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Tech Focus: Test and

Instrumentation Boards Roundup

The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing


PLUS: ATCA Sets Sights on Navy Modernization Needs

— Volume 13 Number 10 October 2011

An RTC Group Publication

Training/Simulation Tech Steps Up to New Levels of Detail

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Intel Core 2 Duo cpuModules

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.

VME and VPX FPGA Processing Advances Target Radar and SIGINT Needs

CONTENTS October 2011

Volume 13

Number 10

SPECIAL FEATURE FPGA Processing for Radar and SIGINT Systems

Departments 6 Publisher’s Notebook Change and How to Capitalize on It 8

The Inside Track

10 VME and VPX FPGA Processing Advances Target Radar and SIGINT Needs


COTS Products

16 FPGAs Pave New Processing Paths for VPX and VME Systems


Editorial Pondering the Steve Jobs Legacy

Jeff Child

Rodger Hosking, Pentek

24 VPX Cabling Solutions from Prototyping to Deployment Justin Moll, Elma Bustronic, and Jason Lippincott, Maritec

30 Roadmap Approach Eases Technology Readiness Challenges Mike Macpherson, Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing

34 FPGAs Inject New Levels of Flexibility into Military SBCs

Coming in November See Page 80

Susan Wooley, Micro/sys

TECH RECON Technology Trends for Navy Modernization

44 Form, Fit and Function Make ATCA Right for Navy Modernization John Long, RadiSys

SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Training and Simulation Technology

50 Training and Simulation Systems Advance to New Realism Levels Jeff Child

56 Virtual Simulation Enhances Military Maintenance Training Josie Sutcliffe, NGRAIN

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS Test and Instrumentation Boards

64 Test and Instrumentation Boards Offer Highly Integrated Solutions Jeff Child


Test and Instrumentation Boards Roundup Digital subscriptions available:

On The Cover: The E-2D Advanced version of the Hawkeye aircraft features an entirely new avionics suite, including the new APY-9 radar, radio suite, mission computer, integrated satellite communications capability, flight management system, improved engines, and an advanced “glass” cockpit. The APY-9 radar features an Active Electronically Scanned Array, which adds electronic scanning to the mechanical rotation of the radar in its radome. (Image courtesy of Northrop Grumman)

U.S. Postal Service Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation Required by 39 USC 3685. 1) Title of Publication: COTS Journal. 2) Publication Number 1526-4653. 3) Filing Date 10/01/2011. 4) Frequency of issue is monthly. 5) Number of issues published annually: 12. 6) Annual subscription price: n/a. 7) Complete Mailing Address of Known Offices of Publication: The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Orange County. 8) Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters of General Office of Publisher: The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Orange County, California. 9) Publisher: John Reardon, The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Orange County, CA 92673. Editor: Jeff Child, 20A Northwest Blvd., PMB#137, Nashua, NH 03063. Managing Editor: Sandra Sillion: The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Orange County, CA 92673. 10) Owners: John Reardon, Zoltan Hunor. The RTC Group; 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Orange County. 11) Known Bondholders Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages, or Other Securities: None. 12) Tax Status: The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes have not changed during the preceding 12 months. 13) Publication Title: COTS Journal. 14) Issue date for Circulation data: 9/1/2011. 15a) Extent and Nature of Circulation: average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months (Net press run): 20,417. Number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: (net press run) 20,001 15b) 1. Paid/requested outside-county mail subscriptions stated on form 3541. (Include advertiser¹s proof and exchange copies)/Average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 19,255; number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 19,292. b)2. Paid in-county subscriptions (include advertiser¹s proof and exchange copies)/average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months/number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: n/a. b)3. Sales through dealers and carriers, street vendors, counter sales and other non-USPS paid distribution/average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months: n/a, number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: n/a. b)4. Other classes mailed through the USPS/average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months: n/a, number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: n/a. c) Total paid and/or requested circulation [sum of 15c. (1), (2), (3) average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 19,255 number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 19,292. d) Free distribution outside of the mail (carriers or other means)/ average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 1141; number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 674. e) Total free distribution (sum of 15d. and 15e.)/ average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 1141, number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 674. f) Total distribution (sum of 15 c and15e)/ average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 20,396 number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 19,966. g) Copies not distributed/ average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 21, number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 35. h) Total (sum of 15g and h)/ average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 20,417, number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 20,001. i) Percent paid and/or requested circulation (15c divided by 15g times 100)/ average number copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 94.4%, number copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 96.6% 16. Publication of statement of ownership. Publication will be printed in October issue of this publication. 17) Signature and title of the editor, publisher, business manager or owner: Sandra Sillion (Managing Editor), Date: 10/01/2011. I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subjected to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment)and/or civil sanctions(including multiple damages and civil penalties). Sandra Sillion Managing Editor

[ 4 ] COTS Journal October 2011

The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

Publisher PRESIDENT John Reardon, PUBLISHER Pete Yeatman,

Editorial EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jeff Child, MANAGING EDITOR Sandra Sillion, COPY EDITOR Rochelle Cohn

Art/Production ART DIRECTOR Kirsten Wyatt, GRAPHIC DESIGNER Maream Milik, LEAD WEB DEVELOPER Hari Nayar,

Advertising WESTERN REGIONAL SALES MANAGER Stacy Mannik, (949) 226-2024 MIDWEST REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SALES MANAGER Mark Dunaway, (949) 226-2023 EASTERN REGIONAL SALES MANAGER Shandi Ricciotti, (949) 573-7660 BILLING Cindy Muir, (949) 226-2000

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






LEARN MORE AT WWW.PRESAGIS.COM/EG OR CALL +1-800-361-6424 | +1-514-341-3874 © 2011 PresagisTM Canada Inc. and/or PresagisTM USA Inc. All rights reserved. Presagis, the Presagis logo, Seaweed, SeaWind, and VAPS XT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Presagis in Canada and/or other countries. All other trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.


Notebook Change and How to Capitalize on It


’m trying to set the discussion stage for COTS Journal’s annual Analysts Breakfast at this November’s MILCOM 2011 in Baltimore, and keep it from focusing on the Mil budget. Over the last few months, finding people willing to talk about our market has been like pulling teeth. Basing a company’s direction on vague government concepts is difficult, so talking about market direction is all but impossible. Companies also can’t wait. They have to develop a plan and set tasks with the limited visibility available. However, the last thing companies want to do is talk to people like me and state that so far they haven’t figured it out—or something less intelligent like “none of this will affect us.” Eventually someone in government has to determine exactly what they want the military to be or look like for the next ten years. Until that happens we can be intelligent enough to formulate some basic concepts and then try to role-play our industry into those concepts. Let’s work with these three basics: First, there will be less money and how it’s spent will be closely monitored and controlled. Second, a greater use of commercially available technology and products is inevitable. And third, all products will be fielded much quicker than ever before. Each of these three basic premises has advantages and obstacles for our industry. Understandably, primes will want to keep as much business as possible in-house, focusing on where they have strengths, expertise and exclusivity. This opens opportunities for electronics suppliers to provide elements for deliverable systems to primes. They will then integrate these elements—subsystems, boards, modules and so on—with other subsystems for delivery of an entire system to the end user platform. With all that in mind, there are individual issues to determine: like the level of cooperation to invest to partner with primes and other subsystem providers, and deciding how many platforms warrant these types of efforts. Primes are making their own determination of how to best serve the military and their shareholders. Expect to see them have less interest in buying complete subsystems and instead return to buying boards or pre-integrated subsystems. There will also be a return to a demand for solutions that are not over qualified beyond the military’s immediate need—in other words, fewer unrequired bells and whistles included to serve potential future needs. Preintegrated systems will still see growth but the growth in their sophistication will be less not more. There will also be an urgency on the part of primes to get working demos put together as quickly as possible so they can show their customers—the military—a high Technology Readiness Level (TRL) solution. They’ll need the right mix of boards and pre-integration expertise to help them do that. [ 6 ] COTS Journal October 2011

The current and future sophistication and density of silicon has also complicated our industry’s decision making process. On one had there’s the ongoing problem that a majority of the silicon only has an 18-month life cycle. Meanwhile its complexity limits the differentiation that can be performed between module suppliers. Once you make the decision as to whether you use AMD, Intel, Freescale or another processor family, you need to determine how to position your product for market success. Do you just offer a basic product with broad market application potential—perhaps only having price and company reputation as differentiators? Or choose one of two other alternatives. One option is to design a series of products that support one or two exotic interfaces or controls. Another is to design one or two complex products with multiple exotic interfaces and controls. The limited options approach almost mandates designing a product for each potential quote. That’s good if you can do it quickly and you can afford the efforts. The multiple options strategy meanwhile increases a product’s potential application spectrum but elevates the cost of the product—even if the design philosophy allows for component depopulation. Many military deliverable program concepts will have to be smaller in scope and part of a “road map” rather than an “end all” concept that will work for decades. FCS has already experienced this fate. Will JTRS follow? JTRS resolves an absolutely essential need but has been in development for decades and is now just starting to get fielded. The question is how far will JTRS continue to be incorporated and for how long? Is it easier and cheaper to find a way to militarize and secure a smartphone and a tablet concept for the military? This only highlights the evolution of the COTS trend. Decades ago we saw COTS as a necessity to force the use of high-performance commercially available silicon. Today we need to elevate our thought process for COTS even higher to include concepts. Whether we’re willing to accept it or not, our industry uses the concepts developed for gaming in training, simulation, unmanned vehicles and dozens more military applications. All the concepts that are changing faster than we can incorporate them in our personal lives have to be considered for modification and use in the military. This means more opportunities for companies that know the military market and adapt technology. Pete Yeatman, Publisher COTS Journal


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A Sensor Interface and Processing Company



Inside Track Lockheed Martin/Kaman K-MAX Completes U.S. Navy Unmanned Cargo Assessment The Lockheed Martin-led unmanned K-MAX team successfully completed a five-day Quick Reaction Assessment (QRA) for the U.S. Navy’s Cargo Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) program. The autonomous flying K-MAX is designed to resupply Marines on the battlefield and in remote locations. Through various scenarios during QRA, the unmanned K-MAX UAS reportedly performed extremely well, exceeding the cargo delivery objectives of the assessment. The U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $45.8 million contract in December 2010 for unmanned K-MAX helicopters to perform in a U.S. Marine Corps evaluation of unmanned cargo resupply. The Navy intends to field a Cargo UAS this fall for a six-month deployment to augment Marine Corps ground and air logistics operations in Afghanistan. A formal report will be released by Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force (COMOPTEVFOR) 30 days post completion of QRA. Results will be reviewed by Navy and Marine Corps leadership to determine the system’s suitability for deployment. Kaman designed the K-MAX platform, and Lockheed Martin has designed the helicopter’s mission management and control systems to provide the K-MAX with exceptional flight autonomy in remote environments and over long distances.

Figure 1

The autonomous flying K-MAX is designed to resupply Marines on the battlefield and in remote locations.

Lockheed Martin, Bethesda, MD. (301) 897-6000. [].

Army Awards CHS-4 Contract to General Dynamics C4 Systems The Army Contracting Command Aberdeen Proving Ground (ACC-APG) has awarded the Common Hardware Systems-4 (CHS-4) contract, which will keep the Army in front of procurement requirements for essential hardware and information technology services of the future. The $3.7 billion, five-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract was awarded to General Dynamics C4 Systems (GDC4S). The contract is for procurement of tactical information technology hardware and services using two types of contracts, firm fixed price and cost plus fixed fee, for services on non-commercial items. The hardware will be procured in four different versions: version one non- ruggedized, version one [ 8 ] COTS Journal October 2011

plus some ruggedization, version two fully ruggedized and version three near military specifications ruggedized with a comprehensive five-year warranty program. The hardware items procured will include handheld devices, notebooks, servers, network devices, peripherals, cables, operational transit cases and other items. General Dynamics C4 Systems Scottsdale, AZ. (480) 441-3033. [].

ASC Signal Tapped by L-3 to Support BAMS UAV Program ASC Signal has been awarded a $3.8 million sub-contract by L-3 Communications Systems-West to build a dual-band antenna system to support global data collection

and dissemination worldwide for the U.S. Navy MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System (BAMS UAS) program (Figure 2). The advanced antenna terminals will be designed to meet the stringent ARSTRAT (Army Forces Strategic Command) standards required to operate with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) constellation; a high-capacity satellite system deployed across the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Ocean regions that supports BAMS and other military platforms. ASC Signal will provide L-3 Communications Systems-West with precision-tracking antenna systems that communicate with the WGS satellites in both the X- and Ka-band frequencies, enabling full operational capability by the BAMS UAS over large maritime distances for long periods of time. The antenna system, which employs ASC’s

Figure 2

Artist’s rendering of an MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance UAV in flight above the clouds. advanced Sub-Reflector Tracking (SRT) to permit 6-axis tracking of satellites, is part of a contract Northrop Grumman awarded to L-3 Communications to develop the communications equipment required for the BAMS UAS program. ASC Signal Plano, TX. (214) 291-7654. [].

Inside Track

Mercury Selected for AESA Radar Upgrade Program

U.S. Navy Chooses Intellicheck Mobilisa for Aegeus Buoy Program

Mercury Computer Systems has received a multi-year contract from a leading prime contractor to deliver extremely powerful signal processing modules that will be used to field-upgrade advanced active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar systems. These systems are used on board military aircraft (Figure 3) to broadcast strong radar signals while remaining undetected. The technology Mercury is providing for the AESA system includes signal processing modules that are fully software compatible, meaning that

Intellicheck Mobilisa announced that the U.S. Navy has renewed its contract for funding for the company’s wireless security “Aegeus” buoy program. The contract provides the company approximately $3 million over a 12- to 18-month period for the buoy system. With research and development funding for the program from the U.S. Navy since 2005, Intellicheck Mobilisa currently has seven buoys deployed in Puget Sound and one in the Potomac River. The buoy is a multipurpose system outfitted with environmental and security applications for our nation’s ports. It uses Intellicheck Mobilisa’s exclusive technology and serves as an antiterrorism asset for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the detection of radiological dispersal devices (“dirty bombs”); a deployable asset for providing fleet support in ports; and an environmental asset through the testing for oil spills, pH, salinity levels and dissolved oxygen.

Figure 3

AESA radar systems are used on board military aircraft like the F/A-18F Super Hornet to broadcast strong radar signals while remaining undetected. upgrades can be made easily and quickly in the field. As Mercury continues to support legacy, deployed solutions with significant technology upgrades, it remains the only company to support this caliber of fully compatible, board-swap upgrades. U.S.based manufacturers of the AESA radars include Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. Mercury Computer Systems Chelmsford, MA. (866) 627-6951. [].

Intellicheck Mobilisa Port Townsend, WA. (360) 344-3233. [].

Curtiss Wright to Provide Systems for High Resolution Surveillance Radar Curtiss-Wright Controls announced that it has been awarded a contract by Advanced Radar Technologies (ART) to provide the radar receiver for the High Resolution Surveillance Radar program. The potential value of the contract is valued in excess of $1 million over the lifetime of the program. Production is expected to begin mid-

Event Calendar October 28

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference Toronto, ON, Canada November 7-10

Figure 4

The SCP-124 is based on the Freescale PowerPC 7447A and 7448 processors and runs at a clock speed of 1000/1200 MHz while executing an 2773 Dhrystone Millions of Instructions per Second. 2013. ART’s High Resolution Surveillance Radar is designed to address the large and ever growing asset protection market, including Civil and Homeland security and border protection. The system will provide early warning to any threats to government and historic landmark buildings. Curtiss-Wright’s radar receiver subsystem, which features a fully integrated packaged COTS chassis with the company’s small form factor, rugged 3U single board computers and mezzanine cards (SCP-124 (Figure 4), XF05D and ADC-MOD2),will perform the acquisition and processing of the radar signals. Curtiss-Wright’s Embedded Computing business is developing and manufacturing the radar receiver at its High Wycombe, UK facility. The products will be shipped to ART in Madrid, Spain.

MILCOM 2011 Baltimore, MD November 17

MILESTONE, the Military Electronics Development Conference Los Angeles, CA December 6

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference Albuquerque, NM December 8

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference Phoenix, AZ January 17

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference Santa Clara, CA

To list your event, email:

Curtiss-Wright Controls Charlotte, NC. (704) 869-4600. [].

October 2011 COTS Journal [ 9 ]

Special Feature

FPGA Processing for Radar and SIGINT Systems

VME and VPX FPGA Processing Advances Target Radar and SIGINT Needs

[ 10 ] COTS Journal October 2011

Special Feature

A variety of VPX and VME solutions package FPGA processing and supporting technology into rugged products designed for radar, SIGINT and similar military applications. Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief


o longer viewed as peripheral or coprocessing devices, faster FPGA-based DSP capabilities combined with an expanding array of IP cores and development tools for FPGAs are enabling new system architectures. No longer used merely as glue-logic, FPGAs are now complete systems on a chip. In fact, since many of them even have general-purpose CPU cores on them, the military is hungry to use FPGAs to fill processing roles. As the signal processing capabilities of FPGAs continue to climb, they’ve become key enablers for waveform-intensive applications like sonar, radar, SIGINT and SDR. Devices like the Xilinx Virtex-5 and -6 and the Altera Stratix IV and V are example FPGAs that have been redefined as complete processing engines in their own right. That means complete systems can now be integrated into one or more FPGAs. Using those FPGAs, board-level subsystems are able to quickly acquire and process massive amounts of data in real time. Board-level product developers are leveraging those FPGA advances to create powerful compute engines that perform signal processing computation on the FPGAs themselves. At the same time, FPGAs are enabling a new class of I/O board solution that let users customize their I/O as well as do I/O-specific processing functions.

The Flexibly of FPGAs System developers can now use FPGA chips and boards to build radar receiver systems with a higher instantaneous bandwidth thanks to the converters, and that can handle the corresponding increase in compute power required to process the received data streams. In contrast, the ASIC-based radar design approaches of the past could achieve the performance needed, but lacked the flexibility inherent in designs based on FPGA technology. An example program that relies heavily on FPGA processing is Northrop Grumman’s Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload (ASIP) program. ASIP is a next-generation signals intelligence (SIGINT) sensor for the U.S. Air Force that delivers enhanced signals intelligence capabilities to the warfighter, detecting, identifying and locating October 2011 COTS Journal [ 11 ]

Special Feature

Figure 1

Maintenance technicians go over pre-flight inspections on their RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft before a mission while deployed at an air base in Southwest Asia. radar, communication and other types of electronic signals. ASIP systems fly on Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk (Figure 1) and Lockheed Martin’s U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. Over the last twelve months FPGA processing boards in the emerging OpenVPX architecture have represented the largest category of new FPGA solutions. In synch with that trend, Pentek offers a family of ruggedized boards for high-performance military and avionics applications utilizing the industry’s most advanced FPGA technology. Pentek’s 53xxx Cobalt board family incorporates Xilinx’s Virtex-6 FPGAs for onboard signal processing, delivering digital sampling rates to 1 GHz in a compact 3U VPX form factor. By combining processing, data conversion and preconfigured functions, the 53xxx family is suitable for such applications as UAV, CommINT (Communications Intelligence) transceivers, airborne communications recorders, airborne ra[ 12 ] COTS Journal October 2011

dar countermeasures, shipboard diversity transceivers and armored vehicle antiIED systems. All Cobalt VPX products are available with a choice of Xilinx Virtex-6 LXT or SXT FPGA devices to match the application. Other common features of Cobalt boards include PCI Express (Gen 2) interfaces up to 8 lanes wide, synchronous clocking locked to an external system reference, and an LVPECL synch bus for synchronizing multiple modules to increase channel count.

FPGA Processing Rides OpenVPX The latest version 6 of the Xilinx Virtex line is feeding the flame of FPGA processing demand. Riding that wave, Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing (CWCEC) offers the CHAMP-FX3, the first rugged, high-performance FPGA OpenVPX 6U VPX board that features dual Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGAs. Available in both conduction-cooled and air-cooled versions, the CHAMP-FX3 provides dense

FPGA resources combined with generalpurpose processing, I/O flexibility and support for multiprocessing applications. The CHAMP-FX3 combines the dense processing resources of two large Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGAs (SX475T or LX550T) with a powerful AltiVec-enabled dual-core Freescale Power Architecture MPC8640D processor on a rugged 6U OpenVPX-compatible (VITA 65) form factor module. The CHAMP-FX3 complements this processing capability with a rich assortment of rear-panel I/O and memories, including a Serial RapidIO (SRIO)-based switching fabric, 16 high-speed serial links per FPGA, and 20 pairs of LVDS links to the backplane that can be used to support high-speed parallel interfaces such as Camera Link.

FPGA Solution Targets IED Defeat Electronics to defeat IEDs are extremely important in today’s conflicts. IEDs represent the largest cause of ca-

Special Feature

sualties in current U.S. conflicts. GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the SPR870A (Figure 2) 3U VPX Wideband Digital Receiver/Exciter Module. It features Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA technology to enable its deployment in wideband signal acquisition and conversion applications such as radar ECM (electronic counter measures), pulse intercept and analysis (ELINT) and RF (radio frequency) test applications. The type of highly demanding, sophisticated ECM applications for which the SPR870A is ideal include spoofing hostile radar—allowing the host to change its perceived characteristics, for example, to confuse enemy intelligence—or for jamming remote control IED (improvised explosive device) signals, enabling bombs to be defused more safely. Fully rugged and conduction-cooled, the SPR870A is capable of digitizing analog input signals from below 50 MHz to over 1.5 GHz, using a dual channel 10-bit ADC (analog to digital converter) and two 12-bit DACs (digital to analog converters), and (re) creating analog output waveforms over a similar frequency range. A newer entrant into the VPX realm, Acromag’s latest offering is the VPX-VLX series of 3U VPX FPGA boards that feature a configurable Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA enhanced with multiple high-speed memory buffers and a high-throughput PCIe interface. Field I/O interfaces to the FPGA via the rear P2 connector and/or with optional front mez-

zanine plug-in I/O modules. Three models provide a choice of logic-optimized FPGAs to match the performance requirements. Cards can be ordered with a Xilinx VLX85T, VLX110T, or VLX155T FPGA featuring up to 155,000 logic cells and 128 DSP48E slices. Each model is available in a format designed for use in air-cooled or conduction-cooled systems suitable for -40° to 85°C operation. Xilinx-based FPGA processing isn’t the only game in town. The features and performance of Altera’s Stratix line of FPGAs have won it a solid following among military system developers. One example is BittWare’s S4-3U-VPX (S43X) is a commercial or rugged 3U VPX card based on the high-density, low-power Altera Stratix IV GX FPGA. The Stratix IV GX is designed specifically for serial I/O-based applications, creating a completely flexible, reconfigurable VPX board. BittWare’s ATLANTiS FrameWork and the FINe Host/ Control Bridge greatly simplify application development and integration of this powerful board. The board provides a configurable 25-port SerDes interface supporting a variety of protocols, including

Serial RapidIO, PCI Express and 10 GigE. The board also features 10/100/1000 Ethernet and up to 4 Gbytes of DDR3 SDRAM. Providing enhanced flexibility is the VITA 57-compliant FMC site, which supports 10 SerDes, 60 LVDS pairs and 6 clocks.

VME and VXS Retains Military Mindshare While OpenVPX has positioned itself well as the next generation military form factor for advanced computing, the reality is that the upgrades and tech insertions based on VME or VXS will dominate the activity in the next couple years—especially as defense budgets tighten. Board vendors continue to roll out new solutions marrying the latest FPGA technology to VME or VXS. Along those lines, Mercury Computer Systems’ two latest Echotek Series products both use three Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA processors, two high-speed fiber transceivers, and two FPGA Mezzanine Card (FMC) sites for high-bandwidth I/O. As integrated

Figure 2

The SPR870A 3U VPX Wideband Digital Receiver/Exciter Module uses Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA technology to enable tasks such as spoofing hostile radar or jamming remote control IED signals, enabling bombs to be defused more safely. October 2011 COTS Journal [ 13 ]

Special Feature

Trust a world-wide expert for your embedded critical network applications.


More than 3O models... VME, cPCI, VPX

ComEth 4410a

Figure 3

• Data/control Planes 3U VPX switch • Six 4-lanes ports (PCIe x4 Gen 1 & 2) • Up to ten Giga Ethernet Ports

SBCs s

Intel® & Freescale® p processors rocesso ®


Virtex® 3U/6U with FMC site

Communication Platforms

Synch/Async serial ports / LAN


• MPC8536 E • 8 sync/async serial ports • 3 Ethernet ports • One embedded L2/L3 switch with 8 SFP modules +33 +33 (0)2 (0)2 98 98 573 573 030 030 [ 14 ] COTS Journal October 2011 Untitled-9 1

10/6/11 9:57:24 AM

VXS/VME is still going strong for upgrades and even new systems. The latest Echotek Series products both use three Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA processors, two high-speed fiber transceivers, and two FPGA Mezzanine Card (FMC) sites for high-bandwidth I/O.

components, they extend the functional range of Mercury’s VXS and RACE++ Series systems with digitization and FPGA processing of sensor-based data streams. The Echotek Series DCM-V5-VXS digital receiver features the latest in A/D and D/A technology via converters mounted on the FMC sites, allowing for high-speed/high-resolution data conversion while still preserving the quality of the original signal. The module couples this data conversion capability with market-leading processing power delivered by a set of three Virtex-5 SX240T or LX330T FPGAs, which can be programmed by the end user for customer-specific application features. Moreover, these FPGA processors provide up to 3,156 DSP slices. Each Virtex-5 FPGA is accompanied by both DDR-II-SDRAM and QDR-II-SRAM chips and is connected by multiple highspeed data paths to the FMC sites, to the system backplane interface, and to two fiber transceivers. For today’s advanced FPGAs it’s not just about the on-chip signal processing. Getting data off and on the FPGAs is just as important. With all that in mind, TEK Microsystems offers a platform based on its next-generation QuiXilica-V6 architecture,

bringing Xilinx’s Virtex-6 FPGA technology to VME and VXS-based applications. The QuiXilica-V6 VME/VXS baseboard combines three Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGAs with two QuiXmodule sites, supporting the industry’s widest range of Analog-toDigital Converter (ADC) and Digital-toAnalog Converter (DAC) resolutions and bandwidths using a common hardware architecture. Like previous generations of QuiXilica products based on Virtex II Pro and Virtex 5 technology, the QuiXilica-V6 VME/VXS is compatible with legacy VME systems as well as newer ANSI/VITA 41 VXS-based systems in both laboratory and deployed / rugged applications. Acromag Wixom, MI. (248) 295-0310. []. BittWare Concord, NH. (603) 226-0404. []. Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing Ashland, VA. (703) 779-7800. []. GE Intelligent Platforms Charlottesville, VA. (800) 368-2738. []. Mercury Computer Systems Chelmsford, MA. (978) 967-1401. []. Pentek Upper Saddle River, NJ. (201) 818-5900. []. TEK Microsystems Chelmsford, MA. (978) 244-9200. [].






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Special Feature

FPGA Processing for Radar and SIGINT Systems

FPGAs Pave New Processing Paths for VPX and VME Systems Military applications like radar and military communications have an almost endless appetite for complex signal processing. The latest generation of FPGA offerings married with VME and VPX is feeding those needs.

Rodger Hosking, Vice President Pentek


very new FPGA generation delivers more DSP horsepower, higher resource densities, more memory and faster interfaces. Because FPGAs are so well suited to embedded computing boards, these benefits translate directly into higher performance for VME and VPX software radio systems. Specifically, additional DSP48E1 engines, faster DDR3 SDRAM memory interfaces, higher-speed gigabit serial links for Aurora and PCIe, and improved look-up table architectures, all support faster benchmarks and system throughput for FFTs, pattern recognition, target identification and tracking, decoding and decryption, signal analysis and classification, and low-latency countermeasure processing tasks. The latest board level products for real-time embedded systems have directly benefitted from these new features through new system architectures and interconnection strategies. FPGA resources in the latest Xilinx Series-7 family target various aspects of compute-intensive signal processing for VPX and VME radar and communications applications.

New FPGA Generation Xilinx’s newest generation of FPGAs [ 16 ] COTS Journal October 2011

is the Series 7, based upon low-power 28nm process technology to implement DSP resources of up to 6.7 TMACs, I/O transfer rates of 3.1 Terabits/s, and over 2 million logic cells. Series 7 is split into three families, each addressing different performance/price market spaces: Artix-7, Kintex-7 and Virtex-7. With a two-fold increase in performance and resources over the previous Virtex-6 devices, the Virtex-7 family targets the highest performance applications often required by Mil/Aero embedded systems. The 28nm Series 7 process technology, coupled with some clever power management techniques, results in a 50 percent reduction in power for a given function. Figure 1 compares the maximum FPGA resources and relative power dissipation levels between the Virtex-6 and Virtex-7 devices. To better address signal processing tasks, the maximum number of DSP blocks has increased by a factor of 2.5. Military embedded systems benefit significantly from this combination of lower power and higher performance for each of the key resources, by opening up new product markets and extending the capabilities of existing applications.

Gigabit Serial Links Traditional parallel buses like VME have become serious bottlenecks because

of higher speed peripherals and processors and high-density packaging. Just as desktop PCs have migrated away from PCI and PCI-X toward PCIe (PCI Express), new embedded system architectures like VPX abandon parallel backplane buses in favor of switched serial fabrics and gigabit serial links. The two main advantages are higher speed interconnects and multiple simultaneous paths between software radio system boards and components. More than any other device, FPGAs are the enabling technology for the migration from VME to VPX. Protocol engines for specific standards can be configured using FPGA logic for different protocols as required. They correctly process protocol-specific packets, header information, control functions, error detection and correction and payload data format. The strategy makes FPGA-based modules truly “fabric agnostic” and allows one hardware design to be deployed in several different fabric environments. This flexibility in using one hardware product to cover several different protocols in VPX systems encourages board vendors to develop FPGA-based products for the general market. It also affords system integrators the luxury of not having to commit to any particular standard when selecting boards for their systems.

Special Feature


1995 k

28.1 GHz

85 Mb


6.4 GB/ sec




75% 70% 4.0 GB/ sec

11.1 GHz




Maximum DSP48E1 Blocks


38 Mb

759 k


Maximum Gigabit Serial Rate


118k 35%


Maximum Logic Cells



Maximum Block RAM



Maximum PCIe Data Rate



Maximum Configurable Logic Blocks



Relative I/O Power



Relative Dynamic Power



Relative Maximum Static Power

Figure 1

Compared here are the key resources and power consumption of the Virtex-6 and Virtex-7 devices.

Figure 2

By using JTRS handheld radios, soldiers can make use of wideband waveforms to move voice information further and more efficiently than legacy waveforms across the battlefield through ad-hoc mobile networking. In their latest Virtex-7 devices, Xilinx offers gigabit serial transceivers with four different bit rates: 6.6 GHz (GTP), 12.5 GHz (GTH), 13.1 GHz (GTX) and 28 GHz (GTZ). Xilinx FPGAs advance gigabit serial technology even further by includ[ 18 ] COTS Journal October 2011

ing integrated PCI interface blocks for PCI Express that incorporate key layers of the PCI Express protocol stack. This saves FPGA resources for other tasks and offers a standardized solution for sending and receiving data using one of the most popular system protocols. Some Virtex-7 devices now support the PCI Express Base Specification 3.0 with capabilities for both endpoint and root port. Since each generation also accommodates lower generation devices, the Gen3 interface, which operates at 8 Gbits/s, is backward compatible with Gen1 at 2.5 Gbits/s and Gen2 at 5 Gbits/s. The integrated PCIe interface blocks can be configured for 1, 2, 4 or 8 lanes and advanced buffering schemes raise the size to 1024 bytes for maximum sustained throughput rates.

Radar and Wideband Military Comms Advanced radar systems and new wideband military communications standards like SRW require channel

bandwidths of 20 MHz and beyond (Figure 2). To handle these new signals, embedded software radio systems seek to digitize and process signals as close to the antenna as possible. Because these wideband signals implement complex modulation schemes, the parallel processing horsepower of FPGAs is well matched to real-time tasks like encryption and decryption, beamforming and decoding. However, these higher signal bandwidths require faster data converters. Monolithic A/D converters suitable for embedded systems have steadily boosted maximum sampling rates. As an example, the National Semiconductor ADC12D1800 3.6 GHz 12-bit A/D converter can now digitize signal bandwidths of 1500 MHz. The digital interface splits the data path into four 12-bit demultiplexed outputs, each operating at 900 MHz. Of course, the problem now becomes how to connect these devices to the necessary signal processing elements. At these high rates, interconnecting traces require controlled impedances, matched

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National Semiconductor ADC12D1800

12-bit LVDS 900 MHz DDR 12-bit LVDS 900 MHz DDR

DDR3 Controller DDR3 Controller DDR3 Controller DDR3 Controller

32 bits 800 MHz 32 bits 800 MHz 32 bits 800 MHz 32 bits 800 MHz


12-bit LVDS 900 MHz DDR x8 PCIe Gen 3.0 Interface

x8 PCIe Gen 3.0 6.4 Gbytes/s


Figure 3

Virtex-7 provides direct interfacing to a 3.6 GHz 12-bit A/D converter through four demultiplexed DDR ports operating at 900 MHz each. Four Gbytes of DDR3 SDRAM can capture, buffer and delay A/D data at the full sample rate. The x8 PCIe Gen 3.0 system interface delivers data at 6.4 Gbytes/s.

Untitled-5 1

10/6/11 9:46:16 AM ] October 2011 COTS Journal [ 19

Special Feature

lengths and proper termination. The latest Virtex-7 FPGAs provide a direct connection to these types of highspeed peripheral devices with I/O transfer rates reaching 1866 MHz. They include per-bit skew adjustments to help align bits in a data word, easing the onerous printed circuit board layout constraints of trace length matching. Digitally controlled termination networks eliminate the need for external discrete resistors and aid in tuning the links for optimum performance. Figure 3 shows a 3U OpenVPX Virtex-7 software radio module using the 3.6 GHz A/D converter and taking full advantage of the high-speed I/O capabilities of the FPGA.

Memory Interfaces for VME, VPX Virtually all VME and VPX embedded systems require deep and fast memory for storage, processing and buffering data. The densest and most economical solution for large memory arrays is the SDRAM. In addition, DDR3 SDRAMs transfer data at both edges of the clock to deliver extremely fast read/write writes. At these speeds, interface timing for each memory must be carefully tuned for reliable operation. For this reason, DDR3 memory controllers must include highresolution programmable delay elements and training algorithms, so that optimum timing parameters can be calibrated each time the system is powered up.

The latest Virtex-7 devices can support DDR3 devices running bit transfer rates up to 1.866 Gbits/s. Special FPGA I/O pins allow a direct, glueless connection to these memories. To support these extreme speeds, Xilinx developed the Phasor clock generator in the Virtex-7, which allows a 1:4 ratio between the logic fabric clock and the memory clock, doubling the 1:2 ratio for the Virtex-6. Figure 3 shows direct connections from the FPGA to four 1 Gbyte banks of DDR3 SDRAM capable of capturing, buffering and delaying data samples from the 3.6 GHz A/D in real time with no data loss.

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Special Feature

Data Buffering Once high-speed peripherals have been successfully interfaced to the FPGA, the designer must now deal with managing the staggering flow of data to and from other system resources. While A/D and D/A converters operate at a constant clock rate, networks and VPX system buses transfer data in packets or blocks. Block RAM resources of FPGAs can be used as FIFOs to provide an elastic data buffer for some applications. In other cases, a swinging buffer memory is more appropriate, especially for blockoriented bus interfaces. A swinging buffer, also built from FPGA internal block RAM, allows one memory bank to be filled from one resource (like an A/D converter) while another bank is being emptied by another resource (like the PCIe interface). These schemes are extremely effective when the average data rate of peripheral is less than the average rate of the system interface. The largest Virtex-7 devices now offer more than 10 Mbytes of internal block RAM,

more than twice as much as the previous generation. However, transient capture applications like radar require a large amount of data to be captured at a very high rate in real time during a range gate, even though the duty cycle of the gate is relatively low. In this case, because FPGA block RAM is too small, external memory must be used, and the specialized SDRAM interfaces discussed above come into play. In these applications, duty cycle averaging allows the system interface to operate at a much lower speed with no data loss.

Riding the FPGA Wave For example, in a radar system, a 3.6 GHz A/D converter VPX module as shown in Figure 3 generates sample data at 4.8 Gbytes/s (assuming 1.5 bytes per sample). For a range gate of 100 msec duration, the capture buffer size must be 480 Mbytes, fitting nicely within any of the four 1 Gbyte SDRAMs. If the duty cycle is 20%, data in the buffer must be delivered to the system interface at an average rate

of only 960 Mbytes/s, a reasonable rate for most VPX backplane interconnects. Virtually every aspect of a VME or VPX module can benefit from this new FPGA technology. Faster gigabit serial links with internal PCIe engines, faster memory controllers, higher-speed peripheral and sensor interfaces, plus greatly enhanced DSP capabilities offer a tremendous performance boost to embedded system applications. This is especially critical for unmanned vehicles, where size, weight and power dominate as key factors. As FPGA vendors continue to compete for design wins by offering new features, better performance, higher density and lower power, VME and VPX designers must constantly track the industry to take best advantage of these powerful components.

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[ 22Untitled-5 ] COTS1Journal October 2011

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Special Feature

FPGA Processing for Radar and SIGINT Systems

VPX Cabling Solutions from Prototyping to Deployment The wealth of I/O options in VPX provides powerful flexibility but daunting complexity. By optimizing the cabling scheme, military systems can get the most of out of the architecture. Justin Moll, Director of Marketing, Elma Bustronic Jason Lippincott, Marketing Manager, Meritec


ith the design flexibility of VPX, there are many configurations available for all types of applications. For certain I/O requirements, achieving the intended design goals could be challenging. Using custom designed Rear Transition Modules (RTMs) for VPX is one solution. But for development and deployed systems, an RTM solution is not practical. It would be ideal to be able to directly connect one VPX slot to another and pull out I/O signals to connectors such as RJ45, 38999 circular connectors, SMA contacts and more. When the VPX VITA 46 specification was being drafted, the developers were looking for an architecture that provided a high-bandwidth solution in 3U and 6U height and offered plenty of I/O options. So, the specification was designed for a high degree of I/O flexibility. As VPX has morphed into the OpenVPX VITA 65 specification (largely due to too much flexibility in VITA 46), bringing out the I/O signals is as important as ever. Custom RTMs are always a possibility. Plus, there are “universal RTMs” in the market for VPX that have many of the common connector interfaces (Figure 1). A typical configuration has connectors installed to bring out J0, J2, J3 and J4 signals. [ 24 ] COTS Journal October 2011

Figure 1

This Universal VPX RTM Breakout Board can allow a test engineer to access I/O signals on custom built VPX boards.

Prototyping/Testing The board would not be intended for high-speed signals but would typically be used to bring out single-ended TTL signals that might be part of a customer’s custom I/O board. Boards like the universal RTM can be helpful tools in VPX design. However, it would be ideal to also directly connect slots via cabling. Plus, RTM solutions are not always practical for all applications, so alternatives would be useful. Responding to market demand, a VPX cabling system was created to give engineers more options in design solu-

tions and prototyping/testing. This system was designed and based on input and suggestions from several engineers in the embedded industry from different fields. The goal was to gather the input from the industry and provide a durable, flexible, cost-effective cabling solution. The direct cabling solution enables the testing of VPX systems. There are test backplanes that have signals routed from the P1 section of the backplane to SMA and SATA connectors (Figure 2). With direct VPX cabling, engineers can now directly plug into the backplane, for example, with a SMA connector off the

Special Feature



cables into a TDR or other test device. This makes for a simpler and more efficient test setup. Using VPX cabling, the engineer can use a wide range of terminations. All of the termination options have the ability to transform into single, double, triple, or quad stacked assemblies, while supporting multiple protocols, such as InfiniBand, Serial Rapid I/O, Ethernet and PCIe.

For Today’s Applications

Figure 2

The test backplane (a) has SMA and SATA connectors for connecting to external test devices. Using VPX cables, the simpler test backplane (b) could be created.

Figure 3

This close-up of VPX wafers shows they can start and end with either an odd row or even row signal.

[ 26 ] COTS Journal October 2011

VPX has been ideal for the Mil/Aero market with its high-performance, 3U and 6U size options, I/O flexibility, expanding ecosystem, rugged design and more. Using VPX cabling systems would benefit many of the Mil/Aero applications. This includes ATR applications bringing certain I/O signals to the front of the enclosure. Rather than customizing an I/O module, the cables can handle the routing simply and securely. This could be true in any UAV, cargo or fighter aircraft, as well as in sea and land-based applications. There may also be a need to connect signals across the backplane from one slot to another. Ground-based communications systems for signal relays and processing are also using VPX. These are often in a rackmount application, where cabling could be used to bring out I/O signals or could connect multiple chassis in the rack. Despite the application, the cabling systems will be very helpful in prototyping/testing the systems. This will allow the designer to experiment with different configuration options during prototyping. The cables can also help the engineer do various tests for a working prototype while waiting for some pluggable modules to be available. In VPX systems, there are various types of signal clusters, such as ultra thin pipes (one link: 1 Tx pair + 1 Rx pair), thin pipes (2 links), and fat pipes (4 links). VPX cabling wafers can be snapped together to create the signal channel that is required (Figure 3). One VPX wafer comprises of 4 coax wire lines, so both differential pairs are terminated. Each wafer therefore consists of an ultra thin pipe. To create a thin pipe, the engineer can simply snap together two wafers. For

Special Feature

a fat pipe, snap together four wafers. The wafer modules plug directly into backplane slots and can be securely latched with optional locking bars. For rugged deployed applications, ensuring that the cabling solution can withstand shock and vibration is critical. Therefore, locking bars are supported in a metal shell, which outlines the Multi-gig connector. The shell is mounted down with screws using the same type of implementation that has been used in other Mil/Aero designs for decades. Figure 4

Rear Cabling Options The cabling system can be used on the front or rear of the backplane. However, supporting the weight of the cables from the rear RTM connectors can be challenging. But, it is possible to use the larger diameter holes from the front guide pins. This would allow large enough screws to support the weight. Locking rails can be attached at the four mounting points on each shroud to secure the cable assemblies and provide a smooth surface with

This figure shows multiple connector options/types with wafers plugged into the backplane. slots for tie-wraps. The tie-wraps also provide strain relief. VPX cabling can also be used to make connections to a SerDes Test Device easy. The device is a simple “health monitor” allowing fast and efficient BER testing for VPX backplanes, boards, or the full interconnect path. The wait queues for a full

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room of test equipment (let alone a specialized SI engineer) can be staggering. With a simple-to-use device, BER testing and pattern generation can be done with a laptop, downloadable software, and a small space for the SerDes Test Unit and hardware. With a wafer-to-SMA cable connection, the testing of a VPX back-

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8/29/11 1:20:31 PM ] October 2011 COTS Journal [ 27

Special Feature

plane or board is quick and direct, without the use of probes.

VPX Cabling in Test Applications Open VPX backplane requirements are laid out in the VITA 46 and VITA 65 standard. With the accelerated design to market cycles always challenging deadlines, efficiency in testing of the product is crucial. With the versatility of a cabling solution, it allows the engineers to emulate

the system without the time and expense of a large PCB solution. Typical applications are to test cross talk between rows, measure signal integrity from slot to slot, and allow easy access to check skew and Tx quality. Some examples of second end terminations that have been instrumental in testing applications include SMA, CX4, DVI, ESATA, USB and VGA connectors along with a variety of other options. Figure 4 shows multiple connector options/

types with wafers plugged into the backplane. With the point to point architecture flexibility that VPX cabling allows, the possibilities for moving single or multiple signals has opened up many benefits for the designers. With the need for rapid development it is not always possible to finalize the required selection until further information is known. VPX cabling provides the ability to utilize cabling solutions and to keep the costs low in terms of time and custom board designs. Engineers can use the cabling to adapt a standard backplane for rapid deployment, also providing the option of transmitting I/O through external connectors.

A Variety of Options Using several available cable wire types, engineers have the option of taking double-ended wafer assemblies, cutting to length and terminating to a large variety of off-the-shelf connectors. There is also a variety of existing configurations with popular connectors terminated to the second end available. This provides a quick and flexible method of meeting their specific requirements for their application. This is a cost-effective and time saving alternative to re-spinning the backplane. VPX cabling enables system designers to disregard the normal developmental time frames and use a highly flexible option in prototyping and deployment. They also make reliable testing of VPX systems simpler with a direct plugging mechanism from SerDes test devices, TDRs, oscilloscopes and other test equipment. Elma Electronic Systems Fremont, CA. (510) 656-3400. []. Meritec Painesville, OH. (440) 354-3148. [].

[ 28Untitled-4 ] COTS1Journal October 2011

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Special Feature

FPGA Processing for Radar and SIGINT Systems

Roadmap Approach Eases Technology Readiness Challenges Technology readiness has moved up into very high levels of priority for today’s military. By using off-the-shelf technology, system developers can manage technology and obsolescence risks.

Mike Macpherson, Director, Business Development Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing


Technology Readiness Assessment (TRA) is a systematic, metrics-based process that assesses the maturity of, and the risk associated with, critical technologies to be used in U.S. Department of Defense funded Major Defense Acquisition Programs. The Assessment results in a Technical Readiness Level (TRL), with TRL 1 being the least mature, and TRL 9 designating the most mature. The success of an acquisition program depends on its ability to balance the right amount of technical maturity with the minimum threat of product obsolescence. The use of immature technology adds technical risk to a program that can significantly raise its development time and cost. On the other hand, incorporation of overly mature technology will add obsolescence risk to the program, potentially increasing the program’s life cycle costs. Traditionally, vendors focused on delivering the latest and greatest technology as quickly as possible to military programs. With shifting missions and budget re-organization, the DoD is now more attracted to demonstrable mature technology solutions, and less interested in pushing the leading edge (Figure 1). There is less money available

[ 30 ] COTS Journal October 2011

Figure 1

With shifting missions and budget re-organization, the DoD is more interested in demonstrable mature technology solutions and less keen on pushing the leading edge.

Special Feature

Vehicle Electronic Module Roadmap Example 2008






Processor Module 2.26 GHz Core2 Duo, 45nm SP9300 / GS45 Chipset 4GB DDR3 RAM, 4GB Flash VPX Form Factor

1.5 GHz Core2 Duo, 65nm L7400 / E7520 Chipset 1GB DDR2 RAM, 1GB Flash cPCI Form Factor TRL Status

TRL > 8

Intel. SandyBridge CPU Quad Core, 32nm 8/16GB DDR3 RAM, 16/32GB Flash VPX Form Factor

TRL > 6

TRL < 6

Next Intel Processor & Chipset Quad Core, 22nm 8/16GB DDR3 RAM, 16/32GB Flash VPX Form Factor


Figure 2

Technology Readiness Levels are shown across a roadmap of COTS products using the example of Curtiss-Wright’s vehicle processor family of boards. Transitioning Between Technology Readiness Levels TRL 6

• A product is TRL 6 when publically announced as available to customers. However, it could go higher if a pre-release module is delivered and tested by the customer in a test bed. Then it would get a TRL 7.


• A product is rated as TRL 7 when the first item is installed and tested on a customer’s system and/or test bed in the intended operational environment.


• A product is TRL 8 when the system is qualified for use on the military platform (Development Test of the Platform)

Table 1

Described here are TRL levels of COTS products from announcement to deployment.

for ground-up R&D projects. Today, the challenge for system integrators and vendors is to deliver a proven technology. The good news is that COTS vendors have a unique advantage that directly addresses these evolving requirements. COTS vendors can provide a product roadmap that offers the mature solution today with a path to the next-generation technology when it becomes the next mature technology.

Determining TRL Levels During the TRA process it’s typical for vendors to state the TRL level of the technology that they propose for use in a system. For open standard, off-the-shelf COTS modules this can be a difficult thing to determine. Measuring TRL in a classic TRA scenario involves assessing technology that has been purpose-built for [ 32 ] COTS Journal October 2011

that particular application. This unique technology will have progressed from the conceptual stage, driven by a specific requirement, after which the technology was matured through a development cycle to meet that specific requirement. It’s a completely different scenario when COTS technology is being used. COTS technology is typically driven by a market need rather than a specific program or application need. What’s more, the resulting technology is usually designed to address the complete spectrum of potential uses for that technology. For a vendor such as CurtissWright, the spectrum of potential uses targeted for a new COTS product such as a new single board computer, rugged switch or graphics card would include aerospace, ground systems, and rugged naval systems, all of which might be ad-

dressed by the same product. Mapping COTS products to the proper TRL level for TRA purposes results in the intersection of classic technology readiness assessment and the realities of COTS product development. Once deployed, the COTS product earns a fairly high TRL since that particular technology has been demonstrated in the same or a similar operational environment to the new application for which it is being considered.

Roadmap Approach To make the process of mapping COTS technologies to TRL levels as accurate and useful as possible, CurtissWright has developed a new model, based on COTS product roadmaps, that is called the Technology Readiness Roadmap (TRR). This new approach solves the problem of defining the TRL for a COTS technology that was not developed specifically for a particular application, but for the market in general. Figure 1 shows an example roadmap showing Curtiss-Wright’s vehicle processor family of boards. Another advantage of the TRR is that it helps the system integrator select the proper COTS technology to optimize the balance between technology readiness and obsolescence mitigation. Although the TRL approach encourages system designers to prefer high TRL products, the highest rated TRL product is not always the best choice. That’s because the higher the TRL level the older and closer to obsolescence the underlying components will be, adding to the obsolescence risk. The good news is that a COTS TRR can help system designers mitigate the risk of obsolescence while delivering a high TRL solution. A key benefit of roadmap-based COTS technology is that it transitions with each advance in a key component’s evolution and adopts the next generation of that technology. That transition path is reflected in a vendor’s product roadmaps. Each time an improved version of a key component is released, such as a new Intel CPU chip, an embedded military customer is likely to see that new technology on a next-generation

Special Feature

COTS module within 3 to 6 months of it becoming available.

Field Proven Solutions Older technology, rated from TRL 7 to TRL 9, can be attractive because it’s been proven in the field. The downside is that this very mature technology is older and getting closer to its end-of-life in an obsolescence sense. In contrast, newer technology, for example TRL 6, uses the newer generation of components but hasn’t been in the field very long, resulting in its lower TRL rating. Future generations of technology will always be in development, and so will rate an even lower TRL. It’s helpful to treat COTS product families TRL levels as maturing through a continuum. Predecessor products, with a higher TRL level, are based on older technology; current generation products with a medium TRL level feature current technology; and lastly, successor products under development have a low TRL because they are next-generation technology.

through their development programs, a particular product’s TRL will increase accordingly. Typically, COTS programs mature from Product Release (TRL 6) to Qualified System (TRL 8) within 2-4 years. Once an individual item makes it through this cycle for any program, we can claim the TRL level for the product in general.


Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing Ashburn, VA. (613) 254-5112. [].


I / O


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Mitigating Risks COTS modules and systems are better able to balance and properly mitigate technology risk and obsolescence risk by providing the latest technology with proven COTS standard modules, based on industry standards and an open system architecture. Unlike custom technologies, COTS products are designed to a technology roadmap that tracks the technology improvements of processors and components, while maintaining a consistent form factor, software and pin outs (when possible). Upgraded modules from the same product roadmap can be easily installed in the systems without demanding major changes for system integrators. Furthermore, Lifecycle Services provide further protection against the cost of obsolescence through obsolescence management programs that can guarantee product availability needed to support Department of Defense lifecycle requirements. Table 1 lists the TRL levels for COTS modules: COTS products mature as they are designed into multiple programs. As those programs evolve

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3/31/11 4:38:21 PM ] October 2011 COTS Journal [ 33

Special Feature

FPGA Processing for Radar and SIGINT Systems

FPGAs Inject New Levels of Flexibility into Military SBCs With the ability to embed virtually any type of computing functionality, FPGAs are changing the scope of what a military SBC can do.

Susan Wooley, President Micro/sys


mplementing FPGAs on embeddable SBCs provides military OEM system integrators a completely new set of tools for customizing their embedded applications into small, harsh, rugged environments. As CPU designs and FPGA technology have evolved, it has become increasingly more appropriate to combine these two technologies onto an SBC. The combination of these technologies enables SBC vendors to provide the military with infinitely more flexible SBCs capable of adaptation to a broad range of unique circumstances, environments, custom protocols and security requirements. Single chip solutions such as the Intel Atom with an Altera FPGA as well as more flexible dual chip integrations such as a Xilinx FPGA with a Freescale ARM processor are dramatically changing the way embedded system designers implement COTS applications in the future. Figure 1 shows an example of an SBC sporting a Xilinx Spartan 6 FPGA.

Limitless Possibilities In the 1990s the military implemented policies mandating the use of COTS technology whenever possible. For years this often required multiple daugh[ 34 ] COTS Journal October 2011

Figure 1

Single board solution featuring Xilinx Spartan 6 FPGA and Freescale Semiconductorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ARM Cortex-A8 processor. ter cards or companion I/O boards. By implementing FPGAs on SBCs though, the military is able to implement the right mix of I/O and protocols for their target application eliminating additional hardware. The user is empowered to re-define

the SBC to meet their needs. The power and flexibility of an onboard FPGA lies in the fact that it can be defined and then re-defined to meet the changing needs of the system or user. The days of being short a memory socket or

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64 TTL bi-directional signals

MicroBlaze Processor iMX515

WEIM bus (IRQ Driven)

Custom Firmware


Spartan 6 Support FPGA Application

and/or PLB

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Figure 3

Addition of video processing via FPGA firmware. COM port in the final release are gone. Figure 2 shows a block diagram of a UART addition using an FPGA. Such flexibility is accomplished by programming into the FPGA off-the shelf IP cores or by writing [ 36 ] COTS Journal October 2011 Untitled-4 1

10/7/11 5:12:57 PM

custom FPGA firmware for the application. In addition, this re-programmability enables military applications to adjust to satisfy the evolving standardization requirements the DoD authorizes.

Special Feature

Ethernet 1 PHY (LAN8710)

Ethernet 2 MAC/PHY (LAN9221)

25 MHz Clock



RS232/485 Transceiver 0

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RS232/485 Transceiver 2

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RS232/485 Transceiver 3

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Figure 4

Transceiver mapping to the Xilinx Spartan 6 on the Micro/sys SBC1651.

IP Cores are purchased similar to software and configured by the user for installation into the FPGA. Off-the-shelf IP cores or “stacks” are available from a wide variety of sources: the FPGA manufacturers themselves or third-party vendors who have deep specialized know-how, often in narrow, niche technical fields. Some IP Cores are even available from technical communities such as ProfiNet and ModBus. Meanwhile there are “free” or almost free open source downloadable cores online. Problem is those may cost more in manpower than is saved by not buying a validated IP Core which often comes with technical support. For OEMs wanting to write a custom IP core for their own dedicated interfaces, proprietary algorithms or special-


ized processing, there is a large base of easy-to-use FPGA tools available. Typically designers implementing custom IP cores will write their firmware in Verilog or VHDL and using the tools provided by the FPGA manufacturer for their specific FPGA. However, a user may choose to use a third-party development tool chain that generates HDL code for a wide selection of FPGAs. The functionality that can be incorporated into an FPGA is limitless. Users needing to have onboard DSP or to add a video controller for dual video displays can do so. Complex signal processing, motion control and machine vision can also be implemented, all using the same off-the-shelf SBC. For example, Figure 3 illustrates how the Micro/sys solution

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October 2011 COTS Journal [ 37 ] Untitled-9 1

9/7/11 8:47:16 AM

Special Feature

integrates Xilinx’s Spartan 6 FPGA with Freescale Semiconductor’s i.MX515 ARM Cortex A8 processor to create a high-performance video processing application. The intelligent integration of the Xilinx FPGA and Freescale ARM processor enables users to design innovative embedded systems while significantly reducing time-to-market and R&D all while leveraging existing IP cores to accomplish their unique, complex tasks.

Ultimate Security In military applications, security is critical. As counterfeiting and IP theft is on the rise, concerns over what means are available to provide security for the IP inside FPGAs is also on the rise. The reprogrammable architecture of FPGAs acts as an inherent barrier to a straightforward tampering attempt to reverse engineer designs. There are, however, other means to violate the security of FPGAs, which


involve cloning the bitstream during configuration and/or JTAG and SEUs (single event upsets) manipulation. FPGA manufacturers, aware of these highly sophisticated technical vulnerabilities, provide additional security measures for users who are sensitive to threats at this level. Encrypted solutions can protect the “know-how” inside the FPGA, adding a higher level of safety than the off-the-shelf software security application program might. This reduces the likelihood IP can be examined, explored and adopted illegally by others. Some FPGAs can even be programmed to erase upon any detection of tampering to ensure that the enemy is unable to reverse engineer or extract any confidential IP.

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Due to the low-volume nature of the defense market, cost savings are often harder to realize, but by utilizing FPGA technology on a COTS single board computer, the military is able to capitalize on several new significant bottom-line efficiencies. Whether it is components on a circuit board or daughter boards in a system, using an FPGA enables users to add functionality while reducing the BOM count and lower the manufacturing costs in terms of complexity as well as BOM costs. System I/O such as serial interfaces, Ethernet controllers, userdefined I/O, legacy protocols, or feature enhancements through the use of selected IP cores from third-party vendors can enhance or extend the life of an embedded system while reducing component count on BOMs. The possibilities are endless for reducing hardware revisions, daughter cards and “stuffing options” on the SMT line. By including provisions for these versions of an OEM system in the FPGA, build time options are simplified and costs are reduced.

Easing the Impact of Obsolescence Whether military or commercial, end-of-life concerns are present from day one. For users who have experienced the pain of a panic need to redesign a system because a video controller has gone obsolete or a required protocol is no longer




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Special Feature

supported by silicon, using SBCs with onboard FPGAs is a means to extend and stretch system lifetimes. The FPGA eases end-of-life issues in two ways. First, FPGAs reduce the number of times an “at risk” function needs to be implemented with a low-volume, high-risk chip. For example, a specialized SATA controller or DSP chip can be alternatively implemented with an IP core in a generic, high volume FPGA that is standard to many applications. Most FPGAs roadmaps extend further than specialized I/O chips, which face obsolescence faster due to manufacturing costs or technological advances. Secondly, an FPGA can offer a failsafe for unexpected end-of-life bumps. A FPGA can act as a very effective and efficient “Band-Aid” for a chip that is somewhat generic but has gone obsolete suddenly while remaining critical to a system’s performance. For example, if for software reasons or other system constraints, a product needs to maintain Ethernet performance at 10 Mbyte/s rather than 100

Mbytes/s, an IP core can be an excellent solution, but only if an FPGA is on board to act as a life saver. FPGAs can act as a tool into the future as well as into the past for easing the on-going issue of end-oflife challenges in the electronic industry.

Challenges amidst Rewards FPGAs are an ideal technology to be matched with SBCs that will lead to highly innovative applications. And while the opportunities are exciting, it must be tempered with a respect for the challenges that still exist. First, today’s FPGAs are not a solution for systems requiring analog hardware functions. Also, implementations to expand communication devices require the SBC vendor to plan ahead for the users and provide access to transceivers as illustrated in Figure 4, indicating the peripheral interconnects to the Xilinx Spartan 6 FPGA on the Micro/ sys SBC1651. Absent this, users will be responsible for adaptor boards or “garbage boards” to implement the transceivers, negating the advantages of reducing

BOM count and manufacturing complexity. SBC users need to be savvy when selecting an SBC vendor to determine if there is a “system” mentality to their approach in implementing FPGAs on SBCs. This includes inquiring as to what types of off-board signals are supplied and what interfaces are required to complete the transaction. Additionally, spending some time with your SBC vendor to learn what platforms they provide for developing FPGA code is important. This research and system planning should include discovering how and under what circumstances you will write or configure your IP core, how you will download it, and what interfaces are given access to by the SBC vendor. You will need to know about the interface between the FPGA and CPU to validate if your application will have the speed and signal strength necessary to service your IP core or application. Paying attention to the details at the system level will pay off as you begin to address implementation questions. There are great rewards for the military in the emergence of off-the-shelf single board computers with onboard FPGAs. There are potential OEM systems cost savings because of reduced BOM count and simplified production control issues. FPGAs make adhering to military protocols and standards easier to manage by enabling system upgrades over a long product life cycle without the need for a complete redesign. FPGAs can be implemented in ways to maximize the protection of your IP by embedding it in the FPGA code as well as providing potential options in case there are EOL issues in the future. These FPGA rewards will make the savvy system designer a hero over the lifetime of his product’s system. Micro/sys Montrose, CA. (818) 244-4600. [].

[ 40Untitled-5 ] COTS1Journal October 2011

9/7/11 8:22:13 AM

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Tech Recon

Technology Trends for Navy Modernization

Form, Fit and Function Make ATCA Right for Navy Modernization With compute density and open architecture such high priorities in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s military modernization efforts, technology insertion using ATCA makes a good deal of sense. John Long, Sr. Product Line Manager RadiSys


key trend in military and aerospace modernization is the push for more performance capabilities. The U.S. Department of Defense often mandates the use of open standards to lower the total system cost and, in general, openstandard based COTS technologies offer d performance, long life cycles, reliability and ruggedness. However, for computeintensive applications, like those used for intelligence by the U.S. Navy, increasing levels of system performance, robustness andsolutions reliability nies providing noware continually in demand. Eventechnologies with COTS systems proven track ion into products, and companies. Whether your goalreis to research the latest tion Engineer,cord or jump a company's technical the goal of Get Connected is to put you forto long product lifepage, cycles, a comyou require for whateverproduct type of technology, mercial with a five-year life span and products you are searching for. is now not sufficient for many military Figure 1 applications given the time and monetary costs associated with upgrading Rapidly evolving technology is improving naval command and control capabilities, providing or replacing a system for modernization military personnel a comprehensive understanding of what is occurring in the field. purposes. As defense agencies ratchet up the pressure on prime contractors by refus- this increasingly competitive field. One Cost of Rapid Modernization ing to provide funding during the bid- of the unique benefits of open standardsRapidly evolving technology is imding process, contractors must differen- based AdvancedTCA (ATCA) systems for proving naval command and control catiate their COTS offerings to compete in the military and aerospace marketplace pabilities, providing military personnel is that they deliver straightforward mod- a comprehensive understanding of what ernization, meeting the demand for high is occurring in the field. From improved Get Connected performance as well as a cost effective up- video and graphics capabilities to enwith companies mentioned in this article. grade path beyond the five-year life cycle. hanced processing performance, the

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

End of Article

[ 44 ] COTS Journal October 2011

Tech Recon

AEGIS Modernization Program Embraces Open Architecture Now in its seventh generation of operation, the Aegis Weapon System remains the only radar and weapon system capable of simultaneous warfare against air, ballistic missile and surface threats. A key component of the Aegis Weapon System is the SPY‑1 multifunction phased array radar—an advanced and versatile maritime radar that is scalable to meet the mission needs for a range of ships from corvettes to aircraft carriers. The Aegis Weapon System uses the Open Architecture (OA) concept adapted by the U.S. Navy to provide its cruisers and destroyers cutting-edge technology throughout their full hull life. It also provides the core command and control components for the Littoral Combat Ship, and the Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter. The 2012 modernization plans for Aegis include continued research, development, testing, fielding and conversion and integration of Aegis BMD (Ballistic Missile Defense)-capable ships, along with the sustainment of ballistic missile defense programs. Aegis provides a forwarddeployable, mobile capability to detect and track Figure Ballistic Missiles of all ranges, and the ability to destroy Short- Medium-, Intermediate-Range Aegis Weapon System remains the only Ballistic Missiles, and selected long-range class radar and weapon system capable of threats in the midcourse phase of flight. Spiral simultaneous warfare against air, ballistic upgrades to both the Aegis BMD Weapon System missile and surface threats. (AWS) and the SM-3 configurations enable Aegis BMD to provide effective, supportable defensive capability against more difficult threats, including Long-Range Ballistic Missiles, and expand the capability to counter limited engagements in the terminal phase of flight. The 2012 DoD plans include procuring the Aegis Weapon System upgrades for five additional Aegis ships (Figure 1). Other efforts include completing manufacturing of 30 SM-3 Block IB interceptors incrementally funded with RDT&E resources. Development is expected to be completed of Aegis BMD 4.0.1 and SM-3 Block IB along with continued development of the Aegis BMD 5.0 and 5.1. For an overview of the U.S. Navy’s Aegis Modernization program go to navymod

crease of information being collected is translating to more informed decisions and tighter management over operations (Figure 1). Collecting this data and translating it into actionable information requires advanced systems with highperformance capabilities. Proprietary custom approaches, such as rackmount servers or enterprise bladed architectures, may provide designers with the freedom to build from the ground up, but that benefit is overshadowed by the immense time and money that must be spent in the initial design phase. These [ 46 ] COTS Journal October 2011

challenges are again realized when the system is due for an upgrade. A custom approach is just that, custom, and therefore carries the price tag of a custom product throughout the entire product life cycle. Furthermore, a custom approach supports a limited vendor base, restricting designers rather than enabling them to build long lasting, upgradable solutions. When it comes to building a longlasting system, open-standard COTS is the ideal approach for designers. ATCA supports numerous vendors with a

broader scope of products and provides a clear upgrade path, saving designers time and money during the initial design phase and throughout every technology insertion. An integrator does not have to upgrade the complete system with ATCA, but only the blades or necessary components. Open standards also promote a long life cycle. Even with a large volume of deployments existing in the market, specifications can be updated to include new form factors. While there are numerous vendors with experience in building to the older standards, by using the clear upgrade path inherent in COTS technologies vendors are able to easily upgrade their systems to support new form factors, promoting a longer life cycle.

ATCA Performance Advantage Today’s ATCA solutions are designed to offer the flexible, high-performance computing power required for command and control operations in an easy-tomanage platform. Military and aerospace system designers, who are in the process of replacing proprietary architectures, are looking for COTS technologies that competently accommodate high-performance multicore processors. Successfully integrating a high level of computing power basically comes down to board size, board power consumption and backplane technology. In all of these areas, ATCA has a significant advantage over VPX. The large board size and power consumption per slot specified by ATCA allows vendors to design boards with more powerful processors than VPX boards. ATCA board area is 2.7 times the size of VPX, which affords developers more area for processors, chipsets, memory and graphics processor units (GPUs), thereby enabling a more powerful design. Likewise, ATCA has more than 1.7 times the thermal budget of VPX, allowing vendors to integrate higher performance components. High-performance systems, which require fast interboard communications, get ample bandwidth from ATCA with 10 Gbit/s Ethernet, ten times faster than what VPX supports.

Tech Recon

modernize this deployment to meet the current performance requirements of today’s surveillance and reconnaissance applications. Working with chassis maker LCR Electronics, RadiSys ruggedized its offthe-shelf Promentum ATCA-4550 blade to ensure that the operating temperatures and the power envelope were identical to the previous generation of products, the overall weight of the product was the

same, and it could meet the shock and vibration requirements (Figure 2). In comparing back to a proprietary solution, ATCA system upgrades are less expensive and quicker. The cost development for a typical custom built solution is one-third hardware development, one-third software development and one-third system validation. By using COTS ATCA the development costs are significantly reduced and

Break through the barrier of Brand X

Figure 2

The Promentum ATCA-4550 blade provides time, money and space savings, while delivering the power required by high-performance applications like naval command and control.

If you think Brand X is your only option for FPGA-centric COTS solutions... think again. Altera’s high-performance, industry-leading FPGA technology is available on your favorite COTS form factors. When coupled with BittWare’s FPGA productivity enhancements – Anemone co-processor, ATLANTiS FrameWork, FINe Host/Control Bridge, BittWorks software tools, and VPX/AMC development platorms – you are ready to tackle your most complex FPGA designs. BittWare and Altera – the essential building blocks for your innovative solutions.

Upgrades Made Easy with ATCA Let’s look at a recent real-world deployment case study that illustrates a straightforward technology insertion using ATCA. A military aircraft, developed primarily for anti-submarine warfare, employed an ATCA-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) system consisting of three chassis with eight blades each. While initially this met the military’s needs, eventually the U.S. Navy requested a form, fit and function replacement of the computing blades to





Based on the Altera Stratix family of FPGAs for signal processing

For more information, visit Untitled-7 1

10/6/11 9:49:58 AM ] October 2011 COTS Journal [ 47

Tech Recon

the integrator can focus on validating in their operating environment and with their software. Likewise, the time to deploy can also be reduced because the hardware development is done and only software and system validations need to be completed. Depending on the complexity, this could reduce time to deployment by 18 months. By leveraging a large base of COTS suppliers, customers save time and money, allowing them to keep their

systems more up to date rather than running through a system life cycle, only to purchase a full replacement. In this case, the robustness, modularity and interoperability of this ATCA system enabled the Navy to quickly move from generation to generation with significantly less development time and resources wasted.

Open Standards Open standards-based ATCA systems for military applications not only provide performance advantages, but also maintain a quick, easy and low-cost upgrade path, which reduces costs and assists with military segments, like the U.S. Navy, in getting next-generation deployments to the field faster. When it comes to moving a system beyond a five-year life cycle and maintaining upgradability to the latest technologies, a COTS-based ATCA solution keeps the system moving forward with little time and money expenditureâ&#x2C6;&#x2019;a necessity for a successful solution in this age of rapidly advancing technologies. RadiSys Hillsboro, OR. (503) 615-1100. [].

[ 48Untitled-5 ] COTS1Journal October 2011

10/7/11 5:30:10 PM

System Development Training and Simulation Technology

Training and Simulation Systems Advance to New Realism Levels Whether embedded or in a training facility, todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s military training and simulation systems provide unprecedented levels of realism and detail. Underlying gaming technology makes it all possible.

Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


hanks to advanced commercial graphics silicon targeted for PCs and game boxes, military graphics subsystem integrators are able to blend a wealth of graphical and video features into mezzanine form fac-

tors like PMC and XMC. As a result, it no longer takes a large multiboard chassisâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; worth of electronics to drive a military simulation program. In the past several years, the move has come full circle to where PCs and servers themselves have become the preferred platform for simulation and training software.

That trend also includes gaming software technologies ramping up their impact on military simulation system development. Today the PC gaming and game box market provides a satisfactory view of what can be done in terms of simulator realism. And now many components and technologies that comprise those ad-

Figure 1

ExpeditionDI provides a collective training environment where participants are jointly immersed in virtual scenarios that challenge them to move and act as individuals, yet maintain the communication and coordination necessary to function effectively as a team. [ 50 ] COTS Journal October 2011

System Development

vanced consumer games are becoming available for defense industry military simulation software vendors to build upon. Meanwhile embedded training is ramping up—where training systems are made portable enough to be included in with fielded platforms or worn by the soldiers themselves. A number of solutions showcased at next month’s Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) will exemplify these trends.

Immersive Simulation Along those lines, Quantum3D last month announced it will provide its ExpeditionDI immersive training platform to Intelligent Decisions, Inc. for the Close Combat Tactical Training – Dismounted Soldier Training System (CCTT-DSTS) led by the Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEOSTRI). ExpeditionDI is the industry’s first self-contained, wearable and fully immersive close combat infantry simu-

lator training platform. As part of the Intelligent Decisions Dismounted Soldier Training System, ExpeditionDI will enable soldiers to easily and more effectively simulate individual and squadbased close-combat exercises. ExpeditionDI is equipped with advanced technologies, including a high-resolution Head Mounted Display (HMD) and a powerful battery-powered wearable computing pack, which enable an infantry squad to move through and interact in a virtual environment while

Figure 2

AI.implant offers artificial intelligence capabilities for non-doctrinal, complex and adaptable behavior including vehicles and complex human behavior. For a video of AI.implant in action go to

October 2011 COTS Journal [ 51 ]

System Development

Figure 3

The IVEMT is a 3D fully interactive virtual maintenance trainer that allows military personnel to navigate within an immersive virtual environment, interact with the virtual aircraft and support equipment, and perform over 400 simulated aircraft maintenance procedures. fighting and communicating as they would in a real-world combat situation. The Dismounted Soldier Training System is the first of its kind and allows U.S. soldiers, leaders and units to train in a virtual environment, helping improve the quality of instruction and combat preparedness, while simultaneously reducing training expenses. ExpeditionDI (Figure 1) offers a realistic, hands-on training experience designed to enhance tactical decision-making skills and enable soldiers to learn to communicate and fight as a team prior to live engagement.

Realistic Vehicle Scenarios Presagis meanwhile is on its version 5.7 of AI.implant, a scalable multiplatform artificial intelligence (AI) authoring and runtime software solution. Designed for simula[ 52 ] COTS Journal October 2011

tion and analysis projects requiring realistic and dynamic urban environments, such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or helicopter training, Air Traffic Control applications and driving simulation, AI.implant offers artificial intelligence capabilities for non-doctrinal, complex and adaptable behavior including vehicles and complex human behavior. As a COTS middleware product, AI.implant (Figure 2) is advancing the state of modeling and simulation projects by seamlessly integrating into existing pipelines and simulation engines—enabling simulated agents to make sophisticated context-specific decisions and to move in a realistic fashion within their environment. AI.implant 5.7 focuses on the highly improved realism of road traffic and pedestrian interactions. Improvements

include simulated vehicles that can now pass other vehicles using slower or oncoming lanes. Traffic lights can be customized to suit the simulation, and can also run in automatic mode. And the TrafficSolver technology manages the advancement through the traffic light cycle as the simulation runs.

Maintenance Training Goes Virtual Aside from combat training and simulation systems, another key area of defense industry simulation that’s emerging is that of virtual maintenance training. By providing an accurate simulation of a military platform—such as a jet engine or a helicopter control system—trainees can learn to manipulate systems in depth in a virtual environment without the costly need to physically interact with the system in ques-

System Development

tion. An article by NGRAIN on p.56 in this section explores some of the latest technologies in this area. In recent news along those lines, DiSTI and Boeing last month announced the successful delivery of two F/A-18E Integrated Visual Environment Maintenance Trainers (IVEMT) ahead of schedule and within budget. Delivery of the IVEMTs by the Naval Aviation Training Systems program of-

fice to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will provide the simulationbased maintenance training support needed for the Australian Super Hornet F/A-18E/F jet aircraft. The IVEMT (Figure 3) is a 3D fully interactive virtual maintenance trainer that allows military personnel to navigate within an immersive virtual environment, interact with the virtual aircraft and support equipment, and perform over

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400 simulated aircraft maintenance procedures.

Look and Feel With two large format touch screen interactive displays, the IVEMT provides a realistic “look and feel” while performing the actual aircraft procedures, resulting in improved retention of knowledge and skills by the students. DiSTI provided the high fidelity interactive graphics and virtual environments to The Boeing Company of St. Louis, MO., the prime contractor and manufacturer of the IVEMT. DiSTI’s expert designers and engineers were able to accurately replicate the entire aircraft, including over 60 unique pieces of support and test equipment, by using DiSTI’s latest in-house maintenance training technology. The system includes DiSTI’s realtime Virtual Maintenance Training Environment (VMTE), Virtual Environment Software Development Kit (VESDK), and fully interactive animated schematics developed using DiSTI’s GL Studio. Core Boeing technologies that supported the program’s overall success included the use of Computer Aided Design (CAD) aircraft data in production of high fidelity 3D models, physics-based simulation software, and use of the actual aircraft Operational Flight Program (OFP) to drive cockpit displays. DiSTI Orlando, FL. (407) 206-3390. []. Presagis Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (514) 341-3874. []. Quantum3D San Jose, CA. (408) 361-9999. [].

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System Development Training and Simulation Technology

Virtual Simulation Enhances Military Maintenance Training Gone are the days when “hands on” work was the only way to do maintenance training on military systems. 3D simulation technology enables rich detailed models of systems to ease the way.

Josie Sutcliffe, Vice President of Marketing NGRAIN


t is an austere time for the Department of Defense—a time of restricted budgets, reduced manpower and limited resources—a time that is compelling the Armed Forces to approach maintenance training and support in new, economical and innovative ways. 3D simulation technologies, which have been proven to deliver immediate returns in cost avoidance and expedite training and knowledge transfer, are being widely adopted to transform training while alleviating the pressure of the budget crunch.

Adoption of 3D Simulation Already accepted for use in scenariobased training such as flight simulations, situation awareness and mission planning, the application of 3D simulation for maintenance training had a rough start in the early 2000s. Seasoned instructors questioned its ability to achieve the learning outcomes that they believed only “warm hands on cold steel” could achieve. At the same time, computer technology was advancing rapidly and becoming more accessible. As hard/panel trainers— many constructed in the 1980s, and some even during the Vietnam era—became antiquated and costly to maintain or re[ 56 ] COTS Journal October 2011

place, the idea of using 3D simulation technology for training became more appealing (Figure 1). Schoolhouses, such as the U.S. Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, Alabama, experimented with replacing hard trainers with virtual maintenance training solutions. These schools blended 3D simulation with instructor-led training to deliver courses on system orientation, cycle of operations, and remove and install procedures. By using highly detailed and interactive 3D simulations of equipment to explain procedures, the schools found they could accelerate learning and improve comprehension (particularly with information related to internal components). In addition, the schools were able to remove scheduling bottlenecks and overcome the limited time students could access the hard trainers. With the ability to use 3D simulations on a common desktop or laptop computer, the schools realized they were not only meeting their requirements with the virtual trainers, they were able to increase access to training materials outside the classroom. These benefits became particularly useful when the increasing operational tempo of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan resulted in thousands of troops be-

ing deployed overseas. Training at this time needed to be efficient; it needed to be delivered quickly to a growing number of people, and it needed to be effective. Applying the lessons learned at Fort Leonard Wood and Fort Rucker, schoolhouses quickly realized that incorporating 3D simulations into the classroom enabled instructors to teach more students, faster and without taking equipment out of service. This was critical as some equipment was being deployed directly into the field without formal training provided at home bases. There simply was no equipment available for training at home.

Advancements in 3D Technology When it was first proven that 3D simulation technologies could run interactively on common laptops and be web deployable, the hype focused on file size. Equipment ranged from 25-part weapons to 3000-part engines (Figure 2), and the ability for a 3D technology to compress the source 3D models created in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, like CATIA, or Digital Content Creation (DCC) software, like 3D Studio Max, was crucial. The ability for these compressed files to be rendered interactively on a laptop computer was considered a major breakthrough because PCs had limited memory and video cards were expensive.

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System Development

When creating interactive simulations of equipment for training, the smaller the file size, the better the performance. Today, most web deployable 3D formats are able to achieve impressive file compression, and 3D models run on everyday laptops and tablets. The challenge now is to create true-to-life 3D simulations. This doesn’t mean creating a photorealistic 3D model; while photorealism has its place, it is not typically a requirement for maintenance training and often adds to the development costs by requiring significant enhancement work done to CAD data and additional time creating DCC files. Rather, the intention of creating true-to-life equipment simulations is to create a 3D model that behaves as close to the real equipment as possible. Can end users remove parts interactively or are they limited to selecting parts and watching an animation of the parts detaching? Do parts with constraints— such as hinges or screws—and move with the constrained behavior in real time? How realistic the 3D simulations are will continue to define virtual maintenance training in the years to come.

Convergence of Training and Support

Figure 1

Using highly detailed and interactive 3D simulations of equipment to explain procedures, the military training schools found they could accelerate learning and improve comprehension.

[ 58 ] COTS Journal October 2011

As computing technology advanced and simulation-based training became increasingly accepted as the best way to cost-effectively train maintenance professionals, another important trend emerged: the desire for instructors to update the 3D simulations themselves. The military wanted virtual maintenance training solutions that were based on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software and they also wanted their instructors—people more experienced at turning wrenches than clicking a computer mouse—to be able to sustain the solutions delivered. Going one step further, the military asked the industry if there was a way to take the 3D content and repurpose it in briefings, technical manuals and other materials. While few software vendors have responded in a meaningful way to this requirement, the demand continues and will trigger a race to see which software tool will become the Microsoft Word of 3D.

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System Development

Figure 2

Today’s more sophisticated computing technology enables 3D simulation technologies like jet engines with thousands of parts to be simulated and run interactively on common laptops and be web deployable.

[ 60 ] COTS Journal October 2011

With the use of interactive 3D simulations established in the schoolhouse, the military is now looking at other ways to maximize their investment and has begun to address performance support challenges with virtual training. Take for instance the U.S. Army Wheeled Vehicle Mechanics School (WVMS) at Fort Jackson, which identified a gap in Humvee mechanic training. Mechanics in the field were missing a step in a common procedure when replacing the Humvee geared hub spindle. As a result, there was an increased risk of the wheel detaching from Humvees when driven at high speeds, endangering both soldier safety and mission success. The team at Fort Jackson knew that Fort Leonard Wood was using an NGRAIN 3D simulation of the wheel system. Gaining access to the virtual equipment, the subject matter experts at Fort Jackson were able to quickly create a new 3D animation of the procedure in question by using NGRAIN Producer, a COTS software tool. Within weeks the new solution generated results. The mistake was no longer being made and unit commanders were thrilled. The Naval Surface Warfare Center also had a unique challenge to overcome. Its troops were receiving highly specialized tactical vehicles. These vehicles were deployed directly into the field, but it wasn’t just the maintainers that needed to be trained on the new equipment. Vehicle operators needed to know how the vehicles worked and how to perform expedient repair procedures so that they could quickly assess and perform a repair— such as a broken drive shaft—in theater. Interactive 3D simulations provided the key. Highly deployable, the simulations could be provided to operators on laptops and tablet computers. Thanks to simulation, training would be readily available and operational efficiencies would be maintained. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is another program leveraging COTS-based 3D simulation solutions to increase operational efficiencies on the flight line (Figure 3). Deployed on a Panasonic Toughbook, Lockheed Martin is delivering the simulations as part of the production of each aircraft. Technicians




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System Development

Figure 3

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is leveraging off-the-shelf 3D simulation solutions to increase operational efficiencies on the flight line. on the flight line are using the software to track damage assessment and repairs on 3D simulations of the aircraft. While few 3D maintenance trainers have yet to be embedded into vehicle or aircraft systems themselves, they are ever more being taken on board on low-cost laptops and portable devices. It wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t take long before these advanced technologies become an integral part of the equipment itself.

Virtual Collaboration The military is on a path that will make 3D simulation a standard format for delivering maintenance-related information. The catalyst will be networked technologies, and right now the biggest unknown being addressed is the use of mobile devices. While the military is largely still in the research and prototype phase of its analysis, it is just a matter of time before 3D simulations are being used widely on a range of mobile devices for maintenance training and support. Whether the devices are running Apple, Android, or Windows operating systems, at some point the issues around security, [ 62 ] COTS Journal October 2011

cost and durability will be resolved and a preferred platform will emerge. As stated by Lt. Gen. Michael Vane, head of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, he wants â&#x20AC;&#x153;a smartphone for every soldier,â&#x20AC;? and others feel the same. While the use cases of independent learning, on-the-job refresher training, and performance support are no brainers for mobile devices, an additional value will be in using 3D simulations for virtual collaboration. With companies such as Raytheon and Lockheed Martin planning to build the infrastructure that will deliver mobile 4G wireless networks to the warzone, soldiers will be able to engage in real-time collaboration with 3D simulations on mobile devices no matter where they are deployed. Imagine a soldier in the theater connecting wirelessly via a mobile device with an expert technician stateside. Together the soldier and technician, who are thousands of miles apart, will be able to troubleshoot an equipment failure, and then perform a difficult procedure to return it to service by interacting with a 3D simulation that resides

securely in a cloud-based environment. The result will be a forward-thinking approach to training and performance support that enables maintainers to tap into the knowledge of experts no matter where they are located in the world.

The Future Is Now 3D simulation for maintenance training and support is now emerging from its acceptance cycle and is seeing more rapid adoption than ever before. The recent economic downturn, coupled with new demands from high-paced operations has and will continue to drive innovative applications of 3D simulations. Whether used prior to or after deployment, for aging or modernized equipment, for maintenance or performance support, 3D software tools and applications offer significant opportunities to the military to be ready for any mission. NGRAIN Vancouver, BC, Canada. (604) 669-9973. [].

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Technology Focus Test and Instrumentation Boards

Test and Instrumentation Boards Offer Highly Integrated Solutions Complex military electronics systems once required large racks of boards to implement test platforms. Now integrated solutions enable the same function in small sets of PXI, VXI, LXI, USB and PCI Express test and instrumentation modules.

Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


or complex, high-performance military systems, the PXI bus form factor, and its older cousin VXI, have become staples as instrumentation and test solutions. Now the LAN-based LXI form factor is the latest stepchild in this space to emerge on the scene. And USB and PCI Express solutions are dominating the test and data acquistion realm. PXI (PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation) is an open specification from the PXI Systems Alliance, which defines a rugged, CompactPCI-based platform optimized for test, measurement and control. PXI products are compatible with the CompactPCI form factor and bus architecture. In 2005 the PXI Express spec emerged, which integrated PCI Express and CompactPCI technology into the PXI standard. PXI Express provides bandwidths up to 6 Gbytes/s per system while preserving compatibility existing PXI products. Meanwhile, the VXIbus was developed by enhancing the VME bus standard to better accommodate instruments. VXI extends VME by adding additional power supply voltages, analog and triggering buses. Introduced in 2005, the LXI standard has been rapidly adopted by 50 companies in the test and measurement industry with over 1400 products. The LXI standard defines small, modular instruments using low-cost, open-standard LAN (Ethernet) as the system backbone. An example program using these technologies is the U.S. Navy’s electronic Consolidated Automated Support System (eCASS). Its purpose is to test military aircraft on naval aircraft carriers (Figure 1) and shore-based depots. Under the eCASS program, the Navy will replace approximately 600 ship- and land-based CASS systems with about 340 new eCASS units. Lockheed Martin and Textron Systems AAI Corp selected the [ 64 ] COTS Journal October 2011

Figure 1

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 sails into San Diego prior to mooring at Naval Air Station North Island. ZT4628 oscilloscope and ZT8442 RF/IF digitizer respectively for eCASS. Lockheed Martin required an oscilloscope as a core eCASS instrument that would meet specific compatibility and performance requirements. Advances in serial fabric interconnects and embedded computing technologies have had a profound effect on the test and instrumentation market. Now the same test functions can be done on the PC using USB, PCI Express data acquisition and test modules. Meanwhile the PC itself—whether in desktop, laptop or single board embedded computer form—functions as the platform for running the test software and serves as the user interface.


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Technology Focus:

Test and Instrumentation Boards Roundup Data Acquisition Card Offers 128 Channels of USB Analog I/O

14-Bit PCIe Digitizer Offers High Dynamic Performance

PXI Digital Multimeter Offers 90 ppm Accuracy

A highly integrated multifunction data acquisition and control system offers an attractive solution for adding portable, easyto-install high-speed analog and digital I/O capabilities to any PC or embedded system with a USB port. The DAQ-Pack from Acces I/O Products performs signal conditioning such as RC filtering, current inputs, RTD measurement, bridge completion, thermocouple break

A PCI Express digitizer provides 200 MS/s sampling rate of 14 bits of data across one channel. The PCIe-9842 from Adlink Technology is designed for applications such as light detection and ranging (LIDAR) tests, optical fiber tests and radar signal acquisition. Its 100 MHz bandwidth analog input is designed to receive ±1V high-speed signals with 50Ω impedance. With this simplified front-end design and highly stable onboard reference, the PCIe-9842 provides not only high-accuracy measurement results but also delivers highdynamic performance.

Agilent Technologies has introduced the M9181A digital multimeter to complement its growing family of PXI DMMs. This new 6½ digit PXI DMM offers basic measurement features, without compromising resolution and reliability, at a competitive price point. With the M9181A, test engineers in aerospace/

detection, voltage dividers, small signal inputs and sensor excitation voltage supply. Sustained sampling speeds up to 500 kHz are available for 32, 64, 96, or 128 single-ended or differential analog inputs. Groups of eight channels at a time can be independently software configured to accept different input ranges. Advanced calibration models feature a realtime internal autocalibration system that allows the unit to compensate for offset/gain errors. To minimize noise, the board offers oversampling. The channel-by-channel programmable gain feature enables measurement of an assortment of large and small signals in one scan—all under software control at up to 500 kHz. The board’s data buffer and ability to trigger the A/D in real time ensures synchronized sampling that is unaffected by other computer operations—an essential requirement for signal, vibration and transient analysis where high data rates must be sustained. Pricing starts at $872.

ACCES I/O Products San Diego, CA. (858) 550-9559. [].

For applications that require data to be acquired and transferred in real time, the PCIe-9842 is designed on the PCI Express x4 bus interface to provide adequate bandwidth for real-time transfers. As the signal is converted from analog to digital, the data will be transferred directly and continuously at a sustained 400 Mbyte/s rate to the host system memory. End-users will further benefit from a typical dynamic performance that includes an 11.3 effective number of bits (ENOBs) and a 70 dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) with an input frequency of a 10 MHz sine wave. Current l list price is $3,000.

ADLINK San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [].

defense, electronic manufacturing and automotive industries now have an economical PXI DMM alternative. The M9181A 6½ digit PXI DMM measures common parameters such as DCV, DCI, ACV, ACI, and two- and four-wire resistance. The DMM offers 90-parts-per-million basic DCV and 800-parts-per-million basic ACV oneyear accuracies and inputs up to 200 volts. The M9181A DMM is compatible with PXI, PXI Hybrid and CompactPCI instrument mainframes, including Agilent’s PXI chassis and accessories. Each PXI DMM ships with a full suite of software to enable easy system integration regardless of what software environment end-users have on their PCs. An intuitive software front panel enables DMM setup, measurement and system troubleshooting without programming. The DMMs include IVICOM, IVI-C and LabVIEW G-drivers that are compatible with C++, Visual Basic, LabVIEW and many other PC software environments. Agilent IO Libraries Suite offers fast and easy instrument connections. IO Libraries Suite 16.1 adds support for PXI, helping you display all of the modules in your system and view information about installed software. In addition, IO Libraries Suite 16.1 and newer versions allow users to more easily find the right driver and start module soft front panels directly with Agilent Connection Expert. Pricing for the Agilent M9181A 6½ digit, basic features DMM starts at $995.

Agilent Technologies Palo Alto, CA. (650) 752-5000. [].

[ 66 ] COTS Journal October 2011

Test and Instrumentation Boards Roundup

Synchro, Resolver and LVDT Converter Is 3U cPCI/PXI Compatible

High-Res DataAcq Module Targets Audio and Acoustic Testing

The magic of semiconductor integration means several functions can co-exist on one board. The CP3000 is a Universal Synchro, Resolver and LVDT Converter that provides up to 8 channels of individually Transformer Isolated and individually programmable sensor input that includes 3 wire Selsyn or Synchro

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

PXI and PXI Express Modules Sport FPGAs Geotest has announced the release of new, high-performance PXI and PXI Express FPGA modules. The GX3700 and GX3700e FlexDIOs use the Altera Stratix III FPGA, which can support SerDes data rates to 1.25 GHz/s and I/O data rates to 700 MHz. Additionally, both cards include 256K x 32 of SSRAM as well as integrated DMA capability. For applications that require high data throughput, the GX3700e offers the ability to stream data to and from the host controller via the PXI express’ X4 interface

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October 2011 COTS Journal [ 67 ]

Test and Instrumentation Boards Roundup

Digital I/O Module Offers PXI Solution for Signal Critical Applications PXI has become a well established form factor in the military test and instrumentation market. Feeding that need, Goepel Electronic has introduced the PXI5396-DT/x, two additional JTAG Digital I/O Modules on PXI bus. The PXI5396-DT/x modules support structural JTAG/Boundary Scan tests as well as dynamic I/O operations up to 100 MHz for functional test executions. They feature an

FPGA-Enabled PXI Board Family Gets Six New I/O Modules National Instruments has introduced the expansion of its NI FlexRIO product line with six new adapter modules featuring FPGAbased reconfigurable I/O to deliver enhanced functionality for general-purpose automated


test and high-speed digital communication. The NI FlexRIO family provides engineers the flexibility of NI LabVIEW FPGA technology with high-speed, user-configurable I/O on Get Connected with technology and the PXI platform. The new group of adapter companies providing solutions now modules includes four general-purpose Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration digitizers, a module for high-speed digital impedance controlled VPC interface for direct into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal I/O and the industryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fastest 16-bit analogis to research the latest datasheet from a company, speak directly coupling to signal critical load boards or other to-digital converter (ADC) from Analog verification environments. h an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the Devices, which is optimized for modulated The PXI 5396-DT/x modules are based on l of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. communications. The modules also integrate a two-component solution, consisting of a ichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, with the new NI FlexRIO Instrument t Connected will help you connect with the companies and products PXI supported interface module (IFM) and Development Library, a collection of LabVIEW an offset desktop module. The separation of are searching for. host and FPGA code, designed to provide the modules can be up to 2m without loss of capabilities commonly found in instruments performance. The desktop module is equipped such as acquisition engines, DRAM interfaces with a front connector developed by Virginia and trigger logic, along with the associated host Panel Corporation, which allows the module to APIs. be connected directly to the test environment. All NI FlexRIO solutions require two distinct Due to this, an optimum reliability of the I/O hardware componentsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;an I/O-specific adapter signals is achieved by fully controllable line module and a PXI-based NI FlexRIO FPGA Get Connected with technology and companies providing solutionsTwo nowvariants are available, which impedance. module, which features a Xilinx Virtex-class differtechnologies in the onboard memoryWhether depth of 72goal is to research Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, and companies. your the latest field programmable gate array (FPGA). With the PXI 5396-DT and 144 Mbytes datasheet from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer,Mbytes or jumpwith to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you 15 different NI FlexRIO adapter modules now in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, Both variants with the PXI 5396-DT/XM. available, engineers and scientists can directly Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and productsprovide you are searching 96 singlefor. ended channels, configurable interface FPGAs to a broad variety of I/O for as input, output and tri-state, which allow measurement applications requiring real-time simultaneous driving and measuring, as well as performance, low-latency processing and real-time comparison. reconfigurable behavior.

Goepel Electronic Jena, Germany. +49 3641-6896-739. [].

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ected with companies and

Get Connected

red in this section.

with companies mentioned in this article.

[ 68 ] COTS Journal October 2011 Untitled-2 1

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National Instruments Austin, TX. (800) 258-7022. [].

Test and Instrumentation Boards Roundup

High NewVoltage

Up to 500 VDC

3U PXI High Density RF Card Provides 500 MHz Switching

PCIe-Based A/D Board Sports Two 1.5 GHz Analog Channels

Pickering Interfaces is expanding its range of PXI RF switches with the introduction of the 40-754 SPDT switch module. The 40-754 supports up to 17 off SPDT RF switches in a single module and is available in two different versions based on a common switch design. The high-density version occupies just one slot of a 3U PXI chassis and uses a high-density MS-M RF multi-way connector that is suitable for switching frequencies to 500 MHz. The higher

A PCIe-based wideband A/D board captures two synchronized analog channels at sampling rates up to 1.5 GHz, or one channel up to 3 GHz when interleaving the ADC data. 1 Gbyte of onboard memory configured as a large FIFO and a PCIe x8 bus ensures that the PX1500-2 from Signatec can continuously sustain long

Hi Power

Up to 50 Watts Regulated DC-DC Converters QP Series Isolated

Miniaturized Size Package:

2.5" X 1.55" X 0.50" High Voltage, Isolated Outputs

100-500 VDC

Low Voltage Isolated Outputs 5-48VDC also Standard

frequency version is 2 slots wide and uses SMB connectors and suitable for switching signals to 1.2 GHz. The 40-754 is the highest density SPDT switch available in the standard PXI format and is suitable for use in both commercial and military ATE systems. It is an ideal replacement for use in older VXI-based military ATE applications that are being replaced and/or upgraded by PXI/LXI solutions where great numbers of SPDT are used as standard RF switch sub-assemblies. The two models use a switch design based around high-quality electro-mechanical relays and in addition to being supported in any PXI compliant chassis can be supported in Pickering Interfaces Modular LXI Chassis.

Pickering Interfaces Grants Pass, OR. (541) 471-0700. [].

recordings at up to 1.4 Gbytes/s through the PCIe x8 bus (both mechanical and electrical) to PC disk storage without any break in the analog record. The PX1500-2 can be set up to use either a transformer-coupled front end or an amplifier connection. The transformer connection can only be set for AC-coupled operation and has a frequency capture range of 5 MHz to 2 GHz. The amplifier can be set for either AC-coupled or DC-coupled operation with a frequency range of up to 1 GHz. In addition, the PX15002’s frequency synthesized clock allows the ADC sampling rate to be set to virtually any value from 200 MHz—the minimum allowable ADC clock—up to 1500 MHz, offering maximum flexibility for sampling rate selection. Additional divide-by-2 circuits are provided for sampling at even lower frequencies.

Signatec Newport Beach, CA. (949) 729-1084. [].

Output Voltages from 500VDC High Power: to 50 Watts, Efficiency to 90%

5, 12, 24, Wide Input Ranges Consult Factory for Special Input Voltages Safe: Short Circuit, Over/Under Voltage, and Over Temp. Protected Options Available: Expanded Operating Temperature, -550C to +850C Environmental Screening, Selected from MIL Std.883 Ruggedized for Operation in Harsh Environments External Bias Control: For Charge Pump Applications Custom Modules: Available to Optimize Your Designs, Special Input or Output Voltages Available

PICO’s QP Series compliments our 650 plus existing standard High Voltage Modules. Isolated, Regulated, Programmable, COTS and Custom Modules available, to 10,000 VDC and other High Voltage to 150 Watts! E-Mail:




Electronics, Inc.

143 Sparks Ave, Pelham, NY 10803-1837

October 2011 COTS Journal [ 69 ] Untitled-10 1

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Test and Instrumentation Boards Roundup

High-Speed Strain Gage Input Boards Offer Four Channels

High-Res 300 MHz Oscilloscopes Ride Multiple Form Factors

Data acquistion technology is vital for when the digital world meets the real physical world. United Electronic Industries (UEI) has announced the release of the DNA/DNRAI-224, high-speed, four-channel strain gage input boards for UEI’s data acquisition and control Cubes and RACKtangle I/O racks respectively. The boards provide an ideal combination of high speed, accuracy and connection flexibility and are suitable for use in a wide variety of applications.

Board-level oscilloscopes can replace benchtop oscilloscopes in many ATE, aerospace and defense applications. The LXI instruments specifically are ideal for applications requiring remote monitoring and control as well as for portable test applications. ZTEC Instruments introduces three new series of high-resolution 300 MHz bandwidth oscilloscopes in PCI, PXI,

OceanServer Digital Compass Products: • Low Cost Family of Electronic Compasses

The analog inputs offer 18-bit resolution at sample rates up to 100 ksamples/s. Each channel has an A/D converter and all four channels are sampled simultaneously. The combination of the 18-bit resolution with the board’s automatic offset zeroing and automatic gain calibration ensure the measurements are extremely accurate. UEI’s “Cube” architecture is a compact (4 x 4 x 4” or 4 x 4 x 5.8”) Ethernet-based I/O platform. It may be deployed in four different configurations. These are: 1) Ethernet I/O systems slaved to a host PC, 2) Stand-alone Data Logger/Recorder, 3) Linux-based Programmable Automation Controller (PAC), or 4) Modbus TCP-based I/O slave. Each Cube consists of a core module (that holds the processor and network interface) along with three or six open I/O slots. Users select the deployment option that meets their requirements. Pricing ranges from $2,750 to $2,900.

VXI and LXI form factors. The new ZT4420 (12-bit), ZT4430 (13-bit) (shown) and ZT4440 (14-bit) series of oscilloscopes are the fastest sampling oscilloscopes or digitizers available in PCI, PXI, VXI and LXI at these levels of ADC resolution. All instruments offer 128 Msamples of acquisition memory on each input channel. The instruments can be interleaved for 256 Msamples maximum acquisition length on one half the channels. The ZT4440 series has 14-bit ADC resolution and a maximum real-time sampling rate of 400 Msamples/s per channel, or 800 Msamples/s max when interleaved. The ZT4430 series meanwhile boasts 13-bit ADC resolution and a max sampling rate of 250 Msamples/s per channel, 500 Msamples/s max when interleaved. And finally, the ZT4420 series has 12-bit ADC resolution with a max sampling rate of 500 Msamples/s per channel, or 1 Gsamples/s max interleaved. These oscilloscopes provide the same triggering, acquisition, waveform math and analysis functions that are commonly found in today’s performance benchtop instruments and that are found in ZTEC’s other M-Class oscilloscopes.

United Electronic Industries Walpole, MA. (508) 921-4557. [].

ZTEC Instruments Albuquerque, NM. (505) 342-0132. [].

• Solid State Package • High Accuracy Offered in Serial, USB or TTL • Under $200.00 in Low Volume • Hard & Soft Iron Calibration • Fully Engineered Solution For Embedded Applications (508)-678-0550 [ 70 ] COTS Journal October 2011 Untitled-9 1

1/12/10 10:03:31 AM


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Inrush Current Limiter Boasts 99 Percent Efficiency

Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. VPT announced that it is continuing to expand its product line with a new power protection module, the DVCL InrushGet Current Limiter. with The companies DVCL controls potentially damaging inrush current drawn by DC/DC Connected and products featured in this section. converters, EMI filters and discrete capacitors during startup. With a power capacity of 200W, users can protect multiple downstream VPT DC/DC converters using a single, lightweight DVCL module. Inrush current is the spike of current drawn by a power supply when it is turned on. Large inrush currents might be governed by a system level specification. High spike currents can create electromagnetic interference in adjacent circuitry, trip an upstream circuit breaker, or overwhelm the over-current protection of a solid state power controller. The DVCL Inrush Current Limiter functions by limiting the rate of rise of its output voltage. It will also control the inrush current of discrete input capacitors. VPT, Blacksburg, VA. (425) 353-3010. [].

3U cPCI/6U VME 12-Port, Gbit Ethernet Switch Card Provides Low Power North Atlantic Industries (NAI) has announced the availability of a rugged 12-port Gigabit Ethernet Switch Module. The H2 is an extremely low-power, high-performance Ethernet switch. It supports 16 Kbyte jumbo frames, 802.1P QoS or DiffServ/ToS priority queues, 802.1Q VLAN, Port Aggregation, Spanning Tree, Rapid & Multiple Spanning Tree, NAT, Port Forwarding, DNS, DHCP and Firewalling. The module can be mounted on a 3U cPCI or 6U VME rugged board. When mounted on a 6U VME board or single board computer, additional I/O functions can be added to support system level requirements for processing and sensor interfacing.

North Atlantic Industries, Bohemia, NY. (631) 567-1100. [].

PC/104 Form Factor Serves Up Sandy Bridge i7 A PC/104 form factor features the 2nd generation Intel Core i7 processor that incorporates Intel’s latest embedded two-chip platform. The QM67 Platform Controller Hub (PCH) provides PCI Express I/O bandwidth at twice the speed (5 Gbit/s) of previous i7 or Core 2 Duo platforms. The ADLQM67PC has a discrete 16-bit digital I/O port as well as separate VGA, LVDS, HDMI and Display Port interfaces. The ADLQM67PC also has 2x RS232 COM ports, 2x SATA 6 Gbit/s with RAID support, 8x USB 2.0 and two bootable Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports. Also provided are HDA 7.1, and type 1 bottom-stacking PCI Express V2.0 supporting Gen2 throughput of 5 GT/s.

Advanced Digital Logic San Diego, CA. (858) 490-0597. [].

SATA Expansion Module Targets SUMIT Products VersaLogic announced the release of a new expansion module that provides SATA interface capabilities for any SUMIT-based embedded system. With a small footprint, simplified interface and extensive ruggedization, the VL-EPHs-S1 is an ideal solution for all SUMIT-based applications that require SATA capabilities. The VL-EPHs-S1 expansion module utilizes the SUMIT interface standard developed by the SFF-SIG. Based on the new SUMITmicro format, the VL-EPHs-S1 mezzanine card is 1/3 the width (90 mm x 32 mm) of standard PC/104 modules (90 mm x 96 mm). SUMIT-micro boards attach to the SUMIT connector and are secured via two mounting holes using standard standoffs. The VL-EPHs-S1 expansion module provides SATA signals via the PCIe lane of the SUMIT-A connector. The onboard SATA controller supports two SATA drives in normal, RAID 0 (Fast), or RAID 1 (Safe) configuration. The two standard latching SATA connectors are compatible with traditional rotating drives, as well as solid-state SATA drives. An onboard BIOS extension enables booting from SATA devices. Standard drivers are available for compatibility with most x86 operating systems including Windows, Windows Embedded, Linux, VxWorks and QNX. The VL-EPHs-S1 is designed for full industrial (-40° to +85°C) temperature operation, is IPC-A-610 Class 2 and RoHS compliant, and meets MIL-STD-202G specifications for mechanical shock and vibration for use in harsh environments. This new SUMIT-micro expansion module includes VersaLogic’s 5+ year production life guarantee and is customizable, even in low OEM quantities. Customization options include conformal coating, revision locks, custom labeling, customized testing and screening, connector changes and additional services. VersaLogic’s SUMIT-micro expansion modules can be used to complement any SUMIT-based SBC. The VL-EPHs-S1 expansion module is available now. Pricing is around $68.00 in OEM quantities.

VersaLogic, Eugene, OR. (541) 485-8575. []. [ 72 ] COTS Journal October 2011

COTS Products

4 Gbytes of DDR2 DRAM Ride SODIMM Module Swissbit has made an addition to its Industrial family of highperformance / high-reliability SDRAM memory modules, the 4 Gbyte DDR2 SODIMM. It offers highest DDR2 memory capacity on the smallest possible system area and enables applications with high need of main memory running on multicore CPUs. The small form factor module has dimensions as small as 67.6 x 30.0 mm, offers two ranks and is built with sixteen 256Mx8 DRAMs. It contains Winbond 2 Gbyte DRAM components based on the advanced “buried wordline” process. This low power technology with very small internal parasitic capacitors and high data retention makes the device ideal for industrial small form factor PCs with high memory demand and for applications within industrial temperature range. The module is available in both commercial 0° to +85°C (TCase) and industrial -40° to +95°C (TCase) temperature grades at PC2-5300 speed grade.

Swissbit, Bronschofen, Switzerland. +41 71 913 03 03. [].

ARM-Based Flight Control Computer Meets Low SWaP Demands System developers can now let form requirements precede function needs thanks to highly integrated systems. Along such lines, Curtiss-Wright Controls Electronic Systems (CWCES) has introduced the Versatile Flight Control Computer (VFCC), a high-performance, low-power conduction-cooled embedded processing system optimized for size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) in deployed airborne commercial and military applications. The rugged dual processor clusters make the VFCC ideal for rotorcraft, manned and unmanned aircraft environments. The VFCC satisfies a wide array of demanding applications including flight controls, vibration management, engine controls, mission computing, actuator control and so on. The VFCC provides dual 600 MHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor clusters, dual TMS320C64x+ DSP processors, and three Xilinx Spartan 6 FPGAs with 1 Gbyte of data to nonvolatile memory. The fully enclosed unit supports a wide range of configurable off-the-shelf I/O interfaces including ARINC 825, RS-422/485, USB 2.0, ARINC 429 receive, ARINC 429 transmit, analog inputs with excitation outputs, synchronization discretes, discrete inputs/outputs, dedicated solenoid drivers and 10mA servo valve drivers. The system also includes system level built-in-test (BIT). The unit has a DO-178B Level A certifiable RTOS and DO-254 Level A certifiable FPGAs. Its size is 11.5 x 9.3 x 2.1 inches with a weight less then 4.4 pounds. Operating temperature range is -40° to +71°C, natural convection-cooled. Input power is 28V DC with 50 millisecond holdup and power dissipation runs under 21 watts. Shock mounts are available for high shock and/or vibration environments

Curtiss-Wright Controls Electronic Systems, Santa Clarita, CA. (661) 257-4430. [].

Compact Workstation Computer Boasts Immersive 3D Experience Graphics NextComputing has announced a new enhancement to its Nucleus compact graphics workstation that allows professional users to work in an immersive 3D environment within their favorite graphical software applications. By bundling the Nucleus with the NVIDIA 3D Vision Pro system, NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics solutions from PNY Technologies, and the Planar SA2311W 23-inch 3D monitor, designers, digital artists, engineers and geospatial analysts now have a single, turnkey solution for working in stereoscopic 3D with a variety of popular applications. NVIDIA 3D Vision Pro with NVIDIA Quadro graphics combines a pair of active shutter glasses and RF emitter with a certified NVIDIA Quadro graphics card and a compatible 120 Hz display, in this case the Planar SA2311W, a full-HD (1920x1080) 23-inch widescreen monitor. The Nucleus workstation features Intel Xeon and Core i7 processing and up to eight no-tools removable internal 2.5-inch hard drives for up to 8 Terabytes of high-speed RAID storage. A full range of ISV-certified NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics solutions are included with up to the ultra high-end Quadro 6000 with 6 Gbytes of GDDR5 memory.

NextComputing, Nashua, NH. (603) 886-3874. [].

Rugged Display Computer Provides Advanced Comms and Low Power Eurotech has launched the DynaVIS 10-00, a connected, rugged mobile display computer platform that targets demanding vehicle installations. Based on the Intel Atom processor, the DynaVIS is low power, compact and can withstand the mechanical and temperature stresses commonly encountered in harsh environmental conditions while providing a comprehensive set of communication options needed in today’s vehicle installations. The DynaVIS 10-00 provides connectivity through Wi-Fi and 3G cellular networks, Gigabit Ethernet, a 5.7” touchscreen panel, a high-performance GPS and plenty of transportation specific features such as optoinsulated I/Os, serial ports, USBs and a wide range power supply section.

Eurotech, Columbia, MD. (301) 490-4007. []. October 2011 COTS Journal [ 73 ]

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

Rugged System Offers 360 Degree Situational Awareness GE Intelligent Platforms announced the IPS511 Rugged Situational Awareness Processor. The IPS511 is designed to provide ground vehicles, aircraft, remote unmanned platforms, and security and surveillance systems previously unattainable levels of 360° situational awareness. It is a single board Getchassis Connected with companiesbyand featured in this section. solution housed in a rugged and is characterized itsproducts small size, weight and power (SWaP) attributes, enabling it to be deployed as a simple, cost-effective upgrade to virtually any platform operating in a demanding environment. The IPS511 seamlessly merges video signals from multiple sensors into a real-time interactive 360° panoramic image that can be displayed on one or more monitors, saving space and power and providing a significant contribution to keeping personnel safe. Available as an off-the-shelf, ready-to-go solution that is also highly flexible, it extends the broad range of video processing subsystems from GE that respond to the growing military requirement for advanced visualization tools. The IPS511 can process up to 12 video signals selected from up to 16 analog video inputs, and supports two independent operator displays allowing each operator to adjust the direction of view and magnification within the panorama using a touch screen or other interface device. Other key features include static and dynamic picture-in-picture overlays for simultaneous scene overview and detail; a symbolic overlay that can be used to display direction information, navigational and vehicle data, avoiding the need to look at other displays; video snapshot recording for a permanent record of events; and remote calibration, allowing infield calibration without tools, avoiding the need for return to base.

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

Two-in-One Development Platform for Xilinx Spartan 6 FPGAs A turnkey single board computer development environment for the Xilinx Spartan 6 FPGA is aimed at accelerating development of FPGAbased applications for low-power embedded systems. The DK-FPGA1651 from Micro/sys provides designers the option to develop and debug their FPGA firmware for porting to their own userdesigned hardware or to keep the firmware on the validated COTS platform for their final application. Designers can work smarter and leverage pre-validated hardware and software including FPGA firmware (VHDL and Verilog) examples to improve productivity, reduce R&D costs and speed time-to-market. The DKFPGA1651 starts at $1,695. The kit includes the Micro/sys SBC1651 (Linux- or WinCE-Ready), Xilinx ISE and EDK design software and Micro/sys interface software, multiple reference designs and demos, and all the necessary cables and adaptors. Micro/sys also offers custom FPGA programming services.

JTAG/Boundary-Scan Tool for Debug and Repair A new “no-netlist-required” JTAG/boundary-scan test and debug tool uses a “seek and discover” feature to scan completely a compliant design and then perform comparative tests using JTAG/boundary-scan. AutoBuzz from JTAG Technologies needs only JTAG scan-chain information plus BSDL models of the JTAG/ IEEE std 1149.1-compliant parts (available from manufacturers’ web sites), to enable users to connect to their designs via a number of compatible JTAG interface options. AutoBuzz can then be set to gather a complete “connectivity map” of any board’s boundary-scan to boundary-scan pin connections (where these can be direct or via “transparent” devices such as series resistors). Supported interfaces currently include Altera’s USB Blaster, Xilinx’s parallel III/IV and USB interfaces, JTAG Technologies’ JT 3705 / USB controller, JTAGLive dedicated USB controller and some FTDI-based modules.

JTAG Technologies, Easton, MD. (410) 770-4415. [].

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

Firewall Solution Crafted for Embedded Systems Icon Labs announced the availability of Icon Labs’ Floodgate Firewall with Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI). With the addition of Stateful Packet Inspection, Floodgate is the only embedded firewall providing complete protection against Internet-based attacks. Floodgate’s threshold-based filtering protects against denial of service attacks, broadcast storms, and other conditions that result in a flood of unwanted packets. Rules-based filtering allows white-listing and black-listing based on criteria such as port number, protocol, or source IP address. Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) provides dynamic packet filtering based on the state of a connection. Icon Labs’ Floodgate Firewall is provided as a portable source code library and is easily integrated with any embedded operating system and TCP/IP stack and has been ported to Green Hills Software’s INTEGRITY and VelOSity, Wind River’s VxWorks and LynuxWorks’ LynxOS.

Icon Labs, West Des Moines, IA. (515) 226-3443. []. [ 74 ] COTS Journal October 2011

COTS Products

6-Channel RJ45 T1 Interface Switch Has RS-232 Remote Control Electro Standards Laboratories (ESL) has announced the Pathway Model 7363, 6-Channel RJ45 T1 Interface SVCN/GPCN Switch with RS-232 Remote. This rackmount switch allows the sharing of two devices from one T1 network or device for each of its six channels. All six channels of the Model 7363 are switched simultaneously with switching inhibited for 15 seconds after a position change. The Model 7363 features a pushbutton for local control. Control and monitoring of the switch position and lockout is done from the front panel remotely via ASCII RS232 serial data commands. The switch maintains the last set position on power loss while continuing to pass data.

Electro Standards Laboratories, Cranston, RI. (401) 943-1164. [].

UPS Series Uses 10-year Rated Lithium-ion Batteries Falcon Electric announced that it has added Lithium-Ion batteries as an option to its 1500 VA model of its SSG Series Industrial Grade UPS Plus. Lithium-ion chemistry offers several advantages over valve regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries including less weight, longer runtimes and higher energy density. The SSG Series is a true double-conversion on-line sinewave regenerative UPS. This robust and rugged solution provides military, aerospace and industrial applications with a high level of power protection that tolerates many of the elements found in these harsh environments. Due to its rugged design, the U.L. listed SSG Series is capable of withstanding elevated temperatures of up to 131°F (55°C). The SSG Series, which is available in 1500 VA, 2200 VA and 3000 VA configurations, can be placed in an equipment rack or installed as a stand-alone tower in close proximity to the critical load. This eliminates the need to shield the UPS from the environment. Moreover, the SSG’s 10-year rated VRLA batteries when operated in a typical environment of 21° to 23°C double the average UPS battery life. When operated in harsher temperature environments at 50°C, the projected battery life is four years—quadrupling the battery operating life over typical UPSs. The SSG Series is a true regenerative on-line UPS that is designed to give users the highest level of protection against a wide spectrum of power problems. It provides a continuous, clean, tightly regulated power source from the most polluted incoming AC power source. Unlike off-line and line-interactive UPS designs, the SSG Series acts as an electronic firewall between incoming “dirty” power and sensitive microprocessor-based Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), computers and automated systems found in these industrial environments.

Falcon Electric, Irwindale, CA. (626) 962-7770. [].

EBX Atom SBC Blends High Performance and Legacy Support WinSystems announced their EBC-C384, an EBX-compatible, Intel Atom-based single board computer (SBC). The EBC-C384 comes with either the Intel Atom single core 1.66 GHz N455 or dual core 1.80 GHz D525 processor combined with the ICH8M I/O hub controller and a variety of onboard serial and parallel I/O interfaces. This SBC’s I/O includes two SATA channels, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, four serial COM channels that support RS-232/422/485, 48 digital I/O lines and HD audio. Legacy I/O includes a PS/2 keyboard and mouse controller, LPT port and PATA interface. Also PC/104, PC/104-Plus and MiniPCI connectors provide additional expansion options with industry standard off-the-shelf or user-designed specialty I/O modules. Up to 4 Gbytes of DDR3 MHz SODIMM system memory can be supported on the dual core D525 and 2 Gbytes on the single core N455 version of the EBC-C384. There is also a socket for a CompactFlash (CF) device as well. The fanless, single core N455, 1.66 GHz board is priced at $529. The dual core D525, 1.80 GHz board is priced at $595.

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

Synchro/Resolver Climbs Aboard Digital PC/104 Card Data Device Corporation (DDC) has introduced a new versatile PC/104 card offering one to four channels of fully independent Synchro-to-Digital or Resolver-to-Digital (S/R-D) conversion. The SB-36330CX can be configured for an 11.8V line-to-line synchro/resolver, 90V line-to-line synchro, or 2V sin/cos signal input, and 10, 12, 14, or 16-bit resolution. For further flexibility, each channel provides a separate reference input that is auto-ranging to accept a reference signal from 2 Vrms to 130 Vrms. The SB-36330CX operates over a wide -40°C to +85°C industrial temperature range and includes AquadB encoder emulation outputs for motor control applications. Users can also define the functions of 16-bit opto-isolated discrete I/O (8 bits input / 8 bits output) to fit custom applications.

Data Device Corp., Bohemia, NY. (631) 567-5600. []. October 2011 COTS Journal [ 75 ]

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

3U CompactPCI PlusIO-Compatible Blade with IPMI and TPM support A new 3U CompactPCI PlusIO-compatible processor blade supports high-speed serial point-to-point connections. The cPCI-3970 Series from Adlink is equipped with the latest quad and dual core 2nd Generation Intel Core i7/i5 processor, also known as Sandy Bridge, with ECC memory support, and Get Connected with companies products this section. the Intel QM67 Platform Controller Hub (PCH). The cPCI-3970 Series includes two bladeand types basedfeatured on the in same electrical and mechanical design: the cPCI-3970, which is equipped with HM connectors, and the fully PICMG 2.30-compliant cPCI-3971, which features an Ultra Hard Metric (UHM) J2 connector with a data transfer speed of 5 Gbit/s. Both products are compatible with the CompactPCI PlusIO pin assignment and support PCI Express Gen2 x4, three SATA ports, three USB 2.0 ports and two Gigabit Ethernet ports at the J2 connector. With different riser cards installed and the addition of a Rear Transition Module (RTM), the cPCI-3970 Series provides versatile I/O interfaces up to two DisplayPort/DVI/HDMI, four serial ports, four SATA ports, five USB 2.0 ports, four GbE ports, PS/2 KB/MS, audio ports, and one PMC/XMC site for expansion flexibility. Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) is also supported to provide efficient hardware-based data protection. The DisplayPort supports single link DVI or HDMI by passive adapter cable and analog VGA interface by active adapter cable. With the Adlink XMC-G460 graphics module installed in the XMC site, the cPCI-3970 Series supports up to four independent displays. Storage interfaces supported by the cPCI-3970 Series include one SATA 6 Gbit/s direct connector for a 2.5” HDD/SSD, CompactFlash socket, CFast socket and three SATA ports on RTM with RAID 0/1/5/10 support.

ADLINK, San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [].

Digital I/O Module Offers PXI Solution for Signal Critical Applications

Fanless Box Computer with VIA Nano/Eden CPU

PXI has become a well established form factor in the military test and instrumentation market. Feeding that need, Goepel Electronic has introduced the PXI5396-DT/x, two additional JTAG Digital I/O Modules on PXI bus. The PXI5396-DT/x modules support structural JTAG/ Boundary Scan tests as well as dynamic I/O operations up to 100 MHz for functional test executions. They feature an impedance controlled VPC interface for direct coupling to signal critical load boards or other verification environments. The PXI 5396-DT/x modules are based on a two-component solution, consisting of a PXI supported interface module (IFM) and an offset desktop module. The separation of the modules can be up to 2m without loss of performance. The desktop module is equipped with a front connector developed by Virginia Panel Corporation, which allows the module to be connected directly to the test environment. Due to this, an optimum reliability of the I/O signals is achieved by fully controllable line impedance. Two variants are available, which differ in the onboard memory depth of 72 Mbytes with the PXI 5396-DT and 144 Mbytes with the PXI 5396-DT/XM. Both variants provide 96 single ended channels, configurable as input, output and tri-state, which allow simultaneous driving and measuring, as well as real-time comparison.

A fanless box computer for embedded applications is powered by Via Nano/ Eden processors. Housed in a compact, robust enclosure, the PL-80320 from Win Enterprises can be applied to a range of applications such as industrial automation, kiosk, POS and digital signage. The unit offers a range of processor performance that includes 500 MHz, 1.0 GHz and 1.3 GHz. Excellent connectivity is provided with eight COM ports, dual GbE LAN and four USB 2.0 ports. In addition to fanless operation, the PL80320 features a compact size of 217 mm (W) x 141 mm (D) x 69 mm (H) or 8.6”W x 5.6”D x 2.7”H. The onboard processors available are the 500 MHz VIA Eden, the 1.0 GHz VIA Eden and the 1.3 GHz Via Nano. One mini PCIe and a single CompactFlash interface are supported.

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

Goepel Electronic, Jena, Germany. +49 3641-6896-739. [].

4-Port and 2-Port USB 3.0 Host Controllers Broaden Choices Two new SuperSpeed USB Host controllers have achieved SuperSpeed USB certification by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF). The certification of Via Labs VL800 4-port and the VL801 2-port SuperSpeed USB host controllers provides the assurance that these products will interoperate with the billions of USB-enabled devices available on the market while delivering the speed, power efficiency and power delivery specified by the USB 3.0 standard. In addition to the VL800 and VL801 Host Controllers, Via Labs currently offers USB 3.0 SATA Bridge and USB 3.0 to NAND Flash Controllers, which have also achieved the USB-IF certification.

VIA Labs, Taipei, Taiwan. +886-2-2218 8924. []. [ 76 ] COTS Journal October 2011

COTS Products

Notebook Provides Four Terabytes of RAID 0/1/5/10 Storage Eurocom offers up to 4 Terabytes of storage in RAID 0/1/5/10. This capability is possible due to the Western Digital WD Scorpio Blue 9.5 mm, 2.5-inch mobile hard drive with 1 Terabyte capacity, which will be available in the Eurocom Panther 3.0 Mobile Server, supporting up to four storage drives. Western Digital WD Scorpio Blue 9.5 mm, 2.5-inch mobile hard drives are perfect for use within the Eurocom Panther 3.0 Mobile Server where users desire increasingly large storage capacity. Mobile hard drives have several advantages over their desktop counterparts. Mobile drives are higher efficiency drives in terms of power consumption compared to desktop drives and are smaller in size. Eurocom Mobile Workstations and Mobile Servers are built to offer long lifespan and full upgradeability of the processor, memory, storage, operating system and VGA technology, and are designed with workstation class desktop Xeon processors and RAID support to dual GPU support. The Eurocom Panther 3.0 Mobile Server supports four storage drives to offer unmatched mobile storage capacity. The Panther has three standard storage drive bays; the fourth drive is housed in and takes the place of the optical drive bay. The Eurocom Panther 3.0 supports hard disk, solid state and hybrid drives to offer customers a complete choice of mobile storage.

Railway Quarter Brick Modules Deliver 100 Watts Railway requirements have a lot of overlap with the rugged requirements of military applications. TDK-Lambda America has expanded its line of railway DC/DC converters with the introduction of the new 24V input, 100-watt, CN100A24 Series. These quarter brick modules operate off a wide range of DC inputs from 14.4 to 36.0 VDC, which is widely used in the railway industry and for 24-volt vehicles. Available with output voltages of 5V, 12V, 15V or 24 VDC (adjustable ¹10%), these fully regulated and isolated power modules deliver exceptional performance. Designed for very harsh environments, the CN100A24 Series meets the stringent shock and vibration requirements of IEC61373 Category 1, Grade B. These baseplate-cooled power converters have standard pin-outs and provide full output power from -40° to +100°C at the baseplate without deratings. The 100-watt model CN100A24-12, for example, delivers 8.4 amps at 12 VDC with a conversion efficiency of 88% at full load. These quarter-brick modules measure 1.45 x 2.28 inches and are only 0.50-inch high. These new 100W modules are available now with prices starting at $124 each in 100 piece quantities.

TDK-Lambda Americas, San Diego, CA. (619) 575-4400. [].

Eurocom, Nepean, Ontario, Canada, (613) 224-6122. [].

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COTS Products

VITA 62 Power Supply Rides Conduction-Cooled 3U VPX

POWER YOUR LAPTOP & CHARGE YOUR BB-2590 MILITARY BATTERY WITH SOLAR POWER LINDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S SOLAR CHARGE SYSTEM The Lind Solar Charge System is used in conjunction with the BB-2590 rechargeable battery (not included). The system consists of the combination charge control/DC output module, a foldable 60 watt solar panel and related cabling for complete connection between the battery, laptop and solar panel. For more information, please contact Lind at 1.800.897.8994, via email at, or visit us online at

Extreme Engineering Solutions, Middleton, WI. (608) 833-1155. []. POWER SPECIALISTS FOR MOBILE COMPUTING

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Extreme Engineering Solutions (X-ES) has announced the XPm2120, a conduction-cooled, VITA 62, 3U VPX power supply that takes a MILSTD-704 input voltage of 28 V-DC and provides up to 300W of power on the 3.3-volt, 5-volt and 12-volt rails at 90% efficiency with 12-volt as the primary power distribution rail in the system. With the advent of VITA 62 power supplies, VPX users are no longer locked into custom, proprietary power supplies; they have the ability to purchase interchangeable power supplies from multiple vendors. The XPm2120 was designed to the VITA 62 draft standard. Designed for rugged, deployed military applications, the slim 0.8-inch pitch XPm2120 integrates MIL-STD-461E EMI filtering.

9/9/11 6:35:00 PM

Storage XMC Features High-Speed Operation and Front Removability Developed to address rugged storage applications, a new single-width storage XMC uses the latest mezzanine form factor and flash drive technologies, including the new CFast flash storage technology. The nextgeneration 9289 XMCStor solid-state CompactFlash drives from Elma Electronic are based on a SATA interface and offer much higher data rates compared to drives with a parallel connection. The XMCStor provides one front removable drive and one internal drive for maximum operational flexibility. The front removable drive capability combined with hot swap allows fast and easy equipment upgrade and data transportability. With board-level data transfer rates up to 130 Mbyte/s (write) and 140 Mbyte/s (read), the 9289 XMCStor is suitable for applications demanding high data rates. Current storage capacities equal 64 Gbyte across two drives, with higher capacities supported as new drives are introduced. The XMCStor is capable of meeting a wide range of operating conditions. It is available in standard (0° to +55°C) through extended temperature (-40° to +85°C) versions and can withstand operating shock up to 40Gs at 11 Msec. Pricing starts at $800 in low quantities, configuration dependent.

Elma Electronic, Fremont, CA. (510) 656-3400. [].

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MILESTONE........................................... 71..........................

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc................ 21...........................................

Mobile Pathways....................................

Ballard Technology, Inc.......................... 54................................

Mountain Secure Systems.....................

BittWare, Inc........................................... 47.....................................

End of Article North Atlantic Industries. ....................... 35............................................


CM Computer.........................................

MSC Embedded, Inc.............................. 63..........................

Conduction-Cooled Compact PCI & Backup and Enclosures Gallery..................... 20

Ocean Server Technology, Inc...............

Critical I/O, LLC..................................... 65....................................

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D-TA Systems, Inc.................................. Get Connected with companies 7. and

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products featured in this section. Data Translation, Inc.............................. 29..........................

with companies mentioned in........ this article. PDI Research & Development Lab.

DRS Defense Solutions, LLC................. 83.......................................

Pelican Products, Inc.............................

Dynatem, Inc.......................................... 41....................................

Pentek, Inc............................................. 39.......................................

Elma Electronic, Inc............................... 48..........................................

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Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc...... 57...........................................

Pico Electronics, Inc........................... 37, 69...................... Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.

Get Connected with Inc.................. companies and55. products featured in this section. GE Intelligent Platforms, Presagis USA, Inc................................... 5.....................................

General Micro Systems, Inc................... 17...................................

Prism Computer Solutions.................... 27.....................................



Acromag................................................. 33....................................

Innovative Integration............................

RTD Embedded Technologies, Inc.... 2, 42,

Interface Concept................................... 14.......................

RunCore SSD.........................................

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

SynQor................................................ 19, 53....................................

JMR, Inc................................................. 61.............................................

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Trenton Technology, Inc......................... 59.........................

Lind Electronics, Inc.............................. 78..........................

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

Logic Devices, Inc..................................

Xembedded............................................ 38...............................

Mercury Computer Systems, Inc........... 49............................................. 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. Ride along enclosed.

Coming Next Month Special Feature: Power Converters Serve Board and Box-Level Needs Selecting power supplies and power conversion electronics rank as make or break technical choices in embedded military computer systems. With more and more computing stuffed into smaller spaces, power has direct implications on the size, cooling and mobility of a board or box-level system. Articles in this section examine technology trends affecting DC/DC converters, power supply module bricks and slotcard power supplies (VME, VPX, cPCI and others). Tech Recon: Managing and Processing the ISR Data Deluge In recent years demand for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities has driven a huge ramp-up in data collection capacity. While that shows no signs of slowing, the ability to process that data—in the form of radar captured video or images—presents major system design challenges for developers of military platforms. Makers of embedded computers are easing these challenges with a variety of solutions that address the particular needs of moving image-based data at high speed and processing it for the demanding real-time needs of military applications. System Development: JTRS and WIN-T Programs Update Advances in the software defined radio market continue to overlap nicely with the DoD’s software radio efforts. For the DoD’s Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program, many of the technology pieces are coming together with its organizational problems now in the past. Meanwhile, WIN-T—the Army’s on-the-move, high-speed, high-capability backbone communications network— is moving forward to become the network for reliable, secure and seamless video, data, imagery and voice services for the warfighters. Tech Focus: ATCA Blades and Systems Although designed originally for the telecommunications market, ATCA has slowly and quietly gained numerous project wins for UAV ground control and a variety of comms-oriented military systems. This Tech Focus section explores the latest ATCA system solutions available and what in particular about them is attractive to military system developers. This section will also update readers on ATCA technology and provide a product album of representative products. [[ 80 80 ]] COTS COTS Journal Journal October October 2011 2011

Copyright © 2011 Kontron AG. All rights reserved. Kontron and the Kontron logo and all other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners and are recognized. Rev. # D108us02

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Pondering the Steve Jobs Legacy


ou merely have to be a human being living in the modern world today to have been moved in some way by the passing of Steve Jobs earlier this month. With just a look around any public place, it’s plain to see that the Apple devices in everyone’s hands—driven by Jobs—represent a true consumer technology revolution. For me as a technologist and computer science person by background, a thousand thoughts went through my head upon hearing of his death. Accolades like “Our Generation’s Thomas Edison” didn’t sit right with me and at first I couldn’t articulate why. I gave myself a day or so before I wrote any of it down or discussed it with industry colleagues. It was best to first process my feelings of loss for a once-in-a-generation family man who died too young from a terrible disease. Since COTS Journal readers all have technology and engineering backgrounds, perhaps you can relate to my perplexed feelings surrounding the discussion of Steve Jobs’ legacy in the weeks since his death. If you’re someone like me who runs in the world of the electronics and the components “under the hood” of computing devices—well, our perspective is different. Steve Jobs and Apple didn’t invent the touch screen, or the low power microprocessor, or 802.11 Wi-Fi technology, or USB, or 3G cellular communications, and so on. To the general public, there’s a skewed notion that Jobs somehow invented all these cool products in a lab by himself. That’s perhaps being unfair, but to hear the way Steve Jobs’ legacy has been discussed recently, that idea does get conveyed. There’s a level of Apple/Mac super fans and a more casual crowd of nontechnical consumers that love the iPhone, Mac, iPod and iPad, and give maybe a little more credit to Jobs than credit is due. Does that mean Steve Jobs is perhaps more of a Henry Ford than a Thomas Edison? Even that’s not a satisfying comparison for me. So how then do we wrap our minds around the impact of Steve Jobs? My sort of knee-jerk technologist resentment clouded my initial thoughts on the question. It’s pretty clear that Jobs was not a technologist himself. His genius and skill were more in the uncanny marketing and design savvy to drive products that would hit home runs with consumers. But even that doesn’t quite describe the reality. What was unique about Steve Jobs, it seems, was his sheer ability to push the boundaries of quality both inside and outside Apple. Both are critical. Inside Apple, it’s clear that Jobs was relentless in pushing for that perfect level of excellence. I envision him saying “No way, that’s crap. Do better. Try again. Not good enough” as different ideas and prototypes of the devices leading up to the iPod, iPhone and iPad were put [ 82 ] COTS Journal October 2011

on trial. To some extent and in some way, we all benefit from those who push us toward excellence in our lives. And for Apple that was Steve Jobs. Meanwhile, in the battlefield of the marketplace, Steve Jobs had a profound impact simply by driving his competitors to do better just to keep pace. The PC had to constantly improve and stay more affordable in order to not be outdone by the Mac. Android-based smartphones constantly have had to change, evolve and improve just to keep the iPhone from owning today’s smartphone market. And finally, the iPad—which I happen to own and will attest is a fantastic device—has the tablet computer market on the complete defensive. So looked at from that perspective, Steve Jobs’ impact on consumer device technologies is staggering and sweeping. Think then also of how all those devices have bolstered the health of the semiconductor business—even through the extremely rough financial times of the recent years. Bringing that around to the military, the military embedded computing market has reaped the benefits of all that consumer driven crunch of semiconductor supply and demand. True, Apple didn’t directly drive all of that, but its presence added fuel that certainly contributed to keeping the chip business in good health. The impact of Steve Jobs in the military market has an even more direct trajectory in the emerging idea of a using an iPhone or an iPhone-like device as a replacement for today’s warfighter radio. Lockheed, for its part, has its MONAX solution. Its approach is to put a sleeve attachment on an off-the-shelf iPhone or other smartphone and combine it with a deployed network that enables iPhones to operate as military-specific software defined radios in theater. Would the military adopt an iPhone as the basis of its entire tactical radio strategy? That’s questionable given that the iPhone is a device that is comprised of a mishmash of components from international companies including Chinese factories owned by a German firm. Other solutions are more custom built like the General Dynamics GD300. Weighing less than 8 ounces, the Android-based GD300 operates like an ultra-sensitive commercial GPS unit or, with the click of a cable, interfaces with tactical radios like the Rifleman Radio (AN/PRC-154) for secure access to the tactical network. The very fact that JTRS radios now must be rethought because of the mere existence of the ubiquitous iPhone…add one more checkmark in the list of Steve Jobs’ influences on technology. RIP Steve Jobs. Thanks for making us constantly “Think Different.”

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COTS Journal  

October 2011

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