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Tech Focus: ATCA Blades and Systems Roundup

The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

PLUS: Embedded Networking Solutions Ease ISR Data Overload Challenges

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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing


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

Power Supplies Meet Demanding Needs of Board and Box-Level Systems

CONTENTS November 2011

Volume 13

Number 11

SPECIAL FEATURE Powering Board and Box-Level Systems

10 Power Supplies Meet Demanding Needs of Board and Box-Level Systems Jeff Child

20 Advanced Battery Technology Shrinks Military Energy Costs David McShane, International Battery

Departments 6 Publisher’s Notebook A Betting Man on a Tilt-A-Whirl 8

The Inside Track


COTS Products

70 Editorial Disconnect in the Networked Vehicle Road

28 Inrush Current Control Technology Boosts Power Converter Reliability Steve Butler, VPT

Coming in December See Page 68

TECH RECON Managing and Processing the ISR Data Deluge

34 Mobile Ad Hoc Networking Revamps Military Communications

Chris O’Rourke, Cisco Systems, and Stephen B. Johnson, Extreme Engineering Solutions

44 GPGPU Technology Eases Persistent Imaging Processing Challenges Anne Mascarin, Mercury Computer Systems

(U.S. Navy photo by MCS 2nd Class William Jamieson)


50 JTRS and WIN-T Technologies Take to the Field Jeff Child


54 ATCA Blades and Systems Fill Unique Military Needs Jeff Child


On The Cover: The command and control systems module (CCSM) on the Virginia-class submarine integrates all of the vessel’s sensors, countermeasure technology, navigation and weapon control and is based on open system architecture (OSA). Here the pre-commissioned California (SSN 781) gets underway from Naval Station Norfolk to conduct weapons systems acceptance trials. It was commissioned on Oct. 29.

ATCA Blades and Systems Roundup Digital subscriptions available:

The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

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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.

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Notebook A Betting Man on a Tilt-A-Whirl


he U.S. really needs to face facts and once and for all tackle the issues surrounding how we acquire things for the military. It’s time to initiate a plan that accommodates changing Administrations and Congresses and their ever changing vision for the military’s mission. The military has three basic procurement environments: immediate, short term and long term. The problem is all three of these environments have a range to them. Immediate can range from acquiring software or technology to halt an immediate cyber attack to finding a stop gap solution for IEDs. At the other end we have large items ranging from a new tactical vehicle for the Army and Marines, to the next tactical aircraft for the Air Force to the next generation aircraft carrier for the Navy. Resolving the military’s acquisition policy is a lot like riding a Tilt-A-Whirl. It’s ever changing; you’re not exactly sure where you are or where you’re going. Our elected officials are focused on immediate or current issues potentially requiring use of our military—and military is only one segment of our government. Will the Arab Spring quickly turn into the Arab nightmare? Will any of the “rogue” nations require military attention? And do we need to have a sufficiently strong and feared military presence to deter any emerging economic powers from attempting to intimidate us into decisions that are not in our best interest? The problem of acquisition reform clearly falls into the lap of Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, and the Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter. They need to propose a structure that eliminates the “stop, start, shift focus back and forth” approach to long-term acquisitions. That structure will then be used as the template for setting in motion the development of systems and equipment necessary for our military to ensure its success no matter the mission. A different template will be necessary for the immediate or short-term—5-7 year— procurement needs. These two areas require flexibility and a completely different process. At the detriment of individual political gains, all these structures have to be insulated from political tampering—something we have never been able to achieve. The current budget crisis and sensitivity by voters to political self-serving dealings may provide Secretary Panetta with an opening to actually make some meaningful changes to our acquisition process. One area lacking focus and direction is the U.S. Army vehicle program. This program falls into the long-term acquisition area… well, for the most part. We’ve had to throw the MRAP in as an immediate solution and then stretched it to a short-term requirement. I don’t think anyone anywhere feels that if we had a 10-year development program to find a vehicle to transport a squad of soldiers [ 6 ] COTS Journal November 2011

as safely as possible in Iraq or Afghanistan, the result would be the MRAP. We currently have three prongs to our future tactical vehicle strategy: the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) and the Humvee recap program. I guess there are a couple others that are on the periphery: the Stryker and the MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV). This last one, the M-ATV, is like trying to put an extra leg on a set of crutches (MRAP) and telling the patient he won’t have any trouble walking through the rock quarry. The JLTV is a joint program between the Army and the Marines started in 2006, and it has yet to set what the design requirements are. Nor has it been decided yet how many are needed or how much they will cost. BAE was awarded a $450M contract and General Dynamics was awarded a $440M contract for the two-year Technology Demonstration (TD) phase of the GCV program. The Humvee recap program is just in the preliminary phase with mostly talk and no money yet. The intent is to give the Humvee better armor than is now available or provided even for the current-armored Humvees as well as an improved suspension and additional features including electronics. The intent is to extend the Humvee’s life into the 2030s. The Army anticipates starting to field GCVs in 2017, and JLTVs…when? Who knows. Not the Army. It’s possible to start fielding Humvee recaps as early as 2014. So let us sum up: the military budget is under pressure and will only see greater pressure. Meanwhile the JLTV doesn’t know what it is or how much it is. The GCV is just starting work on a TD. The MRAP has its problems and is extremely restricted in what it can do where. The Stryker has its issues especially with regard to protecting its occupants from IEDs and mines, and we have almost 100,000 Humvees we could recap. Can the Army support a GCV, JLTV, MRAP, M-ATV, Stryker and Humvee? Clearly it can’t, so some programs have to get off the bus. A betting man might read the tea leaves this way: JLTV is history, GCV will stay a technology demonstrator for a long time, fielding something around 2025, and the Army and Marine Corps will find a way to get along with recapped Humvees, Strykers and M-ATVs.

Pete Yeatman, Publisher COTS Journal

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Inside Track Lockheed Martin Contracted to Maintain Army Aerostat Detection Systems The U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin a $383 million contract to maintain, operate and sustain the Persistent Threat Detection Systems (PTDS). The tethered aerostat provides real-time, around-the-clock reconnaissance and surveillance of broad geographic areas for warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army’s Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, Project Manager for Robotic and Unmanned Sensors, based at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., will provide program and acquisition management. Equipped with multiple sensors, PTDS (Figure 1) is an aerostat-based system that delivers constant day and night, 360 degree detection, surveillance, monitoring and force protection. It has a sensor integration architecture designed to support the automated interoperability between tactical/ theater surveillance assets and the dissemination of threat data to operational forces to aid interdiction of hostile fires and unconventional threats. PTDS leverages a wide-area, secure communications backbone for the integration of threat reporting from multiple available sensor assets. Lockheed Martin, Bethesda, MD. (301) 897-6000. [].

MIT Lincoln Lab Researchers Develop Radar That Sees through Walls MIT Lincoln Laboratory researchers developed a new radar system that looks through walls. This ultrawideband (UWB) multiple-input, multiple-output phased-array sensor has realtime acquisition and processing capability and provides video-like synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images of people moving behind a concrete wall. The system demonstrated the ability to capture meaningful imagery at a 10.8 Hz frame rate through 4-inch- and 8-inch-thick, as well as cinder block, walls from a standoff distance of approximately 20 feet. The technology will be useful for providing soldiers in urban environments with increased awareness of activity inside or behind structures. While it is not possible to see through walls by using visible light, it is possible by using larger micro-wavelengths [ 8 ] COTS Journal November 2011

to radiate into a wall and receive a weak scattered signal that is representative of what is behind the wall. At the core of the system is a range-gated continuous-wave radar architecture that provides dynamic range and sensitivity to acquire weak signals scattered from targets behind the wall. The radar set is connected to an array of UWB antenna elements consisting of two subarrays made up of 8 receive elements and 13 transmit elements. To see a video, go to http://www. MIT Lincoln Laboratory Lexington, MA. (781) 981-5500. [].

Quintron Systems Selected for Three NASA Projects Quintron Systems announces three additional contract awards from NASA for the Quintron DICES VoIP mission-critical voice

Figure 1

PTDS is an aerostat-based system that delivers constant day and night, 360 degree detection, surveillance, monitoring and force protection.

switch. Two of these represent follow-on work with existing NASA customers, while the third is a NASA-requested expansion to an existing DICES VoIP system in use by United Launch Alliance. The first NASA-direct contract will provide a second DICES VoIP system to Johnson Space Center (JSC). This new system includes a fully redundant central VoIP server equipped with six active T1 Gateways and one SIP Gateway for connectivity to other NASA voice systems. The second NASA-direct system is an expansion for the existing NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) Airspace Operations Laboratory (AOL) system first delivered in 2008. The third NASA support contract was just received to provide an additional ten user client positions to support NASA personnel for the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) launch aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral. The major element of

Figure 2

Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) launch will include the new surface rover, Curiosity this exciting NASA program is the new surface rover, Curiosity (Figure 2). The launch is scheduled for late November and the new DICES VoIP user equipment will support NASA personnel and provide a touch screen interface consistent with their normal operating environment. Quintron Systems Santa Maria, CA. (805) 928-4343. [].

Inside Track

Calumet Wins SBIR Award from U.S. Navy Naval Air Warfare Center - Aircraft Division Calumet Electronics has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I Contract Award from the Naval Air Warfare Center - Aircraft Division. The Phase I objective of the award, valued at about $80,000, is to conduct research under SBIR Topic N112-122 titled “Embedded Single Mode Wave Guides for High Data Rate Processing.” The company’s Optical Interconnect Team has successfully produced electro/optical printed circuit boards (EOPCB) and assemblies (EOPCBA) on rigid substrates using polymer waveguides and surface mounted light turning devices in its Optical Interconnect Research Lab (OIRL) (Figure 3). According to Stephen J. Marshall, sponsored programs manager of Calumet, Calumet’s proposal demonstrated expertise in- the technical and development challenges for the requirements of this award. Electrical transmission interconnect traces have already begun to limit overall capabilities and create multiple signal routing difficulties because

Figure 3

PCB Production line in Calumet Electronics’ ITAR registered facility. The company now does electro/optical printed circuit board (EOPCB) and assembly (EOPCBA) prototyping services in its Optical Interconnect Research Lab.

of bandwidth limitations and high bandwidth design requirements. Optical waveguides, with their inherently large transmission bandwidth capabilities, can be utilized to alleviate this digital data transmission bottleneck and overcome bandwidth limitations. Calumet Electronics Calumet, MI (906) 337-1305. [].

Aitech Offers 12-Year Full Support Lifecycle Program Aitech Defense Systems is now offering full support and a product availability guarantee for all boards and systems developed by the company for a minimum of 12 years from initial production date. Aitech’s three-phased COTS Lifecycle+ program ensures that in a time when component obsolescence is on the rise in many military COTS applications, customers will be able to rely on Aitech to obtain the needed component parts and support to keep systems running effectively well into the future. Each of Aitech’s standard products consists of the three product lifecycles, each with a guaranteed minimum support period of four years. The active phase is the initial product lifecycle, where both the product and Aitech support are available for all existing and new programs. The supported phase extends this product availability and support for existing, program-specific designs for a minimum of another four years. In the extended support phase, another four years is added and brings the full COTS Lifecycle+ program to a minimum 12 years of program support. Aitech Defense Systems Chatsworth, CA. (888) 248-3248. [].

Argon ST Teams with GE on Shipboard Signals Intelligence System GE Intelligent Platforms has received an order from Argon ST of Fairfax, Virginia for a quantity of specially modified VR12 single board computers that will be deployed as part of the company’s Ships Signal Exploitation Equipment (SSEE) system. The initial order is valued at just over $1 million, and further orders totaling $5 million are expected in the coming years. Specifically, the VR12— a rugged 6U VME platform featuring the Intel Core i7 processor—will play a key role in data acquisition as part of a shipboard signals intelligence (SIGINT) subsystem. The SSEE allows operators to monitor and analyze signals of interest within the Ship’s Signals Exploitation Space (SSES) aboard a variety of ship classes (Figure 4). Its use of COTS hardware and software ensures that incremental upgrades to hardware can be integrated, tested and fielded in a shorter time than traditional development efforts. The system can evolve and adapt quickly in order to exploit new threat emergent technology, thus allowing the Navy to take full advantage of state-of-the-art technology being used in the commercial market. The use of

COTS hardware common with other systems also allows more economical procurement of hardware and spares. GE Intelligent Platforms Charlottesville, VA. (800) 368-2738. [].

Event Calendar 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 January 24-26

AFCEA West 2012 San Diego, CA February 14

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference Huntsville, AL February 16

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference Figure 4

The Ships Signal Exploitation Equipment (SSEE) system is used on a variety of U.S. Navy ships including the USS Porter (DDG-78), an Arleigh Burkeclass destroyer.

Melbourne, FL February 22-24

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November 2011 COTS Journal [ 9 ]

Special Feature Powering Board and Box-Level Systems

[ 10 ] COTS Journal November 2011

Special Feature

Power Supplies Meet Demanding Needs of Board and Box-Level Systems Even within the specific arena of military systems, power supply needs can vary dramatically. Advanced reliable solutions smooth the way on the board, brick and component level.


hile often an afterthought in embedded military computer system designs, choosing power supplies and power conversion electronics can become make or break technical choices. 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. Add to that the challenges of multi-voltage electronics and the complexity of distributed system architectures, and it’s clear that military system designers need solutions that address those needs. Often the unsung hero of a military system design, power supplies and converters are critical enablers for meeting today’s rugged requirements. Vendors are smoothing the way with flexible options and robust solutions. The good news is that military power conversion vendors are easing the burden with more efficient products, new partitioning strategies and increased ruggedization. New solutions continue to roll out, not just at the component or brick level, but also at the module and board level. The recent emergence of a power supply spec for VPX, called VITA 62, has solved standards issues specifically for the VPX arena.

VITA 62 Power Supplies Starting on the board-level side, the focus of the new VITA 62 standard is to provide an electrical and mechanical specification that is compatible with VITA 46 and other specifications in the VPX suite. In the past, a power supply’s form factor and pin assignment varied from vendor to vendor because of the lack of standardization. Also because of the nature of the power supply, many were custom designed for the chassis that they reside in. In order for VITA 62-compliant power supplies to work in a VPX environment, the standard needs to be compatible to both VITA 46 and VITA 48, which most of the existing COTS VPX modules are designed to. VITA 46.11, System Management, is also directly supported. 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. November 2011 COTS Journal [ 11 ]

Special Feature

Figure 1

VITA 62 standard power supplies mean that VPX system developers are no longer locked into custom, proprietary power supplies but can instead use interchangeable power supplies from multiple vendors.

Figure 3

The Powertron JL Series of open-frame DC/DC converters are conduction-cooled units designed for applications where the power supply is mounted inside a sealed enclosure. DC/ DC converters are rated up to 50W and offer full EN50155 compliance as well as the ability to accept the wide range of typical railway input voltages.

Figure 2

For ground vehicle requirements, the most commonly used specification is MIL-STD-1275. This 28 VDC nominal specification imposes 100 VDC surges for up to 100 milliseconds.

Extreme Engineering Solutions (XES) has a VITA 62 offering called the XPm2120, a conduction-cooled, VITA 62, 3U VPX power supply that takes a MIL-STD-704 input voltage of 28 VDC 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. The XPm2120 was designed to the VITA 62 draft standard. Designed for rugged, deployed military applications, the slim 0.8-inch pitch XPm2120 integrates MILSTD-461E EMI filtering. More recently, Curtiss-Wright Controls Electronic Systems rolled out its own VITA 62 product. The 3U OpenVPX (VITA 62) and VPX (VITA 48.2) Smart Power Supply is a small form factor, rug[ 12 ] COTS Journal November 2011

ged power supply module that provides up to 279W of power. The CWCES Smart Power Supply includes advanced features such as an integrated Nuclear Event Detector (NED) and crowbar for radiation-tolerant applications, and a holdup circuitry for full protection against MILSTD-704 and MILSTD-1275 transients. The Smart Power Supply (Figure 1) conforms to the 3U VPX (VITA 48.2 / VITA 62) form factor and is offered in a 1.0” pitch single slot configuration. Fully rugged, the module is available in conduction-cooled and Level 2 maintenance variants. This fully featured intelligent power supply supports Built-in Tests (BIT) and software programmability to enable rapid system development. The device offers 80% efficiency and an 18-36 VDC input range. Input reverse polarity protection and over/under voltage, short-circuit and under/over temperature protection are supported. A White Sand Missile Range (WSMR)-tested Nuclear Event Circumvention circuit is included.

Filtering and Defense Standards Shifting to the component power supply side, vendors continue to push the limits in

power, high voltage, wide temperature range and advanced filtering schemes. Among the most challenging issues in today’s military power system designs is making the latest and greatest power supply and conversion technologies compliant to military standards. Defense applications must meet a number of noise and power related standards such as MIL-STD-461, MIL-STD-704 and MIL-STD-1275 (Figure 2). Complicating matters, those standards have a number of revisions, any of which may be enforced by an application’s requirements. One strategy that converter vendors are enabling is broadening the capability of existing converter architectures by providing advanced filtering. Vicor, for example, offers its MIL-COTS VI BRICK Filter as a stand-alone filter or integrated with the PRM Regulator Module. The filter enables designers using Vicor’s MILCOTS VI BRICK and V•I Chip PRMs to meet conducted emission / conducted susceptibility per MIL-STD-461E/F, and input transients per MIL-STD-704A/E/F and MIL-STD-1275A/B/D. It accepts an input voltage of 16.5 - 50 VDC and delivers output power up to 120W.

Special Feature

Mount e c a f r Su ug In) (and Pl ers and rm Transfo uctors Ind


Figure 4

By using Lithium-ion chemistry, UPSs can provide less weight, longer runtimes and higher energy density than lead-acid solutions. Falcon Electric has added Lithium-ion batteries as an option to its 1500 VA model of the SSG Series Industrial Grade UPS Plus. For harsh rugged military applications, wide temperature range is key for power supplies. Designed as a turn-key solution for applications requiring input to output isolation, the EW from Calex offers three input ranges with five output voltage combinations. This 10 watt EW Single Output Series of DC/DC converters offers available input ranges of 9 to 18V, 18 to 36V and 36 to 75 VDC. The output voltage options are 2.5, 3.3, 5, 12 and 15 VDC. The input to output isolation is 1500 VDC. All outputs are tightly regulated for problem-free operation. The EW is housed in a five-sided shielded metal enclosure. Case size is 1.25” x 0.80” x 0.4”H. All models are fully encapsulated for improved thermal performance. The operating temperature range of the EW is -40° to +90°C. The switching frequency of all models is 400 kHz with efficiencies as high as 87%. Output noise is as low as 50 mV peak to peak. Output voltage accuracy is +/-0.6%. Line and load regulation is +/-0.3% and +/-0.5% respectively. Temperature coefficient is +/3% and all models are protected through continuous short circuit protection.

Inrush Current Issues Another issue that affects reliability is the control of incoming current. Addressing that need, VPT has expanded its product line with a new power protection module, the DVCL Inrush Current Limiter. The DVCL controls potentially damaging inrush current drawn by DC/ DC converters, EMI filters and discrete capacitors during startup. With a power


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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. Also in the vein of harsh environment supplies, railway requirements have a lot of overlap with the rugged requirements of military applications. TDKLambda America has expanded its line of railway DC/DC converters with the introduction of the new 24V input, 100watt, 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 ±10%), 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

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Special Feature

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.

Meeting SWaP Requirements Size, weight and power concerns have become almost equally as impor-

tant as ruggedness in many military applications. Serving those needs, Martek Power has made significant additions to its Powertron JL Series (Figure 3) of open-frame DC/DC converters. They are conduction-cooled units developed by Martek in response to an increase in applications where the power supply is mounted inside a sealed enclosure. Originally designed for onboard pas-

senger information systems, JL DC/DC converters are rated up to 50W and offer full EN50155 compliance as well as the ability to accept the wide range of typical railway input voltages. Outputs can be specified between 5 and 110 VDC, and the units have a footprint of just 135 x 85 mm including the mounting plate. With efficiencies approaching 90 percent, the conduction-cooled versions help to minimize any temperature rise within the host equipment. All converters in the JL Series are designed for continuous operation at ambient temperatures of up to 75°C without de-rating.

AC/DC Supplies and UPSs Closer to the installation side of military systems, new solutions in AC/ DC and UPS product areas continue to advance. With its latest AC/DC solution, RECOM has released a new range of isolated AC/DC power supply modules with very low standby input currents, ideally suited for low-power applications or standby power supplies. The RAC01 and RAC02 offer 1W or 2W of output power from a universal input voltage of 90-265 VAC and yet draw only 30 mW in standby. The RAC03 offers a higher output power of 3W yet draws only 80 mW when unloaded. Unlike other lowpower AC/DC modules, the RAC01, RAC02 and RAC03 offer high-efficiency, well regulated, short-circuit protected DC outputs with 3.3, 5, 9, 12, 15 or 24V voltage options and a line and load regulation of typically ±2%. The conversion efficiency is up to 78%, which enables RECOM to guarantee an operating temperature range of -25° to +85°C for the one watt part, reducing to +80°C for the two and three watt converters. Moving ahead in the uninterruptible power supply game, SynQor recently announced a line of Military-Grade Uninterruptible Power Supply units that are designed for the extreme environmental and demanding electrical conditions of Military/Aerospace applications. SynQor’s UPS incorporates field-proven high efficiency designs and rugged packaging technologies. This UPS will accept a wide range of input voltage and frequency values while delivering a well-conditioned [ 14Untitled-3 ] COTS1Journal November 2011

11/8/11 10:10:43 AM

Special Feature

AC output to the load. Its use of Lithium polymer batteries permits the lowest profile and lowest weight solution in its power class. It is designed and manufactured in SynQor’s USA facilities to comply with a wide range of military standards. Options include a DC output and the ability to also draw power from a military standard 28VDC input.

Long Life Support Falcon Electric, meanwhile, 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 online 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

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[ 16 ] COTS Journal November 2011

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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.

Calex Concord, CA. (925) 687-4411. [].

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

Falcon Electric Irwindale, CA. (626) 962-7770. []. Martek Power Torrance, CA. (310) 202-8820. []. Pico Electronics Pelham, NY, (914) 738-1400. []. Rantec Power Systems Los Osos, CA. (805) 596-6000. []. RECOM Power Brooklyn, NY. (718) 855-9710. []. TDK-Lambda Americas San Diego, CA. (619) 575-4400. []. Vicor Andover, MA. (978) 749-8359. []. VPT Blacksburg, VA. (425) 353-3010. [].

[ 18Untitled-4 ] COTS1Journal November 2011

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Advanced Battery Technology Shrinks Military Energy Costs The transition to more advanced military battery technologies provides a variety of benefits. Not least among these is a reduction in mil vehicle fuel costs.

David McShane, Executive V.P. of Business Development and Engineering International Battery


ccording to a study completed by the U.S. Army in 2007, one out of eight U.S. Army casualties in Iraq was a result of protecting a fuel convoy-related mission. Keeping forward operating bases (FOBs) running takes an immense amount of energy derived from diesel-fuel generators; from communications and electronic systems to environmental systems, everything needs to be powered 24/7. A recent Deloitte study on “Energy Security” has the U.S. military consuming 22 gallons of oil per day per soldier. With fuel cost estimates running between $30 and $300 a gallon resulting in approximately $16 billion in costs per year, these factors have the military exploring alternative fuel options more aggressively than ever. The integration of green technology is the key to lowering oil consumption and keeping troops safe. The armed forces have already taken the first steps to lower their carbon footprints. Installing wind turbines and solar systems at military bases has been a common practice for years, and like with other technologies, the U.S.

[ 20 ] COTS Journal November 2011

Lithium-Ion Advantages Over Lead-Acid Technology √

Dramatic weight reduction, up to 80 percent in high C-Rate applications

Footprint/volume reduction, up to 65 percent in high C-Rate applications

Dramatically longer cycle life

Use 100 percent of capacity of lithium battery without shortening rated cycle life, vs. 40-60 percent of capacity for lead-acid

No service for the lifetime of the battery

Shorter charge times (1.5-2 hours vs. 5-8 for lead-acid)

Lower effective capacity loss at high rates of discharge

Lower total life cost

Figure 1

Many integrators are turning to advanced chemistries such as Lithium-ion for more energydense applications, driven by the many advantages they have over lead-acid batteries. military is an innovative front runner in pushing energy efficient technology to far reaching places. The goal for a more fuel efficient military vehicle is not that far off: biofuels have already begun to power several test projects including HMMWVs (military Humvees) and aircraft. But advanced battery systems are likewise playing a key role in reducing the fuel consumption within military operations.

New Advanced Battery Chemistries When powering vital communications systems, diesel generators and lead-acid batteries have long been the military’s main power sources. In efforts to cut down on fuel consumption, there has been a move to using generators as a secondary power source and depending on energy storage as a means to reduce fuel consumption. And while the low


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Figure 2

Large-format Lithium-ion prismatic cells are proving themselves in interesting pilot programs as they offer up to 70 times the capacity of traditional packaged lithium batteries that are the size of a D cell. cost of lead-acid batteries has made them a popular choice for several years, many integrators are now turning to advanced chemistries such as Lithium-ion for more energy-dense applications. Figure 1 lists the many advantages Lithium-ion batteries have over lead-acid batteries.

Finding the Right Fit Large-format cells, also referred to as HyperClass Lithium-ion prismatic cells, (Figure 1) on the market today are proving themselves in interesting pilot programs as they offer up to 70 times the capacity of traditional packaged lithium batteries that are the size of a D cell. While most lithium batteries are produced as small cylindrical cells up to 3 Ah or “pouch” prismatic cells up to 10 Ah, large-format cells can range from 50 Ah to 200 Ah. With each individual cell being considerably larger, large-format batteries greatly decrease the number of cells needed within the battery module, which improves reliability and efficiency while lowering maintenance costs and the number of connectors. Individual cell monitoring with the use of Battery Management Systems (BMS) is a key to success with these systems. Weight, temperature and energy requirements are all important factors to consider when choosing Lithium-ion bat[ 22 ] COTS Journal November 2011 Untitled-4 1

7/25/11 10:31:05 AM

teries. Some have very wide temperature ranges and can be ideal for in-field vehicles that experience high desert temperatures and meet longer runtime demands, but not many have military testing certification, which is an important requirement. Lithium iron phosphate chemistry—a form of Lithium-ion—is by far the safest and therefore the best choice for power delivery applications.

Energy Storage: The Silent Advantage The Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), has developed a hybrid energy storage system suited for tanks and Stryker armored vehicles. This energy storage system has been implemented within the current Silent Watch program, aimed at allowing military vehicles to operate with little to no audible signature. Developing tanks and military Humvees more suited for covert missions is a major challenge, and energy storage plays a huge role in the development of this program. The Silent Watch vehicles rely on the battery system to operate quietly for stealth and tactical missions (Figure 2). With the communications systems being powered by the battery, the audible signature of these vehicles is greatly reduced

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[ 24 ] COTS Journal November 2011 Untitled-2 1

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without the need to rely on the noisy engine. Furthermore, the advanced battery system within Silent Watch vehicles is thermally managed, providing military operations with electricity for 10 hours without the telltale heat signature of a running engine, thus avoiding infrared detection. Between communications systems and other mission-critical hardware, the power demands on board vehicles are constant. Due to the “always on” nature of this equipment, military vehicles are faced with high power demands while in idle and are subject to the reliability of their power supplies. To power these systems, many existing vehicles rely on the use of diesel generators or the vehicle’s engine. While this setup is effective, it is by no means fuel efficient, cost-effective, or even tactically reliable.

Off-loading Engine Battery To replace the dependence on the vehicle’s engine, TARDEC is using advanced battery packs and energy storage systems to run the mission-critical equipment while in idle. To meet the desired runtime and sheer energy density needed, TARDEC integrated a hybrid

12-volt energy storage system powered by a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery. The lead-acid batteries previously used in the application proved to be heavier and experienced reliability issues in harsh environments. Battery makers learned that forward operating mission procedures directed troops to replace lead-acid battery systems after only one mission, because reusing a battery without intelligence/ monitoring left questions as to the state of health of the battery and therefore it would be safer to use a new battery than risk any failure on the front line. Newer battery systems are rechargeable and contain management systems (via a communications port) to monitor voltage and temperature. Another consideration is that lead-acid batteries can take up to six hours to recharge, while large-format Lithium-ion batteries require as few as two hours to charge.

Powering Forward Base Systems Another project using rechargeable, large-format Lithium-ion batteries to supply energy storage to military vehicles was recently demonstrated at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Experimental For-

X-ES 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processor Solutions: Delivering Innovation In 2010, Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) developed more Intel® Core™ i7 processor products based on VPX, CompactPCI, VME, CompactPCI Express, and XMC form factors than anyone in the industry. This year, X-ES has added solutions based on the 2nd generation Intel Core i7 processor. Providing products customers want, when they want them – that truly is innovation that performs. X-ES offers an extensive product portfolio that includes commercial and ruggedized single board computers, high-performance processor modules, multipurpose I/O modules, storage, backplanes, enclosures, and fully integrated systems. 2nd generation Intel Core i7 processor solutions available in a variety of form factors. Call or visit our website today.

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ward Operating Base (ExFOB) event. A Vehicle Integrated Power Unit Regulator (VIPUR) can provide up to 75 percent fuel consumption reduction for Humvees and other military vehicles that use excessive idling as a means of generating electrical energy. Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements (MTVRs) are frequently used to provide 2.5 kW of peak power for ground-based systems such as radios, laptops and blue-force trackers. The VIPUR system replaces the need to run off of the vehicle’s engine to supply the energy and instead relies on advanced battery systems. The VIPUR energy storage system operates automatically (no operator intervention needed) and independently of a vehicle’s battery system. The VIPUR system operates on an auxiliary alternator and up to four 1.5 kWh or 4.1 kWh largeformat Lithium Iron Phosphate rechargeable cells. The unit hooks up to a 430-watt portable solar power unit for recharging, resulting in greater fuel efficiency.

Beyond Vehicles Military vehicles are not the only “gas guzzlers” in the field. Camps and military bases are reliant on diesel generators as well. To combat that dependence, the U.S. Marines developed the Ground Renewable Expeditionary ENergy System (GREENS), a portable energy storage/generation system that consists of a networkable and vastly scalable 1600W solar array and rechargeable large-format batteries. The 24V, 1.5 kWh energy storage system is integrated into a ruggedized enclosure allowing for portability and easy setup. The small footprint, superior life cycle and high durability of Lithium-ion batteries makes them powerful solutions for off-grid operations. According to the Office of Naval Research, “GREENS will reduce the logistics burden for providing power to remote locations. It will provide AC and DC power needs to charge typical communication, targeting and computing devices. GREENS will reduce the fuel use otherwise needed for typical generators, and will lessen the need for fuel resupply, reducing the associated threats to vehicle convoys in Af[ 26 ] COTS Journal November 2011 Untitled-3 1

10/31/11 1:43:44 PM

ghanistan and Iraq.” Renewable energy has had a huge impact on making these forward operating bases and camps far more energy efficient and less dangerous to the troops protecting them.

Looking Ahead Projects like Silent Watch, VIPUR and GREENS all advance the U.S. military’s desire to integrate green technologies into a wide range of operations. The use of Lithium-ion batteries provides these pilot programs with high levels of energy storage while maintaining the lightweight and rugged design needed in mission-critical environments. Due to the more stable chemistry, the batteries are also safe and can withstand greater temperatures. While still in the early stages of integration, advanced battery technologies have already made a huge impact on how military systems consume energy. Lowering the amount of fuel required to power communications systems and forward operating bases will greatly decrease the military’s consumption and improve liquid logistics. With more pilot projects like GREENS on the horizon, and advancements being made in the Silent Watch program, energy storage systems will continue to breed a culture of energy efficiency within the military while advancing troop safety. International Battery Allentown, PA. (610) 366-3925. [].

Special Feature Powering Board and Box-Level Systems

Inrush Current Control Technology Boosts Power Converter Reliability Large peak inrush currents can cause a host of problems in military electronic systems. Choosing the right power protection solutions can avoid damage to mission-critical equipment. Steve Butler, Vice President of Engineering VPT


esigning power subsystems for platforms like military vehicles, aircraft and shipborne gear requires special care. It’s critical to protect those multimillion-dollar machines from failing while ensuring reliable performance in mission-critical situations. Among the challenges is dealing with the problem of inrush current. Inrush current is the current drawn by a power system when power is applied or it is turned on. The input EMI filter will include some capacitance connected across the input line. The DC/DC converter will have capacitance internally across its input and output. A typical power system is shown in Figure 1. There may be additional capacitance at the input to the DC/DC converter, and the load will usually include additional, possibly distributed, capacitance. Each of these capacitors requires current to charge them from their initial or zero state to their final steady state voltage. This current can have a high peak magnitude depending on the input voltage rise time and source impedance, and is referred to as the inrush current. Large peak inrush currents are usually governed by a system-level specification. There is a concern that high spike currents can trip an upstream protection

[ 28 ] COTS Journal November 2011




+ 28 VDC -







Figure 1

Typical power system showing relevant capacitances. circuit or create electromagnetic interference, upsetting sensitive adjacent circuitry or interfering with RF signals.

Inrush Current Waveform A typical power system inrush current waveform is shown in Figure 2. It has two current peaks. The first “inrush spike” peak current occurs when the input voltage source is turned on. Thispeak current flows into the EMI filter capacitors and any capacitors on the input side of the DC/DC converter, charging them to their steady state value. The second current peak occurs when the DC/DC converter turns on. This peak current flows through the power transformer in the DC/DC converter to the output capacitor and into any load capacitance, charging them to their steady state value. There can be multiple occurrences if there is more than one DC/DC converter.

The first current peak is often referred to as the inrush spike. Its peak value and shape are highly dependent on the characteristics of the input source, specifically the voltage rise time or dv/ dt and source impedance. A fast rising input voltage waveform, such as from a mechanical switch or relay closure, will produce a very high and narrow current peak, limited only by series resistance and inductance. EMI magnetics are usually too small in value or quickly saturate under high peak currents. And the resulting peak is limited only by the source, line and parasitic resistances. Switching power converters typically have output voltage rise times on the order of a few milliseconds, solid state power controllers (SSPC) usually from 50us to 500us, and large capacitor banks cannot be charged in less than several milliseconds. These slow rise times will not produce ex-

Special Feature

Typical inrush current waveform

inrush spike


Figure 2

Shown here is the waveform of a typical power system’s inrush current. It has two current peaks. The first “inrush spike” peak current occurs when the input voltage source is turned on. Typical turn-on current waveform

large load capacitance

require a higher peak current when starting into a large capacitive load. VPT’s DC/DC converters, for example, use a proprietary magnetic feedback scheme with a well-controlled internal start-up sequence and a precise output voltage soft start feature. The voltage soft start feature ensures the output ramps up in a controlled manner, with controlled dv/ dt. Due to the soft start, the input current usually does not exceed the steady state input current of the converter during turnon. These DC/DC converters also feature continuous constant output current limit. They will supply full rated current into any load; they do not hiccup or shut down and restart. This allows them to start any load capacitor, regardless of size. For cases with very large load capacitance, the DC/DC converter might enter this constant current limit mode during turn-on. In this case the input current would not exceed approximately 1.5 times the steady state input current. This is not high enough to cause any interference or trip upstream protection devices. For VPT’s DC/DC converters, this second inrush peak will not cause adverse effects in the system design.

Active Inrush Limiting



Figure 3

In this waveform of a typical turn-on current, turn-on current is the same whether the converter is turned on by applying an input voltage or via an enable/inhibit signal.

cessively high current peaks and may meet system specifications without additional protection. While the peak inrush current must be tested for spec compliance, the i2t of the current waveform should also be evaluated, as it could trip an upstream fuse, circuit breaker or SSPC.

Turn-On Current The second current peak is also considered part of the inrush current. This peak [ 30 ] COTS Journal November 2011

occurs when the DC/DC converter turns on and draws current from the source to charge its output capacitance and any load capacitance. Typical turn-on current waveforms are shown in Figure 3. The turn-on current is the same whether the converter is turned on by applying an input voltage or via an enable/inhibit signal. The turnon current waveshape and peak value will be well-controlled as long as the converter has an output soft start feature. But it could

In some applications there is a requirement to limit the inrush spike current into the input capacitors. The only way to accomplish this is to insert a series element into the circuit in front of those capacitors. There are several approaches: a resistor with a bypass switch, an inductor, a controlled MOSFET, or a dedicated inrush current protection module. In a basic inrush limiting circuit using a series resistor and a bypass switch, the resistor will limit the input current until the input capacitors are charged. The switch will then close to allow the full current to flow to the downstream DC/DC converter. The switch can be a relay or semiconductor switch, and can be driven from the 28V input such that it is somewhat automatically controlled. The resistor also can be replaced with a positive (PTC) or negative temperature coefficient (NTC) thermistor. The NTC thermistor does not require a bypassing switch S1, but does require time to cool after power is removed, before it is functional again.

Special Feature

An inductor could also be used to limit inrush current. It would not need to be bypassed since it can carry DC current with low loss. However, a large inductance value and size would usually be required, and care must be taken to damp its resonance with the system capacitances to avoid transient ringing, control loop interactions and instabilities with the DC/DC converter.


+ -

28 VDC




Another Configuration Another practical circuit uses a series MOSFET placed in the negative power lead. The MOSFET is normally off, with its gate pulled low through a resistor. When input voltage is applied, the gate will charge through the first resistor. The charge time and turn-on of MOSFET can be chosen to allow the input capacitors to charge slowly, limiting the inrush current. After the input capacitors are charged, the gate of the MOSFET will charge to the zener voltage and it will remain fully on. During the inrush period, the voltage across the MOSFET results in a large voltage difference between the return lead of the source and the input return of the DC/DC converter. This voltage will interfere with primary referenced control interfaces, requiring additional isolation for the control signals. A better solution is to move the series MOSFET to the positive lead. While this can be accomplished by using a P-channel MOSFET, a better approach is shown in Figure 4. The MOSFET is located in the high side, allowing primary circuits to share a common return, but an N-channel MOSFET is used. The N-channel MOSFET will have a lower on-resistance, reducing power loss. A charge pump is required to drive the gate of the MOSFET above the input voltage. The MOSFET can also be operated in the linear region as a source follower to provide input transient protection.

Input Modules with Inrush Limiting VPT now offers a new approach to solving the inrush current problem. The DVCL28 is a dedicated Inrush Current Limiter Module, packaged in a tiny 1-inch square hermetic case. It can power multiple EMI filters and DC/DC converters up to 11A or 200W over the full military


Figure 4

The MOSFET is located in the high side, allowing primary circuits to share a common return, but an N-channel MOSFET is used. This MOSFET will have a lower on-resistance, reducing power loss.



4 Vin: 5V/div lin: 20 A/div

timescale: 200µs/div

Figure 5

Shown here is the operation of a typical power system without a DVCL Inrush Current Limiter. temperature range of -55° to +125°C. The DVCL28 uses the circuit diagrammed in Figure 6 to control the output voltage ramp rate or dv/dt. The voltage waveforms shown with and without the inrush limiter are shown in Figure 5 and Figure 6. A 28V step function waveform is applied to the input. The rising slope of the output voltage is controlled to 6 V/ms, limiting the inrush current into a 500 uF capacitor to less than 3.5A peak.

An off-the-shelf solution such as the DVCL Inrush Current Limiter Module saves engineers the design time required to create some of the other solutions discussed in this article. A single DVCL can limit the inrush current of multiple devices, up to a maximum of 200W combined. The DVCL is designed to comply with MIL-STD-461 EMI requirements and will not inject additional noise onto the input line. It also provides an output signal to delay the November 2011 COTS Journal [ 31 ]

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11/4/11 10:18:15 AM

timescale: 1ms/div

Vin: 5V/div Vout: 5V/div lin: 20A/div

Figure 6

Shown here is the operation of a typical power system with a DVCL Inrush Current Limiter. A controlled voltage waveform is applied to the EMI filter and input capacitors. Inrush is negligible. turn-on of downstream electronics until the inrush cycle is completed. For engineers designing avionics, military, or other high-reliability systems, the DVCL module is plug-and-play, meeting all hi-rel system specifications including the wide military temperature range of -55° to +125°C. VPT offers several additional input modules that include built-in inrush current limiting. These modules each use a series N-channel MOSFET in the positive lead. The N-channel MOSFET achieves the lowest ON-state resistance to minimize power losses. Locating it in the positive lead leaves the return path unbroken, simplifying system design. Using modules with built-in inrush current protection saves the engineer design time, board space and cost.

Filtering and Transient Voltages Several modules also provide EMI filtering and input voltage transient protection. EMI is specified to MIL-STD-461. The EMI filter and inrush circuits are optimized to work together. The inrush circuit limits any current flowing into the EMI capacitors, but does not introduce any additional EMI into the input lines, as is possible with a discrete circuitry. Transient

protection is specified to MIL-STD-461, MIL-STD-704, MIL-STD-1275, DEFSTAN 59-411 and ISO 7637-2 depending on the module. For transient protection, the high-side series MOSFET is used for dual purposes to provide both inrush limiting and transient protection. The VPTPCM-12 is a special case in that it also contains switching elements, so it may require additional EMI filtering at its input. Inrush current is the peak current that flows into the power converter when the input voltage is applied or at turn-on. Many system specifications will be met with VPT’s DC/DC converters and EMI filters alone. Some applications that place limits on this inrush current may require additional inrush protection. This inrush protection can take several forms, from a passive thermistor, to discrete active circuitry, to a dedicated active inrush current limiter module. It is worth the effort to examine your design to see which solution meets your system specifications for the most efficient use of time and cost. VPT Blacksburg, VA. (425) 353-3010. [].

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A Gigabit or 100Mbps

2 Mbps

riven by technologies such as data Ethernet Physical connect networking, GPS, real-time video RF Over The Air feeds from UAVs, and satellite inLinks 1 Mbps telligence, today’s modern military has RAR access to a plethora of real-time data. Neighbor A 2 Mbps d Neighbor B 1 Mbps 128 Kbps However, getting this information to the B Neighbor C 128Kbps warfighter at the “edge of the network” is still problematic. Getting real-time voice, data and streaming video to the warfighter at the edge is no easy task. Figure 1 C Networking infrastructure might be in nies providing solutions now place on the battlefield, typically ion into products, technologies and companies.though Whether your goal is to research Atheview latestof a battlefield illustrating a mobile, wireless network capable of communicating tion Engineer,itorcannot jump to a company's page, the requiregoal of Get Connected is to put you support technical the heavier voice, data and video traffic. The networking infrastructure is located in vehicles equipped you require for whatever of technology, ments of type new, feature-rich applications. with backhaul radios and embedded routers. and products you are searching for. Soldiers are mobile and need formance, high-bandwidth networks that move with them to deliver the in- seamless access to timely information to equipment in operations and command all warfighters and decision makers at centers. But it isn’t practical or even formation they need. The U.S. DoD has standardized on every level in the military hierarchy. This possible to create a fixed, wired network IP networks to achieve the goals set out enables soldiers, ground vehicles, aircraft infrastructure on a battlefield; the only in the high-level Global Information Grid and command centers to shape collected practical way to provide a network(GIG) and Network Operations (formerly information into a coherent, accurate ing infrastructure is to create a mobile Network Centric Warfare) doctrines. The view of the battlefield. wireless network. Since most soldiers goal for Network Operations is to provide are typically in or near some sort of veMobile Network Building Blocks hicle, an effective way to create a moA portion of a military IP network bile wireless network is to make use of Get Connected can be based on fixed wired infrastruc- vehicles such as Humvees, Strykers and with companies mentioned in this article. ture, utilizing satellites and networking Bradley Fighting Vehicles to carry the

End of Article

[ 34 ] COTS Journal November 2011



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Tech Recon

Advantages of Deployed Ad Hoc Networks Self-forming

Nodes that come within radio range of each other can establish a network association without any pre-configuration or manual intervention.


Nodes can join or leave rapidly without affecting operation of the remaining nodes.

No Infrastructure

In an ad hoc network, mobile nodes form their own network and essentially become their own infrastructure.


Traditional networks typically support end systems operating in client-server mode. In an ad hoc network, mobile nodes can communicate and exchange information without prior arrangement and without reliance on centralized resources.

Predominantly wireless

Historically, networks have been mostly wired and enhanced or extended through wireless access. The ad hoc environment is essentially wireless, but can be extended to support wired resources.

Highly dynamic

Mobile nodes are in continuous motion, and ad hoc networking topologies are constantly changing.

Figure 2

Ad hoc networks have several distinguishing characteristics when compared with conventional networking solutions. infrastructure necessary to build and maintain these networks on the move (Figure 1). Mobile wireless networks are built using a variety of IP-enabled radios and specialized embedded network routers. Network infrastructure radios are called backhaul radios, which can communicate with other backhaul radios or with satellites. Each backhaul radio is connected to an IP-router to create a network node. At the “edge of the network” are a variety of clients. Dismounted soldiers carry some, such as handheld radios, man-pack radios, laptops, cameras and PDAs; multiple clients can connect wirelessly to the same IP network node. There are also a variety of clients that reside inside vehicles. Often an Ethernet switch is interfaced to the router in a vehicle, providing a vehicle local area network (LAN), for clients such as radios, laptops, battlefield display systems and mission-control computers. This enables the same IP-networking system in a vehicle to support both internal vehicle and external vehicle communications simultaneously. For example, externally mounted cameras [ 38 ] COTS Journal November 2011

will stream video feeds to the dashboard utilizing the vehicle LAN, while in-vehicle and dismounted soldiers communicate with each other and with remote C2 installations utilizing the mobile wireless network.

Unique Challenges of Mobile Wireless Networks The Internet was built on a fixed, static, wired infrastructure. More recently, there have been great strides in wireless and mobile connectivity. However, in the consumer and commercial world, wireless and mobile users still rely on a fixed, static, wired infrastructure. Cellular and Wi-Fi base stations and wireless routers are tied into the core networks with routing infrastructure, known gateways and Quality of Service. As a wireless or mobile user, you have to play within the rules; wireless connectivity works great in highly populated areas because that is where the infrastructure investment has been made. But as you move away from population centers, your wireless connection will be less likely to work because of the lack of infrastructure and radio coverage.

With fixed wired networks, the network nodes are fixed, and the only components that move are clients that are not used to route other traffic, such as cellular and Wi-Fi-enabled devices. On the battlefield, not only are the clients mobile, but so are the basic building blocks of a mobile wireless network, for example the radios and specialized embedded routers. This creates a fluid and ever-changing network with dynamic nodes and frequent routing table changes. These are referred to as mobile ad hoc networks.

Mobile Ad Hoc Networks A Mobile Ad hoc NETwork (MANET, pronounced mă-nā) provides a means for delivering the benefits of IP networking to users operating beyond the reach of a fixed network. It is a selfconfiguring, infrastructure-less network of mobile devices connected by wireless links. Each device in a MANET is free to move independently in any direction, and therefore, will change its links to other devices frequently. Each must forward traffic unrelated to its own use, and therefore participate in the routing of traffic. The primary challenge in building a MANET is equipping each network node to continuously maintain the information required to properly route traffic. Such networks may operate by themselves or may be connected to a larger network. In ad hoc networks, mobile nodes associate on an extemporaneous or ad hoc basis. Ad hoc networks have numerous distinguishing characteristics when compared with conventional networking solutions. Figure 2 lists those characteristics. Ad hoc networks deliver a compelling advantage wherever highly mobile warfighters, unsupported by fixed infrastructure, need to share IP-based information. They offer superior information-sharing at all levels, enabling improved situational awareness, a clearer understanding of leader’s intent, and the ability for remote users to self-synchronize. The fact that they’re self-forming and self-healing facilitates deployment and minimizes the need for manual configuration and intervention. Meanwhile, their multi-hop networking nature ex-

Tech Recon

tends network coverage and provides redundant paths for increased resilience. With ad hoc networks you also have the ability to operate with or without connectivity to a centralized network. Such networks are a key enabler for new applications such as vehicle-to-vehicle networking, intelligent transportation systems, sensor networking, telemetry monitoring and more.

SATCOM Radio Backhaul Radio Embedded Router Wireless Access Point UAV Link Radio Wireless Clients

Command Post

Specialized Embedded Routers Are Key Traditional network infrastructure routers are designed to work with fixed, mostly static networks with known neighbors. When there is a change to the network infrastructure requiring a change to the way packets are routed, routing tables have to be updated and propagated. Network operators in the fixed networks know the paths available and can engineer the routing changes using costing in the rare cases where neighbors change. There is typically the luxury of having monitoring points alarm to a network operations center (NOC) in the event of such network events. There can be months of planning for network or routing changes within known maintenance windows. A traditional network router would not cope with dynamic routing table changes that can occur with nodes participating in a MANET. Weather, terrain and mobility make radio-based communications dynamic; therefore, routers must be aware of each radio’s condition in order to make effective routing decisions with built-in mechanisms to prevent constant rerouting and human intervention. Mobile networks delivering real-time services, such as video and data, cannot tolerate prolonged network disruptions as the network changes due to radio dynamics. To address this challenge, IP routers are deployed with technology to minimize network disruption due to network reconvergence. These routers support features such as radio-aware routing, traffic optimization, firewall/network security and voice services.

Dynamic Link Exchange Protocol The Dynamic Link Exchange Protocol (DLEP) is the latest protocol in

Figure 3

Routers have specialized Radio Aware Routing (RAR) capabilities to allow them to receive information from IP-enabled radios. By knowing information about each radio link, the router can very quickly and dynamically route packets to other network nodes across any available link.

the Radio Aware Routing (RAR) family of protocols that enable communications between a router and a radio in a mobile ad hoc network (Figure 3). It enables a radio to provide a router with information about the quality of links between radios and can report on the presence or loss of potential routing neighbors. Key to the concept of RAR protocols is that a router may connect to a radio using standard Ethernet, but the radio can convey information about the true characteristics of the over-theair radio links to the router, including the actual available bandwidth, delay, or link quality. This functionality is especially critical with today’s dynamic radio waveforms, which can vary frequencies and power based on current conditions in real time. The resulting changes in bandwidth or other characteristics must be communicated to a router using the radio channels in order to apply QoS or to communicate metric information within routing protocols.

The actual available bandwidth to any given radio neighbor may in fact be different from any other neighbor, and certainly may be different from the bandwidth of the physical connection between a radio and a router. The bandwidth to any specific neighbor can also change and such changes need to be taken into account for both IP routing and Quality of Service. Neighbor up/down signaling enables routers to provide faster network convergence by reacting to link status signals generated by the radio, rather than waiting for protocol timers to expire. Routers can factor link quality metrics reported by radios into their OSPFv3- or EIGRP-based route cost calculations. Utilizing bandwidth metrics, routers can provide flow control for data to minimize the need to queue and buffer data in radios, allow voice to be prioritized over video when radio links are degraded, and provide consistent QoS for networks with multiple radios. November 2011 COTS Journal [ 39 ]

Tech Recon

Figure 4

The 5940 Embedded Services Router (ESR) is an example of a router with the features needed to build a mobile, ad hoc network (MANET). It can integrate into deployable ATR style enclosures with other embedded computing technology to create a rugged mobile networking infrastructure.

SWaP and Ruggedization Mobile ad hoc networks for military applications pose hardware and platform challenges because many of today’s networking devices must be optimized from a Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) perspective and also be made to work reliably in harsh envi-

ronments. In the peer-to-peer world, anybody or anything that moves can potentially be a wireless networking node. Military ad hoc networking requires a variety of platforms, ranging from vehicle-based to hand-carried or wearable, and all offering equivalent network services.

Whether a router and a Gbit Ethernet switch are deployed in a small two-slot box to provide network connectivity and an in-vehicle LAN, or a router is being integrated into a vehicle’s existing mission control computer, space and power are at a premium. And the hardware needs to be able to survive the harsh environment in a vehicle on the battlefield. Size, weight and power are even more critical for clients carried by dismounted soldiers. Astonishingly, today’s infantryman carries approximately 130 pounds of gear. The ability to integrate the router technology into existing deployed systems and the ability to easily upgrade the equipment as technology changes are important factors. Many systems deployed in vehicles are based on the industrystandard VME, 3U CompactPCI, 3U VPX, or PC/104 form factors. These form factors offer excellent ruggedized, conduction-cooled implementations. Choosing an industry-standard, COTS-based router makes it easy to add functionality to existing systems. It also provides flex-

Don’t settle for solutions that almost meet your needs and specs. Get them exactly as you need them. LCR specializes in providing our backplanes, enclosures and EMI filters to your most demanding mission and mil-spec requirements. From mildly to fully modified, from COTS to full custom, LCR has the in-depth expertise to make ours yours. Exactly. Subsystem Enclosures & Backplanes A complete range of standard and custom subsystems and backplanes for the most demanding military/aerospace applications, including readily available VME, cPCI, VPX, & ATCA systems. Performance-proven rack-mount chassis, ATR enclosures, multi-layer and wire-wrap backplanes, flex and rigid/flex assemblies, power distribution units and more. EMI Filters Rugged mil/aero filters in custom and standard versions: MIL-STD-461/ MIL-STD-220A, single- and three-phase, tubular MIL-F-15733, data & communication, shielded facility, power line and extended temperature. Making Ours Yours Start with our broad range of standard subsystem products and filters, and we’ll take them as far as your application requires to make them yours! Exactly. Call or visit our website to get started.

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Tech Recon

ibility for future upgrades, and it makes it much less likely that the user will get locked into a proprietary design.

Network Solutions for the Dynamic Environment While the challenges presented by tactical networks are unique, COTS routing technologies are available (Figure 4) to deliver network services optimized for dynamic environments. These

embedded routers are key to deploying the rich set of applications and service that today’s warfighters require. When these ruggedized, embedded routers are coupled with today’s high-performance, IP-enabled radios, they do much more than just create mobile ad hoc networks. They help ensure that the networks and the data are highly secure, critical applications are prioritized, and bandwidth is optimized. They deliver vital data to

COTS POWER SOLUTIONS FROM THE COMPANY THAT HELPED WRITE THE BOOK There’s a good reason that every product TDI Power designs conforms to the NAVSO power supply guidelines: we’re a charter member of the Navy ad hoc committee that actually wrote those guidelines. Our military roots – which include 45 years of custom design, engineering and manufacturing – ensure that our commercial products are inherently more robust and reliable than you might expect from a typical COTS supplier. From the most basic applications to mission critical systems, the solution is always as close as TDI Power. DEMANDING APPLICATIONS DEMAND TDI POWER

What the Future Holds It is easy to predict what will happen in the future for mobile, ad hoc military networks simply by looking at what is happening in the commercial world. There will be increasing bandwidth demands from an ever-growing list of rich services and applications, as has happened as a result of the explosion of smartphones. There will be a proliferation of connected nodes as the technology is integrated into more clients. This will be driven by the need to continually reduce the SWaP of the radios, routers and embedded systems used to create the communication systems and tactical networks. We will see a variety of industry-standard COTS form factors to support clients and nodes, ranging from dismount to ground vehicle to airframe solutions. Likely form factors will be 3U VPX, XMC, and other emerging small form factors (SFFs). The demand for smartphones, laptops and tablets is driving the tremendous growth in commercial wireless networks. These same technologies are helping to create mobile, wireless, ad hoc networks for the military. Key to creating these military networks is router technology taken from the commercial world and modified to support the mobility of these networks and the harsh environment of the battlefield. Ruggedized, embedded routers with Radio Aware Routing are helping achieve the goals set out in the Network Operations doctrine. Cisco Systems San Jose, CA. (408) 526-4000. [].

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[ 42Untitled-1 ] COTS1Journal November 2011

dismounted soldiers, such as live streaming video from UAVs overhead. They allow commanders to get a total, integrated view of the battlespace. They have even allowed the President of the United States to view Navy SEAL operations in real time, half a world away in Pakistan.

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systems. These solutions were designed to provide warfighters in ground vehicles with the highest degree of protection and information-gathering capabilities with real-time stitching and panning of video and sensor feeds. Let us demonstrate how this or our other image processing and exploitation capabilities can be used to get your ISR program deployed sooner. To learn more about ISR solutions from GE, please visit our ISR Visualization website:

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Tech Recon

Managing and Processing the ISR Data Deluge

GPGPU Technology Eases Persistent Imaging Processing Challenges For the data-intensive processing needs of persistent image processing, GPGPUs can outperform CPUs at real-time parallel data stream computation. Anne Mascarin, Solutions Marketing Manager Mercury Computer Systems


lthough used previously in conventional warfare applications, persistent imaging is a major new advancement in the war against terror. Radar, electro-optical (EO), infrared (IR), signals intelligence (SIGINT) and hyper-spectral are among the sensor system modalities that can be used for this purpose. The ability to collect, process and compare outputs from these sensor systems captured from aboard a moving platform such as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), or from a stationary airborne platform such as an aerostat, can provide the warfighter with invaluable situational awareness. Since today’s modern sensors can gather so much data during long collection missions, extracting the real-time actionable information from the data and storing it for later forensic analysis is a challenging task (Figure 1). There are some key technologies worth exploring for addressing this challenge using highperformance embedded computing to process and reduce the data from current and next-generation sensors.

Persistent Imaging Processing The derivation of real-time actionable information from sensor data is a [ 44 ] COTS Journal November 2011

Figure 1

Today’s modern sensors can gather so much data during long collection missions that extracting the real-time actionable information from the data, and storing it for later forensic analysis, is a challenge. A Global Hawk UAV shown here gets all pre-flight checks accomplished from maintenance technicians before a mission.

compute-intensive, real-time operation that requires SWaP (Size, Weight and Power)—optimized, ultra-high speed, real-time processing power. Traditionally used only in gaming, GPGPUs are performance powerhouses in terms of

performance and SWaP optimization. In many instances, GPGPUs can outperform CPUs. GPGPUs excel at performing mathematical operations such as image processing on parallel data streams, because GPGPUs are actually highly par-

Tech Recon

ergy consumed than CPUs. This aspect is clearly beneficial for power-limited airborne platforms. At both the component and system level, all airborne applications require high-performance components and systems for reliable operation under harsh environmental conditions. However, airborne imaging applications require additional features from a component and subsystem level.

Figure 2

Figure 3

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allel, multicore mathematical processors with high-speed, on-off chip data access—perfect for high-speed mathematical operand read and write. In terms of SWaP, GPGPUs minimize board real estate because of their

high performance per processor (Figure 2). In general, for applications that require multiple parallel mathematical operations, GPGPUs will outperform CPUs, so fewer processors are needed to perform the same task. GPGPUs also compare favorably against many CPUs in terms of Gflops per watt. GPGPUs can offer more performance per unit of en-

Frequent GPGPU Tech Upgrades As imaging subsystem performance requirements inevitably increase and sensor payloads grow, a reliable way to increase performance will be required. Fortunately, GPGPU manufacturers such as NVIDIA and AMD release new and higher-performing GPGPUs roughly twice per year. However, a method for rapidly and seamlessly upgrading components to the latest GPGPUs (with minimal system downtime) should be available. One way to achieve this is to implement GPGPUs via a Mobile PCI Express Module (MXM), an industry standard form factor. Both AMD/ ATI and NVIDIA ship their GPGPUs on these surface-mount boards with defined connecter specifications. Upgrading a carrier card with MXMs featuring the latest GPGPU technology is a much quicker way to disseminate the latest technology than a complete re-spin of a GPGPU board containing soldered-down components. At the subsystem level, openness and interoperability not only align with openstandards initiatives, they make it easy to incorporate key persistent imaging functionality such as camera interfaces and compression technology. The OpenVPX specification is a defined set of system architectures describing an open, interoperable embedded subsystem interface definition. High data rate switch fabrics, ability to manage heterogeneous processing, and high-speed IO are all critical requirements of high-performance airborne imaging applications, and are aspects of the OpenVPX-based subsystems.

Storage Considerations Producing high-quality imagery on board a mobile platform poses some interesting algorithmic and SWaP challenges because mitigating platform- and sensor[ 46Untitled-5 ] COTS1Journal November 2011

9/7/11 8:22:13 AM

Tech Recon

induced distortions can degrade image quality. Also, meeting the simultaneous requirements for extracting real-time, actionable data and storing high-fidelity forensic data is a massive computational challenge. Single sensor images (such as a warfighter would request of a particular sensor) must be stored for analysis. Forensic analysts can use this imagery to determine recurring activity of interest and view adversarial movement patterns.

Solving these tough challenges for a successful implementation takes a combination of specialized products. Advanced image processing functions that are optimized for execution on GPGPUs would certainly save countless hours of algorithm research, development and testing. Several types of algorithms are needed, including memory optimization algorithms for management of digitized sensor data in memory, image tagging functions to indicate areas for fur-


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ther analysis, and geometrical correction functions to correct for image distortion due to factors such as camera angle tilt and curvature of the earth. Additionally, creating an amalgam-type of image from individually processed sensor streams requires stitching or mosaic-ing operations.

Accommodating Scalability In addition to imaging functions, additional imaging software features are beneficial. Scalability is crucial for support of multiple cameras. Video feed orientation, coverage area and resolution must be mutually independent variables. And a mature and fielded solution is clearly desired for robustness. Highly dense storage is the final technology needed to address the challenge of extracting actionable information from stored data. Sensor images need to be stored for both post-mission analysis and for serving the warfighter in a digital video recorder-type capability (Figure 3). Also, imaging techniques such as histogram analysis on stored data can be used to determine troop movement by identifying disturbed versus undisturbed ground. However, persistent imaging timeframes, particularly on unmanned flights, can be weeks or months long—calling for ultra-dense, scalable rugged storage. There are many elements of storage solutions to be considered, including environmental requirements such as vibration tolerance; data interface choices such as SATA, 10GbE, and Fibre Channel; degree of redundancy; availability of upgrade path; and security needs. But perhaps the most crucial, least negotiable factor is storage density; lack of sufficient storage density could hamper access to actionable information. Although key technology and components for extracting actionable data from overwhelming streams of sensor data are highlighted here, additional hardware components, software, system interconnect and management, plus integration time and expertise are required to create a total persistent imaging subsystem. Mercury Computer Systems Chelmsford, MA. (978) 967-1401. [].

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System Development JTRS and WIN-T Programs Update

JTRS and WIN-T Technologies Take to the Field Each with years of step by step, multifaceted development behind it, the JTRS and WIN-T programs are facing the challenges of field testing and deployment.

Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


dvances 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 tod gether with its organizational problems now in the past. Meanwhile, WIN-T—the Army’s on-the-move, high-speed, highcapability backbone communications network— is moving forward to become the solutions networknow for reliable, secure and seamnies providing less video, data, and voiceyour services ion into products, technologies andimagery companies. Whether goal is to research the latest ation Engineer, jumpwarfighters. to a company's With technical page, goal ofthe Get Connected is to put you foror the that inthe mind, you require defense for whateverindustry type of technology, is entering into a new and products you are searching for. phase where huge R&D efforts are being concentrated on defense communications, as an increasing number of defense estabFigure 1 lishments realize the need for empowering A soldier uses a JTRS radio inside his vehicle to exchange information with upper command their defense forces with the latest comheadquarters. The radio can emulate current force radios and use Internet Protocol munications technologies available. waveforms WNW and SRW. The long road to sophisticated software defined radios is finally getting real as the JTRS program moves into deploy- airborne, vehicular, maritime and small ity and reusability. FY 2012 plans for JTRS ment phase. JTRS encompasses ground, form factor variants of the radio hardware; include funding the design, development and 17 Increment 1 waveforms for porting into manufacture of JTRS engineering developthe JTRS hardware; and network manage- ment models (EDMs), and low rate initial Get Connected ment applications. All JTRS products are production (LRIP), to include hardware with companies mentioned in this article. being developed in a joint environment, en- and software, as well as sustainment of hancing hardware and software commonal- fielded radios and certified waveforms.

End of Article

[ 50 ] COTS Journal November 2011

System Development

Much JTRS Activity Just the last couple months have seen some significant steps forward with JTRS. Last month the Joint Program Executive Office for the Joint Tactical Radio System (JPEO JTRS) announced the completion of another round of Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 12.1 New Equipment Training (NET) for members of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division at Ft Bliss, TX. The training centered on JTRS equipment and systems that will be a part of the Army’s upcoming NIE 12.1 to include: Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (HMS) Rifleman Radio and Manpack Radio, Ground Mobile Radio (GMR), and JTRS Enterprise Network Manager (JENM) and Soldier Radio Waveform Network Manager (SRWNM) (Figure 1). Taking place over the first couple weeks in November, NIE 12.1’s purpose is to assess network and non-network capabilities. Priorities of NIE 12.1 are to extend the network to the individual Soldier, advance mission command on the move, and continue to establish an Integration Network Baseline.

MIDS JTRS Contracts On the contracts side, ViaSat was awarded engineering development orders valued at over $15 million for Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS JTRS) terminals for the U.S. government. The awards resulted from a cooperative procurement through the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR). The orders were awarded under the MIDS Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract initially executed in March 2010. The awards provide the first block cycle (BC1) information assurance modernization upgrades and additional enhancements for MIDS JTRS terminals. MIDS JTRS (Figure 2) is a joint development of ViaSat and Data Link Solutions and provides a migration path from the MIDS-LVT to a certified, reprogrammable, software-defined radio architecture

Figure 2

The MIDS JTRS system adds three programmable channels to the legacy Link-16 and TACAN capabilities of the MIDS-LVT. Those channels are designed to host future advanced airborne networking waveforms. for tactical data links. The MIDS JTRS adds three programmable channels to the legacy Link-16 and TACAN capabilities of the MIDS-LVT. The three new channels are designed to host future advanced airborne networking waveforms. MIDS JTRS is “plug-and-play” backward compatible with MIDS-LVT so it can easily replace the MIDS-LVT, but remain interoperable. Since their original introduction in 2000, MIDS-LVTs have provided secure, high-capacity, jam resistant, digital data and voice communications capabilities for a variety of platforms, including ships, aircraft, missile defense systems, and national and international command and control agencies. Over 8,100 MIDS-LVTs are on contract or have been delivered worldwide, with thousands of future installations and applications projected through 2021.

JTRS SRW Field Tests Another significant milestone for JTRS occurred in September when the JTRS Reference Implementation Laboratory (JRIL) conducted a Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) Interoperability Quicklook (SIQ) Field Exercise at SPAWAR Sys-

tem Center (SSC) Pacific Topside and Seaside facilities in San Diego. With assistance from the JPEO JTRS Technical Director, participating JTRS Program Offices and several commercial vendors, JRIL test engineers from SSC-Atlantic and SSCPacific successfully configured, executed and monitored lab and field tests using the latest version of SRW, SRW Network Manager (SRWNM) and JTRS Enterprise Network Manager (JENM). The JTRS government test engineers successfully demonstrated the formation of a heterogeneous SRW Island comprised of six unique types of SRW-capable radio platforms including two radios developed under government contract by the JTRS Program: Ground Mobile Radio (GMR) and Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (HMS) Rifleman Radio. Leveraging the JTRS Enterprise Business Model (EBM), the commercial vendors obtained the SRW waveform from the JTRS Information Repository and integrated the waveform into their radio products using internal funding. Commercial radios that participated in the interoperability event include ITT Soldier Radio-Rifleman, ITT November 2011 COTS Journal [ 51 ]

System Development

cle-mounted radio, augmenting its power and extending its range. Just as quickly, the Rifleman radio can be removed from the Sidewinder while maintaining connectivity with the tactical network. The Sidewinder’s hardware assembly includes the 20W power amplifier from another JTRS HMS radio, the AN/PRC155, and connectors that work with the vehicle’s existing intercom systems and are compatible with standard mounting trays that most vehicles already have in place. The Sidewinder/Rifleman radio combination has been selected by the Army for evaluation at the upcoming NIE 12.1 event. Figure 3

The Sidewinder Vehicle Mount unit equips vehicles that do not have communications capability with tactical radios operating in the SRW network. Used in conjunction with the networking AN/PRC-154 Rifleman radio, the Sidewinder quickly transitions the radio from a body-worn radio.

Side Hat Radio, Harris AN/PRC-117G, and the Northrop Grumman Freedom radio.

Putting JTRS through its Paces According to the JTRS JPEO, the objective of the field exercise was to evaluate the effectiveness of recent SRW patches and parameter updates on platform interoperability and performance in a field environment. Both static and mobile configurations were examined. Each vendor provided multiple radios, which permitted the formation of networks containing up to 14 nodes. Initial test results indicate that all participating radios were able to form a network and exchange Internet Protocol (IP) data and Combat Network Radio (CNR) voice in an interoperable manner. This SIQ test provided initial validation of SRW’s ability to interoperate across multiple radio platforms. The SRWNM also successfully monitored the configured network throughout the testing, enabling critical insight to the health and status of the heterogeneous SRW network. The success of these tests have been touted by officials as a win for the JTRS business model. That model was a paradigm shift for defense communications in its move away from sole source, [ 52 ] COTS Journal November 2011

stove-piped, point-to-point proprietary systems to a highly competitive, interoperable, networking environment. Successful completion of the SIQ event lays the groundwork for the upcoming Army’s Network Integration Exercise (NIE) 12.1 as mentioned earlier. Four of the six JTRS radios tested as interoperable over-the-air using SRW during this event will also be participating in that exercise. Priorities of NIE 12.1 are to extend the network to the individual Soldier, advance mission command on the move and continue to establish an Integration Network Baseline. JPEO JTRS plans to continue partnering with Army and commercial developers to conduct JTRS waveform interoperability testing in support of future NIE events.

Vehicle Mount Solution Facilitating the vehicle side of SRW JTRS, General Dynamics C4 Systems has built a piece of gear called the Sidewinder Vehicle Mount (Figure 3). The unit equips vehicles that do not have communications capability with tactical radios operating in the Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) network. An accessory for the networking AN/PRC-154 Rifleman radio, the Sidewinder quickly transitions the radio from a body-worn radio to a vehi-

WNW Software Support Another critical JTRS waveform, Wideband Networking Waveform (WNW) has undergone significant developments. WNW does the heavy lifting needed to quickly and efficiently move large amounts of data from the core of the network to the tactical edge. Last month General Dynamics C4 Systems was awarded the Wideband Networking Waveform Software In-Service Support contract by the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, to support, maintain and add new capabilities to the Wideband Networking Waveform (WNW). WNW provides the bandwidth capacity needed to move large amounts of data through the U.S. military’s tactical network. The five-year, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract has a maximum potential value of $64.5 million if all options are exercised. Software support and maintenance will increase reliability and improve performance of WNW software thus increasing capabilities within the tactical network. Planned WNW enhancements include increased scalability and throughput adding capability for commanders while on the move.

WIN-T Rolls Forward A step up in scope from JTRS is another key military networking program: the Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T). WIN-T is the Army’s on-the-move, high-speed, high-capability backbone communications network, linking warfighters in the battlefield with the

System Development

Figure 4

Two Point of Presence vehicles are shown here during the six-week WIN-T Increment 2 Production Qualification Test-Government (PQT-G) event this summer at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

Global Information Grid (GIG). This network is intended to provide C4ISR support capabilities. The system is being developed as a network for reliable, secure and seamless video, data, imagery and voice services for the warfighters in the theater to enable decisive combat actions. The WIN-T program consists of four increments. Last year the Army awarded General Dynamics C4 Systems a contract to enable a General Dynamics-led team to begin Low Rate Initial Production of the Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2. Increment 2 (Figure 4) equips vehicles with onthe-move broadband communications enabling command and control from anywhere in the battlespace. The fiscal year 2012 procures and continues to field WIN-T Inc 1 to the Army, with a Ka satellite upgrade. WIN-T Inc 2 is currently in Limited Rate Initial Production (LRIP) in anticipation of its Initial Operational Test in FY 2012. WIN-T Inc 3 continues in its Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) phase to deliver the full networking on the move, including the airborne tier of the program. In March the Army awarded delivery orders to a General Dynamics-Lockheed

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Martin team to procure Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 systems for five additional brigade combat teams (BCTs). The Army has now ordered Increment 2 systems for a total of eight BCTs under a three-year contract that was awarded in March 2010. The first WIN-T Increment 2 fielding is scheduled to take place this month.

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Lockheed Martin Bethesda, MD. (301) 897-6000. []. ViaSat Carlsbad, CA. (760) 476-2200. []. (508)-678-0550 November 2011 COTS Journal [ 53 ] Untitled-9 1

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Technology Focus ATCA Blades and Systems

ATCA Blades and Systems Fill Unique Military Needs Offering the size and features other computing form factors lack, ATCA has carved out a healthy niche of military system design mindshare. Shipborne and UAV control station systems are among the adopters. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


TCA in recent years has carved out a solid niche in military applications suited to its features. Where ATCA shines is in a military system where compute density and raw performance are top priorities. Traditionally, military and aerospace standards-based applications were limited to mission computing and built with rugged VME or CompactPCI. The form factors are still enjoying huge military market share, but they have limits when applied to network-centric military applications. Their configurations are suited for managing heavy I/O, but their form factors limit networking and processing capability. Last month, PICMG, the standard body that created ATCA, announced the adoption and availability of a new specification for ATCA: PICMG 3.8 AdvancedTCA Rear Transition Module Zone 3A specification. The new spec adds a defined set of connectors for data and management for full size AdvancedTCA Rear Transition Modules (RTMs). The specification defines a power and system management connector, and addresses power and cooling issues specific to AdvancedTCA RTMs. The high-performance and bandwidth capabilities of ATCA bring the latest technologies to standards-based applications, such as command and control, aerospace surveillance, land mobile communications and maritime networks, which must collect and manage large amounts of data in real time. ATCA is the perfect fit for those requirements, because ATCA was specifically designed to address high-density network communications applications and delivers up to eight times the performance of VPX and 40 times the performance of VME or cPCI. In addition, ATCA is a broadly adopted standard that has proven its interoperability through five years of deployment in the communication segment. Among the major programs that have considered ATCA is the U.S. Navy’s Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES). Open standards-based high-availability (HA) middleware on ATCA platforms provides further fault tolerance on an ap-

[ 54 ] COTS Journal November 2011

Figure 1

ATCA platforms provide fault tolerance on an application level enabling continued operations of critical missions even with some hardware and software failures. This is one reason ATCA has gained entry into applications like UAV Ground Control Stations. plication level that allows continued operations of critical missions even with some hardware and software failures. This is one reason ATCA has gained entry into applications like UAV Ground Control Stations (Figure 1). With ATCA it is easy to integrate new networks with legacy systems. Video and audio are critical elements of these applications, which combine to create tremendous bandwidth requirements. Current ATCA technologies can fully support 10 Gbit of traffic on the system backplane to process voice and video traffic, while future ATCA solutions will handle 40 Gbit of traffic for video applications such as HD video. ATCA supports AMCs to provide legacy connectivity with communication equipment that performs functionalities like SIGINT and COMINT. A new system can come online using ATCA while maintaining interconnectivity with older systems.


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Technology Focus:

ATCA Blades and Systems Roundup ATCA Base Switch Blade Provides 24 Gbit Ethernet Ports

Xeon-Based ATCA Blade Offers 8-Core/16-Thread Performance

ATCA SBC Boasts Dual Six-Core Intel Xeon 5600 CPUs

ATCA has carved out a respectable niche in the military where high-density computing and net-centric communications are a priority. A 24-port GbE AdvancedTCA (ATCA) Multilayer Base Switch Blade is based on the Broadcom BCM56312 switch chip. It supports up to thirteen GbE ports for a 14-slot PICMG 3.0 ATCA system, with six egress GbE ports and two 10GbE SFP+ uplink ports via front panel access. The aTCA3150 from Adlink Technology incorporates Broadcom’s Fastpath networking software and is designed for ATCA adopters (NEPs & TEMs) who require AMC modularity, Gigabit layer 3 switching, a scalable control-plane engine and high-availability Base Interface. The aTCA-3150 provides a COM Express Type

The multicore trend is now entrenched in the realm of embedded processing. Exemplifying that trend, Advantech’s first Intel Xeon 5500-based AdvancedTCA design was followed by a dual processor ATCA blade version, the MIC-5322. The underlying architecture and software drivers remain identical to the MIC5320 single processor model making software fully reusable. Customers can freely choose the module that matches their application performance needs and chassis cooling capabilities.

There’s a great deal of overlap between the performance and reliably of telecom and the communications needs of military networks. Feeding such needs, Continuous Computing’s FlexCompute ATCA-XE80 is a dual socket single board compute blade supporting 12 cores / 24 threads via two high-performance Intel Xeon 5600 series “Westmere” processors. The XE80 provides support for four hard drives, 64 Gbyte memory and an optional RTM with additional network interface options.

2 site for expansion with a processing subsystem, allowing users to tailor processing power to application demands. In addition, two mid-sized AMC bays for I/O expansion are supported to suit the needs of different applications. The aTCA3150 provides 10/100/1000Base-TX GbE and layer 3 switching on Base Interface with support for 14-slot shelves. It offers six front panel RJ-45 egress Gigabit Ethernet copper ports plus two 10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+ optical uplink ports in connection with the Base Interface domain. The aTCA-3150’s switch blade design incorporates a powerful Freescale MPC8313E PowerQUICC II Pro 333 MHz processor for local management functions. This processor is used for managing the BCM56312 GbE switch and for hosting the Fastpath networking software switching and management modules. Pricing starts at $3,815.

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

[ 56 ] COTS Journal November 2011

In addition to supporting hot-swappable rear transition modules (RTM) for explicit carrier grade or HA applications that require it, the MIC-5322 blade adheres to Advantech’s Common RTM definition developed to maximize interoperability and reuse between RTMs and ATCA blades. These guidelines clearly define the management interface and RTM port mapping for interconnects such as USB, PCIe, XAUI and SAS. In this way, customized RTMs can be reused among different blades and generation of blades. The MIC-5322’s improved DDR3 memory latency, faster PCI Express 2.0, and accelerated virtualization technologies provide impressive processing capacity. The design enhancements in Intel’s new 82599 10 GbE controller also play a key role in end-to-end network performance and throughput. Compared to the previous generation Intel 82598, the Intel 82599 is packed with new and improved features contributing up to a 2.5 times improvement in LAN throughput. Corresponding hardware optimizations in the Intel 82599 include a new PCI Express 2.0 interface (5 Gbit/s) to improve the entire data path as well as intelligent queue support (VMDq) optimized for multicore processors.

Advantech Irvine, CA. (949) 789-7178. [].

The XE80 dual Intel Xeon Westmere ATCA compute blade was designed with performance in mind, supporting the option of either the Intel Xeon L5638 or the higher-performing Intel Xeon E5645 processor. The XE80 dual Intel Xeon Westmere ATCA compute blade can address low entry points via a single CPU option and scale to two processors without the need for full re-qualification. Featuring over 1 Terabyte of storage, the XE80 dual Intel Xeon Westmere ATCA compute blade has two low-cost solid state disks on the main blade, up to 32 Gbytes of cost-effective USB Flash and an additional two drives on the RTM with RAID support. The RTM also supports a high-performance 4-port external SAS connector. The XE80 dual Intel Xeon Westmere ATCA compute blade features two mezzanine sites for the addition of offload engines and a dual 10G fabric NIC supporting iSCSI, TCP offload, VLAN tagging and congestion control. Since the blade has been validated with leading hypervisors, it is an ideal platform because support for extended VT-x and VT-d decreases the overhead associated with virtualization.

Continuous Computing San Diego, CA. (858) 882-8800. [].

ATCA Blades and Systems Roundup

AdvancedTCA Processor Blade Serves Up Intel Westmere-Based CPU

Diversified Technology offers an ATCA solution that includes multiple processor blades, switches, systems and full integration capabilities. The ATC7000 is a dual socket node blade supporting 12 cores (24 simultaneous threads with HyperThreading enabled) of processing performance by way of dual Intel Xeon 5600 series “Westmere” processors. The ATC7000 provides support for up to 64 Gbyte memory and an optional RTM with additional network interface options. The board is a PICMG 3.0-compliant processor board that provides high performance for LTE/4G and other next-generation wireless and wireline military systems.

The ATC7000 boasts both a base fabric of 1 Gbit Ethernet and an extended 10 Gbit Ethernet fabric. The dual Intel Xeons are L5638, 2.0 GHz Hex Cores or dual Intel Xeon E5645, 2.4 GHz Hex Cores. The Intel 5520 (Tylersburg) chipset supports a QPI CPU bus and up to up to 64 Gbytes of registered DDR3 DRAM. There are two onboard solid state storage disks. I/O includes front panel I/O, two 1 Gbit Ethernet ports, a USB 2.0 port, serial and management LAN. The rear transition module has two SAS/ SATA ports, two 1 Gbit Ethernet ports, a USB 2.0 port and serial and management LAN. The RTM supports TM7000 and TM7000HD. The board is compatible with the ATS1936 10G ATCA Switch and the ATS1160 1G ATCA Switch. The board is compatible with Targa-14 Series 14 Slot ATCA Systems, Targa-6 Series 6 Slot ATCA Systems and MRS6 - Mobile Rugged ATCA Systems. The board supports PICMG specification PICMG 3.1 Option 9.

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

ATCA Platform Is Ready for Tough Field Deployment

ATCA Blade Provides Advanced Packet Processing

A high-performance, multiprocessing system platform is designed to address computeintensive requirements in command and control data center applications. The ATCA7365 SystemPak from Elma Electronic combines the high-performance multiprocessing of an integrated ATCA platform with a ruggedized design capable of withstanding the high shock and vibration found in rugged mobile transport applications. It has been successfully tested to withstand a 36” drop shock test per MIL-STD810G.

The ATCA-9405 from Emerson Network Power is a state-of-the-art AdvancedTCA blade for high touch and high throughput packet processing applications to support the latest data-intensive network evolution. Packet processing is used widely in network security applications such as unified threat management and session border controllers; in the latest 4G LTE mobile networks for lawful interception and packet gateways; and in deep packet inspection applications for policy enforcement and quality of service control.

Featuring three ATCA processor blades, each with two six-core Intel processors as standard, the ATCA7365 SystemPak offers high processing power that makes it an ideal solution for use in rugged “comms on the move” (COTM) applications such as data center virtualization and networkcentric environments. The new ATCA7365 platform has been successfully tested to meet environmental requirements for operation in a command and control center. It is mounted in a lightweight transit case, can withstand a 36” drop test on two axes, and can endure random vibration up to 25 Gs per MIL-STD-810G. Operating temperature is 3° to 37°C in 5% to 95% non-condensing humidity. In addition to the three processor blades, the standard configuration includes an Elma Type 11A, 6U six-slot ATCA chassis, a fully replicated mesh backplane and a single system management card with a provision for dual management as well as redundant cooling and power supplies. Four 300 Gbyte SAS (serial-attached SCSI) drives and a 10 Gigabit Ethernet fabric switch blade with RTM (real-time monitoring) are also part of the ready-to-run unit.

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

With a 40 Gbit/s ATCA fabric, up to 82 Gbit/s direct Ethernet terminations, a sophisticated onboard managed Ethernet switching infrastructure to support traffic flow the ATCA-9405 represents a balanced 3x to 4x performance and throughput increase over previous generations. The card sports MIPS64 cores, and acceleration engines provided by two Cavium OCTEON II CN6880 multicore processors. The dual-core service processor is used to offload other blade functions in order to maximize the packet processing capability, including managing Layer 2 and 3 switching/routing functions on the local Ethernet switch. Software support includes Wind River’s PNE 4.x operating system, Cavium’s packet processing SDK, and 6WIND’s 6WINDGate fast path networking stacks. The ATCA-9405 can operate with or without rear transition modules (RTMs) depending on system architecture, and is designed to support NEBS/ETSI requirements when used in conjunction with any of Emerson’s CPTA-B.4 grade enclosures. To make the most use of the 40 Gbit/s fabric, the blade should be paired with a 40 Gbit/s hub switch like the Emerson ATCA-F140.

Emerson Network Power Tempe, AZ. (602) 438-5720. [ /embeddedcomputing].

November 2011 COTS Journal [ 57 ]

ATCA Blades and Systems Roundup

ATCA SBC Blends Dual Xeon 5500s, 64 Gbyte RAM

ATCA Blade Sports Six-Core Intel Xeon Processors

ATCA GigE Switch Blade Puts RapidIO to Work

A new ATCA single board computer is designed for demanding military networks where it will enable significantly faster network performance than is currently possible. Typical applications include Control Plane functions for WiMAX, LTE (Long Term Evolution) and NGN (Next Generation Networks) networks. The A10200 ATCA SBC from GE Intelligent Platforms features two Intel Xeon Nehalem 5500 Series dual or quad core processors and up to 64 Gigabytes of DDR3 SDRAM memory, and it delivers a combination of unsurpassed performance and low power dissipation. For LTE applications, the A10200 is suited for

ATCA has captured a solid niche in defense applications where large board space and heavy duty networking throughput are key. Kontron’s AdvancedTCA node blade AT8050 and its Kontron server board KTC5520 are available with the Intel Xeon processor 5600 series. This provides military network equipment providers a second feature-rich processor option for the two products that were originally designed with the Intel Xeon processor 5500 series.

The Ensemble BSW-201 AdvancedTCA RapidIO/GigE Switch Blade is the heart of the Ensemble AdvancedTCA (ATCA) Application Platform. This ATCA fabric and base switch blade provides a serial RapidIO fabric interface for ATCA systems with up to 14 slots, while also supporting Gigabit Ethernet communications via a GigE switch. The 10 Gbit/s system hub is ideal for next-generation base station, RNC and media gateway development.

The key feature differences with the Intel Mobility Management Entity (MME) and Home Xeon processor 5600 series compared to the Subscriber Server (HSS). MME has a stringent 5500 series are: six cores instead of four; 12 requirement for user handover latency, and the threads versus 8; 32 nm technology compared A10200 with its multiple processing cores, faster and to 45 nm; increased performance within the less contentious memory interfaces and high-speed same thermal power envelope; new low-power Ethernet connectivity options is well suited for this platform consumption with LVDDR3L; and it d application. HSS holds the subscriber database and maintains all the performance functionalities requires fast and reliable storage options, which the of the 5500 series plus a new hardwareA10200 offers in the form of dual SAS drives. More based security technology called Advanced demanding storage needs can be addressed by the Encryption Standard - New Instructions (AESuse of a customized rear transition module (RTM) NI). The Kontron ATCA node blade AT8050 using dual Fibre Channel interfaces. features a single socket for either one quad-core contributing Intel Xeon processor L5518 or the six-core Xeon nies providingAlso solutions now to the A10200’s leading-edge performance is its support for multiple Gigabit processor L5638. Both options are compatible ion into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, together with the existing Intel 5520 chipset, which tion Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you with a Gigabit Ethernet maintenance port for remote supports up to 36 lanes of PCI Express 2.0 you require for whatever type of technology, and troubleshooting. The A10200 and directly assignable I/O for virtualization and productsmanagement you are searching for. benefits from its implementation of Intel’s new 82599 (VT-d), significantly accelerating I/O traffic Ethernet controller, which includes a new 40 Gbit/s and lowering processor use in both native and PCI Express interface and the ability to deliver up to virtualized environments. a 250% improvement in network throughput.

The BSW-201 Switch Blade is part of the Ensemble Serial RapidIO ATCA Platform, which is a standards-based solution built around the power, functionality and scalability of serial RapidIO, AdvancedMC, AdvancedTCA and MicroTCA. The platform supports a variety of I/O sources and heterogeneous processing endpoints, thereby reducing integration costs, improving efficiency and minimizing risks in design of next-generation applications. The blade sports three 8-port Tundra TSi578 serial RapidIO switches and supports 21 channels of Gigabit Ethernet communications via a GigE switch. Two mid-height, singlewidth, RapidIO-enabled AMC sites are provided along with an onboard MPC8548 PowerQUICC III host controller.

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

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

End of Article Get Connected

with companies mentioned in this article.

[ 58 ] COTS Journal November 2011

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

Mercury Computer Systems Chelmsford, MA. (866) 627-6951. [].

ATCA Blades and Systems Roundup

ATCA Platform Targets Command and Control Apps

ATCA SSD Blade Provides 6 Terabytes of Networked Flash

ATCA has secured a solid niche in the military market, particularly for applications that stress high-performance communications and networking. RadiSys has announced the Promentum C2 Server, the industry’s first preintegrated, portable ATCA platform designed to provide the performance and features required for rugged, ground mobile applications in the Mil/Aero industry. The C2 Server leverages LCR Electronics’ ruggedized ATCA chassis and Astute Networks’ Edge Storage Blades in a rapidly deployable, higher performance platform with more than 30 percent weight decrease and lower power consumption than current rackmount servers. RadiSys’ C2 Server provides integrated computing, switching and storage in one easyto-manage platform that scales to meet most environmental and performance challenges presented to the Mil/Aero market.

We’re certainly living in the Terabyte era when it comes to embedded storage. Along those lines, SANBlaze Technology’s latest addition to the ATCA2000 Family of Storage Blades offers up to 6 Terabytes of solid state flash storage capacity. It boasts 1500 Mbytes/s of sustained backplane bandwidth, high IOPS (25,000) and low latency. The blade provides slots for up to ten 2.5” hot-swappable, enterprise class SSD (solid state drives), using MLC, eMLC or SLC-based flash chips. It is protected with a sophisticated hardware RAID engine that boasts an independent 1 Gbyte battery protected cache. Expansion to 20 disks is accomplished by pairing with a JBOD blade installed in an adjacent slot.

ON I S S I M CAL I T I R C ES C I V E D DC-DC Converters AC-DC Power Supplies • Expanded Operating

Temperatures -55 to +85C

The C2 Server has been designed to meet the demanding environment requirements of MIL-STD-810 and can quickly be deployed and serviced in the field. The computing modules are certified with VMware ESXi, which allows the use of multiple operating systems for consolidation of application, and the use of VSphere to provide costeffective fault tolerance for critical applications. This pre-integrated RadiSys platform is based on best-of-breed technologies from three trusted industry experts and allows Mil/Aero contractors to focus primarily on their value-add of software and services, while reducing time-to-market. The pre-integrated C2 Server consists of a Ruggedized 6U 6-slot AC LCR Chassis, two RadiSys Promentum ATCA-2210 10 Gigabit Ethernet Switch and Control Modules with optional COM Express module, which can support platform management functions, up to four RadiSys Promentum ATCA-4500 series single board computers (SBCs) and Astute Networks’ Caspian R1100 Edge Storage Blades.

RadiSys Hillsboro, OR. (503) 615-1100. [].

The ATCA2000 SSD Blade enables dynamic expansion and re-allocation of flash capacity. Also, SSD drives can be mixed with rotating drives, to build hybrid storage solutions. The blade enables a fully homogenous ATCA deployment, with all the benefits therein: low power, ruggedness, reliability and interoperable modularity. The board eliminates the cost, space, management and power requirements of an external storage device without losing any functionality and performance. The ATCA2000 improves system MTBF, system performance and system capacity, in a single slot ATCA footprint.

SANBlaze Technology Maynard, MA. (978) 897-1888. [].

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Untitled-12 1

November 2011 COTS Journal [ 59 ]

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Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section.

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Products Get Connected

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3U CompactPCI SBC Family Is Cold Plate Cooled

Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. Fan cooling isn’t acceptable in most deployed military systems. That has forced military SBC developers to constantly with innovate theirand passive cooling technologies. Along such lines, Get Connected companies products featured in this section. Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing (CWCEC) has introduced a new family of compact, conduction-cooled rugged ½ ATR-style 3U CompactPCI systems. The MPMC-931x family of MultiPlatform Mission Computers comes in five standard configurations. Each of these fully developed system configurations features an integrated 28 VDC power supply and either a DCP-124P SBC Power Architecture 7448 SBC or a DCP-1201 Intel Core2 Duo SBC. In addition, the MPMC-931x couples these processing capabilities with a variety of I/O modules to meet specific program requirements such as graphics, ARINC 429, MIL-STD-1553, Gigabit Ethernet Switching and more. The MPMC-931x provides high functional density in a small package. As a cold plate cooled system, the MPMC-931x is designed for reliable operation in harsh environments. Packaged in an ultra compact form factor and equipped with reliable, industry-leading processing solutions, the MPMC-931x has all the elements required of modern mission computers in space and/or weight-constrained applications. Optimal system cooling is ensured via thermal transfer between card edges of its conduction-cooled 3U cPCI cards and the base of the system enclosure. Environmental and EMI sealing is employed for accommodation of a wide variety of deployed platforms and environments. The MPMC-931x uses advanced packaging techniques to provide advanced processing power in a rugged enclosure that measures a compact 141.5 cubic inches and a lightweight 4.5 lb, yet is able to operate and survive in external air temperatures of 55°C using a cold plate cooling approach. Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing, Ashburn, VA. (703) 737-3660. [].

3 dB Hybrid Couplers Serve Defense Applications Narda, an L-3 Communications company, has introduced two 90-degree “mini-hybrid” 3 dB couplers that combine high isolation with extremely compact size and the ability to meet military specifications for temperature, shock and vibration. The Model 4031C operates from 500 MHz to 1 GHz with isolation of at least 30 dB, insertion loss of less than 0.2 dB, and maximum VSWR of 1.25:1. The coupler maintains amplitude balance of +/-0.6 dB and phase balance of 5 degrees. Model 4034C operates from 4 to 8 GHz with isolation of at least 20 dB and insertion loss of less than 0.3 dB, and maintains amplitude balance of +/-0.6 dB and phase balance of 10 degrees.

Narda Microwave, Hauppauge, NY. (631) 231-1700. [].

Chassis Mount Switching AC/DC Power Supply Provides 100W ConTech has announced the CM100 Series of AC/DC switching power supplies. The CM100 Series offers 100 watts of fully regulated output power in a chassis mount case, which makes it well suited for many applications. The easily accessible terminal block and output voltage adjustment potentiometer give it the versatility to be used as a power solution in a large assortment of applications. The devices have a universal input voltage range of 88 to 264 VAC. The series offers output voltages of 12, 24 and 48 VDC, with efficiencies up to 84%. Protective features include Short Circuit, Over Voltage and Overload protection. The metal cage type chassis mount case is designed for free air convection cooling. The CM100 series is rated for 3000 VAC isolation, is RoHS compliant, and has UL 60950 approval pending. Pricing for the CM100 Series is $22.50 each.

ConTech, Concord, CA. (925) 609-1193. [].

Platform Bridges Gap between ATCA and MicroTCA ATCA is a large footprint form factor and offers extreme computing power, making it ideal for core network applications, but it is not very flexible or scalable. MicroTCA is a small footprint form factor, ideal for military Edge-based applications, but does not scale up well. PT is announcing a new product branded as MONTEREY 8000 that bridges the gap between AdvancedTCA and MicroTCA. This leaves many Aggregationlayer applications caught in the middle; demanding a mid-size compromise that has plenty of performance and high-speed bandwidth, but in a cost-effective smaller footprint with flexibility and modularity. PICMG emerged with the MicroTCA.4 specification, also known as MTCA.4. The Monterey 8000 platform, based on the Enhanced MicroTCA.4 specification along with highperformance processing, high-speed IP-based fabric switching, and integrated Linux OS, middleware and protocols, is highly tuned for next generation networking applications. The platform supports 12 AdvancedMC modules with Rear Transition Modules. Redundant 10GbE to AMCs is provided with 40GbE aggregated uplinks. Layer 2/3 Ethernet management is supported and the system provides carrier grade, five-nines availability with complete redundancy.

PT, Rochester, NY. (585) 256-0200. []. [ 60 ] COTS Journal November 2011

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

3D Offers Ultrafeatured in this section. GetHandheld ConnectedDisplay with companies and products Reliable Imaging Today’s sophisticated smartphones have give warfighters a taste of what’s possible in a handheld device. IEE has integrated 3M’s revolutionary 3D film, which requires no 3D glasses, into its fieldproven, military-qualified handheld 4.8-inch control display unit (CDU). Initially developed for use in terrain mapping, remote robotics control and enhanced video feeds, the new 3D display is making its way into virtually all rugged military display applications from remote observation to training environments. In addition to the 3D functionality, key design elements are the unit’s small size and LED backlight technology that provides a low power, portable device with a higher resolution than other displays using 3D technology. The new 4.8-inch display decreases offaxis image reversals and color distortions, a common concern in the use of 3D technologies, and can easily be switched to 2D with imagery comparable to modern day smartphones. The display features a resolution of 800 x 480 x RGB with a typical brightness of 200 cd/m2 in both 2D and 3D modes with an optimum viewing distance of 16”. External dimension are 3.45 x 5.98 x 1.22 inches. A system integration development (SID) kit that allows developers to work with the 3D display technologies and related software will be available for government agencies and prime contractors in first quarter of 2012. Technology demonstrations are available now, with units scheduled to ship in second quarter of 2012.

IEE, Van Nuys, CA. (818) 787-0311. [].

2.5 kW Rectifiers Boast up to 400 VDC Output TDI Power has recently introduced its 2.5 kW Mercury Rectifier solution with up to 400 VDC output. The high-voltage Mercury rectifier module can be integrated into a TDI Power system or used as an OEM building block for customer-specific applications. With scope to provide nominal output voltages between 270V and 400V, the module is ideal for an array of vehicular, and batterybased solutions. Input voltage is 230 VAC at 2.5 kW, 100 VAC at 1.2 kW. Nominal out is 376 VDC, but output can be factory preset between 400V and 270V. Also output can be programmed via a 0-5 VDC signal. Efficiency is 92% at 208 VAC input and 70% load. The device provides hot bus plug-in and N+1 redundancy.

TDI Power, Hackettstown, NJ. (908) 850-5088 [].

Multi-Octave Frequency Synthesizers Feature Low-Phase Noise A series of fast-switching frequency synthesizers is available in three custom multi-octave frequency bands to 8 GHz and is targeted as a lab source for prototype and benchtop testing. The three models from EM Research include the SBC-3000 frequency synthesizer, which operates from 400 to 3000 MHz, and features tuning steps of 1 Hz, with exceptionally low- phase noise (-100 dBc/Hz at 10 KHz). The SBC-5000 operates from 700 to 5000 MHz, features tuning steps of 1 Hz, and low-phase noise (-95 dBc/Hz at 10 KHz). The SBC-8000 operates from 5000 to 8000 MHz, features tuning steps of 1 Hz, with low-phase noise (-95 dBc/Hz at 10 KHz). The units are locked to a 10 MHz external reference and offer +7 dBm output power, -15 dBc harmonics and -60 dBc spurs. Options include external or internal references (10-500 MHz) and extended temperature ranges.

XMC Blends 1 GSPS ADCs and DACs with Virtex6 FPGAs At today’s level of semiconductor integration, computer data conversion signal processing subsystems can be squeezed onto a single mezzanine card. Along just those lines, Innovative Integration has announced the X6-1000M. The X6-1000M integrates highspeed digitizing and signal generation with signal processing on a PMC/XMC IO module for demanding DSP applications. The tight coupling of analog I/O to the Virtex-6 FPGA core dramatically simplifies SDR, radar and lidar implementations. The board features two, 12-bit 1 Gsample/s A/Ds and four 1 Gsample/s 16-bit DACs. Analog input bandwidth of over 2 GHz supports wideband applications and RF undersampling. The DACs have features for interpolation and coarse mixing for upconversion. A Xilinx Virtex-6 SX315T (LX240T and SX475T options) with four banks of 1 Gbyte DRAM provides a very high-performance DSP core with over 2000 MACs (SX315T). The close integration of the analog I/O, memory and host interface with the FPGA enables real-time signal processing at extremely high rates. The X6-1000M power consumption is 19W for typical operation. The module may be conduction cooled using VITA20 standard and a heat spreader. Ruggedization options for wide-temperature operation from -40° to +85°C and 0.1 g2/Hz vibration.

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

EM Research, Reno, NV. (775) 345-2411. []

November 2011 COTS Journal [ 61 ]

COTS Products

Visualization System Provides 360° Local Situational Awareness Demand for complete function-specific system-level solutions is on the upswing in today’s military. Feeding that need, GE Intelligent Platforms offers a complete, self-contained, ready-to-run platform that enables 360° local situational awareness and is capable of being easily integrated into a broad range of existing and new military vehicles. The rugged IPS5100 is specifically designed to have minimal impact in terms of size, weight and power (SWaP) on a vehicle, enabling it to be deployed in environments that are highly space-constrained. The IPS5100 is capable of handling the input from 4 to 20 cameras depending on the color depth and resolution (via video streaming over Ethernet), and delivering video to up to four operator screens in its basic form. Scalable to more than twice those numbers, the capabilities of the IPS5100 include real-time panning and stitching, slew-to-cue pointing, motion detection and archive recording. The high performance of the IPS5100 delivers a typical latency below 80 ms, making it possible to drive a vehicle by using the real-time video images delivered by the IPS5100 system. IPS5100 hardware is a rugged 5-slot 3U OpenVPX chassis and enclosure that integrates GE’s Intel Core i7-based SBC324 single board computer, the GFG500 Gigabit Ethernet Video Processor for the ingest of multiple GbE HD+ sensors, two GRA111 Graphics Processors, and the GE SDD910 solid state disk for up to 256 Gbytes of data storage. The IPS5100 measures just 8.5 x 7.0 x 8.9 inches, and weighs only about 20 lbs.

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

2.5-Inch SATA SSD Offers 240 Gbytes of Storage Modular Technologies has announced a 2.5-inch SATA solid state drive. Called the Xcel-200, the drive delivers performance metrics of 500 Mbyte/s sequential read/write speeds and up to 60K/40K random read/write IOPS. The Xcel-200 is available in capacities ranging from 60 to 240 Gbytes, using highly reliable single-level-cell (SLC) NAND flash. The Xcel-200 was designed and tested per MIL-STD-810 to operate in high shock and vibration applications at industrial operating temperatures of-40° to +85°C. It is also certified for operation at altitudes up to 80,000 ft. The Xcel-200 SSDs will be sampling in November 2011 and available in production volume in 1Q 2012.

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

Demo Kit Promotes Engagement in Open goJTAG Initiative Within the framework of the goJTAG initiative, Goepel Electronic has developed a new demonstration kit. In addition to the USB 2.0 controlled Boundary Scan controller PicoTAP and respective software, it contains a specific demo board for practical exercises. The initiative founded by various universities and the company Testonica Lab, pursues the goal of providing the industry JTAG/Boundary Scan tools and knowledge based on an independent and non-commercial platform, sustainably accelerating the wide adoption of standardized IEEE 1194.x test methods. The opensource project goJTAG provides IEEE 1149.1 training software that can be run in both simulation mode as well as online mode. The tool enables numerous graphical displays on various levels. In the online mode users are able to utilize the software for the new demo board for individual projects without restrictions. The goJTAG software includes simulation components that fully reveal every single bit of movement along the scan chains with a single TCK precision.

GOEPEL Electronic, Jena, Germany. +49 3641-6896-0. [].

Rugged Military Grade 1U LCD Keyboard Drawers Provide Side Access The CCXR-17 Slideways 1U rackmount LCD keyboard drawer provides unique side access usage for spaceconstrained applications. It is military grade providing rugged 5052-H32 aluminum construction, 17-inch 1280x1024 resolution, bonded Anti-Reflective glass contrast enhancement filter, NEMA-4 / IP65 sealed keyboard and a rugged 4-port KVM. A contrast enhancing glass Anti-Reflective (AR) filter is bonded to the LCD for superior contrast in high bright environments. A separate bonded layer provides an ITR EMI filter across the face of the display. A military grade Genesis LCD controller provides a mix of features with aRGB VGA and DVI-D video inputs. The controller is conformal coated for environmental and shock/vibration protection and supports an operating temperatures of -40° to +80°C. Two keyboards are offered providing either 133 keys and a Hula point mouse device or 97 keys with a touch pad. Both keyboards are sealed silicon rubber and provide full travel with tactile feedback for ease of typing and are sealed to NEMA-4 / IP65 standards. The 97-key keyboard is also backlit for use in low light situations. Both keyboards provide a spill proof system impervious to spills such as Coke or coffee, common in the rugged environments these are installed into.

Chassis Plans, San Diego, CA. (858) 571-4330. []. [ 62 ] COTS Journal November 2011

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

USB-PET Protocol and Electrical Tester Includes Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. “On the Go” Testing A new USB protocol and electrical tester is capable

of performing the suite of tests defined in the USB Implementers Forum, Inc.'s “Battery Charging, USB On-The-Go and Embedded Host Automated Compliance Plan.” The Packet-Master USB-PET from Saelig is connected to a host PC using a High-Speed USB connection, and controlled using the GraphicUSB application software, which can generate test reports and perform analyzer-style captures. USB-PET's front panel features a micro-AB receptacle and a D-type connector for connection to a unit-under-test. The rear-panel allows the connection of a meter or oscilloscope for monitoring, for example, VBUS voltage. Single unit price is $5,995.

PMC Modules Do Cost-Effective FPGA Processing

Saelig, Pittsford, NY. (585) 385-1750. [].

Unmanaged, Low-Power 12-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch Module A rugged 12-port Gigabit Ethernet switch module is an extremely low-power, high-performance Ethernet switch. The H2 from North Atlantic Industries 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, single board computer and/or additional I/O functions can be added to support system-level requirements for processing and sensor interfacing. The H2 implements standard Ethernet switching functions via Broadcom technology and features IPv4 and IPv6 traffic class support, automatic learning and aging tags at 6.6W with 12 x GigE ports active at 85°C. It also supports a true non-blocking GigE integrated switch fabric with 4 Mbit packet buffer memory (for L2 functionality) and a high-performance look-up engine with support for up to 8K unicast MAC addresses. The H2 module switch enables system integrators to link Ethernet-based communications, control systems and sensor data across a broad range of application-ready subsystems. Customers looking forward to the next generation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and other autonomous robotic systems will take advantage of the high channel density and extremely low power features our H2 has to offer. In addition, based on NAI’s COTS, multifunction, high-density I/O and processor platforms (such as 75D3, 64DP3, 64E3), multiboard systems can be configured combining the H2 multiport GigE switch capability with application-specific processing and I/O.

A set of new PMC mezzanine modules features the cost-optimized Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA. The PMC-SLX reconfigurable FPGA modules from Acromag can save thousands of dollars, yet still deliver high-performance computing for algorithm acceleration and custom logic processing tasks. Spartan-6 FPGAs have integrated logic, DSP and memory resources that leverage the flagship Virtex-6 FPGA platform’s architecture and systemlevel blocks for quicker and smoother system development. Acromag adds a high-throughput PCI-X interface, large memory banks, and easy access to field I/O signals to deliver a readyto-use FPGA computing module for advanced signal processing applications. All models employ the logic-optimized SLX150 version of the Spartan-6 FPGA, which provides 147,433 logic cells and 180 DSP slices. Dual-ported SRAM (256k or 1M x 64-bit) facilitates highspeed DMA transfers to the bus or CPU. The base price is just $2,895 with extra memory and extended temperature options available.

Acromag, Wixom, MI. (248) 295-0310. [].

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

Small, Flexible Sensor Measures Temperature and Air Velocity A flexible, robust candlestick sensor can simultaneously measure both temperature and air velocity for characterizing thermal conditions in electronic systems. The MS 1000-CS-WC from Advanced Thermal Systems is a candlestick-shaped sensor that is narrow and low profile to minimize disturbance of heat flow in the test domain. Its flexible, plastic-sleeved stem eases installation and repositioning during the testing process. MS 1000-CS-WC candlestick sensors are calibrated for both low (natural convection) and high velocity flows. They are capable of temperature measurements ranging from -30° to +150°C ±1°C. Velocity measurements range from 0 to 50 m/s (10,000 ft/min) ±2%. The sensor’s stem is just 0.5 mm in diameter; its base diameter is 9.5 mm. Three different heights are available: 9, 12 and 20 mm. Prices for MS 1000-CS-WC candlestick sensors start at $180.

Advanced Thermal Solutions, Norwood, MA. (781) 769-2800. [].

November August 2011 COTS Journal [ 63 ]

COTS Products

6U OpenVPX Blade Server with Integrated 10 Gigabit Ethernet Switch A rugged, high-performance 6U VPX (VITA 46) Single Board Computer (SBC) features a quad-core Intel L5408 Xeon processor and integrated 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch to support full-mesh backplane data layer interconnectivity for up to eight SBCs integrated into a single chassis. Available in air-cooled or conduction-cooled formats, the CPU-111-10 from Parvus conforms to the OpenVPX (VITA 65) payload module profile MOD6-PAY-4F2T- with four fat pipes (10 GBase-BX4) and two thin pipes (1000Base-T). Providing unparalleled data processing capabilities in a single-slot 6U VPX form factor card with built-in 10 Gigabit Ethernet fabric switching, the CPU-111-10 serves as an ideal open-architecture building-block for next-generation Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) applications onboard (un)manned air / ground vehicles and shipboard platforms. Standard onboard I/O resources include up to eight 10 Gigabit Ethernet, two 1 Gigabit Ethernet, four SATA, two USB 2.0, one RS-232/485 and VGA video ports. Dual XMC / PMC expansion module sites enable additional I/O expansion, including 10G XAUI lanes from each XMC card to the 10G switched fabric. Offered in both convection-cooled and ruggedized conduction-cooled variants, the CPU111-10 is designed for use with ANSI/VITA 46 1.0� pitch VPX form factor backplanes. Air-cooled variants provide a front panel SFP+ port supporting CX4 copper and fiber applications for chassis-to-chassis and rack-to-rack communications. Conduction-cooled variants feature traditional board stiffeners, heat spreaders and wedge locks to passively transfer heat to the chassis and tolerate high shock and vibration environments. An optional Rear Transition Module (RTM) is available that brings out VPX I/O over industry standard connectors.

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

Untitled-5 [ 64 ] COTS1 Journal November 2011

10/6/11 9:46:16 AM

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

Software Module Get Connected with companies and products featured in Radio this section.

Provides FPGA Preconfigured for Turnkey Operation

A new multichannel data converter with digital down and upconverters boasts two channels each of 12-bit,

500 MHz A/D and 16-bit, 800 MHz D/A. The Model 71651 from Pentek has a Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA at its core. The FPGA is preconfigured with data acquisition and playback IP to give the module turn-key functionality, with room left for user customization. The Model 71651 features two input and two output RF channels, transformer-coupled to allow direct connection to HF or IF radio stages. The input channels feature 12-bit, 500 MHz A/Ds that feed data into the Virtex-6 FPGA. The output channels incorporate a Texas Instruments DAC5688 digital upconverter that translates real or complex baseband signals to any IF frequency up to 380 MHz. Dual 16-bit, 800 MHz D/As create real or in-phase (I) and quadrature (Q) analog outputs. Four types of preconfigured IP in the FPGA help simplify the capture, movement and playback of data. Three Acquisition IP modules accept data from any of the A/Ds, a test signal generator, or the Playback IP in loopback mode. These acquisition modules each have a private memory bank for storing data in capture mode, or to serve as a FIFO buffer for the linked-list DMA engine to move data off-board through the x8 Gen 2 PCIe interface. The DMA engines can automatically generate meta-data to simplify host processing. The D/A Waveform Playback Module provides a linked-list controller so users can easily deliver waveforms stored in onboard or host memory to the D/As. Up to 64 individual link entries can be chained together to create complex waveforms with a minimum of programming. Parameters for each waveform include length of waveform, delay from playback trigger, waveform repetition, plus the link to the next waveform.

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

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August 2011 COTS Journal [ 65 ]

COTS Products

Fanless System Offers 5 Ethernet Ports, Wide Temperature Range

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


Untitled-8 1

Logic Supply, South Burlington, VT. (802) 861-2300. [].

1/11/11 11:40:44 AM

Solid as a Rock... and twice as Cool!

Ruggedized 3U Multi Protocol R AID Systems No matter how you shake it, bake it, or configure it, everyone knows the reputation, value and endurance of Phoenix solid state and rotating disk products. Leading the way in rugged COTS data storage technology for decades, Phoenix keeps you on the leading edge with very cool products!

We Put the State of Art to Work

EPIC Form Factor SBC Serves Up Vortex86DX Processor An economical EPIC format single board computer (SBC) features extensive I/O capabilities, very low power consumption and fanless operation over the full industrial temperature range. The Newt board from VersaLogic leverages DM&P's Vortex86DX System on Chip (SoC). It offers 800 MHz performance, full industrial temperature (-40° to +85°C) operation, and very low power requirements. Based on the industry-standard EPIC form factor (4.5 x 6.5 inches), the Newt is designed for headless applications (no video output), or it may be used with plug-in video expansion modules. The Newt features built-in data acquisition ports including sixteen analog inputs, up to eight analog outputs and thirty-two digital I/O lines. Basic onboard I/O includes single or dual Ethernet with network boot capability, up to 1 Gbyte soldered-on DDR2 RAM, up to four USB ports, four serial ports, IDE controller with support for two devices, CompactFlash socket or eUSB interface (optional) for removable flash storage, and three general purpose timers. An industry-standard PC/104Plus expansion site provides plug-in access to a wide variety of expansion modules from numerous vendors. The SPX expansion interface provides additional plug-in expansion for low-cost analog, digital and CANbus I/O. Pricing starts at $411 in OEM quantities.

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

XXXQIFOYJOUDPNt 714ď&#x161;ş283ď&#x161;ş4800 PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL IS AS 9100/ISO 9001: 2008 CERTIFIED

[ 66 ] COTS Journal November 2011 Untitled-5 1

Two new fanless systems feature Intelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Core i5/ i7 Mobile CPUs and HD graphics housed in a durable, sleek chassis. The Neousys NUVO-1003B and NUVO1005B from Logic Supply offer high-performance computing in a wide operating temperature range of -25° to 70°C. In addition to the three or five Intel 82574L Gigabit Ethernet ports, both NUVO systems boast a broad suite of I/O capabilities. Featuring one RS-232/422/485 port, three RS-232 ports, PS2 mouse and keyboard input, six USB 2.0 ports, VGA and DVI/HDMI video output, the NUVO series ensures ease of integration with legacy systems and next-generation applications alike. Storage options include a 2.5â&#x20AC;? SATA HDD bay, accessible by a single-screw trap door, externally accessible CompactFlash, and two eSATA ports for external storage.

9/9/11 6:35:00 PM

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

CompactPCI Board Flexible Get ConnectedSerial with companies andProvides products featured in this section. Configuration

FPGA-Based Frame Grabber and Motion Drive Serve Vision Applications

A universal CompactPCI Serial peripheral board provides flexible serial communication via an individual mix of UART and fieldbus interfaces and is targeted at mission-critical industrial, mobile and harsh environment applications. Although equipped with five standard interfaces, the G215 from Men Micro features a configurable FPGA IP core that offers nearly unlimited interface options that enable several functionalities. Developed for use in harsh embedded environments, the G215 has an operating temperature range of -40° to +85°C, with all components soldered to withstand shock and vibration. The use of Altera's new Cyclone 4 high-performance FPGA enables users to develop intelligent applications, as found when using programmable processors, such as a Nios softcore. The FPGA also handles fieldbuses such as CAN, InterBus-S or the vehicle bus IBIS. Pricing for the G215 is $490.

Serving military vision and control applications, two new additions to the reconfigurable I/O (RIO) technology from National Instruments include a reconfigurable Camera Link frame grabber for demanding embedded vision applications, and a motion module for the NI CompactRIO platform. The NI PCIe-1473R frame grabber is a PC-based embedded vision board that combines field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology with a Camera Link interface to help engineers create highperformance embedded imaging and inspection applications. The NI 9502 brushless servo drive C Series module makes it possible for engineers to drive brushless servo motors, including six new custom NI motor options, directly from the reconfigurable CompactRIO system to address advanced motion control challenges.

MEN Micro, Ambler, PA. (215) 542-9575. [].

National Instruments, Austin, TX. (512) 794-0100. [].

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8/29/11 1:20:31 PM ] November 2011 COTS Journal [ 67

Advertisers Index Get Connected with technology and companies providing solutions now Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you are searching for. Company


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End of Article


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Coming Next Month Special Feature: Size, Weight and Power Hurdles for Small UAV Control The flight control, mission control and communications gear aboard Small UAVs—like the Raven, Dragon Eye, Shadow and Killer Bee—face some of the most rigorous size, weight and power restrictions. Selecting the right embedded electronics and embedded computers in those systems becomes a make or break decision. This section focuses on the electronics aboard UAVs under 1,320 pounds and range from Line-of-sight control UAVs up to those that fall under the “light sport aircraft” standards. Tech Recon: I/O Architectures in Rugged Box-Level Systems Stand-alone rugged box-level systems have become a fixture in the military market. These complete system boxes often support standard form factor boards inside them. The problem is there’s no standard scheme for I/O configurations. New VITA standards are attempting to rectify this, but there’s a debate on which approach is the best. This section looks at this issue and product class and outlines challenges they present. System Development: VPX and VME Tackle Airborne I/O and Data Storage VME and its successor VPX have a strong grip on the military slot-card embedded computing realm. Whether it’s a system refresh program using backward-compatible VME cards, or a new system requiring VPX performance, there’s a wide variety of product and technology choices for developers. This section explores the use of these form factors in airborne systems that depend heavily on I/O and data storage for their functionality. Tech Focus: XMCs and Processor XMCs XMCs are becoming entrenched as the natural successor to PMC as the leading mezzanine form factor in military applications. Meanwhile fabric-based Processor XMCs accommodate that trend nicely, enabling military system integrators to swap out just the computing core and leave the base board unchanged. This Tech Focus section updates readers on these trends and provides a product album of representative XMC and PrXMC products. [[ 68 68 ]] COTS COTS Journal Journal November 2011 2011

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Disconnect in the Networked Vehicle Road


hen former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates cancelled the Army’s massive Future Combat System (FCS) program two years ago, it certainly disrupted the direction of a future vehicle strategy and the opportunities for embedded computing electronics that went along with it. It’s not possible to say for sure, but it looked like OpenVPX would have had FCS as an emblematic design win if the program had progressed as planned. OpenVPX is very likely to be a candidate for new vehicle electronics efforts, but with FCS the uptake may have happened sooner. In hindsight, it was a bold and smart decision on Gates’ part to scrap FCS and start with a sort of blank slate. Continuing on a path of preparing for conflicts 20 years in the future is fine. But when that approach steals mindshare and funds away from current needs, it is problematic. In the aftermath of FCS, the Army turned its efforts toward new vehicle developments, primarily the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV). And along with that, the networking part of FCS has taken a parallel path—though not so closely coupled with a specific vehicle program. At this point however, it’s fair to say that neither the vehicle nor the networking side of this rebooted effort has moved forward all that smoothly. In his column in this issue, Pete does a nice exploration of the uncertain state of Army and Marine vehicle plans for the future. Here, I’ll look at some of the unique troubles on the networking side of the DoD’s vehicle effort. Whether the ambition of a seamless unified network of manned and unmanned systems as envisioned by FCS was even possible isn’t clear. But post-FCS the Army has shifted to a more realistic strategy to develop and field a tactical information network for its deployed forces. On the downside, that’s moving in the direction of developing a number of “stovepipe” capabilities that may not work together as a network, thus wasting resources. A recent GAO report cites how in this new approach numerous programs will be developed separately and coordinated centrally. The plan is for network increments to be integrated and demonstrated before they are fielded. This replaces the previous practice of ad hoc development and integration in the field. This new approach involves coordinating the schedules of the separate programs with the Army’s planned, semiannual field events, called network integration evaluations (NIEs). During these events emerging technologies are put in soldiers’ hands for demonstration and evaluation. In its report, the GAO cites several issues in need of resolution as the Army moves its network strategy forward. First off, the Army does not have a blueprint or framework for using its various current [ 70 ] COTS Journal November 2011

networking capabilities with the ones it is acquiring. The danger being the risk of acquiring technologies that may work in a stand-alone mode but do not add utility to the broader network strategy. There’s also been criticism of the lack of test protocols to objectively capture performance of the mobile data networks evaluated during the NIE exercises. This includes not having the proper instrumentation gear to do operational tests on large integrated networks, and not having clear network requirements. Another hurdle in the Army’s network efforts is the loss of the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) ground mobile radio (GMR), a softwaredefined radio that was expected to be a key component of the network. The GMR was recently terminated. In a letter to a congressional defense committee explaining the termination, Frank Kendall, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, stated that the termination was based on growth in unit procurement costs. Kendall said it is unlikely that Joint Tactical Radio System ground mobile radio would affordably meet requirements and may not meet some requirements at all. The GMR performed poorly during the network integration evaluation and was given a “stop development and do not field” assessment by the test unit. A replacement program was established but it’s not clear when and how that program will proceed. Also, the way that these new radios will be able to fit within the Army’s network strategy is yet to be determined. Among the challenges of the Army’s future tactical network plans is the sheer complexity of deploying wideband networking and soldier radio waveforms. It’s not clear that these technologies are at acceptable levels of maturity. And again, the loss of the ground mobile radio makes it unclear how waveform maturation will continue. In terms of scope, the WIN-T and JTRS programs provide the mission-command-on-the-move capability and integrate the soldier in the network to some degree. That said, those programs of record don’t provide a unifying capability to fully network the force. As one Army spokesmen said in a recent Defense Systems interview, “[JTRS and WIN-T] don’t connect all the way down to the company level and don’t provide the mission-essential capabilities to the earlier battalions that were not connected previously.” On a positive note, the Army has reportedly developed an approach to solicit ideas from industry and demonstrate the proposed technologies in the NIE exercises. The plan includes a strategy to identify, demonstrate and field emerging technologies and to expedite those actions. So far the Army is still formulating its approach for funding and rapidly procuring the more promising technologies.

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