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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

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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 customerpaid minor modification to standard COTS products to meet the customer’s unique requirements. —Ant. When applied to the procurement of electronics for the 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.

30-Year History: Shuttle Program Parallels Computer Tech Advances

CONTENTS January 2011

Volume 13

Number 1

SPECIAL FEATURE The Shuttle and Space Electronics

10 30-Year History: Shuttle Program Parallels Computer Tech Advances Pete Yeatman & Warren Andrews

18 Copper Leadframes Eclipse Alternatives for Military Designs Jeff Kendziorski, Micross Components & Sean Long, ISSI


6 Publisher’s Notebook Out with the Old, in with the New 8

The Inside Track


COTS Products

64 Editorial Space Talk: DoD’s Future, NASA’s Past

Coming in July See Page 66

Avionics Options: 1553, Ethernet and More

26 Bridging 1553 to Ethernet Networks Paves Future of Avionics Richard Wade, Alta Data Technologies

30 Serial FPDP Provides Throughput Advantages for Sensor I/O Andy Reddig, Tek Microsystems

38 Deterministic Version of Ethernet Offers Real-Time Performance at Low Risk Dr. Mirko Jakovljevic, TTTech

SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT COM Versus Slot-Card Architectures

46 COM Boards Find Place as Slot-Card Alternative Jeff Child


52 Roadblocks Few as Tech Refresh Strengthens PC/104’s Hand Jeff Child



PC/104 and PC/104 Family Boards Roundup Digital subscriptions available:

On The Cover: With the Earth’s horizon and the blackness of space as backdrops, the International Space Station is shown here as photographed by an STS-130 crew member on space shuttle Endeavour after the station and shuttle began their post-undocking relative separation in Feb 2010. The Space Shuttle’s 30 year history included a variety of duties, including transporting pieces of the ISS along with astronauts that helped assemble it. (Photo courtesy of NASA).

The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

Publisher PRESIDENT John Reardon, PUBLISHER Pete Yeatman,

Editorial EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jeff Child, MANAGING EDITOR Marina Tringali, COPY EDITOR Rochelle Cohn

Art/Production CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jason Van Dorn, ART DIRECTOR Kirsten Wyatt, GRAPHIC DESIGNER Christopher Saucier, GRAPHIC DESIGNER Maream Milik, LEAD WEB DEVELOPER Hari Nayar,

Advertising WESTERN REGIONAL SALES MANAGER Stacy Mannik, (949) 226-2024

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EASTERN REGIONAL SALES MANAGER Shandi Ricciotti, (949) 573-7660 ASIAN REGIONAL SALES MANAGER Jessica Marinescu, (+852) 2548 5100 BILLING Cindy Muir, (949) 226-2000


COTS Journal


The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Phone: (949) 226-2000 Fax: (949) 226-2050,

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[ 4 ] COTS Journal June 2011

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Editorial office Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief 20A Northwest Blvd., PMB#137, Nashua, NH 03063 Phone: (603) 429-8301 Fax: (603) 424-8122 Published by THE RTC GROUP Copyright 2011, The RTC Group. Printed in the United States. All rights reserved. All related graphics are trademarks of The RTC Group. All other brand and product names are the property of their holders. POWER SPECIALISTS FOR MOBILE COMPUTING

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Notebook Out with the Old, in with the New


n June 30th Dr. Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense, will leave office. And if confirmed by the Senate, CIA Director Leon Panetta will assume the position as the 23rd Secretary of Defense. Although we’ve known for some time that Secretary Gates wanted to retire this year, we’ve all put off our speculation regarding what will happen after he leaves office until we find out who may replace him. Now that the speculation is over, everyone with an opinion will start voicing theirs regarding what will happen to the military and the military budget. At a minimum, trying to guess what personal spin soon-tobe SecDef Leon Panetta will put on the marching orders from the President requires a review of the employment decisions he has made through his life. Since SecDef Gates and Director Panetta both served the current President, and both men also served in the CIA, it may be interesting to do a comparison of their service to the country and see if any assumptions can be made. In the mid-sixties both men served as officers in the military—Dr. Gates in the Air Force and Mr. Panetta in the Army. After leaving the military the two men went down different paths. Mr. Panetta started in politics as a legislative assistant to Senator Tomas Kuchel of California, and Dr. Gates continued the CIA affiliation started in the Air Force. Let’s continue with the outgoing SecDef’s history and then move to the incoming SecDef. Dr. Gates spent the next 27 years as an intelligence professional. He is the only member of the CIA that started at the bottom and in 1991 became Director. Between 1993 and 2006 Dr. Gates worked in and around academia. In 2006 he assumed the office of SecDef, and adding another first, is the only SecDef in U.S. history to be asked to remain in that office by a newly elected president. President Barack Obama is the eighth president Dr. Gates has served. If you spend any time in the CIA the odds are pretty good that some questionable activity may brush your career. With Dr. Gates it was the IranContra scandal. Although it was asserted that Dr. Gates should have known, no direct connection was established and the issue was dropped. Moving on to Mr. Panetta; after working for Senator Kuchel in 1969, he became the assistant to Robert Finch, Secretary of the Department of Health Education and Welfare under President Nixon. After refusing to modify his policies and give in to pressure from the White House, he resigned in 1970 and for a short

[ 6 ] COTS Journal June 2011

stint went to work for NYC Mayor John Lindsay. Returning to his home of Monterey, California and practicing law, he switched political parties and ran for the local Congressional seat that he held between 1977 and 1993. His last four years in Congress he was the Chairperson of the House Committee on the Budget. He left Congress to accept the appointment as Director of the United States Office of Management and Budget. In 1994 he was appointed White House Chief of Staff for President Clinton and held that position until the end of President Clinton’s first term. Between 1997 and 2009 Mr. Panetta worked in academia, and started his own institute for public policy working on advocating the health of the world’s oceans. In 2006 Mr. Panetta served on the Baker Commission to assess the situation in Iraq, and in 2009 he was sworn in as Director of the CIA. Although both men are dedicated, strong willed career government officials, the soon-to-be SecDef Panetta has greater experience in the workings of the political machine. Dr. Gates meanwhile was more like a bull in a china shop when it came to Congress. Mr. Panetta has solid balanced budgeting experience, an understanding of the workings of Congress and bipartisan politics. He has a history of doing what he feels is of the best interest to the organization he is heading, and is willing to fight political pressure. At 73 years of age and given the stress of the office of Secretary of Defense, this will probably be his last political office. He may not bend to doing what is politically correct, or what lobbyists may want, but instead do what is best for the military.

Pete Yeatman, Publisher COTS Journal

Designing and building board level products and sub-systems for space applications is tough enough. Doing it in a true Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) environment is even tougher. It takes a very special company to do it right – and that company is Aitech. We not only designed and built the world's first harsh environment, open architecture CompactPCI boards more than two decades ago, but we're fully qualified for use in today's most hostile environment – space.

The only COTS company... Aitech is the only COTS company in the world that offers embedded products for space applications with this combination of features: • Designed and qualified specifically by us for space • Radiation characterized • On-board triple redundant memory • Rad-hard SOI (Silicon On Insulator) ASICs • Single event effects and total dose radiation survivability Total space applicability... Aitech embedded products and sub-systems for space are ideal for Near, Low, Medium and High Earth Orbit applications, Lunar and Mars robotic vehicles and much more. Our products are used in the Space Shuttle, MIR Space Station, International Space Station and other high profile satellite programs where highest performance and reliability are required.

Real space-qualified COTS... not custom off-the-shelf...but commercial off-the-shelf. COTS the way it's supposed to be! We don't compete with you...some embedded companies try to be systems integrators. We don't. We deliver board-level product and integrated sub-systems for space (and military/aerospace) applications. We leave the systems integration to the companies that do it yours! We have what you need... from a full range of high performance, cost effective, rad-tolerant, space-qualified CompactPCI SBCs, peripheral I/O boards and PMCs, memory boards and complete radiation and qual-testing, component obsolescence risk mitigation, lifecycle support and program management capabilities – with all the economy-of-scale advantages of off-the-shelf products.

Make us prove it... we can and we will. Call or visit us on the web. Embedded electronics is our Space.

Aitech Defense Systems, Inc. 19756 Prairie Street Chatsworth, CA 91311 email: Toll Free: 888-Aitech8 - (888) 248-3248 Fax: (818) 407-1502


Inside Track Raytheon Awarded $84.7 Million for Airborne Radar Contract Raytheon has received an $84.7 million U.S. Navy contract for continued production of ALR-67(V)3 digital radar warning receivers. The contract was awarded by the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD. The ALR-67(V)3 is the U.S. Navy standard for digital radar warning receiver technology. It is made for installation on all frontline, carrier-based F/A-18 E/F tactical aircraft (Figure 1) and is an integral part of modernization programs for U.S. and international customers. The ALR-67(V)3 is the first deployed radar warning receiver to combine fully channelized digital receiver architecture with the power of dual processors. Its innovative architecture enables the successful detection of emitters in high-density electromagnetic environments and uses leading-edge digital technology for improved reliability. According to Raytheon, this technology is fully integrated with all avionics equipment on the Super Hornet. The ALR-67(V)3 improves aircrew survivability by providing immediate and accurate situational awareness of the threat environment. Deliveries are expected to begin January 2013 with production scheduled at Raytheon facilities in Forest, Miss. and McKinney, Texas.

Figure 1

The ALR-67(V)3 is the U.S. Navy standard for digital radar warning receiver technology. It is made for installation on carrier-based F/A-18 E/F tactical aircraft.

Raytheon Waltham, MA. (781) 522-3000. [].

Lockheed Martin Delivers 2,000th Symphony IED Jamming System Lockheed Martin recently delivered its 2,000th Symphony jamming system to help protect allied convoys and soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq from the threat of remotely detonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Able to simultaneously jam select or multiple electronic signals used to trigger a radio-controlled (RC) IED, the Symphony RC-IED Defeat system (Figure 2) is the only jammer of its kind approved by the U.S. government for foreign military sale to allied, coalition and partner nations. The small, vehicle-mounted system is easily installed on and operated from nearly any security force mobile platform to help protect troops in set[ 8 ] COTS Journal June 2011

Figure 2 The Symphony RC-IED Defeat system is able to simultaneously jam select or multiple electronic signals used to trigger a radio-controlled IED. tings ranging from heavy urban neighborhoods to rugged rural terrain. Programmable and easily updateable, Symphony can quickly shift operation to address changes in electronic signal attacks. It also does not interfere with active coalition communications and electronic systems. Symphony is interoper-

able with other jamming devices used by the coalition in theater. In March 2010, the U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a sole source indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity contract for Symphony RC-IED Defeat jammer systems. The contract award specified an initial task order valued at $40.8 million with a ceiling of $940 million through September 2014. Lockheed Martin Bethesda, MD. (301) 897-6000. [].

Eurotech to Acquire Industry Veteran VME Vendor Dynatem Eurotech has announced that on May 31st it will finalize the acquisition of Dynatem Inc.

The acquisition will be included in the consolidation perimeter of the Group starting from June 1st. Dynatem, based in Mission Viejo, California, has operated since 1981 in the embedded computing market and specifically in the VME, VPX and CPCI boards segment, with a turnover in 2010 of about $3.6 million U.S. Eurotech will acquire 100 percent of the share capital of Dynatem for an enterprise value of approximately 1.9 million USD (1.3 million Euro). The transaction will be settled in cash. According to Roberto Siagri, president and CEO of Eurotech, the acquisition of Dynatem will consolidate Eurotech’s presence in the United States, adding the West Coast to its geographical footprint. The company will acquire expertise and know-how on the emerging VPX standard. The long tradition of Dynatem

Inside Track

VME and CPCI platforms also opens up the possibility to create further synergies between the U.S. and Japan. Eurotech also owns Parvus, a supplier of rugged COTS computing and IP networking subsystems with a history in PC/104 products. Eurotech Columbia, MD. (301) 490.4007. [].

U.S. Army Contracts iRobot for $7.6 million SUGV Order iRobot has received a $7.6 million order from the U.S. Army Contracting Command-Warren, Michigan, for 50 of its 310 SUGV (Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle) tactical mobile robots and spare parts. The order was issued under a new indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity contract that allows for an initial delivery of 50 robots. The 310 SUGV (Figure 3) gathers situational awareness in dangerous conditions while keeping warfighters out of harm’s way. The robotic system weighs about 35 pounds, making it ideal for dismounted mobile operations. While 310 SUGV has been used in theater primarily by explosive ordnance disposal teams, the robots in this order will also be used by combat engineers and Marines.

Designed for dismounted EOD missions, the 310 SUGV features a highly dexterous manipulator for investigating and neutralizing suspicious objects. Its manipulator arm extends 24 inches and has a lifting capacity of 7 pounds through the full range of motion. The turret rotates 360 degrees, allowing for precision targeting and placement of disruptors. iRobot (781) 430-3000. [].

Considerable attention and speculation has been given to the use of off-the-shelf hardware across different vertical markets, and whether this trend is expanding, remaining stable or declining. If the use of COTS is expanding, one would expect to see an economic benefit to its use—hence, a more important measure of COTS utilization would be reflected in the budgeted amount of COTS hardware as a percentage of total hardware cost. Percent of Hardware Budget Devoted to COTS Hardware 2011 EMF Survey of Embedded Developers 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5%

Event Calendar June 21

MlLESTONE Baltimore, MD June 23

MlLESTONE Nashua, NH August 9

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conf. Denver, CO August 11

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conf. Salt Lake City, UT

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conf. Irvine, CA

The 310 SUGV features a highly dexterous manipulator for investigating and neutralizing suspicious objects. Its manipulator arm extends 24 inches and has a lifting capacity of 7 pounds through the full range of motion.

Military Leads in Percent of Hardware Budget Devoted to COTS Hardware

Bedford, MA.

August 23

Figure 3

Military Market Watch

August 25

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conf. San Diego, CA To list your event, email:


Industry Average Auto-transportation Aerospace/Avionics Consumer Electronics

Datacom/Networking Electronic Instrumentation Industrial Automation Medical

Military Office Automation Telecom

Figure 4 According to the EMF survey, Aerospace/Avionics and Military had the highest number when asked how much of their budget is spent on off-the-shelf embedded computing systems compared to their total hardware budget. In a recent 2011 survey of embedded developers (653 respondents), EMF asked respondents to report the percent of their total hardware budget that was devoted to COTS hardware. Figure 4 shows their responses according to vertical market. Whereas Aerospace/Avionics and Military had the highest response, Datacom and Electronic Instrumentation had a better than average response. These data reflect the percent of the COTS hardware budget compared with total hardware budget. It is interesting to note that the budgeted percent of COTS hardware is consistent across all architectures, DSP and FPGA, but it is significantly larger for dual core and multicore developments. This might be due to the recent inclusion of multiple cores in embedded developments where the focus might be on software development within a mostly reusable hardware configuration. It will be interesting to see if this data is repeated in 2012. Information regarding the survey and data can be found at Embedded Forecast’s website. Survey data and the use of the EMF Embedded Dashboard used to compute these data can be seen at: www. For more information contact Jerry Krasner, Ph.D., MBA, Principal of Embedded Market Forecasters at Embedded Market Forecasters Framingham, MA. (508) 881-1850. []. June 2011 COTS Journal [ 9 ]

Special Feature The Shuttle and Space Electronics

[ 10 ] COTS Journal June 2011

Special Feature

30-Year History: Shuttle Program Parallels Computer Tech Advances After decades of spectacular service, the Space Shuttle program has come to an end. Its history parallels an equally spectacular history of semiconductors and computing processing technology. Pete Yeatman, Publisher Warren Andrews, Editor Emeritus


magine a world with no personal computers, no MS-DOS, no Internet, no iPhone; iPad or App Store; No Twitter or Facebook. That’s where we were in 1981 when Ronald Reagan took the oath of office as the 40th President of the United States. That same year MS-DOS and the personal computer were invented; Adam Osborne introduced the first “laptop” computer; Jack Welch was named president and CEO of GE; the Oakland Raiders beat the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV; and Space Shuttle Columbia took the first orbital flight of the Shuttle program among other events. While the shuttle launch wasn’t the most important or dramatic event to unfold in 1981, it was symptomatic of the developments in science and technology that were to follow. In these pages we’ve chronicled the development of manned space travel (COTS Journal, June 2010) and many of the benefits mankind has enjoyed as a result of the technological development fostered by our space program. Major advances in medicine, communications, optics, solid-state physics, computer science and other disciplines were the direct result of experiments associated with the development of the Space Shuttle and space technology. In the following pages, as we follow developments from the first shuttle launch to the end of the program, we’ll look at some of the technological developments that grew in parallel with—not necessarily because of—the Space Shuttle program. June 2011 COTS Journal [ 11 ]

Special Feature

Figure 1

Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) in Endeavour’s (STS-134) cargo bay.

30 Years of Shuttle Flights The flight of Endeavour last month (STS-134) marked the “end” of 50 years of manned space flight in the United States and 30 years of yeoman-like duty of the Space Shuttle program. The official end is scheduled for July. At the time of this writing, STS-135, the final flight of Atlantis, is still scheduled for a launch in July of 2011. However, personnel and backup components are extremely limited and any difficulty at all will more than likely necessitate a last minute cancellation of that mission. Whether it ends up being the final or the penultimate shuttle flight, Endeavour’s final flight seems a rather ignominious ending to over a half century and more than $500 billion expended to support the program. Though the media was present in numbers at the launch, the overall coverage was a whimper compared to the hoopla that surrounded Alan Shepard’s 15 minute, 183 Kilometer suborbital ride into space on May 5, 1961. As the authors, we watched—and felt—the launch: it was inspiring to think that the equivalent of 44 million horsepower—6,000,000 lbs. of thrust—in the solid boosters alone worked with the 1,500,000 lbs. of thrust from the three Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne engines [ 12 ] COTS Journal June 2011

sucking down 64,000 gallons of fuel a minute to separate the 4,500,000 lb. vehicle from the earth’s pull of gravity. This spectacle was enhanced by a plume of steam from water from a nearby tower cooling the concrete of the launch pad billowed with the red-orange exhaust of the solid-rocket boosters.

AMS On Board Endeavour, flight STS-134, (named after the ship 18th century explorer Captain James Cook commanded) has the distinction of carrying the shuttle’s most expensive payload, an Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) for assembly on the ISS. The AMS-02 (Figure 1) will collect information from cosmic sources emanating from stars and galaxies millions of light years beyond the Milky Way. It might be noteworthy to mention here that while the AMS is the most expensive payload, literally hundreds of payloads preceded it and, until now, another must have been the most expensive. The depth and diversity of payloads ferried aloft would fill countless volumes and cover virtually all disciplines of everything from medicine to metallurgy and from agriculture to optics. Creators of the experiments varied from the most sophisticated scientific companies in

Figure 2

Intel’s first Pentium processor included more than 3 million transistors with feature sizes at a scant 0.35 microns. the world to elementary school science classes. Though the ISS may continue for some time under the care of the Russians, the ready availability of access to low earth orbit and a weightless environment will be missed as one of the tools of science in this country.

Millions of Man Hours While we don’t want to dwell on the reasons and tragedy of the dissolution of the manned U.S. space program (see

Special Feature

Figure 3

This image of the International Space Station and the docked space shuttle Endeavour, flying at an altitude of approximately 220 miles, was taken by Expedition 27 crew member Paolo Nespoli from the Soyuz TMA-20 following its undocking on May 23, 2011. sidebar “The Next 30 Years” p. 14) we feel it appropriate to pay some homage to the millions of man hours, significant development and sacrifice of the many thousands of individuals involved in the program. Not everything makes the headlines. In addition to the Astronauts and plume of smoke as the vehicle rises, there are tens of thousands of man hours that go on behind the scenes that are a significant component of each launch. For a special behind-the-scenes photo essay about the Space Shuttle program, go to The shuttle, Spacelab and ISS didn’t happen in a vacuum. Here we will attempt to add some perspective of some of the electronic and computer developments that paralleled the development and deployment of the Shuttle program over the past 30 years.

The Shuttle: The First Decade In 1981, semiconductor feature sizes were running in the 1.5 to 2.0 micron area as the 64 Kbyte DRAM made its debut. The microprocessor was already on its third generation with the introduction of the

Intel 80286. By 1983 as STS-6, (the sixth shuttle launch since the Columbia) Challenger, headed off on its 2 million+ mile voyage, Micron Technology had led the field with the smallest 64 Kbyte DRAM die in the industry and the 256 Kbyte DRAM was just in the shadows. Challenger took off in the wake of STS-5, Columbia, which deployed the first commercial communications satellite. STS-6, however, trumped that with almost four hours of extravehicular activity in addition to the deployment of a tracking and data relay satellite and other experiments. The decade of the 1980s was one that set the pace of technology development. In 1983 Challenger was off again as STS7, another notable flight as Sally Ride— first American woman in space—blasted off into history as mission specialist. Semiconductor feature sizes continued to shrink in obeisance to Moore’s Law, which states that the number of transistors on an IC will double every two years. Ironically, while named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, the term “Moore’s Law” was coined by industry guru Carver Mead. Mead, it might be re-

membered, was half of the Mead-Conway pair that authored the landmark publication The Introduction to VLSI Systems and spawned the Mead & Conway revolution of the 1980s, which was a good part of the defining technology for the growth of the semiconductor industry. At the same time VMEbus technology was taking off with the development of the VME subsystem bus (VSB) and the solidification of VME32 as the IEEE 1014 standard. By the mid-1990s, technology developments were rampant. Readers of COTS Journal will recognize some of these as VMEbus (VME32 became an IEEE standard and it was starting to sprout offspring as VSB was developed.) Multibus, and soon to be Multibus II, was already established, setting the stage for the “bus wars” that were to follow. STS-9 blasted off toward the end of 1983 carrying the first Spacelab-1 experiments as well as a habitable Spacelab and pallet. This followed the introduction of Intel’s i286 processor in 1982, where transistor counts climbed to well over 100,000 in the sub-1.5 micron range.

June 2011 COTS Journal [ 13 ]

Special Feature

The Next 30 Years of Spaceflight and Technology: A Dim Future? The launch of the shuttle Endeavour signals the end of more than 50 years of the U.S. manned space program effort. While some of the exploration and development has already borne fruit, it’s likely that much of the knowledge gained will lie dormant for lack of any mechanism for further exploration. And, the infrastructure—the people, the accumulated body of knowledge and the plant and materials—will lie fallow, and may never be resurrected. The ISS, of course, will continue with large contributions of cash from the U.S. to Russia that will provide transportation back and forth. But can the effort continue at the levels it did when the shuttle regularly ferried equipment and personnel to the ISS? In January of 2004, President George W. Bush said “the desire to explore and understand is part of our character,” He said this as he unveiled an ambitious plan to return Americans to the moon by 2020 and use the mission as a stepping stone for future manned trips to Mars and beyond. Unfortunately those ambitions weren’t followed through in this decade. The plans for the Orion project were dashed last year when the administration cancelled the project and any further manned space program. The thought was that the private sector should take on any further space exploration. But outside of the communications business—and perhaps a carnival-type space ride—current thinking is that it’s unlikely to be monumentally successful. And while we lament the loss of our government-sponsored manned space program, there is talk of continuing but re-naming some contracted Orion efforts thus avoiding any potential cancellation charges. This move also will perhaps prevent contractors from offering some Orion concepts to any takers world-wide. A vehicle, very similar—if not identical—to the Orion— which was initially proposed to replace the space shuttle—is already being discussed as a possible approach. The vehicle, Liberty, combines the experience of the solid-rocket boosters of the shuttle with the cryogenically fired upper stage used in the European Ariane rocket (Figure 1). There is some chance that the Kennedy Space Center infrastructure can be sold or leased to another entity. It has already been rumored that the Chinese might be interested in leasing the KSC facility for its space development. China and Russia will undoubtedly take the lead in space technology and exploration that we have abdicated. Finally we must consider the military establishment. While the DoD has its own space program, it has learned an enormous amount from—and

Tragedy Strikes Move on to 1986 where we saw the tragic explosion of shuttle Challenger, which broke apart 73 seconds into flight with a loss of the vehicle, payload and crew of six including payload specialist and teacher, Sharon Christa McAuliffe. It took more than two years for technicians to be assured the problem was solved and to include other enhancements and safety features before [ 14 ] COTS Journal June 2011

Shown here, the ATK 5-segment solid rocket booster first stage is combined with the Astrium Ariane 5 liquid fuel rocket second stage. The craft leverages developments used by NASA and ESA on the Shuttle, Ariane5 and Constellation programs. taken advantage of—the Shuttle program. Is space critical to military efforts? It’s been said that “whoever controls space controls the world.” That may not be far from the truth. China has already demonstrated to the world that it can shoot satellites out of the sky with impunity. Meanwhile there’s been a transition in what we sometimes define as technology. For example, in the technology sections of major publications, articles and discussion of social media—Facebook, Twitter, Google and so on—have replaced things like computer architecture, semiconductor technology and space exploration. But all that’s probably more of a symptom rather than a cause of the dwindling importance of hard science. Only medicine and pharmaceutical pursuits are given a hearing, and even they will probably suffer under recently promulgated legislation that caps expenses for drugs and procedures. Finally, irreplaceable human resources are being squandered by taking away the type of incentives that made this country and its people great. Leaders like Jack Welch, Bill Gates, Andy Grove and Gordon Moore are a product of the fertile free-market environment they lived and worked in. Hope for future generations lies in the political and economic environment it lives in. Technology has done what it can and is now being ignored.

shuttle Discovery took off toward the end of 1988 with a host of experimental payloads. COTS Journal readers can jump ahead to 1990 and Multibus is formally on the map designated as IEEE 796. Though the bus dates back to 1974—the same as earlier VMEbus systems—in earlier iterations, IEEE standardization added legitimacy to the concept. Multibus II came right along as IEEE 1296. The updated

bus brought a 32-bit step up for the 8- and 16-bit Multibus I and came in a Eurocard form factor with DIN connectors in place of the edge-card connectors of Multibus I. In February of that year, Atlantis took off with another classified DoD payload. Throughout the Shuttle program’s history many military and NSA payloads were launched. Meanwhile, single-chip transistor count finally topped the 1,000,000

Special Feature

mark with the i486 with feature sizes in the 0.8 micron range. 1990 saw six successful shuttle launches during the year.

The Second Decade Beginning in the mid-1990s, small board-level companies began to consolidate with some companies acquiring as many as seven or eight different companies in the last half of the decade. Intel alone made more than a half-dozen acquisitions including several board-level companies. This consolidation has continued through the first half of the next decade. Moving on, processor and system bus widths were rapidly moving from 16 to 32-bits and beyond. Bus widths bumped to 64 bits in 1994 with the introduction of VME64 (ANSI/VITA 1 1994), and performance of bus-based systems skyrocketed. By 1993, Intel had kept faith with Moore’s Law. It introduced the Pentium processor, which not only topped the one-million mark, but included more than 3 million transistors and feature sizes falling to a scant 0.35 microns (Figure 2). 1995 brought us yet another popular bus standard that is still in use today, CompactPCI. This Eurocard-based standard adopted the architecture of Intel’s PCI used largely in PCs to the industrial and telecom markets. It flourished throughout the late 1990s and suffered some setback with the bursting of the “dot com” bubble of 1999/2000. From April of 1991 to February of 1995, 28 shuttle flights carried out a broad array of experiments, delivered satellites and even repaired the Hubble telescope by changing out rate-sensing units. Experiments ran the gamut from protein crystal growth to anatomical rodent experiments. They even brought an iMAX camera up and produced a stunning three-dimensional photographic spectacular. Technology development continued unabated through the rest of the decade with transistor counts exceeding the 10,000,000 mark on a single die. Standards-based computer board systems continued to flourish, the bus wars waxed and the communications industry became a heavy user of CompactPCI boards and systems.

Figure 4

In Orbiter Processing Facility-3 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a technician describes the thermal protection system underneath the shuttle to STS-133 Mission Specialists Tim Kopra and Alvin Drew.

More Experiments and Payloads Shuttle missions continued ferrying a variety of scientific experiments and other payloads to space. From February 1990 to December 1999, 62 shuttle flights were launched, which included a variety of EVAs, delivery of systems and subsystems to the ISS (Figure 3), ISS repair and construction, satellite and space project repair and other activities. The depth of knowledge acquired from these activities is almost unfathomable. The growth of commercial technology continued to outpace that of the military and aerospace areas. In the early years, military and aerospace technology led the race, however improvements in the commercial sector’s technology—largely in the semiconductor arena—leapfrogged military and aerospace development partially because of some of the restrictions and requirements to be rated for space and/or military service. As early as 1986 the DoD mandated that commercial products be used whenever possible. And in 1994 the Perry Memorandum sealed the deal by requiring a waiver in order to use Mil-Spec parts rather than commercial ones. There is a problem with the first and the last part of the sentence. Yes, the Gov started say-

ing this in 1986, but the actual requiring a waiver didn’t happen until 1994 with. Fix as you see fit. The early days of this mandate caused some confusion; vendors and users alike learned to deal with the fact that to get the latest technology it was necessary to use commercial parts and modify them and the system to conform to system requirements. It was during this turbulent time that COTS Journal was founded to help vendors make the right decisions about using and modifying commercial products for rugged environments.

Comms Bubble As we moved into Y2K, the bursting of the communications sector bubble was already in full swing. Suppliers of services and equipment had seen an exponentially growing market and prepared accordingly. There quickly developed a glut of equipment and capacity resulting in cancelled orders and many firms dropping by the wayside. The expected market never materialized and it sent shudders through the industry from component to system makers. These vibrations echoed through the entire economy. During the period, the Dow Jones Industrial dropped from a high of 11,723 in January 2000 to 8,920 June 2011 COTS Journal [ 15 ]

Special Feature

on September 17, 2000. That September day also sawthe biggest one day fall of the Dow (685 points). Between January 2000 and February of 2003 there were 13 shuttle missions. Then taking off on February of 2003, space shuttle Columbia encountered problems on re-entry and the vehicle and crew of seven were all lost. Finding the problem and creating remedial solutions

took until August of 2005 when STS-114 Discovery, with a payload designated for the International Space Station, reinitiated regular trips of the shuttle. Figure 4 shows a technician describing the thermal protection system underneath the shuttle to STS-133 Mission Specialists Tim Kopra and Alvin Drew earlier this year. By 2005 semiconductor feature sizes continued to decrease and transistor

Behind the Scenes Tour of Space Shuttle Operations Over the years we have watched shuttle launches on TV and viewed stories about the astronauts and prominent persons associated with the program. There’s a lot that goes on at Kennedy Space Center that most people don’t see—such as the people that are never recognized that work on the program as well as those responsible for providing the wealth of information gathered for public interest. Go to to see some interesting images of what’s going on behind the scenes.

counts began to reach the almost unimaginable 100,000,000 mark. Throughout the balance of the decade (Aug. 2005 to Dec. 2009), 16 flights continued to ferry people and equipment to the ISS. And by the close of the decade, transistor counts on a single die exceeded the two-billion mark with processors now including dual and quad core architectures.

The Final Five This current decade marks the end of the Shuttle program. Beginning in February of 2010, the Endeavour made its next to last flight. Then Discovery took off again followed by what was billed as the final flight of Atlantis. Discovery made its final ascent in March of 2011and Endeavour took its final trip last month. Endeavour, it might be noted, was the most recent vehicle to be made as it replaced the Challenger and had its maiden flight in 1992. Hopefully, if all goes well, the sixth “bonus” mission STS-135—the final flight of Atlantis—will occur as scheduled in July. This abbreviated history of the shuttle and the parallel with semiconductor technology does not fairly do justice to either. In both developments, hundreds of thousands if not millions of man hours produced spectacular results. Much of the effort to make these things happen was not in front of the media, but behind the scenes. Our heartfelt congratulations and thanks to all involved. [ 16Untitled-4 ] COTS1Journal June 2011

2/16/11 9:51:50 AM

Special Feature

A Wealth of Engineering Brilliance We have used the Intel architecture as an example of the roadmap of semiconductor processor technology because it is probably the most familiar to current engineers. The developments have proven out Moore’s Law. Intel CEO, Paul Otellini, has been quoted as saying that Moore’s Law won’t be violated on his shift. Let’s hope his shift is long and fruitful. Using Intel processors as an example is not intended to take away from the brilliant engineering of AMD, or of Motorola and its 68K and 88K and follow-on PowerPC (with IBM) family of processors, nor to minimize the importance of other efforts such as AMD’s 29000, MIPS processors, Silicon Graphics’ Geometry Engine, Fairchild’s Clipper, Ian Barron’s Transputer and others. All had their place in the development of system architecture and technology.

simplified our jobs. Special thanks to Margaret Persinger, our source for NASA images and videos, and to all the NASA public relations personnel that have been so helpful through all the years in answering questions that may be unique to COTS Journal.

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Mostly Proprietary Systems The actual computer technology used in the Space Shuttle remained largely proprietary and was developed and upgraded on a one-up basis, and provided very little advanced technology compared with what was available in the commercial world. It never made the transition from specialized hardware to the COTS provisions as our military establishment has done. Of the many triple-redundant systems used in the shuttle, many of those used in later shuttles—including the Endeavour— where the same or slight modifications of the original systems. With the exception of the payloads there was little advanced technology. The technology transition in the computer and electronics world largely took place from the commercial to the specialized aerospace sector. Throughout the period covered in this article, it’s been the privilege and honor of the authors to have lived the technology presented both as engineers, managers and editors—chroniclers of the developments and events for various technical publications. Finally, we’d like to thank our friends at the Kennedy Space Center, the vendors we’ve worked with and the many media contacts that have

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Special Feature The Shuttle and Space Electronics

Copper Leadframes Eclipse Alternatives for Military Memory Designs Thermal issues and reliability concerns raise questions about traditional memory chip leadframe materials. Copper leadframes offer an alternative that mitigates possible system failures. Jeff Kendziorski, Director of Marketing Micross Components Sean Long, Director of Marketing ISSI


emory board design can present the military system designer with one of their toughest tasks: managing heat dissipation at the component level. With ever increasing memory densities and faster speeds, the alloy 42 leadframes traditionally used with plastic COTS parts often result in heat buildup, significantly limiting ambient temperature exposure and often resulting in thermal induced die failure. Worse, a board’s longevity can be further compromised by the wide thermal cycling typical of Mil/ Aero systems, creating excess stress on the solder joints, which in time can lead to fractures due to the mismatch of the CTE between the alloy 42 and the FR4 PCB. Fortunately conductivity and product life challenges with plastic COTS memory can be greatly minimized, if not eliminated, by the use of copper leadframes. When qualified for high-temperature, harsh-environment operation, copper leadframe products provide the traditional benefits of COTS components, while giving designers the advantage of a better thermal design starting point, beginning at the source of heat, increasing suitability for Mil/Aero applications. [ 18 ] COTS Journal June 2011




Alloy 42





Thermal Conductivity










Corrosion Resistant


Theta JA/JC







Figure 1

This table compares the various electrical and physical properties of copper versus alloy 42.

Less Heat, More Life Perhaps the most important metal to the semiconductor interconnect and conduction industry, copper (Cu on the element chart) is in the same elemental column as Gold (Au) and Silver (Ag), thus sharing similar properties. In electrical conduction, copper is only second to silver. However, lack of abundance and cost considerations make silver an impractical choice in electronics design and development. But it is the thermal conductivity of copper that reigns supreme as the leadframe material of choice. As system designers and component selection engineers will attest, the as-

signment of choosing the “right” COTS memory component solution can be a very daunting task, given the multitude of commercial vendors and the variability of choices. On top of this, he/she has to contend with die revision changes, material changes and varying quality/reliability standards among vendors. On the other hand, the system thermal design expert could have the toughest task of all as junction temperatures can easily exceed the previous die revision’s rated capability, resulting in thermal runaway, which can shorten component life and eventually lead to catastrophic failure. So the selection of the best materi-

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Special Feature

als to carry this heat safely away from the silicon is critical.

Alloy 42 vs. Copper This is like a comparison of, or a match between, fighters in different weight classes, when it comes down to thermal conduction capability and CTE (coefficient of thermal expansion), with copper clearly being the victor (Figure 1). Alloy 42 (42 percent nickel, 58 percent iron) is, however, the most widely used leadframe material primarily due to its low cost and CTE match with silicon. But sacrificing thermal margin of design in military systems does not have to occur if the system designer is given more choices. Total cost of ownership is of much greater value here. When it comes to thermal expansion and contraction, military and avionics systems are subjected to a wide thermal range, some to extreme requirements of -65° to +150°C. The copper coefficient of thermal expansion is 17 ppm/C. This closely matches the typical FR4 PCB material of 14-17ppm/C, so the solder joint stress


Component material (leadframe)

Shrink Expand


Fatigue crack appears in solder joint

Signal trace material



Figure 2

The alloy 42 solder joint on the printed circuit board is vulnerable to fatigue cracks. is greatly minimized relative to alloy 42, which has a CTE of 5ppm/C. Due to the approximate 3x mismatch of the alloy 42, as well as the give and take during thermal cycling, the alloy 42 solder joint on the PCB is vulnerable to fatigue cracks as shown in Figure 2. Moreover, the copper bends of the leadframe are more flexible than alloy 42 with copper having greater ductility and malleability, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s at the lead bends that the greatest stress can occur.

The next superior attribute of copper is its thermal conductivity. While copperâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s thermal conductivity value is 170 W/mK, alloy 42 is much more inferior at 14 W/m-K, less than a tenth of copperâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. The effect this has at the package level can be seen in thermal impedance data alone. In some cases copper can have >1.5-2X advantage in Theta JA and JC impedances. In the following example, all things being equal, the OjA = 89C/W for the alloy 42

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leadframe, but only 52C/W for the Copper, a 70% advantage. To visually illustrate the thermal conduction advantages of copper, a simulation was run in which all components were identical except for the leadframe material. A 54TSOP type II SDRAM package with the same die was chosen. The ambient temperature was set to 50°C while both components’ power consumption was dialed in at 1.0 watt with no air-

flow, which is typical of COTS embedded system use. At the lower conductance of the alloy 42 leadframe, the temperature, as shown in Figure 3, rose to 139°C. Conversely, the copper leadframe part stayed below 102°C, keeping the SDRAM well within its design range and maintaining the refresh cycle time spec of 64 ms. The significance of this comparison is clear if you imagine that this component is in the handheld JTRS digital radio

Temperature (degC) <50





Temperature (degC) <50





Figure 3

Heat gradients of alloy 42 (top) and copper (bottom) leadframes. that you are using during a mission in the desert terrain of Iraq or Afghanistan (Figure 4). And assume you have the alloy 42 leadframe product. Since a SDRAM refresh capability cuts in half every 10-15°C degree increase beyond 70°C, the device is obviously way out of spec and not working at 139°C junction. Do you want your radio’s continued operation to be dependent upon an inferior leadframe? And the same applies to any of the other critical equipment in use on your mission from warrior tablets to ruggedized notebook computers. The advantages of copper leadframes are clear. With copper, the silicon die heat is more efficiently conducted away from the source, leading to longer component life and higher ambient temperature operation. Additionally, solder joint reliability is greatly improved with a CTE matched to the board, maintaining the connection integrity. In the final analysis, the system designer can achieve higher equipment operating duty cycles and the QRA manger can be assured of more overall thermal margin of design.

[ 22Untitled-1 ] COTS1Journal June 2011

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Military Readiness of Copper Leadframe Memory For the reasons outlined above, Micross Components and ISSI recognized the potential applicability of ISSI’s copper leadframe memory product line to Mil/ Aero applications, provided the components could withstand the often harsh operating environments. As it turns out, the ISSI OEM design team had developed the copper leadframe products for use in the automotive and industrial sectors. Since automotive customers are very demanding in terms of quality and reliability, these products appeared to be ideal COTS candidates. So the devices and material were put through a rigorous suite of quality and reliability tests. The JEDEC standard, which is best suited for plastic COTS products, was used, with some MIL-STD-883 method tests thrown in for good measure. Although qualification had been previously achieved on the alloy 42 leadframe and the die revision was the same, extended qual testing was performed

Figure 4

For components inside a handheld JTRS digital radio being used during a mission in the desert terrain of Iraq or Afghanistan, extreme heat can affect SDRAM refresh. This can shorten the operation time of a radio significantly. on the copper leadframe devices using a larger number of lots and device quanti-

ties than required by applicable Mil specs, with the lots including various memory

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sizes as well. Detailed qual summaries are available for all products, but in summary zero failures were recorded on an array of tests, performed on more than 10,000+ units. The tests, which included HTOL, HAST, autoclave, temp cycling and preconditioning, to name but a few, were a clear validation of the copper leadframes. The results establish both the robustness and long-term reliability of the copper leadframe memory. It’s interesting to note that Micross has been shipping copper leadframe SDRAM product to the military system designer for several years, and it’s apparent that the extended family of memory products, featuring Async SRAMs and Sync SRAMs, are COTS ready to support military systems in the most demanding of thermal environments.

Long Life Availability In a day when commercial die revisions can change as quickly as a year and a half after introduction, or sooner, it’s a virtual minefield for the military designer and component engineer to select

a commercial OEM component that will be in its same form when just the preproduction phase or LRIP is reached. Given that the primary market for ISSI’s copper leadframe memory is automotive, military customers can anticipate longer availability of these parts. Seven to ten years is the norm in this market. Both the anticipated product life and ISSI’s support of the same were critical elements in Micross’ selection process for its military customers. High-speed SRAMs are even a stronger candidate for realizing the benefits of copper leadframes. With asynchronous access times of 10 ns or less, and synchronous access times of 3 ns with clock rates exceeding 200 MHz, power management is a critical design component to ensure a system doesn’t get “smoked.” A full portfolio of copper leadframe synchronous and asynchronous SRAMs is available including a variety of speed and power options along with RoHs and Pb finish and temperature range options from industrial to the full military temp range of

-55°C to 125°C. Copper leadframe-based COTS memory gives the designer the best edge on several fronts of design priorities. It offers the best thermal conductivity, especially for zero airflow systems, and TCE match to the PCB, ensuring maximum solder joint reliability in temp cycling stress environments. And if developed for rugged environments and long-term use, it significantly enhances the COTS memory options for the mil/aero customer. Donna Hamby, Communications Manager at Micross Components contributed significantly to this article. ISSI San Jose, CA 95112 (408) 969-4622. []. Micross Components Orlando, FL, (407) 298-7100. [].

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3/31/11 4:29:48 PM ] June 2011 COTS Journal [ 25

Tech Recon

Avionics Options: 1553, Ethernet and More

Bridging 1553 to Ethernet Networks Paves Future of Avionics Legacy technologies such as 1553 remain popular, but marrying such technologies with Ethernet opens up new directions and benefits for military avionics. Richard Wade, Chief Technical Officer Alta Data Technologies


odern avionics systems find switched Ethernet the dominant network architecture with MIL-STD-1553 (1553) and ARINC implemented for high reliability and legacy communications. For COTS systems, the most common method to integrate 1553 d or 429 networks into the system is to add an interface card to the computer’s backplane—PCI or PCI Express. With Ethernet dominating the modern landscape, these legacy interfaces are still popular andsolutions will notnow be going away anytime soon. nies providing Thetechnologies new Airbus A350, China Next ion into products, and companies. Whether 919, your goal is to research the latest tion Engineer,Gen or jump to a company's technical 1) page, theso goalon of Get 747/737, F-35 (Figure and all Connected is to put you you require for type of technology, usewhatever such technology. But the method by and products you are searching for. which they are incorporated in the total system is evolving. Figure 1 For the purpose of this article, only The tried and true 1553 interface is still in avionics systems on the most modern of aircraft, 1553 will be explored as a legacy network including the F-35. The second production model F-35A Lightning II aircraft flies above the topology, but the same talking points apcompass rose of Rogers Dry Lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. ply to ARINC 429 systems. And “PCI” in this article will refer to both PCI, PCI Express and other common parallel computer backplanes for third-party COTS test and embedded computer de- interface cards: Many computer systems vendor I/O and network interfaces. With signs, Ethernet ports are a common part are limiting expansion card availability; of SBCs. But lower volume 1553 avionics embedded systems frequently want to upports are typically PCI/PMC/PCI Express grade processing capability but legacy I/O Get Connected COTS interface cards. There are several is- requirements and changing backplane with companies mentioned in this article. sues with new computers and third-party standards can limit upgrade options; and

ploration your goal k directly age, the source. ology, d products

End of Article

[ 26 ] COTS Journal June 2011


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Tech Recon

Typical Ethernet to 1553 Bridge Computer Design

To Ethernet

500-1000 nSec Word Access Application Delays Memory.


MIL-STD-1553 Interface Card To 1553 Bus

PCI/PCI Express Backplane

Switched or Direct Ethernet

Network Centric Avionics Architectures

Figure 2

Shown here is an example architecture of a traditional Ethernet to avionics system design— computer box style. Real-Time Ethernet - 1553

40-200 nSec Word Access Memory Buffers To 1553 Bus

To Ethernet

Switched or Direct Ethernet

FPGA 1553 Protocol Engine Thin-Server UDP Engine

Figure 3

This diagram shows a thin-server, real-time IP/UDP design. wiring bundles of legacy I/O can be difficult to manage and add weight. A more desirable system design approach may be to remote the I/O closer to the source via an Ethernet connection, or use Ethernet as the backplane within the system. This method offers the advantages of better software portability, simpler hardware configurations, power savings and less wiring. Before exploring this remote networking concept further, here are some basic networking and I/O design facets.

Traditional Avionics Architectures A typical 1553 or ARINC interface card has three main circuits: a Protocol Engine (PE) that is usually an FPGA or micro processor to perform network protocol off-load processing, a PCI backplane connection to the computer, and some pseudo dual-port RAM to the PE and backplane to provide real-time access [ 28 ] COTS Journal June 2011

1 ms polling rates. Ethernet-1553 packets must be processed through OS IP/TCP stacks and one or more PCI backplane transactions. This overhead can add significant system delays and application jitter. Figure 2 shows an example architecture of traditional Ethernet to avionics system designs (computer box style).

for both the PE and the user’s application. The user’s application reads and writes to these data buffers via backplane memory mapping through a custom device driver for the target OS. Typical read/write speeds are 500- 2000 ns for a single word to or from application memory and the interface card. So to update a single word in a 1553 packet from a control application may take only 1 µs via a backplane interface. In the last decade, the most common method for remoting 1553 had been to wedge a COTS card into a small computer system—such as PC104, mini computers or proprietary boxes—and then run another Ethernet application to translate between the two domains. These box-box designs are typically running commercial OSs (Windows, Linux, RTOS) where the TCP/IP/UDP network stack will require 50-500 µs to process each packet. It’s worse with USB 2.0 where devices are limited to

A solution that eliminates one layer of process delays is to embed a real-time, thin-server directly in the 1553 FPGA protocol engine to replace the traditional PCI host interface. Alta Data Technologies, for example, recently released such a design in a product called eNet-1553. The eNet-1553 has a thin-server IP/UDP protocol engine as the “backplane” interface and can provide memory packet accesses at nearly the same rate as PCI backplanes. This thin-server approach bypasses at least one layer of IP stack and PCI backplane translations, saving half of the total round trip transmission time. Figure 3 shows a thin-server, real-time IP/UDP design. Besides real-time data access, another key advantage of an Ethernet appliance is software portability. Because IP/ UDP communications (sockets) are built into almost every OS (even new tablet devices), this means a client application can be easily ported to almost any computer system and is not locked in on a custom device driver. Even DO178 operating systems usually have a qualified Berkley Socket capability. A 1553 appliance device can provide generic maintenance, monitoring/data logging and programming ports for deployed systems, and in many cases, eliminate the need for a 1553 card in a rugged notebook computer—the military system designer could use any computer device that supports Ethernet. Alta’s eNet-1553 is a rugged, small appliance—similar to a 4-stub 1553 bus coupler—with standard 5-30 VDC, 10/100/1000 Ethernet and optional Power Over Ethernet (POE). Alta has added advanced features such as Signal Capture— to capture the actual raw 1553 signal for integrity analysis, auto BC/RT image loading to streamline setup, and provides

Tech Recon

but the designer must know their systems OS TCP/IP stack and/or LAN switch processing capabilities (path delays) to match up with application requirements.

1553-Ethernet Interfacing Is the Future Figure 4

The eNet-1553 has a thin-server IP/ UDP protocol engine as the “backplane” interface and can provide memory packet accesses at nearly the same rate as parallel or serial fabric backplanes. an auto Bus Monitor mode to provide real-time bridging between 1553 and Ethernet networks. Figure 4 shows a picture of the eNet-1553 product.

Design Tradeoffs There are always tradeoffs with system architectures, and in this case we are trading real-time PCI backplane memory accesses for a packet-based network topology. 1553 is only 1 Mbit/s and most typical Ethernet systems are 1,000 Mbit/s. This would appear to be a slam dunk to bridge the networks, but 1553 BC and RT communications cannot be directly translated to Ethernet or any network because of the required 4 to 12 µs command-response protocol between heterogeneous computers—unlike most TCP/UDP applications that are homogenous peer-to-peer. So there will often be at least one packet (or frame) delay in bridging 1553 and Ethernet applications. Further, many computer OS IP stacks and LAN switches cannot process above 5,000-50,000 packets per second, which means packet loss in the ether. This delay through the OS stack or switch routing is known as “path delay.”. Although rare, 1553 can transmit 2000-20,000 small packets per second, and the user’s application may need to perform both a read/ write function for each data packet. So the application packet frequency could easily be twice the 1553 packet rate and could easily overload a typical computer TCP/ IP stack processing capability. The eNet1553 device can turn around Ethernet memory read/write requests in real time,

Engineers at Alta tested dozens of different Microsoft Windows and Linux systems, and derived a sample formula that helps guide customers on packet processing capability of their system/LAN. A formula can be used to estimate the number of 1553 messages per second that you can expect to process with an eNet-1553 device connected to a computer. With a path delay of 100 microseconds we can expect to keep up with a message rate of less than or equal to 1000 messages per second. Note that this is a widely general estimate and data can be monitored at higher message rates, but you may start to drop messages if you cannot read the messages faster than they are received on the 1553 bus.

As modern avionics system designs advance, it will be important to adapt 1553 networks to an Ethernet-centric topology. Avionics appliances like eNet1553 help fulfill the requirement. A thinserver design, where the I/O buffers are directly available via IP/UDP requests, removes one layer of packet processing and can greatly enhance system design options, maximize portability of the application and increase data application performance. These next generation appliances can provide flexibility in system design topologies and reduce both initial and recurring development costs. Alta Data Technologies Goleta, CA. (505) 994-3111. [].

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Untitled-10 1

4/6/11 9:06:26[ AM June 2011 COTS Journal 29 ]

Tech Recon

Avionics Options: 1553, Ethernet and More

Serial FPDP Provides Throughput Advantages for Sensor I/O While Ethernet is the more obvious choice for many military interconnect situations, Serial FPDP offers major advantages for streaming high-bandwidth sensor data.

Andy Reddig, President and CTO Tek Microsystems


Sensor Interface

User ilitary embedded systems have FPGA CPU Application started to use standard network A/D FPGA interfaces for all types of communication. By embracing network-based Sensor Embedded Processor architectures, new systems are inherently Figure 1 more modular, can be scaled more easily, support migration to different form facShown here is the data flow from sensor to processor in an example radar system. d tors, and can leverage the ever-decreasing costs of commercial network technology. While network interfaces work well high-performance embedded systems for contains a Xilinx FPGA device. Figure 1 shows the data flow from sensor to profor processor-to-processor communica- sensor-to-processor interfaces. tions both inside and outside a system, cessor. theysolutions presentnow challenges for the high-speed High-Bandwidth Sensor Serial FPDP firmware cores are availnies providing streaming sensor-to-processor Interfaces able for FPGA devices from multiple venion into products, technologies and companies. Whether interfaces your goal is to research the latest tion Engineer,atorthe jumpfront to a company's technical page,acquisition the goal of Get Connected is to put you end of most signal Sensor interfaces are used in a wide dors. Typically, a Serial FPDP core proyou require for whatever type of technology, and processing systems. The extreme re- range of defense and intelligence systems, vides a 32-bit FIFO interface for transmit and products you are searching for. quirements for both raw throughput and as well as commercial applications such as data along with auxiliary signals to low latency, combined with the need for a semiconductor inspection, transportation figure the core and control Serial FPDP low footprint endpoint at the sensor end, security, medical imaging and weather features such as flow control, copy mode, make embedded standards a better choice radars. For this article, we will assume CRC insertion and so on. When used as for high-performance applications. There that the sensor is a radar receiver with 16 a sensor-to-fiber interface, a Serial FPDP are many pros and cons to streaming sen- channels of 16-bit data at 80 Msamples/s, core typically does not need any local sor data using network interfaces versus resulting in 160 Mbytes/s per channel for processor or software configuration. Serial FPDP. An open standard interface a total of 2.56 Gbytes/s across all chanGigabit Ethernet firmware cores are defined by ANSI/VITA 17.1-2003, Serial nels. The radar operates with a nominal also available for FPGA devices from FPDP has been used in a wide range of coherent processing interval (CPI) of 2 multiple vendors. Most firmware implems, or 500 Hz, resulting in approximately mentations are designed to interface with 320 Kbytes of data per channel for each local processors within the FPGA device, Get Connected dwell. At the sensor, each channel of data either using “soft” processors such as Xilwith companies mentioned in this article. is generated by an embedded module that inx’s MicroBlaze or “hard” processors

ploration your goal k directly age, the source. ology, d products

End of Article

[ 30 ] COTS Journal June 2011








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Fiber Xcvr


Fiber Xcvr

Signal Proc FIFO

Figure 2

Interface Options

This top level block diagram shows an FPGA implementation with both Serial FPDP and Gbit Ethernet interfaces.

Figure 3

The JazzFiber-V5 module supports four Serial FPDP fiber optic interfaces at up to 6.4 Gbit/s in both PMC and XMC form factors. such as the PowerPC cores found in Virtex 5 FXT devices. Before a Gigabit Ethernet interface can be used to stream data from a sensor, it needs to be configured with its own MAC and IP addresses and also with the destination’s IP and MAC addresses, and the UDP or TCP socket to use. Some implementations such as Tekmicro’s QuiXtream core are designed to operate without a local processor by using a local non-volatile memory for the MAC address and accepting configuration of the other required elements over the network. Within the FPGA device, sensor data is provided to a FIFO interface that generates either Serial FPDP or Ethernet data streams, depending on the firmware core. A top level block diagram of the FPGA implementation is shown in Figure 2 with both types of interfaces. [ 32 ] COTS Journal June 2011

All about the Throughput In our example, each channel of radar data requires 160 Mbytes/s of throughput, organized as 500 blocks of data per second with 320 Kbytes per block. In the following discussion, we will assume for simplicity that each interface will carry an integral number of channels—channels will not be split across separate fibers. Serial FPDP is defined by ANSI/ VITA 17.1, which supports three separate bit rates: 1.062 Gbit/s, 2.125 Gbit/s and 2.5 Gbit/s. Of the range of Serial FPDP implementations in use today, most either conform to VITA 17.1 and use the 2.5 Gbit/s rate or follow the VITA 17.1 protocol but use a non-standard higher bit rate such as 3.125, 4.25, 5.0, or 6.4 Gbit/s, all of which can be implemented using the GTX transceivers found in Virtex 5 FXT and Virtex 6 FPGAs. All Serial FPDP in-

terfaces use 8B/10B encoding, resulting in an effective data rate that is 80% of the serial bit rate. Table 1 shows the serial bit rate, data rates, number of 160 Mbyte/s radar channels per fiber and total number of fibers for each of the above Serial FPDP options. An Ethernet-based interface using current deployable technology can support one of two speeds: 1 or 10 Gigabits. Gigabit Ethernet is typically implemented at the FPGA boundary with a 1.25 Gbps serial link that has a sustained throughput of 100+ Mbytes/s. 10 Gigabit Ethernet can be implemented using either four XAUI serial links at 3.125 Gbit/s or a single high-speed serial link at 10.3125 Gbit/s. All Virtex 5 and Virtex 6 FPGAs can support 3.125 Gbit/s interfaces, but the 10.3125 Gbit/s requires a Virtex 6 HXT device with a GTH transceiver. With either implementation, 10 Gigabit Ethernet offers sustained throughput of 1000+ Mbytes/s, although this is often limited by the packet processing capabilities of the network interface at the destination. Table 2 shows the Ethernet data rates and number of fibers for our application.

Packetization Support Serial FPDP supports packets that contain up to 512 32-bit words, resulting in a maximum payload size of 2,048 bytes. Each packet has overhead of between 5 and 9 additional words, depending on CRC and Copy Mode options. For the 320 Kbyte frames of data in our example, the worst case overhead is 9 / 512, or 1.8 percent. Gigabit Ethernet is required to support a Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) of 1,500 bytes. Assuming the use of a UDP protocol under IPv4, each packet will have 66 bytes of headers resulting in aggregate overhead of 4.5 percent. Many Gigabit Ethernet networks support “jumbo” frames with MTUs of 9,000 bytes; if the network components all support jumbo frames, the overhead will be reduced from 4.5 to 0.7 percent. Both Serial FPDP and Gigabit Ethernet include CRC validity checking on a packet-by-packet basis, ensuring detection of transmission errors.

Tech Recon

Serial FPDP Data Rates Serial Bit Rate

Data Rate per Fiber

Radar Channels per Fiber

Total # of Fibers

2.5 Gbit/s

250 Mbytes/s



3.125 Gbit/s

312.5 Mbytes/s



4.25 Gbit/s

425 Mbytes/s



5.0 Gbit/s

500 Mbytes/s



6.4 Gbit/s

640 Mbytes/s



T MOUN E C A SURF thru-hole)

s r m e rs o f s n Tr a d u c t o r & In (and

Table 1

Size does matter!

Compared here are the serial bit rates, data rates, number of 160 Mbyte/s radar channels per fiber and total number of fibers for each of the above Serial FPDP options.

Switching, Routing and More

Data Stream Synchronization

Serial FPDP supports point-to-point links between a source and a destination and also a “daisy chain” consisting of a source and multiple destinations. Using the Serial FPDP “copy mode,” data can be forwarded from the source to each destination in the chain. Because the routing is through a chain of point-to-point links, copy mode can easily be used on Serial FPDP links that are running at maximum throughput. Gigabit Ethernet supports a fully switched topology, allowing for flexible routing of data between the source and destination nodes. Using IP multicast, one source can broadcast simul-

In our application, each channel consists of separate 320 Kbyte blocks of data that need to be aligned at the receiver to perform coherent signal processing. Serial FPDP has built-in mechanisms to insert a “sync” event into the data stream and recover the sync event at the receiver, allowing the processor to efficiently align all 16 channels for each CPI block for multichannel processing such as beamforming. Gigabit Ethernet has no built in synchronization mechanism across multiple network interfaces. Typically, a sensor interface using Gigabit Ethernet defines its own protocol to be used for each UDP da-

Ethernet Data Rates Type

Serial Bit Rate per Fiber

Fibers per Network Interface

Radar Channels per Total # of Network Network Interface Interfaces (Fibers)

1 Gigabit

1.25 Gbit/s



16 (16)

10 Gigabit

4 x 3.125 Gbit/s



3 (12)

10 Gigabit

1 x 10.3125 Gbit/s



3 (3)

Table 2

from lowprofile


• Audio Transformers • Pulse Transformers • DC-DC Converter Transformers • MultiPlex Data Bus Transformers • Power & EMI Inductors

e d ia te ly lo g im m ta a C ll o ’s fu S e e P ic tronic

Shown here are the Ethernet data rates and number of fibers for the example radar application.

w w w. p

taneously to a number of destinations. However, because each switch introduces some amount of delay, multicast can be problematic if the network interfaces are operating at close to 100 percent of maximum throughput. Both approaches offer options for flow control, but this is typically not used in sensor-to-processor applications due to the limited buffering resources at the sensor endpoint.

tagram, with a header field that indicates whether a sync event has occurred or not. The receiver can then inspect the headers as data is received and extract the sync location. Serial FPDP data streams are typically received using an I/O module that accepts one or more Serial FPDP channels, decodes the data using an FPGA, and transfers the data to processor memory



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through a PCI-X or PCI Express interface. The I/O module includes a software driver and API library that provides a high-level interface to the user’s software application. The most common Serial FPDP receive API transfers data into a memory buffer until either a maximum length is reached or a sync event is detected. In our example, this API allows one function call and one interrupt to handle each channel’s 320 Kbyte block of data.


Ethernet Tradeoffs Gigabit Ethernet data streams can be supported by either using standard Network Interface Controller (NIC) capabilities of the host computer or using I/O modules with additional network interfaces. The mechanisms for interfacing to UDP network sockets are identical in most operating environments, which makes Gigabit Ethernet a good choice from a standardization perspective.


I / O


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However, the standard socket API requires a user-to-kernel call and processor interrupt for each UDP datagram. With a standard Ethernet MTU of 1,500 bytes, each radar channel block in our example will require 218 kernel calls. With jumbo frame support, the number of kernel calls goes down to 36, but it is still much higher than the Serial FPDP approach. In addition, the need for a synchronization method within the data payload usually requires that the user application perform a memory-to-memory copy of the incoming data to build 320 Kbyte blocks out of multiple UDP packets, each of which has a sync header and a data payload. Because Serial FPDP has synchronization as an inherent part of the protocol, the I/O module can use DMA to transfer a contiguous 320 Kbyte block directly into user memory, which avoids the need for a software memory copy. This reduces both processor overhead and system latency.

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1 [ 36Untitled-21 ] COTS Journal June 2011

3/31/11 4:38:21 PM

Sensor-to-processor interfaces can be implemented with a wide range of protocols and physical interfaces, including embedded standards such as Serial FPDP and network interfaces such as Gigabit Ethernet. Both approaches have pros and cons, and if the sensor interface requirements for throughput, latency and processor overhead can be achieved with a network interface, it offers the advantages of a more flexible and commercially standard approach. For applications that require maximum throughput with minimum processor overhead, a Serial FPDP interface with an FPGA-based I/O module may be the best solution. Serial FPDP I/O modules are available from multiple vendors, including the JazzFiber-V5 module from Tekmicro shown in Figure 3. The JazzFiber-V5 module supports four Serial FPDP fiber optic interfaces at up to 6.4 Gbit/s in both PMC and XMC form factors. TEK Microsystems Chelmsford, MA. (978) 244-9200. [].

Tech Recon

Avionics Options: 1553, Ethernet and More

Deterministic Version of Ethernet Offers Real-Time Performance at Low Risk Leveraging the low-risk established infrastructure of Ethernet has many benefits. But by adding deterministic capability to the technology, military system designs reap the best of both worlds. Dr. Mirko Jakovljevic, Marketing Manager Aerospace TTTech


[ 38 ] COTS Journal June 2011


TTEthernet Switch


Rate constrained Quality of Service Enhancement Asynch VL

Time-Triggered (SAE AS6802) QoS Enhancement

Asynch VL

Core TTEthernet Services

Asynchronous Ethernet Traffic


Synch VL

thernet enjoys tremendous success in a variety of different commercial and industry applications. It has limitations as a deterministic communication interface when applied to critical embedded systems. With SAE AS6802 (TTEthernet) Layer 2 Quality of Service (QoS) enhancements, Ethernet can be used in strictly deterministic embedded applications for time-, safety- and mission-critical systems. In addition, it enables unified Ethernet communication in shared networks without traffic congestion for critical data. In other words, that means a blend of hard real-time, rate-constrained and best-effort communication. The use of Ethernet in multi-decade programs helps to minimize risks of technology and component obsolescence in aerospace and defense applications. There are no other system integration technologies on the market with such continuing industry momentum and guaranteed growth. The capability of system integration technologies to ensure predictable (deterministic) interaction between functions under different workloads is essential for design of sustainable integrated and modular systems. Determinism at network level influences




Layer 3-7

Layer 2

Ethernet IEEE 802.3

Figure 1

Layer 2 QoS enhancements for deterministic Ethernet communication. electronics platform complexity, software design methodology, application design, system integration, reuse, upgrades, obsolescence management and certification. Therefore, Ethernet with deterministic communication enables design of less complex software-centric systems at lower lifecycle cost.

Deterministic QoS Enhancements Ideally, the determinism of communication is defined as full control of jitter, constant message latency and repeatable message order. Obviously, Ethernet as a packet switched network was not designed with those requirements back in the early 1980s. Fortunately Ethernet is

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Synchronous traffic


Best-effort RateEthernet constrained traffic traffic


} }


Priority-based asynchronous Ethernet traffic

Many virtual links with different QoS can be defined for one Ethernet network

Enables delivery of synchronous services, A/V, critical controls, low-latency and standard LAN applications in one network

Figure 2

Shown here, pipes represent traffic classes with different time-criticality and robust isolation among them. All Ethernet traffic—represented by colored pipes—flows through standard Ethernet physical layer. not a monolithic standard. Rather it is a family of frame-based networking LAN/ MAN technologies and can be extended by additional Quality of Service (QoS) enhancements to satisfy different indus-

[ 40Untitled-4 ] COTS1Journal June 2011

try-specific requirements. By using those, otherwise transparent, network services, distributed applications can advance their real-time capability and deterministic operation.

VLAN and IEEE802.1Q for example are typical widely used QoS enhancements, which, in conjunction with limited bandwidth use, support more predictable network operation. But those still don’t provide any absolute guarantees for temporal performance and determinism. They offer “more deterministic” communication but don’t represent a real advantage for critical embedded systems that require predictable communication in all system operation scenarios. In commercial avionics, ARINC664P7 (Avionics Full Duplex Ethernet or AFDX) QoS enhancement has been added to standard Ethernet switches to enable redundant rate-constrained communication with defined maximum latency. AFDX networks are used in commercial programs such as Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 as a backbone network for integrated avionics, and in military avionics (Airbus A400M) and rotorcraft cockpits for display integration. With a known network traffic profile, virtual link prioritization, defined switch buf-

6/2/11 11:51:09 AM

Tech Recon

fer dimensioning and decent network calculus and configuration tools, very deterministic operation with respect to maximum latency can be ensured for all end-to-end virtual links (VLs) in AFDX networks. VLs enable point-to-point communication among different functions in the switched network system. Configured VLs have guaranteed bandwidth use and periodicity with defined maximum latency. ARINC664-P7 standard describes traffic policing and shaping required to ensure planned AFDX network performance. While ARINC664 communication is very deterministic, it is asynchronous and relies on statistical bandwidth multiplexing. It offers very limited control of jitter and message order. As usual, jitter can be reduced by limiting the number of hops (number of switches on the path between two end systems) and maximum bandwidth use. In order to minimize communication jitter (in Âľs) and keep the latency constant, a different type of QoS enhancement with fault-tolerant



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Figure 3

In this integrated system with TTEthernet, all functions and modules can be integrated by Ethernet network using soft-time and hard real-time communication. synchronization capability is required: a strictly deterministic SAE AS6802.

Time-Triggered Ethernet In advanced integrated modular avionics and vetronics architectures with many hard real-time constraints, strict

determinism is required to simplify sensor fusion and distributed payload processing, enhance resource use, and advance design of integrated modular avionics. With new services, Ethernet networks can gain the deterministic performance comparable to TDMA communica-

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&2*(17 "ALWAYS COMPLETE" Untitled-8 1


Tech Recon

tion networks (Time-Triggered Protocol (TTP), or MIL 1553 in synchronous communication mode), but at much higher communication speed and with variable Ethernet packets. Layer 2 Quality of Service (QoS) enhancements standardized as TTEthernet (SAE AS6802) guarantee deterministic computing and networking performance for time-, mission- and safety-critical systems. This Ethernet service allows strictly deterministic commu-

nication, fixed latency, sub-Âľs-jitter and predictable message order in redundant multi-hop networks. With SAE AS6802, Ethernet gains strictly deterministic synchronous communication capability and can emulate circuit-switching communication in packet-switched Ethernet networks. The image shows the position of this service in the OSI layer model with relation to other Ethernet layers and applications

(Figure 1). SAE AS6802 services do not depend on bandwidth or distanceâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;they can operate at 0.1 to 10 Gbit/s or higher and can be used in large networks. Together with other QoS enhancements, Ethernet fully supports synchronous and asynchronous communication. This is a revolutionary approach to Ethernet networking, which represents a significant upgrade for its packet-switching capabilities to cover strictly deterministic and mixed time-criticality communication in critical embedded applications.

TTEthernet Switch Capabilities At a minimum, TTEthernet switches implement standard Ethernet and SAE AS6802 functionality. TTEthernet switches behave just like any other Ethernet switch, and work with any standard physical copper or optical layers compliant with IEEE802 standards. AS6802 as a Layer 2 QoS enhancement is transparent to all higher network layers, protocols and applications. When configured, AS6802 services allow strictly deterministic communication for all higher layers and applications. As SAE AS6802 facilitates robust TDMA bandwidth partitioning and synchronous communication, it enables simple integration of the ARINC664-P7 standard on the same switch. SAE AS6802 can seamlessly integrate with ARINC664-P7 network design processes, because it can be modeled as microsecond jitter, fixed latency ARINC664-P7 traffic. Therefore, advanced TTEthernet switches support both synchronous (time-driven / time-triggered) and asynchronous (rate-constrained, besteffort) communication in complex Ethernet networks. In other words, audio/video, critical control systems and standard LAN applications can share common Ethernet networking resources. Synchronous time-triggered communication will be intact, even if the network bandwidth is completely overloaded and asynchronous communication drops packets due to congestion. Figure 2 shows an example of robust bandwidth partitioning among different virtual links with mixed time-criticality QoS using full Ethernet bandwidth. Due to its ARINC 664-P7 capability and DO-254 Level A compliance, TTEthernet switches [ 42Untitled-4 ] COTS1Journal June 2011

5/6/11 9:57:19 AM

Tech Recon

are suitable for application in commercial aircraft systems, and offer an extended set of networking capabilities for time-, mission- and safety-critical applications. System architects have full control over network bandwidth use, determinism and timing for critical functions, while being able to execute existing Ethernet applications with less demanding timing requirements. The bandwidth configured for synchronous time-triggered messages, but not used by the application, is dynamically released. This means each synchronous message that is not sent will release the bandwidth for asynchronous network traffic immediately. Integrated vehicle architectures and countermeasures profit from hard realtime capability and deterministic response on quick external events, while maximizing bandwidth use. The properties of TTEthernet are used in highly available energy production programs and industrial distributed control systems (DCS). Safety-critical automotive applications take advantage of TTEthernet switches to continuously process large amounts of video data to detect obstacles and prevent traffic accidents.

nization) in OpenVPX-based systems. This means all functions and modules connected to backplane and backbone networks operate as if connected directly to a large fault-tolerant Ethernet backbone. By allowing robust TDMA partitioning of networking resources, the system designer can determine the level of integration/interaction or isolation among different functions. This enables design of innovative architectures

and distributed platforms that can host many distributed functions using shared computing/networking resources for advanced integrated system architectures. In TTEthernet networks, it is possible to emulate reflective memory by using a periodic global data exchange with applications that are synchronized to the global timebase generated at the network level by SAE AS6802 services. From the application perspective, a distributed ap-

Integrated Architectures with VPX Ethernet is widely used in backbone networks, where its high-bandwidth throughput remains its key strength. TTEthernet switches enable design of deterministic backbone networks, but also close the gap between backbone and backplane networks, due to its high QoS capabilities. With TTEthernet switches, synchronous time-triggered communication is congestion-free, hard real-time and independent of the network traffic load. Therefore, TTEthernet switches can be used for both high-speed backbone and switched fabricsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;such as an OpenVPX or ATCA backplaneâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;where it uses lanes reserved for Gigabit Ethernet. Control-plane applications in VPX typically use single or dual-star (redundant) topology with switched Gigabit Ethernet, which are also supported by TTEthernet switches. Depending on application, TTEthernet can be used for control plane, data plane and some utility plane applications (synchroUntitled-9 1

5/6/11Journal 10:05:28 AM ] June 2011 COTS [ 43

Tech Recon

plication possesses a private conflict-free shared memory. By using this approach, we can scale down or up with integration of functions, without influencing other existing functions in the system. Also, distributed applications do not need to know about underlying architecture or topology.

Sensor Fusion and Smart Sensors Sensor fusion and distributed pay-

load processing can be executed without fear of unintended interactions with other system functions. Voting on data from synchronous sources simplifies redundancy management and application software design. Obsolescence management, modernization and upgrades with new DSP processors and applications are simplified, as the behavior of already integrated functions will not change and cause new system integration or timing

issues. Critical hard real-time functions will not be influenced by other less critical distributed functions. Sensor front-end data can be streamed to platform systems or common core computing systems, with exact latency and no jitter, independent of network load. This also means that processing functions do not require spatial proximity to a specific sensor, and can be placed anywhere in the system. With TTEthernet it is possible to design complex architectures consisting of smart sensors and actuators, and without any dedicated control unit. In this case temporal system behavior is defined at the network layer, and all control loops use limited available processing capability within sensors and actuators. Smart sensors and actuators designed around standard Ethernet-based controllers can be integrated and synchronized to other endsystems by using a software-based AS6802 protocol layer.

A 35-Year Ethernet Legacy Ethernet was designed as an asynchronous best-effort technology 35 years ago, but with SAE AS6802 QoS enhancements it becomes a strictly deterministic unified network technology covering different aerospace and defense applications. TTEthernet enables integration of hard real-time, synchronous and asynchronous applications in N-redundant architectures, and allows mixing of applications with mixed time-criticality levels in backplane or backbone networks. With available Layer 2 QoS enhancements, todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ethernet is a deterministic technology, suitable for design of critical embedded systems, payloads and by-wire applications. This confirms a wise old saying of the networked world: Never bet against Ethernet. A sidebar describing the operation principles of TTEthernet Networks is available in the web version of this article at archive/112 TTTech Computertechnik AG Vienna, Austria. +43 1 585 34 34-899. []. [ 44Untitled-5 ] COTS1Journal June 2011

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System Development COM versus Slot-Card Architectures

COM Boards Find Place as Slot-Card Alternative Offering compute-density advantages versus alternative solutions, COM Express is emerging as an option to use instead of or in conjunction with slot-card computing solutions.

Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


or decades now, the notion of standards-based slot card embedded computing has been a tried and true mainstay of military electronics. Lead by bus architectures such as VME and CompactPCI, the traditional approach is to use slot-card boards in a card cage. This means choosing a bus architecture, a rugged card cage and an SBC, plus any additional I/O boards to fulfill the requirements. But as semiconductor integration continues to enable more complete systems on one or two boards, the emergence of busless Computer-on-Module (COM) technologies is starting to gain some attention in the military market. COM boards provide a complete computing core that can be upgraded when needed leaving the application-specific I/O on the baseboard. COM Express adds highspeed fabric interconnects to the mix. As complete systems become more doable using those technologies, they’re beginning to replace some platforms that once relied on slot-card systems like VME and cPCI. But for many military applications, the advantages of a slot-card approach take precedence. In the case of a tech refresh or tech upgrade program, the bus architecture is already given—VME [ 46 ] COTS Journal June 2011

being the most prevalent for military applications. More recently, for applications where size, weight and power have priority over past compatibility with legacy boards, the option of rugged box-level systems that are basically monolithic integrated computers is popular.

Tried and True Slot-Card Approach The slot-card approach brings with it a number of merits. It offers the greatest flexibility in the I/O complement that can be supported. If a MIL-STD-1553 interface is needed, such a board can be added. The flexibility of a slot-card system is particularly useful when not all the I/O requirements are defined at the beginning of a project—a situation not uncommon in military programs. Moreover, some applications like comms and networking systems often require slots left open for the end-user for reconfiguring systems functionality in the field (Figure 1). Military-focused slot-card technologies continue to advance. Follow-on standards to VME such as OpenVPX ensure a solid future for the slot-card approach. While it’s clear that slot-card embedded systems aren’t going away anytime soon, COM-based busless system architectures are carving out a place in mili-

tary mindshare. Just one COM Express module can provide the same processing and graphics performance as alternative solutions. Designers have three COM Express module sizes to choose from to suit their individual application requirements. All signals are maintained on the carrier card, where additional connectors can be added as required per specific applications. As a macro-component, COM Express enables technology insertions without a large time or monetary investment, and supports easy upgrades through multiple product lifetimes.

Small and Flexible Last summer, PICMG released the COM Express Revision 2.0 specification. The rev 2.0 specification allows developers to focus on their specialized I/O requirements, without worrying about the complex interactions of CPUs, RAM, Chipsets and other basic elements that occur on the module. This recent revision helps to ensure that COM Express modules are prepared for future computer architectures while accommodating backward compatibility with older modules. The more important changes include smaller size, enhanced display support, faster Generation 2.0 PCI Express ports, high-definition audio and USB client support.

Figure 1

Some military applications like comms and networking systems often require slots left open for the end-user for reconfiguring systems functionality in the field. Editor-in-Chief Jeff Child at a recent technology conference. One of the smallest COM Express offerings available is Kontron’s COM Express-compatible module (55 mm x 84 mm), the COM nanoETXexpressTT (Figure 2). Sporting the new Intel Atom processor E6XX, the card is also equipped with the newly defined PICMG COM Express COM.0.R.2 Type 10 pinout that was added to the COM.0 R2.0 specification. With industrial-grade components, functional in the range of -40° to +85°C and with different options [ 48 ] COTS Journal June 2011 Untitled-1 1

5/6/11 9:51:37 AM

for data storage, it is suitable for use in harsh environments and thus complements the existing portfolio. The card has four PCI Express lanes of which three can be used for dedicated application-specific interfaces. This enables the use of even more dedicated mini-devices in a semi-custom solution. In addition to LVDS, it offers the newly implemented Digital Display Interface (DDI) for SDVO, Display Port or HDMI, which allows two displays to be

System Development

planned version with industrial-grade SATA Flash Memory (up to 16 Gbytes) and 1x SATA II 300 Mbyte/s connector.

Video and Comms for UAVs

Figure 2

The COM nanoETXexpress-TT is a COM Express-compatible module with the new Intel Atom processor E6XX. The card is also equipped with the newly defined PICMG COM Express COM.0.R.2 Type 10 pin-out that was added to the COM.0 R2.0 specification. controlled independently. The module also supports two different options for data storage: either a robust micro-SD Card socket offering up to 32 Gbytes and 2x SATA II 300 Mbyte/s interfaces, or a

With recent improvements in video support and chipset graphics, integrated video support has become a mandatory requirement for UAVs and other military systems. COM Express planned for the expansion of video and display capabilities, and provides standard connector access for a variety of high-speed interfaces. The COM Express connector supports multiple video interfaces including DisplayPort, VGA, SDVO, HDMI or DVI. This allows designers to take advantage of the latest graphics capabilities without having to worry about affecting performance. COM Express was specifically designed to ease the transition from legacy connectors and offers native interface support for modern-day I/O interfaces. On top of offering more PCI Express and USB ports than PC/104Express modules, additional connecters can be added for LAN, SATA, video,

Ensuring Reliable Networks

Deterministic Networks Deterministic Ethernet TTEthernet (SAE AS6802) ‡ 100 Mbit/s - 1 Gbit/s ‡ TTEthernet switches & end systems ‡ AFDX (ARINC 664) switches & end systems ‡ 'HVLJQ YHUL¿FDWLRQWRROV ‡ Software middleware layer

TTP Networks (SAE AS6003) ‡ 5 Mbit/s - 20 Mbit/s ‡ AS8202NF - TTP controller & IP ‡ TTP physical layer (DO-160F level 5) ‡ Network design tools YHUL¿FDWLRQWRROV ‡ End systems - PMC boards ‡ Test equipment

Level A COTS Components

Figure 3

‡ DO-254 - controllers & IP ‡ DO-178B drivers/middleware & tools ‡ DO-160E robust physical layers

Small UAVs like the Scan Eagle represent the kind of application well suited for COM Express because of its compact computing and network connectivity requirements. Shown here, a Scan Eagle UAV is launched from USNS Stockham. June 2011 COTS Journal [ 49 ] Untitled-9 1

6/2/11 12:21:44 PM

System Development

through multiple connectors, the signal integrity remains intact. As the computing demands for systems such as UAVs continue to increase, that’s driving a need for higher performance, faster I/O, improved graphics and lower support costs. Today’s growing demand for network-centric capabilities makes it an ideal time for developers to adopt COM Express. The standard’s flexible, two-board architecture makes COM Express an ideal solution for today’s most demanding UAV applications (Figure 3), and can help designers take advantage of the latest technologies at lower costs.

Combining COM and Slot-Card Approaches

Figure 4

The aTCA-3150 is an ATCA board that provides a COM Express Type 2 site for expansion with a processing subsystem. audio, USB and PCI Express, delivering maximum I/O f lexibility to meet specific application requirements. And since signals do not have to pass

The concepts of a non-backplane COM approach and a backplane-based slot-card strategy seem like separate directions. But the idea has emerged recently of using COM boards as computing core upgrades on slot-card SBCs. RadiSys, for its part, has pushed the idea of placing Computer-on-Modules (COMs) on VPX boards, allowing equipment developers to easily implement the latest computing technologies while preserving their VPX board development investments. RadiSys makes this case in an article in last September’s issue of COTS Journal in an article titled “The Case for Blending COM Express and VPX.”

That same idea is being used for the ATCA form factor. ATCA has carved out a respectable niche in the military where high-density computing and net-centric communications are a priority. An ATCA blade offering from Adlink technology is an example. Called the aTCA-3150 (Figure 4), this board provides a COM Express Type 2 site for expansion with a processing subsystem, allowing users to tailor processing power to application demands. In addition, two mid-sized AMC bays for I/O expansion are also supported to suit the needs of different applications. The aTCA-3150 provides 10/100/1000Base-TX GbE and layer 3 switching on Base Interface with support for 14-slot shelves. ADLINK San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. []. Kontron Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. []. RadiSys Hillsboro, OR. (503) 615-1100. [].

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Technology Focus PC/104 and PC/104 Family Boards

Roadblocks Few as Tech Refresh Strengthens PC/104’s Hand With a solid legacy of military system design-ins and growth forecasted for the future, PC/104 and its follow-on variants offer mature technology choices to meet the needs of space-constrained, power-constrained military embedded systems. Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief


he PC/104 form factor—along with all of its follow-on variants—continues to hold a secure legacy position in military embedded systems. And over the past 12 months, PC/104 vendors have rolled out a number of new products enabling PC/104 users to upgrade their systems to boost compute density and lower power consumption. As perhaps the most tried and true small form factor solution used by the military and other embedded computing market segments, PC/104 remains a mainstay in the defense arena. According to research from VDC, global demand for PC/104based technology is predicted to expand at a 6.07% CAGR over the 2009-2014 forecast period and reach a global market size of $193 million by 2014. Meanwhile PC/104 expansion modules are expected to reach a nearly $46 million global market by the end of 2010, and grow to nearly $59 million by 2014, displaying a CAGR of just over 5%. Collectively, the combined global PC/104 CPU module and expansion module market is expected to reach approximately $251.6 million by 2014, displaying a CAGR of 5.82% according to VDC. One the most significant trends impacting PC/104 boards— and small form factor boards in general—in the past couple years has been the proliferation of boards based on Intel’s Atom processor. The Intel Atom processor has been among the top architectures on new SBC products over the past year. The emergence of the Atom means there’s no longer a reason to suffer with high power dissipation as a trade-off for using an Intel Architecture platform. The Intel Atom processor Z5xx series provides a variety of design options with 2.0 or 2.2W power levels, two package sizes and industrial as well as commercial temperature ranges. The Atom’s low power makes it suitable for the kind of Size, Weight and Power (SWaP)-constrained applications—small UAVs, UGVs, portable comms gear and so on—that are so critical these days. For the military, a key point is that the Atom has embedded lifecycle support. Military system designers were reluctant to consider the Atom until the assurance of 15-year part availability was offered. A recent design win example for PC/104 came earlier this year when Parvus announced a contract with Rockwell Collins to supply

[ 52 ] COTS Journal June 2011

Figure 1

A conceptual rendering of CVN 78 Gerald R. Ford, the first of a new generation carrier design, CVN 21. The vessel will carry a stern-facing joint precision approach and landing system (JPALS), which is based on local area differential GPS, rather than radar. 53 PC/104-based DuraCOR 810 mission computer subsystems in support of the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) Increment 1 program. Increment 1 provides the U.S. Navy a secure, all-weather shipboard landing system. It will use GPS technology and provide a survivable, day-night precision approach and landing capability for vessels afloat. Parvus’ DuraCOR 810 subsystems are implemented as part of Rockwell Collins’ Datalink Interface Unit (DIU), which provides secure communications capability between the ship and aircraft. The CVN 78 Gerald R. Ford (Figure 1), the first of a new generation carrier design, CVN 21, will be among those to use JPALS. The roundup on the following pages showcases some representative examples of PC/104, PC/104-Plus, PCI/104-Express and EPIC single board computer products. Many of these vendors offer both PC/104 and EPIC families of products. However, for the purposes of this product roundup, vendors were asked to include just one of their PC/104 or PC/104-related products.

2011 Bringing together the design community, IC foundries and design automation tool providers to collectively address the hottest issues, trends and products effecting the electronics industry.

The TECH DESIGN FORUM offers technical information in an efďŹ cient, compact and focused one-day format.



March 10

Santa Clara, California

April 11

Tel Aviv, Israel

July 7

New Delhi, India


July 22

Bangalore, India


August 31

Shanghai, China

September 6

Beijing, China

September 8

Santa Clara, California

September 8

Hsin-Chu, Taiwan

Late Fall

Tokyo, Japan


Technology Focus:

PC/104 and PC/104 Family Boards Roundup Extreme Rugged PC/104-Plus SBC Sports Atom Processor

Board Serves Up Ultra Low Power SoC CPU

Conduction-Cooled SBC Has 1.6 GHz Atom, 2 Gbytes DRAM

Supporting a range of Intel Atom processors from the power-efficient N450 running at 1.66 GHz to the performance oriented dual-core D510, a PC/104-Plus module takes advantage of Atom’s two-chip solution architecture with integrated memory and graphics controllers to balance excellent performance with very low power requirements. With a TDP as low as 9W, the CoreModule 745 from Adlink simplifies cooling requirements and enables conduction-

The emergence of complete systems on chips has brought direct benefits to small form factor boards like PC/104. Advantech offers a cost-effective System on Chip (SoC) PC/104 CPU module driven by the ultra low power DM&P Vortex86DX 1.0 GHz processor with 256 Mbytes of DDR2 SDRAM memory on board. PCM-3343 has the standard dimensions of 96 x 90 mm in a fanless PC/104 architecture, supporting rich graphic output including VGA and 24-bit LVDS or TTL up to 1024 x 768 resolution. PCM-3343 delivers ultra low power consumption of less than 5W under

A high-performance PC/104 computing solution used to require a two-board stack or an oversized board. Exemplifying the transition to single board solutions, Diamond Systems provides the PC/104 SBC Aurora with the 1.6 GHz Atom Z530 processor, SODIMM RAM up to 2 Gbytes, Gbit Ethernet, USB Flashdisk, Serial ATA (SATA), four RS-232 serial ports

cooled solutions for small sealed enclosures in space-constrained applications. Rugged by design, the CoreModule 745 supports a wealth of legacy I/O interfaces including ISA and PCI buses. Serial ports, one GbE port and up to 2 Gbyte of DDR2 667 MHz RAM are also incorporated into an expanded PC/104 footprint. Adlink’s Extreme Rugged design methodology enables operation at temperatures from -40° to +85°C, vibration up to 11.95 Grms and shock up to 50 Grms. The CoreModule 745 also features a full 16-bit ISA bus, PCI 32-bit bus, one GbE port, two RS-232 serial ports, one RS-232/422/485 port, four USB 2.0 ports and eight GPIO. In addition, it offers graphics performance with an LVDS panel interface and legacy CRT support. For harsh environments, optional conformal coating is offered. The CoreModule 745 is available with QuickStart Kits including cables, 2 Gbyte DDR2 RAM, device drivers and board support packages (BSPs) for many popular operating systems including VxWorks, Windows CE, Windows XP Embedded, Linux and QNX.

ADLINK Technology San Jose, CA. (408) 495-5557. [].

[ 54 ] COTS Journal June 2011

full load, and extended temperature support between -40° and 85°C. It is well-suited for those applications that need only basic CPU performance, but very low power consumption at an attractive price. PCM-3343 supports USB hot plugging to replace FDDs, as well as having an optional 4 Mbytes of external SPI flash for boot disk and small storage, which makes this total solution even more cost-effective. Advantech also provides a ruggedized package service that includes conformal coating and Industrialgrade compact flash—SQFlash. The conformal coating service is offered to protect the PCB and components from dust, moisture, fungus, corrosion and vibration. APIs are included for configuring I2C, watchdog timer, panel backlight on/off, brightness control and GPIO—all through a user friendly GUI to make it easier and simpler to configure and integrate into applications. PCM-3343 is designed with ample I/O ports and storage, including three RS-232, one RS-422/485, one IDE, four USB 2.0 and two 10/100 LAN ports, plus a single CompactFlash socket, and 16-bit GPIO.

(two with RS-422/485 capability), four USB 2.0 ports, PS/2 keyboard and mouse, and both SUMIT-A and PC/104 ISA bus expansion. Prior to Aurora, this extensive feature set was typically accomplished by two-board stacks or SBCs with “wings” (form factor excursions). Compared to COM Express modules, which require +12V input and full custom carrier card designs, Aurora saves power by operating off a single low voltage +5V input, yet still allows I/O customization in the form of a plug-in SUMIT module. Rugged features include -40° to +71°C operation and an innovative new SO-DIMM solution with optional mounting holes for ruggedness. Diamond’s rugged RAM offering will be manufactured by multiple embedded suppliers. The onboard SATA connector interfaces to SSDs with short 3-inch latching cables and no need for external SATA convertor. Diamond chose to convert IDE (PATA) to SATA on board since IDE drives are EOL and SSDs are at risk of higher prices and shorter lifecycle compared to 2.5-inch SATA SSDs. Conduction-cooling is the ideal solution for sealed (waterproof / dustproof) metal enclosures in order to prevent thermal runaway and maximize the reliability and longevity of electronics. Aurora pricing in OEM volumes starts in the upper $400s.

Advantech Irvine, CA. (800) 866-6008. [].

Diamond Systems Mountain View, CA. (650) 810-2500. [].

PC/104 and PC/104 Family Boards Roundup

PC/104-Plus Card Offers 4W Fanless Solution

AMD Embedded G-Series CPU Rides PC/104-Plus

SBC Marries Freescale i.MX515 and FPGA Access

Reducing size, weight and power (SWaP) has moved to the forefront of military system designer priorities. Serving those needs, Eurotech offers the CPU-1440, a low power PC/104+ module based on the Vortex86DX processor. At less than 4W of power consumption and fanless operation, the CPU-1440 provides x86 compatibility for legacy applications using DOS, as well as for more current PC/104+ embedded applications

Advanced graphics are an attractive feature for PC/104 applications, but when that capability can be combined with the CPU so much the better. Along just those lines, the Kontron PC/104-Plus MICROSPACE MSM-eO offers military system designers the most powerful embedded graphics currently available for PC/104-based SBCs. With longterm availability, the MICROSPACE MSM-eO is based on the accelerated processing units of the AMD Embedded G-Series, which, along with a 64-bit CPU, also integrates a programmable graphics unit and a DDR3

FPGAs bring a wealth of flexibility to 104-based systems. For maximum off-the-shelf I/O flexibility, Micro/sys provides user access to a Xilinx Spartan 5 FPGA on a low-power, high-performance Cortex-A8 SBC using Freescale Semiconductor’s i.MX515 processor. The Micro/sys SBC1651 is easily embeddable supporting a 104 Form Factor and is available

using Linux and Windows CE. The CPU-1440 features soldered down RAM and an onboard Flash Disk with extended temperature range options (-40° to +70°C). This small form factor board (97 x 100 mm) offers PC/104 and PC/104+ bus expansion with true ISA support. Eurotech development kits offer a ready to run application development environment with a choice of preinstalled operating systems and drivers. The CPU-1440 Development Kit allows users to start application development immediately: Featuring the CPU-1440 board, a break out board giving standard peripheral connectors, the user’s choice of pre-ported operating system (DOS, Linux or WinCE) and an integrated display, this easy to use development kit cuts development time and allows full access to all board features.

Eurotech Columbia, MD. (301) 490.4007. [].

memory controller. The board integrates the single-core AMD T44R processor with 1.2 GHz together with an AMD Radeon HD6250 graphics unit. It supports the latest 3D graphics libraries such as OpenGL 3.2 and DirectX11. The integrated unified video encoder takes the load off the processor when displaying highresolution videos (1080i/p). With up to 4 Gbyte DDR3 RAM, the board offers enough resources to speed up memoryintensive applications. Along with LVDS and VGA, the module also has a digital display interface (DDI) for DisplayPort, HDMI or DVI signals, allowing the flexible connection of a wide variety of monitor types. A total of two independent full HD displays (up to 1920 x 1080 pixels) can be controlled. Digital audio signals are transmitted lossless via high-definition audio and SPDIF. Two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces allow for the direct integration into network structures without additional expansion cards. Four USB 2.0 and four serial interfaces (RS-232/TTL) allow the direct connection of numerous applicationspecific peripherals.

Kontron America Poway, CA. (858) 677-0877. [].

in extended temperature. Matching the newest Freescale i.MX processor series with Xilinx’s vast library of IP modules for I/O expansion, this powerful SBC provides embedded users with the first completely integrated solution on a small, low-power, rugged board. OEMs reap the benefit of this integration realizing reduced development efforts, easily customized I/O, faster time-to-market, easier production builds, and lower total cost of ownership. With flexible FPGA I/O options, the Micro/ sys SBC1651 allows OEMs to efficiently configure boards with their exact I/O requirements. 512 Mbyte SDRAM, 2 Gbyte flash and 2 SD/MMC card slots answer the demand for portability and multimedia storage simultaneously. The dual 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, seven serial ports, four USB ports ensure the SBC1651 provides design engineers every means of embedded communication their application requires. Additional onboard peripherals include a real-time clock, watchdog timer, 1-wire interface, 24 lines of discrete I/O, two PWM outputs, audio support TV out, 24-bit LVDS flat panel display output, 4-wire touchscreen interface, and a SATA HDD port. Since all components are validated for the extended temperature range from -40° to +85°C, the SBC1651 is industrial temperature capable by design. The SBC1651 starts at $595 in single quantity and mid $300s in OEM quantities.

Micro/sys Montrose, CA. (818) 244-4600. [].

June 2011 COTS Journal [ 55 ]

PC/104 and PC/104 Family Boards Roundup

Power Supply Card Targets Aircraft and Ground Vehicles

1.86 GHz Core 2 Duo Climbs Aboard PCI/104-Express

PC/104-Plus SBC Integrates Atom Z5xx Processor

A rugged DC/DC converter card is designed for extended temperature operation (-40° to +85°C), high shock and vibration levels, and demanding voltage transient conditions experienced by military ground vehicles (MILSTD-1275D) and aircraft (MIL-STD-704F) platforms, including 250V spikes and 100V surges. The ACS-5180 from Parvus is a standalone card and can be integrated into DuraCOR mission computers and DuraNET routers and switch subsystems. Featuring robust voltage input protections and onboard MILSTD-461 EMI filtering, the card will typically eliminate the need for additional in-line power

PCI/104-Express marries the legacy of the PCI/104 form factor to the realm of speedy switched fabrics. RTD Embedded Technologies does just that with its latest Core 2 Series of cpuModules with Intel Core 2 Duo Processor and 1 Gbyte of SDRAM. These boards are powered by the GS45 chip set from the “Montevina” platform. A dualchannel DDR2 memory interface ensures adequate memory bandwidth to keep up

The Atom processor is a natural fit for the PC/104 form factor—where small size and low power reign supreme. VersaLogic’s latest offering is the Tiger, a PC/104-Plus SBC featuring great performance, very low power consumption and fanless operation. The Tiger takes advantage of Intel’s Atom Z5xx (Menlow XL) processor, which was designed specifically for embedded applications. Based upon Intel’s 45 nm hi-k Metal Gate Silicon technology, the Z5xx series Atom chip offers high performance, industrial temperature (-40° to +85°C) operation and radically reduced power

conditioning/EMI filtering integrated into such embedded systems. With a rugged mechanical design, this small form factor card is designed as the bottom card in a PC/104 system stack to operate without heatsinking or any active cooling and provide resistance to high levels of shock and vibration. This highly efficient, galvanically isolated power supply can supply 80 watts of power in military / civil ground vehicle, shipboard and aircraft applications over the PC/104 (ISA) bus, PC/104-Plus (PCI) bus, or screw clamp terminal. Key Features include a voltage input of 28.0 VDC, voltage outputs up to 80W at +5V at 16A; +12V at 2A and +3-3V at 8A. Power input protection includes reverse polarity, voltage transient, surge, spike, over current and 1500V galvanic isolation DC. Power output protection includes filtered output, current fold-back plus remote shutdown support and status indication. Formal qualification compliance testing is in process for MIL-STD-810G, MIL-STD-1275D, MIL-STD-704F and MIL-STD-461E.

Parvus Salt Lake City, UT. (801) 483-1533. [].

[ 56 ] COTS Journal June 2011

with both processor cores. An Intel Gen 5.0 integrated graphics engine provides extensive rendering capabilities. Some of this CPU’s I/O features include Gbit Ethernet, three SATA hard drive connections plus an onboard SATA Disk Chip, up to six USB 2.0 ports, up to four RS-232/422/485 serial port, analog SVGA and digital LVDS video ports. These modules also support RTD’s Advanced Digital I/O and Advanced Analog I/O (aAIO), which allows them to be used as single board solutions for some data acquisition and controller applications. The Core 2 Series cpuModules and controllers are available in PCI/104-Express and PCIe/104 form factors.

RTD Embedded Technologies State College, PA. (814) 234-8087. [].

requirements. Its advanced power management capabilities include the new C6 state (Deep Power Down Technology) and Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology. Available in both a 1.6 GHz commercial temperature (0° to +60°C) version and a 1.33 GHz industrial temperature (-40° to +85°C) version, the rugged Tiger board meets MILSTD-202G specifications for mechanical shock and vibration for use in harsh environments. Standard onboard features include a gigabit Ethernet port with network boot capability, SO-DIMM socket for up to 2 Gbyte DDR2 RAM, seven USB 2.0 ports, four serial ports, IDE controller with support for two devices, HD audio and a Disk on Module (DOM) socket for removable flash storage. Video features include advanced 3D graphics, high-definition video, integrated LVDS, and optional analog VGA support. Industry standard PC/104-Plus expansion provides plug-in access to a wide variety of PC/104 and PC/104-Plus expansion modules from numerous vendors. The SPX expansion interface provides low-cost plug-in expansion for additional analog, digital and CANbus I/O. Pricing starts around $725 in OEM quantities.

VersaLogic Eugene, OR. (541) 485-8575. [].

Atom-Based SBC Supports SATA II and CompactFlash

EPIC SBC Sports Single or Dual core 1.66 GHz Atom

An Intel Atom-based PC/104-Plus single board computer (SBC) is designed for spacelimited military applications requiring fanless operation. The MB-73200 from Win Enterprises offers a choice of two onboard Ultra Low Power (ULV) Embedded Intel Atom Z5xx series processors. The CPUs provide either 1.1 GHz or 1.6 GHz of performance. As Intel embedded processors, these components enable

Now with a solid stake as a key member of the PC/104 family of form factor standards, EPIC offers a larger area for complex computing and I/O combinations. The latest EPIC offering from WinSystems is the EPX-C380, an EPIC-compatible, Intel 1.66 GHz Atombased SBC. The EPX-C380 uses either the Intel Atom single core N450 or dual core D510 processor combined with the ICH8M I/O hub controller, both of which are supplied from Intel’s Embedded Architecture Division for long-term availability. Operational from -40° to +70°C, these SBCs provide an open and

long life for OEM products. Support for both PC/104+ and PC/104 enables additional wired and wireless I/O, or other feature expansion. An optional high-definition audio card is offered. Two serial ports and four USB 2.0 ports are featured. The device provides two SATA II interfaces and one CompactFlash type I/II socket. Two Gbytes of memory are provided. The Intel System Controller Hub US15W supports 2D, 3D and advanced 3D graphics, high-definition video decode and image processing. The chipset also enables support for Single Channel 24-bit LCD/LVDS. Dual simultaneous displays can be supported by MB-73200. CRT resolution of up to 2048 x 1536 is provided. Other features include ultra-low power consumption (5W), dual 10/100 Mbit/s PCI bus Ethernet, two SATA interfaces and one CompactFlash type I/II socket. OEM pricing begins at $242. Price includes CPU with memory and storage extra.

WIN Enterprises North Andover, MA. (978) 688-2000. [].

powerful platform for processor- and I/Ointensive solutions for demanding applications. The EPX-C380 measures 115 mm x 165 mm (4.5 x 6.5 inches) and is compatible with the EPIC (Embedded Platform for Industrial Computing) computer board standard. The EPX-C380 uses the integrated Intel Gen 3.5 graphics processor, which incorporates both VGA and LVDS display interfaces with resolutions of 1400 x 1050 and 1366 x 768 respectively. Memory support includes up to 2 Gbytes of DDR2 667 MHz SODIMM system memory as well as a CompactFlash socket and optional 2 Mbytes battery backed SRAM. The EPX-C380 has two Gigabit Ethernet ports, two SATA channels, and eight USB 2.0 ports plus four RS-232/422/485 asynchronous serial channels on board. Also a parallel port consisting of 48 lines of digital I/O, high definition audio (7.1 codec), LPT interface, real-time clock and a watchdog timer round out the onboard I/O. PC/104-Plus and miniPCIe connectors are included for expansion with either standard or user-designed specialty I/O modules. The fanless 1.66 GHz board with the single core N450 processor lists for $695 in single quantities.

WinSystems Arlington, TX. (817) 274-7553. [].

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Floating Point Coprocessor Chip Attacks FPGA Processing Hurdles

Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. Military signal processing technology faces some vexing tradeoffs. Processing improvements always seem to come at the expense of increasingly ridiculous power consumption, which in turn creates burdensome cooling Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. problems. Taking aim at that problem, BittWare has introduced the Anemone floating point coprocessor chip for use with Altera's high-performance FPGAs. OEM'd from Adapteva's new Epiphany architecture, BittWare's Anemone chip is a scalable, true C-programmable, floating point engine that enables novel solutions for complex and evolving signal processing applications. Because it was specifically architected to be used alongside an FPGA as a coprocessor, the Anemone simultaneously achieves superior power efficiency and processing performance. Each Anemone features 16 processors, providing 32 Gflops of floating point processing while consuming only 2 watts of total chip power. Multiple Anemones can be gluelessly connected, thereby scaling to create compute blocks of up to 4096 processors providing 8 Tflops of floating point performance. Delivering a standard processor software development environment that tightly integrates with a world-class FPGA platform from Altera, the Anemone allows the best of two worlds to be combinedâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;facilitating increased productivity and optimal solutions for complex signal processing applications. The Anemone features an internal high-throughput mesh network, with separate data paths for on-chip and off-chip communications. Each eCore processor has a multi-channel DMA engine to support background data movement over the 'eMesh'. Total on-chip, inter-core bandwidth is 128 Gbytes/s full duplex, with an additional 8 Gbytes/s of off-chip bandwidth. Each router node can simultaneously sustain full-duplex transfers on all ports, with automatic routing based on global addressing. The Anemone will be available from BittWare on standard COTS boards, including FMC (VITA 57) (shown), AdvancedMC (AMC), VPX (VITA 46/48/65) and PCI Express (PCIe) slot cards starting in Q3. Development boards, software and systems will also be available. BittWare, Concord, NH. (603) 226-0404. [].

Server Board Boasts Dual Xeons and 48 Gbytes of DRAM Advantech has introduced the ASMB-310IR, a new DP server board with CEB form factor that fits into both standard and smaller industrial-grade chassis for broad use among mission-critical applications. Featuring dual Intel Xeon 5500/5560 series processors, six ECC registered DIMMs with up to 48 Gbyte capacity, and rich expansion slots with high bandwidth support, ASMB-310IR offers extreme performance at the lowest total cost of ownership due to its one-board design for various chassis, compared with qual-level mainstream products in the market. All Advantech server-grade products, including this just launched AIMB-310IR server board, come with 5 to 7 years of component supply longevity support and strict revision control that ensure product availability and reliability for embedded equipment developers in their business commitments. Pricing starts at $859 per unit.

Advantech, Irvine, CA. (800) 866-6008. [].

Module Does 10/100BaseTX to 100BaseFX Conversion Aaxeon Technologies has announced its new FCU-1802 Series of 10//100BaseTX to 100BaseFX Fiber Media Converters. The new FCU-1802 is a Fast Ethernet Bridge 100Base-FX fiber to 10/100Base-TX shielded twisted pair (STP) converter. It features a DIP Switch that allows you to select between half-duplex and full-duplex operations. The unit auto-adapts to the highest level of performance supported by the device connected to the STP port. When the device is a switch or a workstation that supports full duplex, the FCU-1802 adapts to the full-duplex mode and provides an effective 200 Mbit/s bandwidth. Multi-mode models that support distances up to 2 km and single-mode models that support distances up to 30 km are available.

Aaxeon Technologies, Brea, CA. (714) 671-9000. [].

6U VPX Board Offers 16 Gbyte RAM and Dual Processors The number of VPX boards on the market continues to ramp. Kontronâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s latest offering is its 6U VPX dual processor node VX6060 with 16 Gbyte soldered ECC RAM. All versions support the Kontron VXFabric API for IP-based data transport over PCI Express to accelerate application development. Each of the independently implemented dual-core Intel Core i7 processing nodes of the Kontron VX6060 has full access to 8 Gbyte ECC RAM. The two processing nodes are connected via PCI Express to each other and to the data plane. By using Kontron VXFabric, OEMs can implement efficient inter-board communication at hardware speed, leveraging PCI Express for the highest bandwidth. VXFabric is equivalent to an Ethernet network infrastructure mapped over a switched PCI Express fabric. It implements the layers allowing the user to handle the communication with an IP socket programmatic interface. Combined with the power of 6U VPX backplane infrastructure, the Kontron 6U VPX dual processing node VX6060 enables a new range of outstanding HPEC applications using only standard technology (Linux or RTOS on x86 and TCP/IP) for a shorter time-to-market. The Kontron 6U VPX dual processing node VX6060 is available in forced air-cooled and conduction-cooled versions.

Kontron America, Poway, CA. (858) 677-0877. []. [ 58 ] COTS Journal June 2011

COTS Products Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section.

Fanless PC/104-Plus Card Draws Only 4W Eurotech offers the CPU-1440, a low-power PC/104+ module based on the Vortex86DX processor. At less than 4W of power Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. consumption and fanless operation, the CPU-1440 provides x86 compatibility for legacy applications using DOS, as well as for more current PC/104+ embedded applications using Linux and Windows CE. The CPU-1440 features soldered down RAM and an onboard Flash Disk with extended temperature range options (-40° to +70°C). This small form factor board (97 x 100 mm) offers PC/104 and PC/104+ bus expansion with true ISA support. Eurotech development kits offer a ready-to-run application development environment with a choice of preinstalled operating systems and drivers.

Eurotech, Columbia, MD. (301) 490-4007. [].

Tunable 6 GHz Software Radio Transceiver in a Compact 1U Package Real-time wide band radio applications including spectral monitoring, signal detection, cognitive radio, SIGINT; COMINT and others push the limits in terms of their FPGA processing appetites. Serving those needs, D-TA Systems offers the DTA-3290, a highly flexible software radio transceiver complete with tunable RF, 16-bit Digital IF, FPGA and a 10 Gigabit network for data. The RF frequency coverage is from 20 MHz to 6 GHz for both receive and transmit. The instantaneous bandwidth is 40 MHz. The digital IF section includes a 16-bit 130 MHz ADC and 16-bit 500 MHz dual DACs with built-in programmable Digital Up Converter (DUC). The large Virtex 5 FPGA includes a programmable Digital Down Converter (DDC) core for bandwidth selection. The FPGA also implements a 10 Gigabit Network to carry full bandwidth data to the computer. A separate 1 Gigabit network is provided for control. The FPGA also allows user core development. The DTA-3290 can be connected to any server class computer via a 10 Gigabit Network Interface Card (NIC). D-TA offers Software Development Kit (SDK) to speed up application development. D-TA also offers DTA1000 (1U) dual quad core server system with NIC and SDK pre-installed. It optionally includes up to 8 Terabyte storage. D-TA is offering ready-to-run Application Software Modules (ASMs) for spectral monitoring, Record & Playback and Arbitrary Waveform Generation for RF Test & Simulation. D-TA also offers training for real-time multi-threaded software development for multicore server processing. DT-A Systems has also recently released a 48-page product catalog entitled “Sensor Processing for Demanding Applications.” For information see their website.

D-TA Systems, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (613) 745-8713. [].

High-Res DataAcq Module Targets Audio and Acoustic Testing Military acoustic, audio and vibration test and measurement requires a good mix of resolution and speed. Feeding those needs, Data Translation has released the DT9837C dynamic signal acquisition module for USB. The DT9837C features high-performance, 24-bit resolution and is specifically designed for audio testing, acoustic measurement and vibration analysis applications. Key features of the DT9837C include USB support, four Simultaneous 24-bit DeltaSigma A/D channels for high-resolution measurement and support for IEPE (Integrated Electronic Piezoelectric) inputs—including use of a 2 mA current source and AC or DC coupling, to interface with an accelerometer and microphone. The module offers an input range of ±10V with software selectable gains of 1 and 10 for an effective input range of ±10V and ±1V. Throughput rates are up to 105.4 kHz per channel. The system is available installed in a metal connection box with mini-XLR or BNC connectors, or as board-level OEM version.

Data Translation, Marlboro, MA. (508) 481-3700. [].

AdvancedTCA Processor Blade Serves Up Intel Westmere-Based CPU Diversified Technology has introduced the newest member of its AdvancedTCA family, which includes multiple processor blades, switches, systems and full integration capabilities. The ATC7000 is a dual socket node blade supporting 12 cores (24 simultaneous threads with HyperThreading enabled) of processing performance by way of dual Intel Xeon 5600 series “Westmere” processors. The ATC7000 provides support for up to 64 Gbyte memory and an optional RTM with additional network interface options. The board is a PICMG 3.0-compliant processor board that provides high performance for LTE/4G and other nextgeneration wireless and wireline military systems.

Diversified Technology, Ridgeland, MS. (800) 443-2667. [].

June 2011 COTS Journal [ 59 ]

COTS Products Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section.

FPGA Processing Board Handles MultipleGet 100 Gbit Signals in Real Timefeatured in this section. Connected with companies and products

The for real-time signal processing muscle is almost endless in military applications like network security, signal intelligence and data mining. With just that in mind, Annapolis Micro Systems has rolled out a board capable of capturing and processing multiple 100 Gbit signals in real time. The Annapolis Dual 40/100Gbit CFP Transceiver Board for IBM BladeCenter enables the capture and real-time processing of massive amounts of data. Annapolis was able to develop this product by leveraging the incredible bandwidth possible in the Altera Stratix IV FPGAs. Annapolis integrated two CFP interfaces into their Dual 40/100Gbit CFP Transceiver Board, allowing the capture, buffering and processing or transmission of two 100 Gbit Ethernet streams per card or six 40 Gbit Ethernet streams per card. The Dual 40/100Gbit CFP Transceiver Board’s CFP transceiver cage interfaces can support 100 Gbit Ethernet, 40 Gbit Ethernet, 100 Gbit OTU4, 40 Gbit SDH/OTU3 and QDR InfiniBand protocols. Using one or two Altera Stratix IV GT EP4S100G5 FPGAs, up to 36 Gbytes of DDR3 DRAM arranged as up to eight 72-bit ports and a 160x160 High-Speed crossbar, the Dual 40/100Gbit CFP Board is able to buffer and, if desired, preprocess all the data at full rate from the CFP interfaces before it is sent on to Annapolis’ WILDSTAR 5 Blade for IBM BladeCenter. The Dual CFP Transceiver Board mates directly to the WILDSTAR 5 Blade for IBM BladeCenter with an incredible 68 High-Bandwidth Full Duplex Serial I/O connections.

Annapolis Micro Systems, Annapolis, MD. (410) 841-2514. [].

AC/DC Converter Boasts Low No-Load Power Consumption RECOM has released a new range of isolated AC/DC power supply modules with very low standby input currents, ideally suited for low-power applications or standby power supplies. The RAC01 and RAC02 offer 1W or 2W of output power from a universal input voltage of 90-265 VAC and yet draw only 30 mW in standby. The RAC03 offers a higher output power of 3W yet draws only 80 mW when unloaded. Unlike other lowpower AC/DC modules, the RAC01, RAC02 and RAC03 offer high-efficiency, well regulated, short-circuit protected DC outputs with 3.3, 5, 9, 12, 15 or 24V voltage options and a line and load regulation of typically ±2%. The conversion efficiency is up to 78%, which enables RECOM to guarantee an operating temperature range of -25° to +85°C for the one watt part, reducing to +80°C for the two and three watt converters.

RECOM Power, Brooklyn, NY. (718) 855-9710. [].

SATA Solid-State Drive Offers 64 Gbyte Storage SMART Modular Technologies has introduced the XceedIOPS iSATA Slim solid-state storage module, the latest addition to SMART’s serial ATA (SATA) line of embedded solid-state storage products. SMART was an early adopter of the SATA Slim form factor with its previously released XceedLite iSATA Slim. Since then, JEDEC has formally released its MO-297-A standard, the features of which SMART has combined with enhanced performance to create XceedIOPS iSATA Slim. With a physical size approximately 25 percent that of a 2.5-inch drive, the new storage device is supplied in an SFF-8156 (39 mm x 54 mm) package that is only 4 mm thick. Available with capacity of up to 64 Gbytes, the XceedIOPS iSATA Slim is optimized for use as embedded storage or as a boot device. The new, low-power SSD features typical power consumption of 0.5W at +5VDC.

SMART Modular Technologies, Newark, CA. (510) 623-1231. [].

OpenVPX Cards Offer Solution for EW/SIGINT Applications Engineers developing electronic warfare/signals intelligence (EW/SIGINT) applications need the right combination of performance and ruggedness. With that in mind, Mercury Computer Systems has announced new 3U and 6U OpenVPX modules. Mercury’s new subsystem enhancements are based on powerful buildingblock components in both 3U and 6U OpenVPX standard form factors. Two new 3U OpenVPX modules support sophisticated EW/SIGINT functionality on platforms with limited Size, Weight and Power budgets. The Ensemble HCD3210 processing module combines a Virtex-6 FPGA with a Freescale dual-core 8640D generalpurpose processor. The Ensemble SFM3010, an advanced multi-plane switching module, supports a low-latency, deterministic SRIO fabric data plane, a GigE switching control plane and an IPMI-based system management plane, enabling very sophisticated applications in the small 3U form factor. Larger 6U OpenVPX subsystems are enhanced with the new Echotek Series SCFE-V6-OVPX module, which supports three powerful Virtex-6 FPGAs, two industry standard VITA-57 FMC sites and a Linux-based control processor. The FMC sites can be configured with an extensive set of A/D and D/A converters, supporting a wide range of IF bandwidths and channel densities. Multiple 6U modules can be configured in scalable subsystems supporting multi-channel coherency, a critical capability for many EW/SIGINT applications.

Mercury Computer Systems, Chelmsford, MA. (866) 627-6951. []. [ 60 ] COTS Journal June 2011

COTS Products Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section.

XMC Transceiver Sports FPGA and High-Speed ADCs, DACs A complete military signal processing and data acquistion system used to require several boards and mezzanines. Now a power solution is possible with just a single mezzanine card. Get Connected with companies andIntegration products featured in this section. Along just those lines, Innovative has announced its new X6-400M that integrates high-speed digitizing and signal generation with signal processing on a PMC/XMC IO module with a powerful Xilinx Virtex 6 FPGA signal processing core, and highperformance PCI Express/PCI host interface. The X6400M features two 14-bit 400 MSPS A/Ds, either AC or DC-coupled, plus two 500 MSPS update rate DACs. The DAC can be configured as a single 1 GHz output channel. Receiver IF frequencies of up to 250 MHz are supported. The sample clock is from either a low-jitter PLL or external input. Multiple cards can be synchronized for sampling. A Xilinx Virtex-6 SX315T (LX240T and SX475T options) provides a very high-performance DSP core with over 2000 MACs (SX315T). The close integration of the FPGA, four banks of 1 Gbyte DRAM, the analog I/O and PCIe host interface enables real-time signal processing at extremely high rates. The card’s power consumption is just 18W for typical operation. The module may be conduction cooled using VITA20 standard and a heat spreading plate. It is available in several rugged levels for wide-temperature operation from -40° to +85°C operation and 0.1 g2/Hz vibration. Conformal coating is available. The FPGA logic can be fully customized using VHDL and MATLAB using the Frame Work Logic tool set. The MATLAB BSP supports real-time hardware-in-the-loop development using the graphical block diagram Simulink environment with Xilinx System Generator. IP cores for many wireless and DSP functions such as DDC, PSK/FSK demod, OFDM receiver, correlators and large FFT are available.

Innovative Integration, Simi Valley, CA. (805) 578-4260. [].

Large Panel Provides Capacitive Touch Capability The newest addition to the Crystal Touch line of PCAP touch panels from Ocular is a large projected capacitive (PCAP) touch panel. The LCD measures 15.6 inches diagonally and has an outline of 356 by 223 mm along its perimeter. Unlike some PCAP displays that only support one or two simultaneous user touches, the display supports a true multi-touch interface with as many as 16 simultaneous touches. True multi-touch capabilities are critical to a number of applications such as interactive maps and other systems that require simultaneous actions and involve collaboration among multiple people. It operates over an industrial temperature range from -30° to 70°C. The very thin, 1.6 mm profile of the panel makes it ideal for lightweight mobile devices, like tablet PCs. Minimum volume pricing starts at $109.00 per unit.

Ocular LCD, Dallas, TX. (972) 437-3888. [].

FPGA IP Targets HighPerformance Computing

High-performance military computing applications, like aircraft simulation, are characterized by the use of a great number of computing nodes operating on data sets that exceed the local memory on any given node. Distribution of very large data sets across hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of computing nodes poses a challenge. The trick is to be able to spend less time distributing those data sets and more time processing them. With exactly that in mind, Samplify System has announced the availability of Prism FP, the first compression technology to provide lossless and near lossless compression of floating point data types. Prism FP is suited for any computing problem that involves solving partial differential equations using finite element analysis in a high-performance computing application, and a candidate for Prism FP. Distribution of large 32-bit and 64-bit floating point data sets, among computing nodes and between computing nodes and storage arrays, drags down the performance. Samplify’s Prism FP compression technology reduces the time required for distribution of data sets and intermediate results, thereby reducing the execution time. Prism FP will be available from Samplify during the second quarter of 2011 for Intel-based Linux environments. Support for CUDA, OpenCL, MPI and OpenMP environments will be provided later in 2011.

Samplify Systems, Santa Clara, CA. (408) 249-1500. [].

Managed 8-Port Gbit Ethernet Switch Matches PC/104 Footprint Diamond Systems has unveiled Epsilon, a managed Layer 2 managed Ethernet switch module offering eight 10/100/1000 Mbit/s copper twisted pair ports on a PC/104 form factor board. Epsilon can be used standalone, without any connection to a single board computer, or in conjunction with a host CPU. The module’s built-in microcontroller handles configuration and management. Epsilon provides a full PC/104 stackthrough bus interface, allowing it to be integrated into any PC/104 stack. However, the module does not interface to the PC/104 bus and does not require it for its operation. To support the temperature extremes of fixed and mobile applications in both indoor and outdoor environments, the module supports fanless operation over -40° to +85°C. Single unit pricing for the model EPS-8000-XT starts at $450.

Diamond Systems, Mountain View, CA. (650) 810-2500. []. June 2011 COTS Journal [ 61 ]

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Rugged Box Feature IntelandCore Processors GetSystems Connected with companies products featured in this section.

Rugged box-level systems have become a staple in the military embedded systems market. GE Intelligent Platforms has announced a further expansion in its growing range of rugged systems. Designed for control applications in challenging environments such as unmanned vehicles, launch vehicles, and commercial helicopters and aircraft, the CRS-C2I-3CC1 (shown) and CRS-C3I-3CB1 2-slot and 3-slot rugged CompactPCI systems are a highly cost-effective alternative to in-house development—eliminating costly NRE—and provide off-the-shelf, packaged, self-contained solutions that shorten design, development, integration and testing time. They also provide a quicker path to a higher Technology Readiness Level (TRL), giving system developers a superior capability at lower cost, in less time and with reduced risk. The CRS-C2I-3CC1 and CRS-C3I-3CB1 feature Intel Core processors. GE had earlier announced the CRS-C2P-3CC1 and CRS-C3P-3CB1 2-slot and 3-slot pre-validated, application-ready, CompactPCI-based computer systems based on the Freescale MPC7448 processor. All are available in a wide range of applicationspecific configurations that can be delivered in a rugged, convection or base plate cooled 3U chassis. The systems are configured with a single board computer featuring Intel Core processors, together with 1 Gbyte of RAM and 4 Gbytes of Flash memory. These computers feature I/O capabilities including Ethernet, serial, USB, CANbus, MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC 429 as well as discrete I/O. The CRS-C2I-3CC1 has dimensions of (H x W x D) 3.96 x 7.15 x 9.03 inches (excluding connectors) and weighs only 11 pounds; and the CRS-C3I3CB1 has dimensions of (H x W x D) 5.60 x 4.25 x 8.76 inches (excluding connectors) and weighs only 9 pounds.

GE Intelligent Platforms, Charlottesville, VA. (800) 368-2738. [].

Military Grade SSD Self-Destructs at Push of a Button

Conduction-Cooled Rugged Armored Portable UPS Chassis

The MIL-SPEC S5 Series SSD from Emphase is an SLC flash device available in a 2.5-inch footprint and SATA (3 Gbit/s) bus interface. The MIL-SPEC S5 SSD is designed to meet the environmental requirements of MIL-STD810F. With these defense-grade triggers, data can be eliminated in less than two seconds through an ATA command or with the push of a button. Should the drive lose power during a protect, erase, or destroy command, the device will resume the command as soon as power is restored. The MIL-SPEC S5 SSD is currently available in 16 Gbyte to 128 Gbyte capacities, and with 256 Gbyte and 512 Gbyte models in development, is ready for long-term exposure to extreme levels of humidity, wide temperature ranges, intense shock and vibration, and high altitude.

Combining the latest uninterruptible power supply developments in UPS power and Lithium iron phosphate battery technology, the DesertGecko UPS 1000 from PCI Systems delivers more than 650W of uninterrupted power for deployed military systems. The device has a very small footprint available in a 1/2 ATR size and horizontal radio type mount. With a wide working temperature range from ‐20° to +70°C, extremely cold and hot weather will not affect its performance. High safety supervisory circuits guarantee that no fire and explosion occurs in overcharge tests at up to 40V, and in short‐circuit tests the unit survives without damage. The DesertGecko UPS 1000 meets the battlefield environmental specifications of MIL‐STD‐810F. The solid core batteries reduce leakage risk, eliminating HAZMAT and environmental concerns and facilitating shipment by air or ground without restriction.

Emphase, South Burlington, VT. (802) 735-1799. [].

PCI Systems, Silver Spring, MD. (301) 358-3621. [].

Rugged Rackmount Chassis Cools for up to 150W Per Slot Curtiss-Wright Controls Electronic Systems has introduced two new 20-slot 0.8-inch pitch or 16-slot 1.0-inch pitch 6U payload forced air-cooled enclosures for rugged deployed military embedded systems. The RM810 chassis are the newest member of Electronic Systems’ Hybricon family of advanced military COTS electronic packaging solutions. These rugged rackmount-style enclosures support power supplies up to 1800W and provide cooling for greater than 150W per slot to ensure optimal performance for the most demanding high-power mobile applications. The RM810 19-inch rackmount enclosures are 8U-10U high forced air-cooled deployable chassis. They can be configured with a wide range of open standard backplane architectures, including VITA 1.7/VME64x, VME, VXS, PICMG 2.16, VPX and OpenVPX. Standard temperature range is -20° to +55°C and extended temperature range of the unit is -40° to +71°C.

Curtiss-Wright Controls Electronic Systems, Littleton, MA. (978) 952-2017. [].

[ 62 ] COTS Journal June 2011

COTS COTSProducts Products Ruggedized 3U Fibre RP R RPC PC12 Channel PC RAID System

RISC-Based Touch Screen Computer Supports Extended Temps A new RISC-based embedded computer with a bright 8.4-inch TFT LCD is targeted as a wide-temperature, ruggedized, flat panel computer suitable for a variety of HMI and control applications. Featuring new LED backlight technology, the SeaPAC R9-8.4 from Sealevel Systems offers an extended operating temperature range of -30° to +70°C with no heaters or cooling fans required. Powered by a 200 MIPS ARM9 microprocessor, the SeaPAC R9-8.4 is available with up to 256 Mbyte RAM and 256 Mbyte Flash memory. Standard I/O includes Ethernet, serial, USB, CAN Bus and digital interfaces. Local or remote I/O expansion is available using Sealevel SeaI/O modules. Low quantity pricing starts at $1,599.

Phoenix International designs and builds rugged COTS Data Storage Systems that plug and play in any application -- from Multi-Terabyte Fibre Channel RAID and Storage Area Network configurations to plug-in Solid State Disk Drive VME Storage Modules.


Low Operational Temperature -20° C

High Operational Temperature +60° C

Operational Altitude to 45,000 feet

Sealevel Systems, Liberty, SC. 864-843-4343. [].

4FFVTBUXXXQIFOYJOUDPNPSDPOUBDUVTBUtJOGP!QIFOYJOUDPN An AS 9100 / ISO 9001: 2000 CertiďŹ ed Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business

Cobalt Virtex-6 Board Family Migrates to CompactPCI FPGA-based signal processing has revamped the landscape of a number of key military applications. Feeding those needs, Pentek is now offering its Cobalt board family for use in CompactPCI (cPCI) systems. The 1/21/09 8:38:37 AM migration to cPCI gives system designers full access to Pentekâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s advanced Untitled-3 1 modular technology, which features high-performance signal acquisition and the processing power of Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGAs. All modules feature dedicated DMA channels and memory buffers for each I/O stream, and multichannel, multi-board synchronization along with a customizable Virtex-6 FPGA for onboard signal processing. Boards are available as 3U cPCI carriers (73xxx) containing one Cobalt XMC module; 6U cPCI carriers (72xxx) with one XMC installed; and 6U cPCI carriers (74xxx) containing two identical Cobalt XMC modules. Custom configurations mixing XMC module types on a 6U carrier are also possible, yielding single-slot solutions for a wide range of signal acquisition and processing applications. A bridge chip handles mapping of the Cobalt moduleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s serial PCIe interface to the parallel PCI bus. Developers can utilize the Virtex-6 FPGAs for onboard signal processing that can help reduce data transfer rates across the backplane. Options are also available for providing LVDS to the cPCI J2 (3U cPCI) or J3 and J5 (6U cPCI) connectors for application-specific custom I/O. All software and FPGA development tools for the Cobalt family are immediately available to support cPCI designs. Pentekâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ReadyFlow Board Support Libraries include drivers for Linux, Windows and VxWorks operating systems, as well as turnkey application software that provides out-of-the-box modules. Pentekâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s GateFlow FPGA Design Kit allows users to incorporate custom algorithms connected to the preconfigured interface functions installed on the Virtex-6 FPGA. GateFlow enables customers to implement high-performance signal processing functions for wideband communications, radar, signal intelligence and beamforming. Pentekâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cobalt cPCI family is immediately available starting at $11,600.

Pentek, Upper Saddle River, NJ. (201) 818-5900. [].

System-on-Module Boasts Ultra-Small Form Factor A new system-on-module (SoM) is implemented in an ultra-small form factor of only 15 x 27 x 3.8 mm using the Texas Instruments DaVinci DM3730 and Sitara AM3703 processors running at up to 1 MHz. The Torpedo SoM from LogicPD can also enter a suspend state in which it consumes less than 5 mW. The DM3730 Torpedo is available in several configurations, including TIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sitara AM3703 version of the ARM Cortex-A8 microprocessor. The Torpedo includes a programmable color LCD controller that supports XGA 1024 x 768 with 24-bit color along with 256 Mbytes of Mobile DDR and 536 Mbytes of NAND Flash memory. Additional interfaces include a parallel camera interface, audio codec, one USB 2.0 port, serial I/O in the form of UARTs, SPI and I2C.

LogicPD, Minneapolis, MN. (612) 672-9495. []. June 2011 COTS Journal [ 63 ]

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ACCES I/O Products.......................

Lippert Embedded Computers........ 29............................

Acromag.......................................... 36.............................

Mercury Computer Systems........... 67..............................

AIM - USA ...................................... 17....................

MPL AG............................................ 4.........................................


One Stop Systems...........................

Ballard Technology........................... 5..........................

Parvus Corporation......................... 43................................

Get .Connected with companies41. and Cogent. ........................................... ...........................

PDI................................................... Get Connected


Aitech Defense Systems, Inc............ Octagon Systems............................ End of Products

products featured in this section. Critical I/O....................................... 23.............................

Phoenix International...................... 63.............................

D-TA Systems Inc............................

PICO Electronics, Inc....................33,

Data Bus Products Inc..................... 22................ Dynatem, Inc................................... 39.............................

PXI, VXI and LXI Boards & COM Modules Gallery................. 50............................................................

EIC Solutions. .................................. Get Connected with companies and25. products featured in this section. RTD Embedded Technologies .... 2,34,

Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc..... 27...............................

RTECC............................................. 65...................................

GE Intelligent Platforms...................

Sealevel Systems............................ 51..............................

General Micro Systems, Inc............ 68............................

SynQor Inc....................................... 40......................

Innovative Integration...................... 37...................

Tech Design Forum ........................ 53..............

ISI Nallatech Inc..............................

TTTech............................................. 49........................

Lauterbach...................................... 48..........................

VersaLogic Corporation..................

Lind Electronics, Inc......................... 4....................

Xembedded, Inc.............................. 42........................

with companies mentioned in this article.

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Scan this QR Code with your smartphone and instantly SUBSCRIBE to receive COTS Journal! Go to to download a QR reader. COTS Journal (ISSN#1526-4653) is published monthly at 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673. Periodicals Class postage paid at San Clemente and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to COTS Journal, 905 Calle Amanecer, Ste. 250, San Clemente, CA 92673.

Coming Next Month Special Feature: Function-Specific vs. General Purpose Pre-Integrated Systems In parallel with the trend toward rugged box-level systems is another trend toward “pre-integrated subsystems.” These are defined as a set of embedded computing and I/O boards put together and delivered as a working system to provide a certain function, but intended to be used in a military customer’s larger system. Some of these are function specific, whereas others are more generic computing/networking platforms. This section explores the forces driving this trend and the trade-offs between the two types of systems. Tech Recon: Safety-Critical Software Standards and Solutions The fact that military system functionally is now mostly software based means that the burden of security and safety-critical operation falls squarely in the embedded software realm. Such software has to be certified to the safety-critical standard DO-178B and its imminent successor DO-178C. But while those efforts seem costly they pale in comparison to the huge costs associated with correcting software defects once they’re deployed on an airborne system. This section compares the tools and techniques available to help system developers meet real-time and safety-critical needs. System Development: Rackmount Bladed Systems Meet Compute Density Needs When the goal is packing as much compute density into a system as possible, it’s hard to beat a rackmount blade computer architecture. A wealth of product and system solutions are available targeting military applications with these requirements. This section explores the background behind this trend, and the ways military programs are exploiting these technologies. Tech Focus: OpenVPX Boards The OpenVPX spec provides implementation details for VPX payload and switch modules, backplane topologies and chassis products. And most importantly, it provides specific profiles on all the key aspects of an OpenVPX so that users and product vendors now have a clear language defining which OpenVPX are compatible with one another. Over the past couple years, the number of new OpenVPX boards continues to ramp. This section updates readers on the progress of those implementations, and displays a sampling of the current crop of OpenVPX board products. [[ 64 64 ]] COTS COTS Journal Journal June 20112011

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Editorial Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

Space Talk: DoD’s Future, NASA’s Past


bserving the final missions of NASA’s Space Shuttle program these past couple months is bittersweet. It’s hard to accept that we’ve come to the end of the line for the Shuttle program. I’ve got a bunch to say about the personal involvement COTS Journal’s editorial staff has had with the shuttle launches over the years, and what we’re doing in this issue to honor the program’s history. I’ll come back to that, but first let’s take look at the DoD’s Space Program and efforts to course-correct some of its struggles. It comes as no surprise to anyone that major DoD programs face problems with cost estimates and schedule delays. This holds just as true for the DoD’s space-related acquisitions. According to a recent GAO report, a long-standing problem in DoD space acquisitions is that program and unit costs tend to go up significantly from initial cost estimates. According to the report, cumulative estimated costs for the major space acquisition programs have increased by about $13.9 billion from initial estimates for fiscal years 2010 through 2015, almost a 286 percent increase. The wider the gap between original and current estimates, the fewer dollars the DoD has available to invest in new programs. Instability has been a key problem when development efforts are cancelled along the way. With the goal of maintaining U.S. supremacy in space, the fiscal year 2012 budget includes $10.2 billion for the DoD Space Program. This includes a variety of communications, navigation, missile warning and environmental monitoring capabilities. To address some of the problems the DoD Space Programs have faced, the department is taking a new approach for acquiring space systems. Called Evolutionary Acquisition for Space Efficiency (EASE), the strategy is designed to improve acquisition processes to drive down costs, improve stability to the fragile space industrial base, and invest in technology that will lower risk for future programs. A part of this new approach calls for block buys of satellites, fixed price contracting, stable RDT&E investment, and full funding through advance appropriations. The idea is to avoid costly production breaks and greatly reduce non-recurring engineering costs. The plan is to apply EASE to the next blocks of two satellite programs: Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) in FY 2012 and Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) in FY 2013. It’s easy to be jaded by any attempt to improve defense acquistion, but this new effort seems to make sense on many levels. So we’ll see.

[ 66 ] COTS Journal June 2011

Shifting gears back to the non-defense world, let me take a moment to commemorate the approach of the end of NASA’s Space Shuttle program. With its final series of shuttle launches over the past couple of months and the final one next month, NASA’s manned space program is essentially rolling to an end. And while I try my best to have faith in the notion of the commercial space industry picking up the torch, I confess that the reality feels uncertain and ambitious. That said, I’m glad that I had the opportunity to attend a shuttle launch in person. For their part, my long-time colleagues and friends Pete Yeatman and Warren Andrews have attended more shuttle launches than they can count. And I was thrilled to tag along with them for the shuttle Discovery’s last launch (STS-133) in late February. Like old hands, they guided me as to what to see, what information to gather and so on. When the final seconds of the countdown began, they even directed me to that perfect spot outside the NASA Media Center where the best viewing angle was for the launch. Observing a shuttle launch from that area—only 3 miles from the launch pad—is a stunning experience. You can literally feel the vibration in your chest, and the bright blast of engine exhaust is so much more spectacular than any photo can capture. Over its 30-year history the Space Shuttle program has been epic, performing a variety of tasks including transporting—in cooperation with other nations—several modules and sections of the International Space Station (pictured on this month’s cover), along with astronauts to assemble and man the ISS. I wish to thank COTS Journal co-founder and Editor Emeritus Warren Andrews for working along with our Publisher to craft this month’s special feature. The piece takes a look back over the 30-year history of NASA’s Space Shuttle program, putting that history in the context of the parallel advancement of computing and electronics technology that’s occurred over those same 30 years. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but there’s a limit to the number of photos that can fit on a magazine page. So to fully exploit this imagerich topic, the story is accompanied by a photo essay on our website. Also put together by Pete and Warren, the photo essay depicts much of the fascinating behind-the-scenes work that goes on with a shuttle launch. The essay can be viewed at www.

COTS Journal  

June 2011 Issue

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