced multirole NVG. It draws on the full range of expertise in portable optronics (electro-optical equipment) and image intensification built up over the last 30 years by Safran and its strategic partner, Theon Sensors. The two partners have already deliv-


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ered some 160,000 image intensifier devices to armed forces from around the world.

systems, navigation, geolocation, and real-time Blue Force Tracking (BFT).

E-NYXTM features the latest generation of image intensifier tubes (IIT) designed and built by a French company and reflecting the state-ofthe-art in European defense optronics. Weighing less than 500 grams, E-NYXTM spans all requirements for today’s infantry soldiers, including tactical movements, observation, vehicle control, and firing weapons of all calibers, thanks to its compatibility with laser illuminator-pointers in the 830-960nm frequency band.

These first two orders confirm Safran’s position as a world leader in portable optronics for dismounted soldiers. Produced in France, E-NYXTM clearly illustrates the country’s expertise in high-performance portable optronics, as well as the global reach of this French center of excellence.

These advanced night vision goggles offer native compatibility with Safran’s ECOTI/ECOSI(2) clip-on, to add anti-camouflage and seespot(3) capabilities thanks to the addition of an infrared channel. They also feature advanced connectivity, including connections to NATO-standard information and communications

• The Takuba Task Force, comprising special forces from European countries, was created to fight terrorist groups in the Sahel region. • Enhanced Clip-On Thermal Imager (ECOTI); Enhanced Clip-On SWIR Imager (ECOSI). • See-spot allows the display of laser pointing spots emitted by vehicle-mounted or troop-carried target designators for terminal guidance of munitions.



Lockheed Martin Selected To Integrate Missile Warning Onto EGS Via FORGE

The L3Harris team – including CAE USA, CymSTAR, Dell Technologies, and Leidos – will support the Air Force’s Simulators Common Architecture Requirements and Standards (SCARS) program, which will integrate and standardize the service’s aircraft training simulators. The team will help the Air Force develop a set of common standards for simulator design and operation. Simulators are built by multiple providers using unique interfaces, which makes training updates difficult. SCARS’ stricter cybersecurity criteria will enable the Air Force to link simulators together, perform remote software updates, and enrich the training environment. There are approximately 2,400 simulators across 300 locations that will be updated with the new common architecture over the next few years. The initial task order covers

nine sites and integrates new standards into the A-10 and KC-135 platforms. “The future of Air Force training is here. The L3Harris team will transform the simulator infrastructure and provide the Air Force with increased cybersecurity and a common operating environment,” said Todd Gautier, President, Aviation Systems, L3Harris. “The integrated solution will allow the Air Force to grow into multiple platforms and provide crews with a more realistic training environment.” “As we move to multi-domain operations there’s an increased focus on commonality and interoperability for all Department of Defense training efforts,” said Lt. Col. Rick Jaime, Materiel Leader, Operational Training Infrastructure at the U.S. Air Force, “We look forward to working collaboratively with our prime and partners to create a unique approach to synthetic training environments. These are capabilities that will integrate into broader training systems in the future.”

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Boeing Australia ‘Fires Up’ Engine on First Loyal Wingman Aircraft

Boeing Australia powered up the commercial turbofan engine on the first Loyal Wingman aircraft in September, as part of ground testing and preparations for the first flight. This milestone comes on the heels of Boeing completing the first unmanned Loyal Wingman aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force earlier this year, a major step forward for the unmanned vehicle serving as the foundation for the global Boeing Airpower Teaming System, an artificial intelligence-powered teaming aircraft developed for the global defense market. “This engine run gets us closer toward flying the first aircraft later this year and was successful thanks to the collaboration and dedication of our team,” said Dr. Shane Arnott, program director of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System. “We’ve been able to select a very light, off-the-shelf jet engine for the unmanned system as a result of the advanced manufacturing technologies applied to the aircraft.”


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Major European Aerospace Company Chooses GNAT Pro Ada Targeted to Wind River’s VxWorks 6.x Cert RTOS on PowerPC AdaCore’s GNAT Pro Ada Toolsuite Selected for Development of Unmanned Aerial System

AdaCore announced that Airbus Helicopters (France) has selected the GNAT Pro tool suite and the Ada programming language to develop new software components for the VSR700 prototype project. VSR700 is Airbus Helicopters’ tactical unmanned aerial system (UAS) designed to meet the demanding requirements of global navies and armies in the 21st century. Airbus Helicopters selected AdaCore’s GNAT Pro Ada for PowerPC VxWorks 6.x/Cert based on several criteria, including ease of integration into the existing development infrastructure, the ability to develop monitoring algorithms, and the capacity to help certify the software up to DO-178C Design Assurance Level B.

“We selected AdaCore and the Ada language because we believe that this technology and related tools will increase the maintainability and quality of our software and make it easier to provide some evidence for certain software certification objectives,” said Matthieu Vatinet, Head of Embedded Software Products, Airbus Helicopters. “The quality of AdaCore’s support was an important advantage, and another anticipated benefit was the ease of developing mature code.” “Knowing that the Airbus Helicopters team needed to develop highly reliable and safe code for their VSR700 prototype project, we were extremely pleased that they selected Ada and AdaCore,” said Jamie Ayre, Commercial Director at AdaCore. “The GNAT Pro Ada tool suite offers exceptional verification abilities that will help Airbus to detect problems early in their development process when they are easiest and least costly to correct. And our support services will address any questions or issues that may arise.”

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PacStar Awarded Contract to Support U.S. Army Expeditionary Signal Battalion - Enhanced (ESB-E) Program PacStar 400-Series selected to enhance agility and reliable tactical communications for Army pilot program

PacStar announced it has been awarded a contract to support the U.S. Army’s Expeditionary Signal Battalion-Enhanced (ESB-E) program. Under the contract, PacStar will deliver its PacStar 400-Series modular platform to enhance agile and reliable tactical communications for the expeditionary-style warfare units increasingly relied upon by DoD organizations. Expeditionary Signal Battalions (ESB) support units that do not have organic communications capabilities such as military intelligence battalions, chemical battalions, engineering battalions, and air defense artillery branches. Within these battalions, the Army recognized a need to improve communications performance and speed of equipment delivery. As a result, the Army adopted a more expeditionary approach to these battalions’ tactical communications by providing more special ops gear to enable early entry. This approach facilitates uninterrupted mission command, thus rapid deployment and maneuverability across the battlefield. One example of this is the ESB Scalable Network Node (SNN) which is the focal point of the ESB-E construct and requires systems to be scalable between small, medium, and large configurations as the mission dictate. PacStar 400-Series solutions equip these smaller units with the lightweight communications equipment they need to help them maneuver quickly from situation to situation. The 14

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platform features 128 GB RAM, virtual routing, and the new PacStar 463 Radio Gateway. DoD organizations can also leverage PacStar Smart Chassis, powered by a first-of-its-kind communications server that provides a mechanical and electrical standalone capability to house up to five PacStar 400-Series modules. PacStar Smart Chassis may be utilized as a standalone entity or a component in a larger system. “Network modernization to meet warfighter needs and defense priorities is a core focus for the Army and across the DoD, and we are proud to support these efforts with PacStar 400-Series for ESB-E,” said Peggy J. Miller, CEO of PacStar. “With these solutions, ESB-E SNN will get the smallest, lightest, modular tactical communications platform in the industry, which is part of our larger initiative to enable increased reliability and innovation for warfighters.” The ESB-E program supports the Army’s modernization effort to unify the network by providing assured network transport in congested environments. The ESB-E’s tactical network communications support will enable a more lethal, mobile, and hardened joint and coalition force, helping the Army retain overmatch against increasingly capable adversaries.



Abaco Announces Significant Win from Major European Astrophysics Research Institute

Abaco Systems announced that it has won orders from a major European astrophysics research institute that will see Abaco’s range of innovative hardware platforms deployed at the heart of a new radio telescope system. The total lifetime value to Abaco of the win is expected to be $1.725 million. “While Abaco is primarily associated with providing high-performance solutions to the defense market, the number of markets that can leverage the broad range of our unique capabilities is much wider,” said John Muller, Chief Growth Officer at Abaco. “That includes commercial, industrial, transportation, energy exploration, and many more industries that need rugged reliability allied with leading-edge performance. That’s particularly the case where the requirement is for sophisticated signal processing and analog to digital conversion – as with this application.”

Observation of the universe has become an increasingly demanding application, driving the need to retrofit radio telescopes with receivers supporting higher bandwidth, a higher number of channels, and more powerful backends. The customer turned to Abaco for the company’s unique ability to meet all the requirements of the backend processing system.

The innovative, high-performance backend is equipped with Abaco’s boards and is designed to be modular, flexible, and scalable. The backend comprises two subsystems, each featuring a 3U VXP SBC329 single board computer, four VP430 Direct RF Processing Systems, two VP881

3U VPX FPGA cards, and two FMC424 dual QSFP+ FPGA mezzanine cards, together with a PEX431 multi-fabric switch. It is capable of analyzing up to 64 radio signals simultaneously, with bandwidth up to 2 GHz. The research institute has been appointed by CASPER - the Collaboration for Astronomy Signal Processing and Electronics Research - to design a software platform for astronomy applications targeting the backend system built with Abaco’s solution. The innovative and scalable back-end system is destined to find a substantial international market.

The institute is active in a range of research activities as well as the development of instrumentation for observations of the universe. Specifically, it has developed several radio telescopes including the advanced electronic digital platforms which play a key role in the processing of significant amounts of data.

OSS Receives $4.3 Million in DSU Purchase Orders for Military Radar Application as Follow-on to $36 Million Supplier Agreement

One Stop Systems, Inc has received two anticipated purchase orders of $4.3 million for OSS mil-spec data storage units (DSUs) to be fulfilled in the second half of 2020. These purchase orders are in conjunction with the previously announced $36 million, fiveyear sole-source supplier agreement to provide mil-spec flash storage arrays for an airborne military radar application. The DSUs use high-speed

flash storage contained in removable canisters for the easy and secure transport of high volumes of data from surveillance aircraft to ground-base stations. The systems are capable of storing encrypted data collected in real-time from advanced radar and other airborne sensors. These orders are inclusive of airborne and ground systems, spare canisters, and support services. “These full mil-spec products showcase the capabilities and benefits of our award-winning data storage units which feature our proprietary flash array technology, including high-performance, small size, lightweight and portability,” commented OSS president and CEO, David Raun. “These follow-on purchase orders demonstrate the benefits to OSS of winning major AI on the Fly® applications, and how our data storage flash array technology has become a new standard for the U.S. military.”

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Facing the Threat of a Potential FPGA Shortage: a Call to Action By Martin Hart, Chief Executive Officer, TopLine Corporation Consider this simple question. Can the defense and space industries count on a continued stable supply of mission-critical Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) components 10, 20, or even 30 years from now? Recent global events remind us that failing to adequately prepare for a catastrophe can lead to unintended consequences in domino-like succession. Some see the wisdom in seeking shelter before a tornado strikes, while others may argue that allowing events to play out is the preferred course of action. Planning for an eventual potential shortage of a critical military component may not be tops on everyone’s priority list. If an electronic guidance system

Figure 1 16

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for a warfighter is missing one critical part, that plane or missile will not fly. Let’s view the whole paradigm from a distance to see what’s missing, such as in the case of FPGA devices.

body of the IC package to a printed circuit board (PCB) assembly. These columns are a critical subcomponent in the final assembly of the FPGA.

An FPGA is an integrated circuit (IC) configurable by customers in the field, and this particular capability makes them well suited to aerospace and defense applications. A fortified version, known as a Radiation Hardened (RadHard) FPGA, for example, can withstand attacks from electromagnetic and particle radiation in outer space. Defense and space grade FPGA devices often require solder columns, rather than solder balls, to attach the

A sudden shortage of mission-critical FPGA devices could result in warfighters not flying and rockets not launching. This is not an exaggeration. Makers of ruggedized FPGA devices currently depend on a single subcontractor to attach these essential copper-wrapped solder columns to the body of the FPGA. Not anyone can perform solder column attachment, for reasons that we will explain.

Multiple Vendors vs. Sole Source for Column Attachment Past production shortages in the semiconductor industry have been short-lived because multiple vendors have been able to quickly step in to fill voids in the supply chain. Today, only a single subcontractor is designated on the Qualified Manufacturer List (QML-38535) as a provider of copper-wrapped solder column attachment services for the entire FPGA industry. Any supply chain dependent on a single supplier is inherently vulnerable. Action is needed to resolve this vulnerability. Any number of unfortunate causes, from natural disasters to internal business problems, could interrupt business continuation for this current monopoly supplier. An existential threat could arise if a hostile foreign actor acquired or otherwise took control and, for example, relocated production offshore. A facility relocation typically results in the loss of QML status, pending requalification. It can take up to 24 months for a new candidate to undergo the arduous approval process before attaining QML status to provide the aforementioned services. A prolonged production shutdown of FPGA devices directly impacts US national security, affect-

ing thousands of downstream customers who would be unable to complete systems and black box builds. Proactive steps taken now to identify and monitor the risks could mitigate such a threat. The US Department of Defense (DoD) provides guidelines to help the industry identify and mitigate dependency on services from single-source subcontractors. The Defense Standardization Program Office publishes a helpful document, SD-22, titled, “Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS), a Guidebook of Best Practices for Implementing a Robust DMSMS Management Program.” It is a useful resource to aid FPGA device makers seeking to broaden their supplier base for components critical to national security. The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment delivers an annual report to Congress titled “Industrial Capabilities” stating the mission of the Office of Industrial Policy (INDPOL), to ensure a robust, secure, resilient, and innovative industrial capabilities upon which the DoD can rely. Eight companies making the majority of the world’s FPGA devices may consider issuing forward-looking cautionary statements to stakeholders, citing their reliance on a single QML vendor to attach copper-wrapped columns. These statements disclose potential risks from the perspective of management’s reasoning or beliefs. No Simple Matter Fabrication of copper-wrapped solder columns is not simple and requires sophisticated knowledge, specialized manufacturing equipment, and proficient operator skills to properly attach the columns. They are neither readily nor commonly available. The risk of an FPGA production shutdown is preventable by taking prudent action now. The most direct solution is to qualify multiple vendors for critical processes including column attachment. This remedy would require a relatively low investment by FPGA device makers. Consequences of a Production Stoppage A production stoppage of critical FPGA devices could result in the failure of the defense industry to fulfill commitments for the delivery of warfighters and other critical systems. Failure to deliver RadHard FPGA packages could potentially disrupt mission schedules. A diminishing domestic manufacturing base and a fragile market are contributing risk

factors for achieving robust and resilient production of FPGA devices. FPGA packages with solder columns are produced in a low-volume manufacturing environment; for example, approximately 75,000 individual FPGA devices spread over 100 different outline packages are produced annually. Total annual volumes of FPGA and ASIC devices, with as much as 70 million copper-wrapped solder columns, are minuscule compared to volumes of commercial off-theshelf (COTS) FPGA devices consuming billions of solder balls that dominate the COTS market. But attaching solder columns to FPGA packages is a substantially different process. Solder Columns Solder columns are cylindrically shaped pins that must be held vertically in place by precision fixtures without slanting or falling over during the attachment and solder reflow process. A final assembly step requires the entire matrix array of up to 1,752 columns to be planarized without damaging a single column. No manufacturing defects are allowed. Talented operator skills must be employed during every step in the process of attaching columns to FPGA packages. It is fundamentally a nonautomated, artisan process. Fortunately, royalty-free, US-manufactured copper wrapped solder columns are readily available today in the supply chain. But starting from scratch, it could take 24 months for multiple subcontractors to undergo the arduous process of attaining QML status to provide column attachment services. Companies that produce FPGA devices are not required to voluntarily qualify multiple subcontractors to perform solder column attachment services. A lack of funding by FPGA manufacturing is most often cited as the primary reason for not qualifying a second source. Multiple microelectronic subcontractors in the US supply chain are ready, willing, and able to provide these services, provided that funding is available to pay for the cost of QML qualification. An accelerated initiative by FPGA makers to mitigate risk and qualify multiple subcontractors requires a sizable investment. FPGA makers must take the lead in initiating the qualification of alternative subcontractors. As a practical matter, subcontractors cannot independently apply for QML status without the support of the FPGA maker. The Department of Defense published an unclassified report titled, “Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of COTS Journal | September 2020


the United States,” in fulfillment of Executive Order (EO) 13806, which describes risks that threaten America’s manufacturing and defense industrial base. The 10 “risk archetypes” described in the report are as follows: 1) sole source; 2) single source; 3) fragile supplier; 4) fragile market; 5) capacity constrained supply market; 6) foreign dependency; 7) diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages (DMSMS); 8) gap in the US-based human capital; 9) erosion of US-based infrastructure; and 10) product security. Most of the risks described in the report apply to FPGA manufacturing. Risk archetypes lead to a variety of impacts on America’s industrial base. These include reduced investment in new capital and R&D; reductions in the rates of modernization and technological innovation; potential bottlenecks across the many tiers of the supply chain; and lower quality and higher prices resulting from reduced competition. Sole Source vs. Single Source – A Dangerous Distinction A sole source risk exists when only one supplier can provide the required capability. A single source exists when only one supplier is qualified to provide the required capability. EO 13806 draws a key distinction between the

Figure 2


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sole source and single source. Multiple suppliers may exist, but only a single source for copper wrapped solder columns is currently qualified, according to the Qualified Manufacturing List (QML-38535) published by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). Fortunately, manufacturing capability for producing copper wrapped solder columns exists today in the US. Also, multiple subcontractors capable of providing column attachment services for FPGA packages currently exist in America. Companies that produce FPGA devices are not required to voluntarily qualify multiple subcontractors. As mentioned earlier, it could take 24 months for an alternative candidate starting from scratch to attain QML status should a single source supplier unexpectedly shut down. Other risks A fragile supplier is an individual firm that is financially challenged or distressed, and this potentially includes most subcontractors in the US microelectronics industry today. A fragile market occurs when domestic markets have structurally challenging economics and face the potential to move toward foreign dependency. Presently, a capacity-constrained supply market may not be thought of as problematic. However, a single source supplier may not be able to keep up with a sudden surge in market demand. Foreign dependency on wafer found-

ries could become an elevated risk, especially when a domestic foundry does not produce a critical item. The Human Element Gaps in US-based human capital are an ongoing concern. The industry needs to keep fresh science, technology engineering, and

An early casualty of Covid-19 was an advisory to halt travel to conduct QML-38535 audits by DLA employees. math (STEM) talent in the pipeline, especially within the microelectronics assembly base. Erosion of US-based infrastructure, including the loss of specialized capital equipment, is a risk since attachment of solder columns to FPGA packages requires precision tools and fixtures that are difficult to fabricate. Last, product security could be of heightened concern under circumstances where FPGA packages require an assembly step overseas, opening the risk of reverse engineering or embedding trojans by foreign elements.

FPGA devices used in defense and aerospace applications must be produced by suppliers on the QML. Six-Sigma, based in Milpitas, CA, is already QML- 38535-approved for attaching copper wrapped columns. Multiple contractors are at various stages of tooling up, awaiting DLA certification. VPT Components and Micross Components have also demonstrated the capability to perform these services, and other suppliers plan to offer them. By the end of 2021, five contractors will probably be qualified to attach columns. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced risks not previously considered that could threaten America’s dominance in warfighter technology. An early casualty of Covid-19 was an advisory to halt travel to conduct QML-38535 audits by DLA employees. DLA audits that were scheduled in March 2020 were abruptly canceled. This unexpected event blocks new suppliers from participating in the QML market. The stoppage of DLA field audits means an indeterminate delay in qualifying additional suppliers to make QML FPGA devices. DLA cites no date when field audits will resume. Would DLA consider conducting virtual QML audits using video platforms to support the supply chain? As mentioned earlier, copper-wrapped column attachment services are currently dominated by a single-source monopoly. The introduction of fresh competition to perform these services might be expected to promote competitive pricing and speed deliveries. Multiple vendors increase the likelihood that a strong, COTS Journal | September 2020


resilient industrial base and supply chain will result. Original device makers (ODM) have noted that FPGA and ASIC packages have been suspended in financial limbo for more than a year, while products remain in a state of work-in-process (WiP) before generating cash flow. Many manufacturing steps are required to produce ceramic FPGA devices. In the first stage, it takes a minimum of six months to procure and produce land grid array (LGA) packages, consisting of ceramic housings, along with necessary die bonding and lid sealing. Then, it takes a reported additional six months for the current monopoly supplier to attach solder columns to convert the LGA package into a column grid array (CGA or CCGA). Finally, it takes months to perform final testing before the customer receives the delivery. This lengthy production cycle can be significantly reduced by having multiple capable vendors because they collectively can perform column attachment services in weeks rather than many months. New Markets Emerging Emerging markets for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 5G utilize super-sized organic packages, components too large for reliable BGA packaging. Alternative interconnects are needed to ensure reliability. This is a burgeoning market sector wherein a new type of solder column utilizing copper braid or copper cores, rather than copper wrapping, has the


COTS Journal | September 2020

potential to dissipate more heat while offering compliance to extremely large AI and 5G base station packages. It’s time for advocacy stakeholders to initiate a shared vision to ensure a robust, resilient, and sustainable supply chain for FPGA devices. Domestic manufacturing of copper wrapped solder columns is already available. The next step is to qualify multiple microelectronic subcontractors ready and willing to provide this process. A prudent investment today can mitigate the risk of waiting for an unexpected disaster to strike, potentially costing the defense industry hundreds of millions of dollars. A production stoppage of critical FPGA components could ultimately diminish market readiness. By the end of 2021, it is anticipated that several subcontractors will offer column attachment services to the industry, once DLA can resume auditing and certifying new QML suppliers of these services. Greater US government support to help fund programs to strengthen this critical area will result in enhanced readiness, greater security of supply, and fewer program delays. Conclusion The speed with which the current brittle market can be fortified depends on judicious access to funding, which will drive the next steps in the roadmap. Step one is the US Department of Defense funding an industry effort to strengthen the supply chain. Step two requires the engagement of subject matter

experts (SME) with intimate knowledge of components used in the defense industry to vet proposals from the supply chain. If neither step is initiated, then step three should be initiated, i.e., the eight dominating ODM producers of FPGA components should allocate reasonable funding to aggressively encourage multiple subcontractors to qualify solder column attachment services in preparation for certification by DLA. If none of those steps occurs, then we have step four, in which independent subcontractors in the supply chain deploy their sources of funding to develop processes to attach solder columns to prepare for DLA certification. Step five follows, a proactive discussion with stakeholders, including the DoD, SMEs, FPGA makers, and downstream customers to gain momentum for developing a resilient, robust supply chain for column attachment services. This course of action is much more desirable than waiting for calamity to strike. The imperative is a Call to Action to provide the defense and space industries with an uninterrupted supply of mission-critical Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) components 10, 20, and even 30 years from now. REFERENCES 1. Topline Corporation., New Copper Braided Solder Columns for FPGA and Large Ceramic Modules, Jan. 1, 2020; files/Braided_ Column_Introduction.pdf.


Software Defined Radio and the Future of Test and Simulation By Brandon Malatest, Founder of Per Vices If you are interested in amateur radio, radio astronomy, satellite communication, or even simple FM signal reception, you’ve likely come across Software Defined Radio (SDR). Origi-

A typical SDR that is acting as a receiver, as illustrated in Figure 1, has the following process: • It is always connected to an antenna.

face, for example, USB, the limitations of a USB interface cannot handle anything more than 3 MS/s (Mega Samples per second) in which case downsampling is necessary.

• The signal coming from the antenna passes through a protection circuit, usually an ESD (electrostatic discharge) diode. • Then, the incoming signal is amplified through a low-noise amplifier (LNA). • Then, the amplified signal is filtered.

Software-Defined Radios have flexible RF (radio frequency) hardware/interface, an analog-to-digital (ADC) and digital-to-analog converter (DAC), a digital front end, and hardware components such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and digital signal processors (DSPs) which run elements such as filters and modulators, that are now in embedded software. By having these components be software-defined, they are easier to upgrade and reconfigure, since they do not require physical changes to the hardware. Parameters/coefficients can be changed to fit the user’s current and future needs, providing a modern and cost-effective solution, particularly for the field of test and simulation.

Figure 1 - A typical SDR that is acting as a receiver

nating as military communication technology over 30 years ago, SDR has progressed and expanded into many other fields, including test and simulation, civil telecommunications, satellite and GNSS, and spectrum monitoring. One of the first SDRs, the SparkEasy, was developed for the US Air Force as a single device that could communicate in the frequency range of 2MHz-2GHz. Nowadays, SDRs are a lot more robust and complex, and are available in a range of specifications that suit industry requirements from hobbyists, all the way up to the military and technological giants. An SDR can be either a receiver, a transmitter, or a transceiver, where they can both send and receive signals. Full duplex is the ability to transmit and receive at the same time, while half-duplex/simplex only allows either to transmit or receive. Whether an SDR operates as a transmitter or receiver, it always requires a connection with an antenna. When the frequency requirements of a system change, only the antenna needs to be changed. 22

COTS Journal | September 2020

The filtered signal is passed to a mixer circuit where the incoming signal is mixed with another high-frequency signal coming from an oscillator. The mixed signal is then digitized and filtered. The mixed signal is digitized by passing it to an Analog to Digital Converter (ADC), where the mixed signal is oversampled following the Nyquist criterion at high frequencies. It is filtered via a low-pass filter (LPF) to remove noise/high-frequency signals and to eliminate aliasing, an effect that causes different signals to become indistinguishable from one another when sampled. The digitized and filtered signal is then downsampled. Downsampling may occur depending on the digital backhaul where higher speed backhauls will allow for more data to flow through. If you are using a slower inter-

DSPs are the integral underlying technology that makes software-defined radio a reality. They allow for the processing of continuous real-time analog signals which handle complex and repetitive algorithms. All SDRs utilize some form of DSPs, with the most common being FPGAs as they provide the most

flexibility and parallel processing to occur. While SDRs are frequently used as receivers, they can also act as transmitters. These function similarly to an SDR receiver, just in the opposite way. The signal is generated via DSP, then it is passed through a Digital Up Converter (DUC) where the signal is converted to the intermediate frequency. The signals go to the antenna for transmission through a DAC converter and a power amplifier.

of the most demanding needs of the test and simulation industry: • Faster prototyping • Cost reduction • Tools that are more versatile and flexible

• Reusability • Complexity reduction • Easier troubleshooting and debugging • Multi-purpose • Easier maintenance

Software-Defined Radio has been revolutionary in many sectors, including surveillance, military, radio astronomy, telecommunications, and aviation. The research and development processes in these fields require extensive testing and simulation. For these specialized tasks, engineers and scientists need versatile tools. The following are some

Figure 2 -

COTS Journal | September 2020


SDRs eliminate much of the hassle and decreases the level of complexity in test and simulation by shifting most of the signal processing to the software. This software-defined signal processing eliminates the need to modify and change hardware for every new project, saving time and budget. The devices can be reused for various applications, which adds tremendous advantage for simulation and test engineers. SDRs allow them to easily test and evaluate more solutions at a faster pace by modifying a few lines of code, instead of implementing complex hardware changes for each adapted requirement. In modern technology development, simulations have been used across many industries and can be tremendously beneficial. Simulating a solution before implementing it in real life almost always saves significant time, money, and effort. Matlab & Simulink are well known for this and have easily accessible resources to simulate SDR hardware with many kinds of digitally processed signals in simulation. Through such techniques, it becomes much easier to evaluate the design, all through the use of the software. If everything is working properly, the dedicated, cost-effective and manufacturing-friendly hardware system can be developed afterward. SDRs are widely used in signal reception. Receiver SDRs without the transmission features tend to be a lot more affordable for hobbyists/students. They can easily handle frequencies from 20MHz to 2GHz and typically have a maximum sample rate of 3.2MS/s. Using these simple devices, one can receive satellite signals, sniff GSM, experiment with radio astronomy, listen/talk to ISS, and much more with very little hardware complexity. On the other hand, after a transmitter system has been designed, these inexpensive systems can be used to validate the system performance. As the hardware complexity is reduced significantly via SDR

technology, that time and effort can be put into designing and testing the performance of different types of antennas. SDR is also ideal for testing and validating the signal encoding to see if transmissions have good enough SNR (signal-to-noise-ratio) to be properly decoded. With more complex, expensive SDR devices, almost everything involving RF is possible, making them an ideal prototyping tool. We stand at the verge of 5G and many other extraordinary technologies that utilize high-frequency waves and high bandwidth. These technologies can be extremely challenging for test engineers because maintaining the tight amplitude, accurate phase, stability, and linearity of the entire system becomes very critical. In one of IEEE’s Spectrum articles, they specifically recommend investing in wideband test instruments and equipment. Medium to high-end SDRs today can easily handle from few MHz to 10 GHz, which make them appropriate and essential for modern technology development. FPGAs are at the core of making high-end SDRs a reality for modern applications. In high-frequency applications, the entire system needs to keep up with the communication speed. Computer hardware is not designed for such high-speed applications. A general-purpose CPU or GPU might take around 50 microseconds of response time in between inputs and outputs. An FPGA can do the same task within or less than one microsecond. They are also reprogrammable, which makes the same hardware usable for

multiple purposes with multiple devices. FPGA inside SDRs act as Digital Signal Processing Unit enables them to interact with waveforms to encode or decode signals. This makes the SDR appropriate for use as both a receiver and transmitter. Software-defined radio offers amazing benefits to the test and simulation industry. Through the integration of SDR in test and simulation, projects can be completed faster, with reduced complexity. Professional-grade SDRs have multi-channels available, which enables simultaneous testing and commercial uses in parallel. SDRs are already being implemented in the development of upcoming game-changing technologies, like autonomous cars and the Internet of Things. They offer easy debugging in the processing of development and assist in simulations while the product is in the development phase. SDRs reduce waste and make the workflow of test engineers significantly more efficient. Another benefit of SDRs in the test and measurement field is that they are often considered to be future-proof technology. Since they can be updated and reused even when operating frequencies, modulation techniques, or corresponding devices change, they are an investment that will suit current as well as future technical needs.

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September 2020

COT’S PICKS ViaLite Launches New Mil-Aero RF over Fiber Link

The RF over fiber experts at ViaLite Communications has launched a Mil-Aero 10 MHz to 6 GHz RF over Fiber Link Pair. The new products’ design and features have been specifically tailored for demanding air force and navy applications, army telemetry systems signal intelligence (SIGINT) deployments, tethered aerostat, and drone applications, plus multi-service military electronic warfare systems; where fiber is an essential replacement to coax.

ranty - providing protection and reassurance for customers. Craig Somach, ViaLite Director of Sales, said: “I am very pleased to be supporting our

Mil-Aero customers with this new and exciting solution that exceeds current solutions in almost every key category related to SFDR, NF, and 1 dB CP. ViaLite Communications

As one of ViaLite’s most versatile RF over fiber links, it covers bands from HF, VHF, and UHF through to telemetry and Satcom bands P, L, S, and C. It also offers the best Spurious Free Dynamic Range (SFDR) performance in its class, making it ideal for high bandwidth applications or where the application has a large range of RF signal powers. The link is further enhanced by a low noise figure (NF), optional gain, and 1 dB compression points (CP). Supporting distances of up to 50 km, the Mil-Aero link is available in rack chassis card or OEM module format, including ViaLite‘s new black OEM design which is outdoor rated. All formats come with a 5-year warranty as standard - the industry’s longest included war-

EIZO and Concurrent Technologies Announce High-Performance Single Slot 3U VPX CPU and GPGPU for Defense and Aerospace EIZO Rugged Solutions Inc., a provider of ruggedized graphics and video products announced that it has partnered with Concurrent Technologies to develop a single slot VPX CPU and GPGPU for air and conduction-cooled applications. The new product, BA 1TR/m03, offered through Concurrent

Technologies, is a single slot board, based on the TR E8x/msd CPU board, fitted with EIZO’s Condor NVP2000 XMC module. The combined product is designed to maximize performance within a single slot for a range of processing and display applications in the defense and aerospace market where physical space is limited. Concurrent Technologies’ TR E8x/msd CPU is normally fitted with a 6-core Intel® Xeon® E-2276ME processor running at 2.8 GHz with up to 32 GB of soldered down DDR4 memory and a rich assortment of I/O. The default variant of the Condor NVP2000 GPGPU features H.265/H.264 hardware encode/decode capability and comes equipped with DisplayPort++ and DVI video outputs. In addition, EIZO Rugged Solutions offers variants of the NVP2000 that support SDI, VGA, and

other video outputs to suit the customer’s needs. The combined product, BA 1TR/m03, can either be used to connect to multiple displays or used for processor-intensive applications by using the NVIDIA® 768 CUDA® cores as GPGPU resources. Jane Annear, Managing Director of Concurrent Technologies, commented: “We have been working with EIZO Rugged Solutions for many years to provide exciting products for the defense and aerospace markets. This new combined product encapsulates the best of both companies and is a great example of collaboration between partners for the benefit of our mutual customers.” Selwyn Henriques, President, and CEO of EIZO Rugged Solutions added: “This collaboration is extremely positive for both parties. The addition of Concurrent Technologies’ processor board to our existing GPGPU module allows us to deliver on the promise of minimizing Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) and to provide our customers with high performance, reliable solution for many of their challenging needs.” EIZO Rugged Solutions Inc.


COTS Journal | September 2020

September 2020

COT’S PICKS Crystal Group Launches Trio of New Rugged Servers for Ultra-High Performance Ensuring accurate, realtime information with rugged, failsafe computer hardware

Crystal Group announced the launch of three new rugged servers — the RS4105L22 4U GPU server, RS1.532L21X2F twin server, and Crystal Group FORCE™ RS2606 — all designed for ultra-high ISR performance. Independently, each server delivers a powerful performance that enables Crystal Group customers with high-velocity capability, security, and efficiency. When combined, these three servers form a flexible, integrated system for real-time high-speed sensor data collection, computation, and daily, hot-swappable data extraction critical to decision-making on the move. “To maintain a competitive advantage and handle today’s immense data requirements, our customers need powerful servers that can collect, analyze and prioritize immense amounts of data, often in remote, unpredictable situations,” said Beth Otting, director of Military Programs for Crystal Group. “Currently deployed on allied military aircraft, these new rugged servers provide the essential capabilities

Pixus Announces Versatile Development Enclosures Supporting SOSA & OpenVPX Pixus Technologies announces a versatile backplane/chassis configurations geared for 3U

needed for real-time reliability accuracy in the field.” Optimized to extract and integrate data from multiple sensors via four NVIDIA® Tesla V100 GPUs, the RS4105L22 4U GPU server is a powerhouse of high-capacity storage for electronic warfare, sensor fusion, signal intelligence, C4ISR, radar, and digital signal processing.

pacity in a single chassis with eight SAS SSDs in the removable media canister. Customizable with up to six modules, this unit boasts a removable media canister, redundant AC power supplies, and advanced thermal management to accelerate compute-intensive workloads at the edge.

Equipped with up to 88 cores, the RS1.532L21X2F 1.5U rugged twin server delivers high-speed processing in a small form factor by consolidating capabil-

Like Crystal Group’s entire portfolio of rugged and industrial computing products, these new servers are engineered to deliver seamless performance in the most challenging environments while exceeding military and industrial standards.

ities of two separate computers into a single unit with front I/O. Each of the dual X11 motherboards can be customized with up to three PCIe slots for increased bandwidth. It’s extreme compute density enables artificial intelligence, machine learning, and real-time decision making in a compact footprint.

Crystal Group provides the latest, most innovative technology to keep pace with the ever-changing demands of the defense and commercial markets. At the forefront of innovation, Crystal Group continues to lead the industry in providing scalable, reliable, and secure solutions to enable success for its customers.

Designed and qualified for airborne jets, the Crystal Group FORCE™ RS2606 rugged server combines both high compute and maximum storage caand 6U OpenVPX and SOSA development. The versatile development enclosures start with a line of 1-slot power and ground backplanes in various 3U and 6U configurations. This includes VITA 65 (standard VPX), VITA 66.4 (VPX with optical), and VITA 67.3 types (VPX with RF). The backplanes can be incorporated along with other designs, including a 3U version with 4 VITA 65 slots and 4 VITA 67.3 slots. It features the radial clocking required for SOSA applications. For partial routing options, there are

Crystal Group

3U or 6U OpenVPX backplanes with 2 power and ground slots, 2 slots with data plane connected via a fat-pipe, and 2 slots with a double fat pipe. Combining these backplane options into one chassis provides a vast array of configuration possibilities. All power and ground slots have pass-through signals to the rear of the backplane. With VPX cabling options, the slots can be interconnected to others via the Rear Transition Module (RTM) connectors. There are various Pixus chassis platforms to house the backplane configurations including 8.5” wide and 12.5” wide open frame portable enclosures as well as 19” rackmount. The company also provides OpenVPX specialty products such as chassis managers, handle/panel sets, filler panels, guide rails, power interface boards, air slot blocker boards, and more. Pixus Technologies https://pixustechnology

COTS Journal | September 2020


September 2020

COT’S PICKS N.A.T. Announces Comprehensive New Software Defined Radio (SDR) Product Line for Wireless Network Deployment, Testing, and Phased Arrays

as narrowband cellular IoT (cIoT). The N.A.T. turnkey systems available off-the-shelf, named NAT-SDR-FLEX, include all the hardware and software needed to build these applications with scalability from eight to 72 channels, or more using multiple systems.

Ranging from building block components to complete application-ready systems including application software, N.A.T. overcomes the limitations of DSPs to target next-generation networks

Software-defined radios (SDRs) have historically been created with digital signal processors (DSPs) providing the core processing power. Increasing performance demands and the rapidly evolving market limits DSP-based SDRs, which N.A.T. has overcome by using flexible, programmable FPGAs. To simplify and accelerate the development of FPGA-based SDRs, N.A.T. has invested significant resources in creating comprehensive software support packages and documentation. This offering goes beyond the basic board support packages, drivers, and operating systems to include libraries, sample projects, sample application software, and application notes to support developers more than ever before.

N.A.T. announced a new range of softwaredefined radio (SDR) products that enable wireless network developers to speed and simplify their application development and deployment. The new N.A.T product portfolio ranges from an individual radio frequency (RF) card in the FMC form factor (NAT-FMC-SDR4) to turnkey, field-deployable 19-inch rack-mounted systems (NAT-SDR-FLEX) with application software and sample projects. These SDR solutions can streamline the development and deployment of applications, improving time-tomarket while retaining flexibility. Applications include: • Wideband receivers for scanning and direction-finding • Wideband transmitters, used for jamming • 4G and 5G network test equipment • Proof-of-concept setups including custom waveforms and beamforming, • Sensing techniques for cognitive radio • Remote radio heads (RRH) for phased antenna arrays NAT-SDR-FLEX-collage.jpgThe optional 5G (3GPP rel.15) package enables private wireless network applications such as wideband LTE/5G base station and radio units as well

The heart of the N.A.T. SDR portfolio is a modular AMC board, the NAT-AMC-ZYNQUPSDR, that combNAT-AMC-ZYNQUP-Carrierw-SDR-Frontplate.jpgines the latest Analog Devices large bandwidth RF-transceivers (ADVR 9009) and a powerful Xilinx® Zynq® UltraScale+™ FPGA with integrated quad-core ARM® processor. This board can be configured with different RF front end and front panel I/O simply by choosing N.A.T.’s FMC-boards with the required functions. SDR properties, such as the number of RF channels, filtering and control IO for external RF, can be integrated into the platform by selecting from a wide range of FMC building blocks. N.A.T. can also collaborate with customers to develop custom mezzanine cards with special functions. The NAT-AMC-ZYNQUP-SDR can be easily integrated into any system hosting AMCs, which are open standards-based modules, allowing a flexible and application-specific scaling of the number of RF interfaces. In addition to further SDR units, other AMCs such as processing units can be selected from the market and easily added thanks to a standardized plugand-play architecture. N.A.T.

Vertical Smart Meter with Multiple Functions OTEK Corporation announced its digital smart meter, the NTM-P as a replacement for the Dixon Ametek BE101 and BE 051 meters. As a form, fit and function Plug & Play replacement, the NTM-P hails from OTEK’s industry-popular New Technology line of digital panel meters, with dimensions of 1.39” wide and 6.6” high, with a housing depth of 3.67”. A single channel bar-digital vertical meter, the NTM-P comes available in loop (4-20mA), AC signal, or externally powered options. While the externally powered units feature over 30 signal conditioners, the powerless loop or signal versions consume less than 60mW of power, significantly comparable to analog meters. Highlight features of the NTM-P include an automatic tricolor bar display with intensity control and 4 digits backed by an ultra-bright LED display, isolated serial I/O, self-diagnostics, USB/ RS485, math functions (+, -, x, √, ÷, X-Y tables, polynomials), over isolated input signals, a configurable bar direction (Up/Down/Center Zero), and OTEK’s patented input signal failure alarm that alerts the operator in the event of a lost or dead signal. Under OTEK’s Appendix B/10CFR50 program, the NTM-P is compliant to the conditions of NEI 08-09. OTEK Corporation


COTS Journal | September 2020

September 2020

COT’S PICKS Cambridge Pixel’s HPx-410 Radar Input Card with x4 PCI Express Interface Supports New Generation of HighResolution Multi-Channel Radars

tion before transfer to the host PC for processing and display.

With the wider x4 PCI Express interface, the new HPx-410 allows one or two radars with highresolution videos to be sampled at up to 125MHz with sustained transfer rates of up to 500 MB/sec

The HPx-410 card features two fully independent radar input channels allowing the card to be used by integrators in three discrete ways: for a dual sampling of one radar at different sampling rates, for dual redundancy, or for dual-stream capture of two separate radars.

Cambridge Pixel tracking and recording sub-systems has introduced the HPx-410 radar input card with an x4 PCI Express interface to support the new generation of high-resolution, high-throughput multi-channel radars.

A wide variety of signal types and input voltages are supported, allowing connection to a diverse range of commercial and military radar types including those from Furuno, Hensoldt, JRC, Koden, Raytheon, Sperry, Terma, as well as specialist military radars.

With the wider x4 PCIe interface, the HPx-410 boasts significantly enhanced data rates to permit one or two radars with high-resolution videos to be sampled at up to 125 MHz with sustained transfer rates of up to 500 MB/sec.

The new card is software compatible with other HPx cards, allowing a smooth transition or upgrade path. It is supported by Cambridge Pixel’s SPx Server for radar tracking, RadarWatch for maritime security, ASD-100 for air defense, and RadarView for radar video monitoring. A board-support package option is available for Windows or Linux for developers preferring to build their own server or display clients.

The HPx-410 PCIe card is designed for use with new-generation primary and IFF radars. The card accepts radar video, trigger, and azimuth signals in the form of ACP/ARP or parallel data. On-board processing handles initial data capture, processing, and correla-

DT Research 6 and 8-inch Handheld Rugged Tablets Running Windows 10 DT Research announced the DT362GL and DT382GL, unique 6-inch and 8-inch rugged tablets running Microsoft® Windows® 10 IoT Enterprise with a built-in Common Access Card (CAC) reader, 2D Barcode Scanner, and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RFID reader. The smallform, IP65 rated rugged handhelds can perform secure ID and vehicle verification necessary to access government and corporate buildings, restricted areas as well as secure logical access to computer networks. The tablets’ built-in UHF RFID reader accelerates physical asset verification by reading tags on items up to 30 feet. “The number and variety of physical and digital assets that government agencies and companies need to keep secure continue to grow,” said Daw Tsai, president of DT Research. “We saw a need in the market for a small Windows 10 handheld device that delivers two-factor authentication required by government agencies, along with long-range, Ultra High-Frequency RFID, which can be used by government agencies, military operations and corporations to authenticate ID badges, validate vehicles en-

fer six different card options, covering all requirements for radar acquisition. The HPx-410 sits at the top-end of the family and addresses requirements for high sample rates and data throughput allowing us to expand the range of radars we support to include the new generation of high-resolution multichannel radars.” Cambridge Pixel’s HPx-410 is part of a family of radar acquisition and processing components that provide system integrators with a powerful toolkit to build server and client display systems. The company’s world-leading SPx suite of software libraries and applications provides highly flexible, ready-to-run software products or ‘modules-of-expertise’ for radar scan conversion, visualization, radar video distribution, target tracking, sensor fusion, plot extraction, and clutter processing. Cambridge Pixel’s radar technology is used in naval, air traffic control, vessel traffic, commercial shipping, security, surveillance, and airborne radar applications.

David Johnson, CEO, Cambridge Pixel, said: “The HPx-410 expands the HPx radar input range to now of-

Cambridge Pixel www.cambridgepixel.comw

tering controlled areas and immediately identify physical assets within busy warehouse/logistics operations.”

present a card or enter an access code. The UHF RFID readers provide a range of additional uses including inventory and equipment management without manual data entry, counting people and vehicles at events, and locating underground infrastructure assets such as gas pipelines and sewer lines. The DT362GL and DT382GL include an embedded antenna, which enables secure access verification within 16 feet or users can opt for an external pistol grip antenna for up to a 30-foot range.

The DT362GL and DT382GL come with a built-in Common Access Card (CAC) reader that provides two-factor authentication by matching a user’s smart card with a personal identification (PIN) number. CACs are issued as standard identification for active-duty military personnel, reserve personnel, civilian employees, nonDoD government employees, state employees of the National Guard, and eligible contractor personnel. A CAC is often required for access to government buildings and computer networks. The DT362GL and DT382GL CAC readers also meet the requirements for data encryption and digital signature technologies to provide secure logical access to computer systems and networks. An embedded Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RFID module powered by Jadak ThingMagic technology within the DT362GL and DT382GL can be used as an authentication mechanism for personal identification badges and allows secure, yet efficient vehicle entrance to restricted areas without having to stop the vehicle and


Rated IP65 and MIL-STD-810G, the DT362GL and DT382GL handhelds are highly durable and deliver reliable operation in harsh, mission-critical environments. The small 6-inch and 8-inch displays offer outdoor viewing through a high brightness capacitive touch screen. These robust, fanless handhelds offer seamless information capture and transmission both insecure and non-secure environments through built-in smart card readers, dedicated GNSS modules, cameras, barcode scanners, and UHF RFID readers DT Research

COTS Journal | September 2020


September 2020

COT’S PICKS OmniVision and GEO Semi Launch Automotive Industry’s First Viewing Camera Solution to Simultaneously Provide 140dB HDR and Highest LED Flicker Mitigation

Joint Solution Provides Camera Designers Unprecedented Ability to Process Images Captured by Two OmniVision Sensors with Full HDR and LFM, Using a Single GEO Camera Video Processor Technologies, Inc. announced a joint solution that is optimized to provide the industry’s highest quality images for rear-view cameras (RVCs), surround-view systems (SVS), and e-mirrors. This solution includes OmniVision’s OX03C10, which is the world’s only automotive image sensor that combines a large 3.0-micron pixel, high dynamic range (HDR) of 140dB for minimized motion artifacts, and the highest LED flicker mitigation (LFM) performance. This image sensor takes full advantage of the GEO GW5 CVP family’s ability to process 140dB HDR images with full LFM at 60 frames per second ( fps). Conversely, the GW5 family’s advanced local tone mapping enables it to make optimal use of the OX03C10’s industry-leading HDR and LFM image


COTS Journal | September 2020

captures, providing a more pleasing image for drivers. “We have partnered with OmniVision for more than five years because of its leading pixel technologies and strong track record in working with automotive tier-ones around the globe,” said John Casey, VP, and GM for automotive at GEO. “This latest joint solution provides an exciting opportunity, leveraging the GW5’s ability to process the captures from two image sensors simultaneously while providing the automotive industry’s highest HDR and LFM at 60 fps using OmniVision’s new OX03C10. This allows SVS camera designers to get the highest possible image quality without the added system bill-of-materials cost, complexity, and power consumption of two CVPs.” “GEO is a longtime partner and brings industry-leading image signal processing performance, including the ability to process 140dB captures, along with the in-depth knowledge of customer pain points that comes from being an approved vendor with a proven product,” said Andy Hanvey, director of automotive marketing at OmniVision. “With the recent launch of our OX03C10 image sensor, we recognized that GEO and OmniVision could once again collabo-

rate and make it easier for automotive designers to create the highest quality viewing cameras, across all lighting conditions, and in the presence of flickering LEDs from headlights, road signs and traffic signals.” This sensor’s integration of OmniVision’s industry-leading HALE (HDR and LFM engine) combination algorithm uniquely provides the highest HDR and LFM performance simultaneously, while it’s Deep Well™ dual conversion gain technology significantly reduces motion artifacts. Additionally, OmniVision’s split-pixel LFM technology with four captures provides the best performance over the entire automotive temperature range. The OX03C10 is also the first viewing image sensor with HDR and LFM that can deliver 1920x1280p resolution at a frame rate of 60 fps, enabling greater design flexibility and faster camera-view switching for drivers. With the lowest power consumption of any 2.5MP LFM image sensor—25% lower than the nearest competitor—along with the industry’s smallest package size, enabling the placement of cameras that continuously run at 60 fps in even the tightest spaces, the OX03C10 takes a market-leading position in automotive imaging applications. OmniVision





Alphi Technology Corporation ..................................



Annapolis Micro Systems ......................................



Behlman Electronics ............................................. IFC/BC Milpower Source ....................................................


MPL .....................................................................


OSS ........................................................................ 5/24

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Pasternack ............................................................

13 ..........................................

Pentek ..................................................................

21 .................................................


PICO Electronics, Inc ............................................. 11/IBC .................................... Sealevel .................................................................



Versalogic .............................................................



COTS Journal (ISSN#1526-4653) is published monthly at; 3180 Sitio Sendero, Carlsbad, CA. 92009. Periodicals Class postage paid at San Clemente and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to COTS Journal, 3180 Sitio Sendero, Carlsbad, CA. 92009.

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