COTS Journal, January 2021

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January 2021, Volume 23 – Number 1 •

The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing


Converging on the Future of Battlefield IT Debunking the Myths. How Machine Learning (ML) Benefits Cyber Security

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.


Converging on the Future of Battlefield IT

By Jim Shaw, Executive Vice President of Engineering, Crystal Group



Publisher’s Note The Big Lie and Technology


The Inside Track

Debunking the Myths. How Machine Learning (ML) Benefits Cyber Security

By Eleanor Barlow, Content Manager, SecurityHQ and Akhilesh Deshmukh, Cyber Security Data Analyst


Editor’s Choice for January

Cover Image Air Force Capt. Bradley Daniel, left, and Maj. Megan Russell prepare to land a KC-135 Stratotanker at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Dec. 17, 2020.

COTS Journal | January 2021


The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing





AD TRAFFIC Vaughn Orchard



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COTS Journal | January 2021

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John Reardon, Publisher

The Big Lie

and Technology

Death by a Thousand Cuts

My goal in writing this month’s Publisher’s Note was to figure out how technology could be employed to fight the misinformation and disinformation that has set the world on edge. So I set off to understand the topic. I began with the understanding the difference between misinformation and disinformation according to Wikipedia: Misinformation - false or inaccurate information, especially that which is deliberately intended to deceive. “nuclear matters are often entangled in a web of secrecy and misinformation” Disinformation - false information, which is intended to mislead, especially propaganda issued by a government organization to a rival power or the media. The subtleties between the two words were hard to grasp, in the end, I concluded that it was the intent. Misinformation seemed to be an all-out departure of the facts with the intent to mislead. Disinformation seemed to be more of a false narrative that brings you to a false conclusion based on a set of facts. The biggest perpetrator of these types of attacks on the United States and our allies is Russia. They recognized 6

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early in the life of the internet that information was a threat and if channeled could be used as a weapon. In defense, they employed numerous internal monitoring and control mechanisms to “protect” their citizens from this new external threat. As they moved from defensive and offensive actions, they found that creating civil unrest within their advisories had many collateral benefits. It wasn’t so much as to orchestrate a particular outcome, but rather to create civil unrest that kept our government shadow boxing. In June of 2020, a six-year miss-information campaign from the Russians was discovered. The campaign used a series of new tools to change the narrative on the doping of Russian Olympians to praising Russia for its actions in Ukraine and at the same time demonizing the United States and NATO. All of which was reported widely on American TV. A failed campaign was discovered in 2019

The biggest perpetrator of these types of attacks on the United States and our allies is Russia.

that thought to take advantage of one of our oldest and deepest Faultline: Race. The goal was to inflame racial tensions in the country causing the type of civil unrest that we see plaguing the Pacific Northwest. The Russian understood that a Tweet forwarded from a friend was likely to be thought of as fact. That once a concept reached a critical mass that the all too familiar “they say” would take on a life of its own. They also came to recognize that the speed and pace of American news cycles almost prohibited research and verification. As we are not alone, the British found numerous campaigns in and around Brexit. This inflamed the British people causing so much dissension that it threatened the whole economic well-being of the UK. The British Government was at a loss as to how they would combat this. In the end, they decided that the loudest voice would prevail, and they launched their own campaigns with the purpose to drown-out the false and misleading information. The United States is full of contentious and emotionally charged issues that offer numerous opportunities to create civil unrest. It could be the association of a presidential candidate to a child sex trafficking ring, it could be the inflaming of racial tensions after a police shooting. The bigger the lie, the more the opportunity for people to believe: “how could that be said if it weren’t true”. This is where Article 230 plays in, allowing for social media outlets to post unverified information without any liability. This could be as simple as the high school kid that is being bullied, a Stock that is being pumped to instigating war under a false premise. In researching the topic, I found 86 software tools that combat misinformation in a variety of ways. But what struck me was that we need a concerted effort that employs the latest in machine learning, blockchain, and AI technologies to better verify the information that we are consuming is coming from a reliable source. The ability to trace sources, identify manipulated images, and to measure inflammatory information through AI would seem to be a good start in battling this threat. COTS Journal | January 2021




BAE Systems receives $500 million contract to provide new turret for Netherlands’ CV90s The upgrade program with a new turret will vastly improve the vehicle’s capabilities while providing crews with improved protection and ergonomics for increased combat efficiency. The new CV90 turret, developed by BAE Systems Hägglunds in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, represents a leap forward in design and functionality. The main weapon position is changed to provide even better vehicle balance and enable new ways to introduce a variety of weaponry for increased lethality. It also offers significant ergonomic improvements to benefit the vehicle’s crew. The enhanced turret design is built on years of combat-proven experience, continuous vehicle improvements, and data analysis from the CV90 User Club – the seven nations currently operating CV90 fleets. The improvements are also based on a recent study conducted by the Royal Netherlands Army, and a BAE Systems’ analysis of cognitive load on Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) crews to address man-machine interaction. The result gives crews increased advantages, such as the ability to choose intuitive and effective modes of operation as well


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as shorten the time to detection, identification, decision-making, and engagement.

the fourth generation digital backbone, with embedded and more robust cybersecurity.

Admiral Arie Jan de Waard and Lieutenant General Martin Wijnen of the Royal Netherlands Army seal the deal via digital handshake with Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director of BAE Systems Hägglunds.

“We are committed to delivering the most modern and adaptable IFVs to meet our customers’ requirements and are extremely proud of the technological developments underway as part of this significant mid-life upgrade program,” said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director of BAE Systems Hägglunds. “We look forward to supporting our Dutch customer to increase its combat efficiency on the future battlefield.”

“This is an important step to make sure that our Infantry Fighting Vehicles and our Army are well prepared for many years to come. This mid-life upgrade will also result in a lowering of the vehicle’s lifetime cost, at the same time as keeping our soldiers safe in the face of new threats,” said Colonel Norbert Moerkens, the Royal Netherlands Army’s head of strategy and plans. Work is already underway to equip the Dutch CV9035 vehicles with several enhanced capabilities such as an Active Protection System (APS) and Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM), as well as a new Electro-Optic Aiming System (EOPS) which gives additional situation awareness. The latest upgrade also includes future-proofing the electronics by upgrading to

More than 20 Dutch companies are involved in the supply chain for the mid-life upgrade program to include mechanical and electrical components to BAE Systems Hägglunds and the main subsystem suppliers, which will support the Dutch defense industrial base for many years to come. There are about 1,300 CV90s of numerous variants in service with Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The vehicle has a combat-proven track record and is designed to accommodate future growth to meet evolving missions.



U.S. Army Awards General Dynamics $1.2 Billion IM-SHORAD Contract

General Dynamics Land Systems was awarded a $1.2 billion contract by the U.S. Army to produce, test, and deliver Interim Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (IMSHORAD) systems. The initial order on the contract calls for 28 Stryker IM-SHORAD vehicles for $230 million. The U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC) at Redstone Arsenal (RSA), Alabama, is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-20-D-0039). Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2025. GD Land Systems has production locations in Tallahassee, Florida; Scranton, Pennsylvania; London, Ontario; Lima, Ohio; and Anniston, Alabama.

“General Dynamics and our teammates Leonardo DRS and Raytheon are pleased to be able to partner with the Army to bring this powerful capability to U.S. Soldiers,” said Don Kotchman, Vice President and General Manager of GD Land Systems. “This dedicated SHORAD capability adds a new operational dimension to the Stryker fleet in all of the Army’s maneuver formations.” Mounted on a Stryker A1 platform, the IM-SHORAD system will provide Soldiers with 360 degrees of air-defense protection through a mix of guns, missiles, rockets, and onboard sensors. GDLS — which produces the Stryker — is the platform integrator for the IM-SHORAD program, with a mission equipment package provided by Leonardo DRS. The mission system, developed by Leonardo DRS’s Land Systems business unit, in-

tegrates mature technologies from industry teammates and partners, including Moog’s Reconfigurable Integrated-weapons Platform (RIwP), Raytheon’s Stinger missiles, and Rada’s Multi-mission Hemispheric Radar (MHR). Leonardo claims that the unique RIwP turret supports multiple weapon configurations to give tactical commanders flexibility in various combat scenarios. The IM-SHORAD solution provides both hard and soft kill capabilities to the warfighter while minimizing impacts on the mobility of the Stryker, the company says. The Leonardo DRS system, when integrated on the GDLS’ Stryker A1 platform, will provide Army’s maneuver Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) with a full “detect-identify-track-defeat” capability required to defeat unmanned aerial vehicles (UAS), rotary-wing and fixed-wing threats.

COTS Journal | January 2021




Elbit Systems U.S. Subsidiary Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Sparton Corporation

Elbit Systems Ltd. announced that its

U.S. subsidiary, Elbit Systems of America, LLC (“Elbit Systems of America”), has signed a definitive agreement with an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. for the acquisition of Sparton Corporation (“Sparton”) for a purchase price of $380 million.

The transaction is conditioned on various closing conditions, including receipt of U.S. regulatory approvals, the pursuit of which could encompass many months. Headquartered in De Leon Springs, Florida, Sparton is a premier developer, producer, and supplier of electronic systems supporting Undersea Warfare for the U.S. Navy and allied military forces. Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, Elbit Systems President & CEO, commented: “The acquisition of Sparton will strengthen Elbit Systems of America’s capabilities and will enable expansion of activities in the naval arena. We believe this acquisition will be beneficial for both Elbit Systems’ and Sparton’s employees and customers.”

Alion Awarded $896M Navy Integrated Training Environment Contract Alion Science and Technology announces that it has been awarded an $896M task order under the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) SeaPort-NxG multiple-award contract for the development, integration, management, and support of the Navy Integrated Training Environment (NITE). “For more than 20 years, Alion has been dedicated to the Navy’s training missions supporting the Navy Continuous Training Environment (NCTE) and designing, developing, and operating the Navy Enterprise Tactical Training Network (NETTN). We understand the critical role training has in continuing to ready the Navy for multi-domain and all domain warfare. Alion is committed to seamless integration, management, and enhancement of the Navy’s training environment to ensure battle readiness,” said Steve Schorer, chairman and CEO of Alion. “This most recent contract award highlights the tremendous momentum the company has towards providing the best innovative technical solutions to support our customer’s missions.”


COTS Journal | January 2021

The primary purpose of this effort is to provide an integrated program that will enable a continuous, multi-domain, Live, Virtual and Constructive (LVC) training platform across multiple physical locations throughout the Navy Training Enterprise. Alion will integrate the Navy Combined Tactical Training Range (CTTR) and the Southern California Offshore Range (SCORE) into the NCTE environment which includes more than 1,200 secure interconnected nodes throughout the United States and coalition nations. Additionally, Alion and its teammates will provide comprehensive Operations and Maintenance support to the Naval Training Enterprise throughout the duration of the contracting activity.

“The Alion team’s combined expertise in modeling and simulation, engineering, and systems integration, along with its long history of event and experimentation support to the Navy, ensures the latest, most advanced technology and innovations are applied to the Navy’s LVC training environment,” said Glenn Goodman, Operations Vice President of Alion. “It is imperative that training environments and solutions excel at providing real-world training for our warfighters, and Alion is dedicated to that mission.” This contract has a 12-month base year, plus four one-year option periods.



Galvion helmet system chosen as next-generation protection for German Specialised Forces

Galvion, a world leader in innovative head protection systems and power management solutions, is pleased to announce that a customized Baltskin® Viper helmet solution has been chosen as the next Specialised Forces Helmet (Helm SpezKr schwer; Specialised Forces are Ranger-type units of the German Army). The program was awarded to Rheinmetall Soldier Electronics GmbH, who will act as the in-country contracting entity for the Galvion helmet, following a full and open competition. The contract encompasses the delivery of up to 20,000 helmets, with an initial order for 5000 helmet systems and helmet refurbishment plan to be executed in-country by Rheinmetall Soldier Electronics, as well as the option for a 2-year contract extension following contract framework completion in 2025. The bespoke helmet system, developed to the German MoD’s rigorous performance and technical standards, underwent thorough testing and an extensive user evaluation before being selected. The Viper helmet solution will come in a custom German Green color and

features Galvion’s Modular Suspension System which has been configured to meet a variety of impact standards and mission requirements. The helmet is lighter, offers better protection and improved integration with Communication Devices and NVGs than the current fielded helmet, and end-user feedback rated the helmet comfortable and high-performing. Rheinmetall Soldier Electronics will begin delivering the Galvion helmet to the German Specialised Forces in Q2 2021. “After years of development, we are honored to have our Viper helmet system chosen by the German Specialised Forces,” commented Alex Hooper, Galvion’s V.P. of Global Business Development. “Our experienced team of engineers and designers worked with the MoD to build a user-centric system that balances protection, integration, durability, and an optimized fit. Germany’s exacting technical requirements and broad testing process ensures that their soldiers will be outfitted with a high-performing system that has been tailored to meet their unique mission needs. Having RSE acting as our contracting entity ensures that the German Bundeswehr will have a premium product with reliable in-country support throughout the life of the program. “

COTS Journal | January 2021




Northrop Grumman to Enable New F-35 Warfighting Capability

Northrop Grumman Corporation has received a contract award from Lockheed Martin Corporation to enable new functionality to protect the 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II multi-role fighter. As part of a collaborative arrangement between Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, and Lockheed Martin, the three companies will integrate Northrop Grumman’s AN/ASQ-242 Integrated Communications, Navigation and Identification (ICNI) and BAE Systems’ AN/ASQ-239 Electronic Warfare/Countermeasures (EW/CM) system for optimal operational utility. “This arrangement allows us to collectively provide enhanced capabilities without compromising the size, weight, or power of the aircraft,” said Howard Lurie, vice president, F-35 programs, Northrop Grumman. “We are proud to be a primary partner of the F-35 team, providing our U.S. and allied warfighters superior combat effectiveness.” Northrop





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provides F-35 pilots with more than 27 fully-integrated operational functions. Using its industry-leading software-defined radio technology, Northrop Grumman’s design allows the simultaneous operation of multiple critical functions while greatly reducing size, weight, and power demands on the advanced F-35 fighter. These functions include Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), automatic acquisition of fly-to points, and various voice and data communications such as the Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL). The BAE Systems’ AN/ASQ-239 system is an advanced, proven electronic warfare suite that provides fully integrated radar warning, targeting support, and self-protection to detect and defeat threats and enable the F-35 to reach well-defended targets. “As Lockheed Martin’s electronic warfare integrator for all F-35 aircraft, we’re committed to equipping our customers with advanced capabilities that help them conduct their missions,” said Deborah Norton, vice president of F-35 Solutions at BAE Systems. “Under this collaborative agreement, we

will work closely with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to enhance the capability of our fully integrated EW system – heightening pilots’ situational awareness and helping them evade, engage and defeat modern threats.” As the provider for F-35’s ICNI continuously since low rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 1, Northrop Grumman has delivered more than 750 chipsets to date. Components of the new functionality are planned to begin incorporation starting in 2025 (Lot 17) and will include upgraded electronics and software. Northrop Grumman plays a key role in the development, modernization, sustainment, and production of the F-35. The company manufactures the center fuselage and wing skins for the aircraft produce and maintains several sensors, avionics, and mission systems as well as mission-planning software, pilot and maintainer training courseware, electronic warfare simulation testing, and low-observable technologies.



US Navy Awards L#Harris Technologies $496M Next Generation Jammer Low Band Tactical Jammin System Contract

L3Harris demonstrates our company’s strength as a technology prime to provide a truly unique solution that meets the Navy’s need to address all contested environments.”

The U.S. Navy has awarded L3Harris Technologies a five-year, $496 million contract to deliver prototype tactical jamming pods designed to extend U.S. Air superiority.

The company will deliver eight operational pods to NAVAIR for fleet assessment, and addi-

tional test assets for airworthiness and design verification. The NGJ-LB pods will be flown on the EA-18G Growler and continue the Navy’s plan to address operational gaps and replace the aging ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System pods operating in the low-frequency spectrum.

The Next Generation Jammer Low Band (NGJ-LB) is a high-powered, high-capacity airborne electronic warfare (EW) system. L3Harris’ single-pod solution enables extended stand-off jamming capability, covers a broad spectrum, and processes an increased number of threats. The system operates seamlessly with joint and allied forces and provides growth capacity for emerging threats. “The Next-Generation Jammer Low Band contract highlights L3Harris’ long-standing commitment to supporting the U.S. Navy’s mission to maintain superiority on land, sea, and in the air,” said Dana Mehnert, President, Communication Systems Segment, L3Harris. “The selection of

COTS Journal | January 2021




New Open Specification for HighPerformance Compute Modules – Preview Available Now

PICMG, a leading consortium for the development of open embedded computing specifications, announces that COM-HPC has entered member review. The member review phase occurs after the technical subcommittee approves the specification and acts as a final review by all PICMG members in good standing. Reaching this approval step is a milestone in ensuring ratification will be reached in early 2021. The base specification will complement a Platform Management Interface Specification, COM-HPC EEEP, and Carrier Board Design Guide. In conjunction with the review cycle, PICMG has published a preview specification. The abridged specification is available for public download and distribution. COM-HPC is the soon-to-be-released PICMG standard for high-performance Computer-on-Modules (COMs). COM-HPC defines five-module sizes to deliver edge server performance for small, rugged data centers. The new specification will complement COM Express,

ThinKom Completes Successful Overthe-Air Tests with K/Q-Band Phased-Array Multi-Beam Antenna on Protected Comms Satellite ThinKom Solutions, Inc., recently completed successful over-the-air tests of a pair of 17-inch active diameter K/Q-band phased-array antennas communicating through an Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite. The tests verified that the antenna, based on ThinKom’s patented Variable Inclination Continuous Transverse Stub (VICTS) architecture, meets or exceeds all performance metrics for operating effectively with the 14

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which will continue to play a crucial role in the COM marketplace for many years.

current and future requirements over multiple industries”.

PICMG developed this specification to address emerging requirements in the embedded and edge computing market. Trends, including the substantial data growth and processing requirements of broadband and 5G as well as edge analytic including AI and situational awareness applications. IoT devices, sensors, and actuators are producing tremendous amounts of data that require preprocessing at the edge for improved data processing efficiency and, end to end security. Autonomous vehicles, smart factories, smart retail, medical robotics are among many applications that will benefit from massively increased edge server and edge client class processor modules or COMs being available in standard modules that existing standards cannot meet.

Technical Highlights: • Two 400-pin BGA mount high-performance connectors • System Management Interface • Not limited to x86 processors • Provides for the use of RISC processors, FPGAs and GPGPUs • COM-HPC Client Modules • Up to 48 + 1 PCI Express Gen4/5 lanes • Up to 4x USB4 • Up to 4x video interfaces • Up to 2x 25 Gb Ethernet interfaces

“The working group of 26 industry-leading companies has done an excellent job, said Christian Eder, Chairman COM-HPC Technical Committee. A big thank you to the team for their collective development of this specification over a five-year investment of time and resources. The importance of the COM-HPC specification is very clear, as is our commitment to a healthy market ecosystem. We are now well prepared to address frequency-hopping waveform of the AEHF protected communications satellite network. A broad range of uplink and downlink communication plans and modes were tested on an operational K/Q-band satellite,

Module sizes: • Size A: 95 x 120 mm • Size B: 120 x 120 mm • Size C: 160 x 120 mm • COM-HPC Server Modules • Up to 64 + 1 PCI Express Gen4/5 lanes • Up to 2x USB4 • Up to 4 graphic interfaces / headless • Up to 8x 25 Gb Ethernet interfaces Module sizes: • Size D: 160 x 160 mm • Size E: 200 x 160 mm exercising full 1 GHz and 2GHz “hopped” bandwidths. The VICTS antennas successfully acquired, tracked, logged on, and joined downlink and uplink services in all cases at elevation angles from 24 to 73 degrees. “The stabilized beam of the VICTS antenna eliminates the need for ‘de-hopping,’ requiring substantially less processing power than electronically steered antennas and given that VICTS is the only phased-array technology that can work with very widespread waveforms, it uniquely enables use on new communication waveforms such as the Protected Tactical Waveform,” said Bill Milroy, chairman, and CTO of ThinKom Solutions.



U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexander Cook

General Dynamics awarded $4.6 billion U.S. Army contract for the latest configuration of Abrams Main Battle Tanks

General Dynamics Land Systems announced that it was awarded a $4.6 billion fixed-price-incentive contract to produce M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams main battle tanks for the U.S. Army. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 17, 2028. The first delivery order is valued at an estimated $406 million. “We are pleased to continue our support to the Army on the modernization of the Abrams main battle tank,” said Don Kotchman, Vice

Racal Acoustics announce a major headset contract with the Danish Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (DALO) Racal Acoustics, the UK-based global designer and manufacturer of audio communications and protection systems has today announced a new contract to supply the Danish Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (DALO), with their RA4000 Magna digital headset system. The 7-year framework contract is worth up to USD 4.7 million and includes a full support package comprising of training, consumables, and spares, plus an option to supply follow-on orders, as required. The Racal Acoustics RA4000 Magna digital Active Noise Reduction (ANR) headset systems supplied under this contract include the headset; a soft helmet liner; a ballistic helmet with integrated side-rails and NVG mount; and a downlead to connect the system to the in-vehicle intercom. Selected specifically to meet the needs of Leopard 1, Leopard 2, and CV90 heavy armored vehicle crews, the RA4000 protects the crew from in-vehicle noise whilst enabling effective communication and situational awareness. The system also allows the user to dismount from the vehicle yet retain Active Noise Reduction (ANR) protection -

President and General Manager of General Dynamics Land Systems U.S. The state-of-the-art M1A2 SEPv3 configuration features technological advancements in communications, fire control and lethality, reliability, sustainment, and fuel efficiency, plus upgraded armor. Additionally, the SEPv3 Abrams is designed to seamlessly accept future upgrades. The SEPv3 configuration further modernizes the tank that has set the global standard for four decades. The Abrams main battle tank is built to confront and destroy enemy forces using unrivaled firepower, maneuverability, and shock effect. With its manually loaded, 120mm M256 smoothbore cannon, the Abrams can overmatch against armored vehicles, personnel, and even low-flying aircraft. General Dynamics Land Systems is collaborating with the Army to ensure it continues to have the strongest and most technologically advanced tank fleet in the world.

powered by an integrated battery. As well as connecting the crew to the intercom, the system can be connected to remote communications devices, such as Personal Role Radio or other man-pack radios to allow the user to communicate with dismounted troops outside of the armored vehicle crew environment. Already established as market leaders in military headset technology for high noise environments, this order further underlines Racal Acoustics as the global provider of choice for users wanting the very best protection whilst retaining optimum communication and situational awareness. René Ulbjerg Toft, Deputy Technical Director, Danish Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organization, Land Materiel Systems Division said: “when tendering for a framework agreement on new CVC helmets for the Danish Army, DALO was focused on choosing a tactical solution that could provide as much attenuation as possible, without compromising clear intercom and radio communication. Through thorough user tests we conclude, that the RA4000 system was the only solution, that could satisfy our comprehensive requirements and operate efficiently on the heavily armored platforms. DALO is eager to put the RA4000 system in service, to ensure the safety of the soldiers and to benefit from the flexibility that the software-defined solution provides”.

Alexandre Huart, Vice President - Sales and Marketing at Racal Acoustics said: “we’re all very proud of winning this order and we’re looking forward to delivering a first-class product and support service to the DALO”. He added: “the RA4000 system delivers exactly what was specified by the customer. Our future-proofed design allows the Racal Acoustics engineers to upgrade the integrated software to take account of our ongoing innovation activity – constantly striving to maintain our ‘best in class’ position and reputation”. COTS Journal | January 2021




OSS Wins Fourth Program with Major Military Contractor

One Stop Systems, Inc. has expanded its engagement at a major military prime contractor with its fourth major program win. This latest program, named “Orange Gear,” involves building an AI system consisting of a cluster of three OSS custom GPU-accelerated rugged servers. The server cluster has been designed to meet the unique power and ruggedization requirements of this airborne application. It is packed with the latest 200Gb Ethernet server-to-server networking, Gen 4 PCIe internal interconnects, NVMe storage devices, and third-party GPUs for edge AI acceleration. Computing and storage systems rugge-

ViaLite Links Used in Next Generation of Space Development As the commercial space industry continues to develop and grow, private companies are increasingly investing in their own space development programs. Along with the large business opportunity, this brings with it many challenges and areas of difficulty. One such challenge is developing fully reusable launch systems, this critically gives material and financial savings. Recent developments in the industry have seen an increasing number of successful trials and missions landing launch vehicles back on earth safely and accurately for re-use. RF over fiber experts, ViaLite Communications, are now helping companies in this market through the integration of their RF over fiber solutions into different parts of the ground segment communications systems.

dization pushes the requirements for ‘edge performance without compromise’ for AI applications to boundaries not seen in the data center. Orange Gear furthers the company’s ‘data center in the sky’ strategy of combining compute platforms with solid-state storage units. Orange Gear is similar to OSS’s first compute win with this prime contractor announced in June of last year which is currently being deployed under a multi-year contract. The deployment involves OSS all-in-one rugged GPU accelerated servers that enable U.S. Navy aircraft to conduct real-time AI-powered threat detection. Altogether, the four major programs with the military prime contractor include: · Ground-based missile defense radar simulation · Data storage unit for radar data in flight for

sures, and indoor system chassis solutions to a major privately funded spaceflight services company. The L-Band link featured the market-leading ViaLite Hyper Wide Dynamic Range (HWDR) solution which provides a spurious-free dynamic range of up to 115 dB/Hz. The GPS links were supplied together with the unique ViaLite Multizone Lossless Splitter, for easy distribution of the GPS signals with effectively no signal loss. The products were used to operate the spaceflight company’s LBand communications link and for GPS based network server timing and synchronization. ViaLite’s products were chosen for their

the Navy · Single server for AI ‘data center in the sky’ for the Navy · Three server cluster for AI ‘data center in the sky’ for the Navy “This latest ‘data center in the sky’ project expands our footprint with this key military contractor and provides further validation of our technology for mission-critical U.S. Navy applications,” commented Jim Ison, OSS chief sales and marketing officer. “The win also reflects the increasing business we’ve been generating by combining our storage and computing solutions. We will continue to leverage our unique capabilities in specialized high-performance edge computing to expand the support of wartime theater applications for land, sea, air, and space.

“best in industry” performance and product deployment efficiencies, complimenting the spacecraft company’s advanced design and communication systems. These were vital attributes for the customer whose products are sent to both suborbital and orbital distances. Craig Somach, director of ViaLite sales in North America said: “We are very proud to be supporting the next generation of space development. Our advanced technology provides revolutionary optical and RF performance while allowing for a very efficient physical deployment and cost-effective solution to what has been typically used in the past.”

ViaLite recently supplied its L-Band links, GPS links, associated outdoor encloCOTS Journal | January 2021



Converging on the Future of Battlefield IT By Jim Shaw, Executive Vice President of Engineering, Crystal Group

Experimental exercises today are testing out how AI will strengthen tomorrow’s command, control, situational awareness, and more


COTS Journal | January 2021

The 2018 launch of the Department of Defense’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) wasn’t the earliest step in the military’s pursuit of AI capabilities, but it was one of the first high-profile demonstrations of its serious commitment. What’s followed in the Pentagon’s strides toward advanced battlefield AI— including the 2019 tandem release of a White House American AI Strategy executive order and an official DoD AI Strategy, as well as the 2020 adoption of five DoD Principles for Artificial Intelligence Ethics—have created the foundational doctrine for military-wide accelerated AI development and deployment. With the necessary E-Ring frameworks, agreements, and parameters in place, the services have kicked off multiple campaigns

aimed at harnessing digital transformation in the hunt for AI-powered capabilities that deliver the decisive advantage. The JAIC, as well as older future-focused defense organizations like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, have been at the center of many projects, programs, and campaigns targeting military AI development. But the rubber hit the road in a big way earlier this year when the Army—joined by elements of the Air Force and the Marine Corps—kicked off a five-week exercise known as Project Convergence. Held in August and September at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, Project Convergence ambitiously tested out multi-platform experiments and demonstrations that pushed the limits of today’s tactical

edge multi-domain operations, interoperability, power, speed, network operations, data-sharing, command and control, and more. The exercise leveraged F-35 II Lightning aircraft, long-range precision fires, air, and missile defense systems, sensors spread across the land, air and space, unmanned aircraft, weapons systems including Howitzer artillery, and air and ground assault vehicles. And the central thread tying it all together in the quest for interoperable, data-driven technological dominance that wins tomorrow’s wars? Artificial intelligence. “How do you start to combine and connect all these things so they interoperate? It’s bigger than just the signature weapons systems,” Gen. John M. Murray, commander of Army Futures Command, said at a September media briefing. “It’s artificial intelligence. It’s machine learning. It’s the network that will support all that. It’s autonomy, it’s robotics, and it’s the underlying data architectures and how we manage data because when you boil it right down, it all comes down to how you manage that data.” For the military, “managing data” in tactical scenarios means rapidly collecting, sorting,

processing, analyzing, determining actionable relevance, sharing, and using operational information to make split-second decisions in combat. Today’s requirements for linking sensor to shooter in seconds are beyond human capacity—and that’s why the military is turning to battlefield AI as a key solution in troop readiness and lethality.

meet the demand for dedicated embedded packages—a departure from the large, power-consuming devices found in autonomous vehicles. Rather than combining dozens of sensors for situational awareness, it’s a matter

Technically Speaking: Here’s How We Get There While Project Convergence was a recent milestone in testing and evaluating AI in a tactical setting, the demand signals behind its fundamental goals—including the cross-service Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, for Project Convergence is a pivotal proof of concept—aren’t so new. Manufacturers have been hard at work devising, designing, and manufacturing AI-enabled solutions capable of meeting emerging requirements. For AI at the tactical edge, those requirements involve more CUDA cores and more small, rugged boxes going into a variety of applications for specific purposes. For example, applications could center on image detection, electronic warfare signatures, or intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance. At Crystal Group, engineers are currently working to

Figure 1: Feature-rich Crystal Group Embedded Computer Systems are powerful, compact, and rugged. Completely and easily configurable, the Embedded product line boasts advanced thermal management and an aluminum chassis and is field-tested to withstand shock and vibration, extended temperature ranges, harsh elements, and harsh environments.

And the central thread tying it all together in the quest for interoperable, data-driven technological dominance that wins tomorrow’s wars? Artificial intelligence. COTS Journal | January 2021


of feeding data from one or two sensors into AI engines that are scanning images, looking for changes from frame to frame, and performing edge detection. The ability to quickly identify a hypersonic missile or a specific type of plume is becoming more promising because devices are becoming more application-specific rather than multipurpose—allowing for a smaller footprint. The crucial piece is the ability to not just collect edge-sensor data in the field, but also process it, analyze it, help determine actionable intelligence and direct that up the chain of the command—or wherever it needs to go. “We used ground robots paired with small UAVs to digitally map and transmit that map over the network so that it could be aggregated and then sent across the force,” Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of the Army’s Next-Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team, said in a Sept. 23 media roundtable. “We used artificial intelligence to autonomously conduct a ground reconnaissance, employ sensors and then pass that information back. We used artificial intelligence in [air defense artillery] target recognition, and machine learning to train algorithms on various types of enemy forces.” Coffman added that Projected Convergence was an opportunity to prove the ability to communicate and share data specifically between F-35s and Ospreys to ground forces, passing ground-sensed targets to the aircraft and aircraft-sensed targets to ground operators. 20

COTS Journal | January 2021

For troops forward-deployed and needing a lot of compute horsepower—for AI, inference engine-type capabilities—exercises like Project Convergence are foundational. Turning tactical-edge data-sorting, reduction, and consolidation from thousands of sensors worldwide into battlefield situational awareness—and doing so in a place that’s definitely not a data center—is a tremendous challenge. Today, warfighters are using a transit case or a mobile truck to receive all that sensor information and create a common operating picture for command and control. But finding a way to do that in a much smaller footprint is clearly where the military is looking to go next. Informed Operations from the Edge Edge sensors played an essential role alongside AI in Project Convergence, collecting large amounts of data in many different forms. Take, for example, a camera snapping 240 high-resolution frames per second. Like with drones, that can amount to petabytes of data, but the integration of AI is what separates what’s useful from what’s not. That’s what’s at the heart of making these sensors AI-capable: to marry quantities of data with an image processor that only sends the important information back to the main compute capacity. It’s not necessary to have massive compute power in, say, an F-35 mission computer, because operators and commanders are only getting data that’s mission-relevant, reducing the computational load. The primary purpose of most edge compute devices is to only send back mission-critical information, which is how the military

can get around the pipeline limitations of a disconnected environment. Project Convergence is, according to the Army, a campaign to demonstrate and begin forging the path toward AI at the tactical edge. Specifically, in a set of demonstrations held Sept. 21 and Sept. 23, participants including much of Army Futures Command—among them, the Army’s AI Task Force and the Future Vertical Lift, Network, Next-Generation Combat Vehicle, and Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing Cross-Functional Teams— used a two-sensor, two-shooter, two-target format to demonstrate specific threads within an artificial “kill web.” One of the key AI capabilities used in Project Convergence was FIRES Synchronization to Optimize Responses in Multi-Domain Operations or FIRESTORM. Coffman told reporters that FIRESTORM is a “computer brain that recommends the best shooter, updates the common operating picture with the current enemy situation and friendly situation, [and] admissions the effectors that we want to [use to] eradicate the enemy on the battlefield.” To train FIRESTORM’s algorithms, the Army reportedly built a database of more than 3.5 million relevant images in varying contexts— and when it comes to training algorithms, the more images, inputs, and repetitions, the more effective the tool. That training of algorithms and models is fundamental for battlefield applications that are effective and secure. It’s also work that requires massive compute power and likely

takes place well before deployment, in places like the Pentagon or other headquarters environments where that high-speed computing capacity is available. Updating the AI model has to be real-time to most competitively keeping pace with operational tempo and emerging threats. Taking the sensor data you’re collecting when you’re seeing that tank or RPG for the first time—that needs to be the first input for your model back at the Pentagon or relevant headquarters to maximize mission effectiveness and security. Safeguarding the Future of AI-Powered Ops Emerging technology inherently comes with accompanying emerging vulnerabilities. In this case, one is the danger of failing to keep AI current with the evolving threat landscape. This truly is a race—the AI threat used against the U.S. is likely going to come from Russia or China. It all comes down to training the model. In the theater troops are using a different kind of an AI engine—an inference engine—that interprets what it sees from the sensor and compares it to the Pentagon’s mod-

el algorithm. Tactical AI, and therefore the ability to detect and understand the current tactical situation, is dependent on how good the AI model is. As things change quickly, will the modeling and training of the algorithm keep pace? That’s a key issue when it comes to AI vulnerabilities. And just as AI is a boon for augmented U.S. military operations, it’s just as much a tool for adversaries with malicious intent. This isn’t a concept that’s lost on the Army. In fact, while Project Convergence was underway in the Arizona desert, the service was also test-driving automated tools for bolstering tactical network resilience and security while also safeguarding AI capabilities. The 11-week annual Network Modernization Experiment (NetModX) at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, wrapped in early October after focusing on network resilience, bandwidth, and spectrum. One key goal: employ automation to alleviate manpower shortages, execute cyber defense, and secure deployed AI tools. “In the battlefield of the future, the expec-

tation is that military networks will operate in a heavily contested environment with enemies attempting to infiltrate and attack friendly networks and systems,” Sanae Benchaaboun, the Army C5ISR Center engineer leading the project at NetModX 20, said ahead of the event. “Human cyber defenders will likely need support to defend the network and intervene where human action may not be possible. At NetModX 20, the Autonomous Cyberteam plans to evaluate three components of the program that use artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to support the human cyber defender in the tactical battlefield.” Ultimately, Project Convergence—already teeing up for a 2021 iteration—along with NetModX and the many other experiments and exercises underway across the services are defining the future of warfare. That includes offense and defense, networks and weapons systems, ships and ground vehicles and aircraft, and even space and cyberspace. While many questions remain, one aspect is clear: The tactical edge and artificial intelligence will shape the doctrine, training, equipment, and operations to come.

COTS Journal | January 2021



Debunking the Myths. How Machine Learning (ML) Benefits Cyber Security By Eleanor Barlow, Content Manager, SecurityHQ and Akhilesh Deshmukh, Cyber Security Data Analyst Artificial Intelligence (AI) is defined as ‘the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence’. Machine learning (ML) is a sub-field within AI. The pioneer, Arthur Samuel, promoted the term ML in 1959, as the “Field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed”.

Figure 1 - Arthur Lee Samuel was an American pioneer in the field of computer gaming and artificial intelligence. Also know for popularized the term “machine learning”.

In the Cambridge Dictionary, ML is referred to as ‘The process of computers changing the way they carry out tasks by learning from new data, without a human being needing to give instructions in the form of a program’. And, in the Oxford Lexico, it is used to describe ‘The use and development of computer systems that can learn and adapt without following explicit instructions, by using algorithms and statistical models to analyze and draw inferences from patterns in data’. Generally speaking, ML relies on mathematical models that are built by analyzing patterns in datasets. These patterns are then used to make predictions on new input data. Similar to the way Netflix offers recommendations for new TV series, based on previous viewing experiences, ML is one of the many approaches to AI that uses a system that is capable of learning from experience and builds upon what has been learned.

Figure 2 - Silver didrachma from Crete. Is a depicting of Talos, an ancient mythical automaton with artificial intelligence


COTS Journal | January 2021

Misconceptions People are often scared or apprehensive about what they do not understand. Although ML is not a new concept for experts in the field, many are only just getting to grips with what it is and how it can be used. Because the term ML is associated with depictions portrayed in the media of power-hungry robots with a thirst for human destruction, many recoil at the thought of utilizing it in business or private use. But the truth is that these portrayals are not accurate repre-

sentations, and ML is used by the majority of us, daily, without us even fully recognizing how or where. Examples of daily ML in action includes the use of portrait mode on your smartphone, social media feeds on applications such as Facebook or Instagram, music, and media streaming including BBC iPlayer or Netflix, online adverts tailored to the user journey, pretty much every online game, banking apps, smart devices… the list is endless. From reinforcement learning, semi-supervised learning, self-learning, feature learning, sparse dictionary learning, anomaly detection, and robot learning, there are many different approaches and techniques used. But, on the whole, machine learning can be broadly classified into two classes, known as supervised and unsupervised learning. Supervised Learning Supervised Learning is where a machine learns from training data and maps out inputs and outputs, based on rules provided in said training data, and from inferred functions. In Supervised Learning, the dataset is labeled, wherein there is a target variable. The value of which the ML model learns to predict, using different algorithms. For instance, it may do this based on IP address location, frequency of web requests, and so on. From this, an ML model can then predict if the IP was part of saying a Distributed Denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, and more. The main goal is for the machine to extract the information from the unlabelled data sets, that could aid performance and increase productivity. Unsupervised Learning In Unsupervised Learning, there is no labeled data, thereby, no prediction of a target variable.

Unsupervised Learning tries to find interesting associations, or patterns, within a dataset. For instance, clustering can be applied in user analytics where application users can be grouped. By doing this, it is possible to see what data should belong to a specific group, or not. Machine learning is about developing patterns and manipulating those patterns with algorithms. To develop patterns, we need a lot of data that has complete, relevant, and rich context. It is not just about the quantity of the data, but also the quality. Essentially, accurate and rapid security depends on the initial data collection. There are many systems out there, buzzing away, both on-premise and on the Cloud. You need to be able to get the data from those systems, process it, correlate, and analyze those systems. Whether via traditional Syslog, Cloud API, AWS, Azure, Statistical Analysis Systems (SAS) services, or something else, you need to get that data and have it presented in a way that can be processed quickly and efficiently.

And, once you have the right logs, they need to be validated. You can start to standardize and normalize them. Start with basic correlation. By contextualizing the traffic logs against threat intelligence data, analysts can see where risky user activity might be present. This, very quickly, moves along to advanced analytics.

ber Security to enhance security processes, and make it easier for security analysts to quickly identify, prioritize, deal with and remediate new attacks.

This is why Data Cleansing is an important part of machine learning and helps analysts make sense of the raw data captured from multiple sources.

Automating Tasks A great benefit of ML in cybersecurity is its capacity to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, such as triaging intelligence, malware analysis, network log analysis, and vulnerability assessments. By incorporating ML into the security workflow, organizations can accomplish tasks faster, and act on and remediate threats at a rate that would not be possible with manual human capability alone. Automating repetitive processes means that clients can up or downscale easily, without changing the manpower needed, thus reducing costs in the process.

‘If intelligence is a cake, the bulk of the cake is unsupervised learning, the icing on the cake is supervised learning, and the cherry on the cake is reinforcement learning (RL).’ - Facebook AI Chief Yann LeCun Applications of Machine Learning in Cyber Security To better understand previous cyber-attacks, and develop respective defense responses, ML can be leveraged in various domains within Cy-

The following headings are just a few methods ML can be used to aid security.

The method of automating practices via ML is sometimes referred to as AutoML. AutoML signifies when repetitive tasks involved in de-

‘If intelligence is a cake, the bulk of the cake is unsupervised learning, the icing on the cake is supervised learning, and the cherry on the cake is reinforcement learning (RL).’ - Facebook AI Chief Yann LeCun

COTS Journal | January 2021


When you are doing business profiling, you have to decipher what area, if compromised, is going to destroy your business.

velopment are automated to specifically aid the productivity of the analysts, data scientists, and developers. Threat Detection and Classification Machine learning algorithms are used in applications to detect and respond to attacks. This can be achieved by analyzing big data sets of security events and identifying patterns of malicious activities. ML works so that when similar events are detected, they are automatically dealt with by the trained ML model. For instance, the dataset to feed a machine learning model can be created by using Indicators of Compromise (IOCs). These can help monitor, identify, and respond to threats in real-time. ML classification algorithms can be used using IOC data sets to classify the behavior of malware. An example of such a use is evident in a report from Darktrace, an ML-based Enterprise Immune Solution, that claims to have prevented attacks during the WannaCry ransomware crisis. According to David Palmer, Director of Technology at Darktrace, “Our algorithms spotted the attack within seconds in one NHS agency’s network, and the threat was mitigated without causing any damage to that organization,” he said of the ransomware, 24

COTS Journal | January 2021

which infected more than 200,000 victims across 150 countries. Phishing Traditional phishing detection techniques alone lack the speed and accuracy to detect and differentiate between harmless and malicious URLs. Latest ML algorithm predictive URL classification models can identify patterns that reveal malicious emails. To do this, the models are trained on features such as email headers, body-data, punctuation patterns, and more to classify and differentiate the malicious from the harmless. WebShell WebShell is a piece of code that is maliciously loaded into a website to provide access to make modifications on the webroot directory of the server. This allows attackers to gain access to the database. Which, in turn, enables the bad actor to collect personal information. By using ML, a normal shopping cart behavior can be detected, and the model can be trained to differentiate between normal and malicious behavior. The same goes for User Behaviour Analytics (UBA), which forms a supplementary layer to standard security measures, to provide complete visibility, detect account compromises, and mitigate and detect malicious or anoma-

lous insider activity. By using ML algorithms, patterns of user behavior are categorized, to understand what constitutes normal behavior, and to detect abnormal activity. If an unusual action is made on a device on a given network, such as an employee login late at night, inconsistent remote access, or an unusually high number of downloads, the action and user is given a risk score based on their activity, patterns and time. Network Risk Scoring Use of quantitative measures to assign risk scores to sections of networks, help organizations to prioritize resources. ML can be used to analyze previous cyber-attack datasets and determine which areas of networks were mostly involved in particular attacks. This score can help quantify the likelihood, and impact of an attack, for a given network area. Thus, helping organizations to reduce the risk of being victimized by further attacks. When you are doing business profiling, you have to decipher what area, if compromised, is going to destroy your business. It could be a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, your accounting system, or your sales system. It’s about knowing, within your specific business environment, what area is most vulnerable. Say, for instance, HR goes down, this may have a low-risk score within your

company. But if your oil trading platform goes down, that could bring down your entire business. Every company has a different way of doing security. And once you understand the specifics of an organization, you know what to protect. And if there is a hack, you know what to prioritize.

AI to Hunt Risk in the Real World’ here. About SecurityHQ SecurityHQ prides itself on its global reputation as an advanced Managed Security Service Provider, delivering superior engineering-led

solutions to clients around the world. By combining dedicated security experts, cutting-edge technology, and processes, clients receive an enterprise-grade experience that ensures that all IT virtual assets, cloud, and traditional infrastructures, are protected.

The Future of ML ML is a powerful tool. There is no denying that. But it is no silver bullet. It is important to remember that, while technology is developing, and advancements in AI and ML are evolving at a significant rate, technology is only as good, or as bad, as the minds of the analysts controlling and using it. There will always be bad actors developing their skills and technology to find and exploit weaknesses. This is why it is crucial to combine the best technology and processes with industry experts, to be able to detect and respond to cyber threats accurately and rapidly. To learn more about the use of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) within security analytics, and to debunk some of the common misconceptions and myths surrounding what constitutes AI and ML, view our video on ‘Using Machine Learning &

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January 2021

COT’S PICKS Kaman KD-5600 Family of Digital Differential Measuring Systems Ideal for Wide Range of Applications

The Measuring Division of Kaman Precision Products, Inc., announces that the KD-5600 family of digital eddy current measurement systems are ideal for use in COTS applications for fast steering mirrors, magnetic bearing active control, shaft vibration, image stabilization, and adaptive optics. Customers in the small satellite, semi-conductors, military/aerospace, high precision metalworking, and UAV/drone sectors benefit from the KD-5600 system’s host of features. Designed for non-contact linear position displacement sensing applications, Kaman released two configurations for tailored use. The KD5656 (Full System) and KD-5690 FE (Front-End) are equipped with custom sensors, signal processing, analog to digital converter, and a custom calibration system to ensure precision and accuracy. For optimum operation for each channel,

Acromag Releases the Smallest Mezzanine Module with the Power of a Zynq® UltraScale+™ MPSoC for I/O Processing and Programmable Logic This new AcroPack® module combines multicore ARM processors, FPGA capabilities, and I/O interfaces on a rugged, high-density platform for embedded computing applications Acromag’s new APZU series expands their offering of mini PCIe-based AcroPack modules with a programmable I/O solution featuring the Xilinx® Zynq UltraScale+ multiprocessor systemon-a-chip (MPSoC). Three models are available offering a choice of digital I/O interfaces with 28 TTL, 20 TTL, and 3 RS422/485, or 14 LVDS signals. These mezzanine modules mount on a variety of AcroPack carrier cards for PCIe, VPX, and other platforms allowing developers to mix and match I/O combinations on a single board for embedded applications running on Linux®, Windows®, or VxWorks® operating systems. The APZU’s Zynq 3CG MPSoC combines a feature-rich ARM-based processing system and programmable logic in a single device. Two dual-core ARM Cortex CPUs (A53 application processor and R5 real-time processor) deliver high-performance 26

COTS Journal | January 2021

the KD-5600 system has two matched sensors. Input signals are filtered and SWaP-C scaled to provide optimum operation, remove common mode noise, and deliver a drive signal. They also provide digital filtering as part of the signal conditioning to reduce signal noise. The suite of products is designed with high resolution, bandwidth, and linearity and equipped with a Serial Peripheral Interface Bus for fast data transfers and no firmware. Additionally, the KD-5600 system samples data at eight times the standard data rate. Oversampling at high volume provides higher resolution at the defined data rate, which results in a signal resolution that is eight times better than a system sampling at the Nyquist rate. Using a 9D connector for reading data, power, and control signals, the system operates from a single power supply with a voltage range of 8-28 volts. These features combined ensure long-term stability. Kaman Precision Products, Inc.

computation capability. 154k logic cells provide plenty of FPGA processing blocks for hardware acceleration and compute-intensive tasks. Additional resources include large on-chip memory, external memory interfaces, and a rich set of peripheral connectivity interfaces. Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0, and USB-UART interfaces are supported. AcroPack modules are only 30mm x 70mm. They use a standard mini PCIe edge connector but add a down-facing 100-pin connector which internally routes I/O signals through the carrier card to secure field connectors, thus eliminating loose cables and increasing reliability. More information about the AcroPack series is available from Acromag’s website at “Designers can increase overall system per-

formance by leveraging the tightly-coupled CPU and FPGA computing engines for different signal processing tasks in a very small and cost-effective form factor,” stated Robert Greenfield, Acromag’s Business Development Manager. Designed for defense and aerospace systems, these AcroPacks are ideal for adaptive filtering, protocol conversion, simulation, HIL test, motor control, image processing, and sensor fusion applications. The COTS modules can be used in PCIe servers, VPX or CompactPCI Serial chassis, and small form factor embedded computers. Acromag

January 2021

COT’S PICKS Pixus Develops OpenVPX Chassis Platform Supporting Speeds above 100GbE and 2500W of Cooling

Pixus Technologies has provided the fastest known customized OpenVPX backplane/ chassis design in the market. The 9U RiCool chassis platform for 6U OpenVPX boards features dual hot-swappable 191 CFM fans for cooling up to 2500W. The design allows the use of Rear Transition Modules (RTMs) in all slots. Rear-pluggable PSU’s provide power for the VPX and custom rails, available in various wattage and output options.

Microchip Adds 64 Mbit Parallel SuperFlash® Memory to its Family of Radiation-Tolerant COTS-Based Devices for Space Systems To reduce the time, cost, and risk of developing spaceflight-qualified systems, designers may start with Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) devices that can later be replaced by their space-qualified, radiation-tolerant equivalent parts available in plastic or ceramic packages featuring the same pinout distribution. Microchip Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: MCHP) today announced a radiation-tolerant, 64 Megabit (Mbit) parallel-interface SuperFlash memory device with unrivaled Total Ionizing Dose (TID) tolerance for maximum reliability and robustness in the harsh radiation environment of space missions. It is an ideal companion to Microchip’s space-ready microcontrollers (MCUs), microprocessors (MPUs), and Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) that provide the building blocks

The backplane design required routing for 28G+ signals across the backplane. This is more than the 4 x 25G speeds of 100GbE and the capability of the high-performance RT3 VPX connector. As such, a special high-speed connector was utilized for the 28G+ signals. The backplane also required VITA 66.5 and VITA 67.x interfaces for optical and RF through the printed circuit board.

Pixus Technologies

Pixus offers high-performance OpenVPX and other open standard architecture backplanes, chassis platforms, and specialty products. The company also provides customizable faceplates, ejector handles, card guides, and other components. for this scalable development model. “The SST38LF6401RT SuperFlash device further strengthens our scalable approach to developing total space system solutions using our radiation-tolerant or radiation-hardened microprocessors and FPGAs,” said Bob Vampola, associate vice president of Microchip’s aerospace and defense business unit. “It offers the vital protection these space systems need for the most reliable digital processing where companion Flash memory is required to store the critical software code or bitstream that drives the complete system.” Radiation-tolerant up to 50 kilorad (Krad) TID, even while the Flash is still biased and operating, the SST38LF6401RT device enables systems to operate in a broad range of space applications where they cannot afford any loss of code execution that could lead to severe defects and system loss. It is an ideal companion to Microchip’s SAMRH71 Arm® Cortex®-M7-based ra-

diation-hardened SoC processor and can also be used with the company’s RT PolarFire® FPGAs to support in-flight system reconfiguration. The device has pinout distribution compatibility with its industrial version for an easy transition to the space-qualified plastic or ceramic versions at the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) level. Development Tools and Availability The SST38LF6401RT SuperFlash device is sampling now in a ceramic version and supported by an evaluation board and demonstration software, available upon request. Also available upon request is an FPGA flight programming reference case for combining the SuperFlash device with an FPGA and a SAMRH71 processor with supporting software. Voltage operation ranges from 3.0 to 3.6 volts (V). Microchip’s COTS-to-Radiation-Tolerant Process By selecting relevant devices from its proven automotive- or industrial-qualified product family and adding silicon process improvements, Microchip gives them enhanced protections that make them more immune to single-event latchup in heavy ion environments. The radiation performance of the slightly modified devices is fully characterized and supported by a dedicated radiation report for each functional block. The devices are used in applications ranging from launch vehicles and satellite constellations to space stations. Designers can begin system implementation with easy-to-source COTS devices before swapping them out with pinout-compatible space-qualified equivalents in high-reliability plastic or ceramic packages.   Microchip

COTS Journal | January 2021


January 2021

COT’S PICKS SOSA-Aligned WILDSTAR 3XR0 Board Integrates

and digitizer/processor separately.

Two Gen 3 RFSoCs and Enables 18+GHz Digitizationg

“We don’t know of anyone else who is combining this much tuning, digitizing, and processing capability in a single 1” VITA 48.1 slot,” said Noah Donaldson, Annapolis Micro Systems Chief Technology Officer.

Annapolis Micro Systems has developed the first SOSA™-aligned 100Gb Ethernet FPGA board that combines the processing and A/D & D/A converting power of two Gen 3 Xilinx UltraScale+™ RFSoC FPGAs, with the ability to incorporate 18+GHz digitization. The WILDSTAR™ 3XR0 3U OpenVPX FPGA Processor incorporates an innovative fulllength coax-connected Analog Interface Mezzanine Site. This site can be populated with a direct RF digitization mezzanine, or a 3rd party analog superheterodyne tuner to allow for the digitization of 18+GHz signals. An integrated tuner delivers much lower SWaP-C than a separate standalone tuner while maintaining the ability to upgrade the tuner


COTS Journal | January 2021

In addition to two Gen 3 RFSoC FPGAs (XCZU43DR & some other P/Ns on request), an on-board Xilinx MPSoC (XCZU5EV) provides high performing yet low power self-hosting capability thanks to the power-efficient ARM cores. The rugged 3XR0 supports wide temperature ranges via air, conduction (photo above), or air-flow-through cooling. Min/max operating temperatures are -55˚C/85˚C; min/max storage temperatures are -65˚C/105˚C.

For maximum flexibility, the 3XR0 supports SOSA and/or VITA 65 backplane slot profiles architectures. It also offers optional VITA 67 backplane RF connectivity. Annapolis Micro Systems

January 2021

COT’S PICKS Boeing Satellites use RadiationTolerant Power Modules from Vicor

Tested and proven resiliency to 50 kilorad of total ionizing dose and immune to single-event upsets Vicor announced the launch of its first radiation-fault-tolerant DC-DC converter power modules, housed in the new Vicor plated SM-ChiP™ package. Capable of powering low-voltage ASICs of up to 300 watts from a 100V nominal power source, the ChiPs were tested by Boeing to be resilient to 50krad of total ionizing dose and immune to single-event upsets. Immunity to single-event upsets is achieved using a redundant architecture, where two identical and parallel powertrains with fault-tolerant control ICs are housed in a single high-density SM-ChiP package. Advanced communication satellites require high power density and low noise. Vicor soft-switching, high-frequency ZCS/ZVS power stages within metal-shielded ChiPs, reduce the power system noise floor, enabling signal integrity and total system performance with the requisite high level of reliability.

solution consists of four SM-ChiPs: the BCM3423, a 100V nominal, 300 watts K = 1/3 bus converter in a 34 x 23mm package; the PRM2919, a 33V nominal 200W regulator in a 29 x 19mm package; and two VTM2919 current multipliers, a K = 1/32 with an output of 0.8V at 150A and a K = 1/8 with an output of 3.4V at 25 amps. The solution powers the ASIC directly from the 100V power source with minimal external components and low-noise operation.

All of the modules are available in the Vicor high-density SM-ChiP package with BGA (ball grid array) connections and an optional solder mask for the top and bottom surfaces. The operating temperature for the ChiPs is –30 to 125°C. Vicor

Vicor supports Boeing-manufactured O3b mPOWER satellite with first radiation-fault-tolerant DC-DC converter power modules, housed in the new Vicor plated SM-ChiP™ package (image credit: SES)

The complete power-source-to-point-of-load

COTS Journal | January 2021


January 2021

COT’S PICKS VHF Data Exchange System Module

RFMW announces design and sales support for a VHF Data Exchange System Module from CML Microcircuits. The VDES1000 module is a complete marine VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) Software Defined Radio (SDR) solution. Implemented using state-of-theart technology provides a very tight integration, with industry-leading high performance and unsurpassed flexibility in a very small form factor. The module provides out-of-the-box high performance, a fully compliant multi-channel AIS Class-A, ASM, VDE transceiver,

Abaco Systems First 3U VPX Ethernet Switch with Alignment to SOSA™ Technical Standard Abaco Systems, Inc. announces the SWE440S, an upgrade that builds on the strong capability and high performance of our SWE440A, with one of the most capable and flexible 3U VPX switches on the market. This fully managed Ethernet switch is designed to align with the SOSA™ Technical Standard, and also continues to be the most capable solution for customers who are not seeking alignment to this standard. By keeping power low and functionality high – the SWE440S provides greater interoperability and integration with SBCs, FPGAs, and Ethernet switches while providing cost reduction for our customers. Customer feedback and use cases, combined with the need for alignment with the SOSA™ Technical Standards, drove our engineers’ innovation process and shaped the SWE440S into a product that delivers exactly what our customers need. For applications that require 3U technology and alignment with the SOSA Technical Standard, the SWE440S, VP431, and SBC3511

and is highly flexible. The VDES1000 module integrates an isolated power supply, high power amplifier, Low Noise Amplifier (LNA), digital baseband processing, and protocol handler for AIS, ASM, and VDE and is designed for easy addition to existing housing, enabling a speedy development cycle to end product. Future proof to accommodate evolving VHF Data Exchange System standards, the module is fully upgradeable via software updates. RFMW Ltd.

provide a complete portfolio of products where interoperability has been designed – reducing risk for customers. With SoC switch fabric at the core of our design, this is a market-leading product for port flexibility with options for the type of management interface (LVCMOS or RS232), as well as offering two 10G capable SFP+ cages to the front panel for optical connectivity. Abaco can deliver a flexible solution that will meet the requirements of applications in the defense and commercial markets. The SWE440S comes with our latest version of OpenWare 6.4.0 and can be configured quickly and easily. We are carrying forward the port wizard capabilities of the SWE440A so that the SWE440S can be reconfigured using OpenWare for quantities of 1G, 10G, or 40G ports. This innovative solution makes the SWE440S ideal as a futureproof solution. For instance, if a customer is running at 10G presently, but wants to make the jump to 40G in the future – the SWE440S is up for the challenge. This will be useful for customers looking for a managed Ethernet switch for use with radar, surveillance, situational awareness, imaging, AI and autonomy, rugged industrial and transportation, and other high-performance

embedded computing applications. Pete Thompson, VP of product management for Abaco Systems, Inc. said, “As the SOSA™ Technical Standard drives the industry towards alignment, we are forging ahead with innovative solutions to stand by our customers as they transition – giving them the most comprehensive portfolio of 3U VPX products that are aligned to the SOSA Technical Standard. Simultaneously, we can offer the best solutions available for customers who are not seeking a product that has been aligned to the SOSA™ technical standard. By continuously improving our offerings, Abaco can deliver new products which will meet the needs of our customers and allow them to succeed by creating the most capable solutions.” Technical Overview The NETernity™ SWE440S is a fully managed (Layer 2/3)3U VPX Ethernet switch. It is designed to align with the SOSA™ Technical Standard. For customers who are not seeking alignment to this standard, a full-featured variant of the SWE440S with more I/O is available to provide a robust insertion/upgrade solution for users of the SWE440A. Various OpenVPX profiles including MOD3-SWH-6F8U-16.4.10-n and MOD3-SWH6F6U-16.4.1-n. s. Up to 32 10GigE or 8 40GigE ports (or combination of the two) plus up to 3 1GigE ports are supported. Rugged Levels 1 and 5 available. Supports connectivity and performance options for 40GBase-KX4, 10GBaseKR, 10GBase-KX4, and 1000BaseKX. Options for the type of management interface (LVCMOS or RS232), through to two 10G capable SFP+ cages to the front panel for added flexibility. The SWE440S is equipped with the latest version of OpenWare™ Switch Management Software which brings enhanced capabilities to an already industry-leading switch. Abaco Systems, Inc.


COTS Journal | January 2021


ADVERTISERS Company Page # Alphi Technology Corporation .................................. 24

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

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OSS ........................................................................ IFC/BC .................................. Pentek ..................................................................



PICO Electronics, Inc .............................................

11 ...................................

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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.