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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing


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

Five Game-Changer Technology Trends Facing the Military

CONTENTS January 2012

Volume 14

Number 1

SPECIAL FEATURE Five Game-Changing Technology Trends for the Military

10 Five Game-Changer Technology Trends Facing the Military Jeff Child

20 Single Event Effects Complicate Military Avionics System Design Minal Sawant, Microsemi

Departments 6 Publisher’s Notebook Buried in Trash 8

The Inside Track


COTS Products

82 Editorial The Way Ahead for Unmanned Tech

32 Middleware Evolves to Suit the Era of Multicore Marshall Oberg-Porter, Objective Interface Systems

TECH RECON ATCA and CompactPCI Take Post-Acceptance Victory Laps

38 ATCA Military Adoption Mirrors Telecom Success John Long, Radisys

46 Embedded Computer Building Blocks Serve High-Bandwidth Military Needs David Pursley, Kontron

SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT 10 Gbit Ethernet as Board- and System-Level Data Plane

50 New Focus for Sensor Data Recording Tech: Scalability Greg Bolstad, Critical I/O

58 10 GbE Digital Recording Feeds Demands from Wideband Sensors Rodger Hosking, Pentek


64 Refresh-Centric SBCs Keep VME’s Immortality on Track Jeff Child


VME SBCs for Tech Refresh Digital subscriptions available:

Coming in February See Page 80 On The Cover: Taking place last fall, the Army’s second Network Integration Evaluation (NIE 12.1) sought to extend the network to the individual soldier, advance mission command on the move, and continue to establish an Integration Network Baseline. Shown here, a soldier from 2nd Brigade, 1 Armored Division checks vehicle mounted networking gear. (U.S. Army photo)

The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

Publisher PRESIDENT John Reardon, PUBLISHER Pete Yeatman,

Editorial EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jeff Child, MANAGING EDITOR Sandra Sillion,


Art/Production ART DIRECTOR Kirsten Wyatt, LEAD WEB DEVELOPER Hari Nayar,

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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 Buried in Trash


hope everyone had a happy and joyous holiday season. Seems like every January we have high hopes for an exciting year ahead that’s better than the one we just left behind. This January is no different. In reflection, most people would concur that 2011 shipments were at what the embedded computing industry predicted. But the hope for noticeable improvements on new design-ins in the RDT&E did not materialize. The shining stars in embedded electronics industry—both last year and this coming year—have been and will continue to be upgrades and tech insertions. Now for a more serious issue: information overload. Everyone now has multiple communication devices that are linked to one another: smartphones, tablet computers, laptops and more. Some are synced to delete data from the domain or cloud while some are set not to delete data. Depending on your occupation, you can or can’t set filters to partially restrict the source of information. If you’re one of those people—like me—who really can’t restrict the source, then you’re getting an unmanageable amount of emails and text messages. You may also be like me in that you quickly scan the list of new incoming communication and make an instant determination to delete or allow it to stay on the device for reading after eliminating all the trash. No matter where you go or what you do, everyone is trying to force you to provide your email address. They then inundate you with promotional material. They even sell your email address to other vendors, who then inundate you with their promotional material. In days of old when “trash mail” came in an envelope, we used to complain about having to sit near a trash can and would throw the paper mail like Frisbees into it. There was one slight consolation in those good old days: you knew that the company sending it had to pay some small fee for printing and postage. Today, it’s just electrons once you’re in their database—it’s virtually cost free. My two forefingers are now developing muscles larger than my other fingers. As I download from the server or cloud I keep one finger on the delete button and one on the down arrow; as it flashes on my device, I make an instant determination—delete or retain—until I get all the incoming trash out of here. The biggest problem is that this procedure now results in deleting things that shouldn’t have been deleted. The annoyance of having to remove all the trash in order to get to what’s important pushes me to increase the pace of my decision/deletion process, which produces more errors. That process results in more and more communications from individuals asking why I haven’t responded to communications that should have been responded 6

COTS Journal | January 2012

to—or me being told “but I sent you that information.” Embarrassingly, it requires having to explain my situation so the party doesn’t think I ignored them or didn’t care. The explanation is followed by a feverish effort in finding the communication in my “Recycle Bin.” I guess this is better than the last millennium when my secretary would ask me what I was doing in the dumpster and I sheepishly had to say I think I threw something away I shouldn’t have. Unlike legitimate communication sources, requesting to be removed from these trash mailing lists seems intentionally time-consuming, difficult and annoying. In most cases, you’re transferred to a website where you have to endure another sales pitch, then go to another page and fill in information you don’t want to provide them. Then finally, you’re asked to unscramble some numbers and letters to make sure you’re legitimate. By now you just want to kill something. Compared to our younger readers, I’m technically challenged. But I can’t believe that even the techno wizards don’t find this avalanche of unwanted electronic communication a problem. This begs the question of what effect all of this unwanted communication has on productivity, and how does it impact companies’ bottom lines? Google recently commissioned a B2B survey that showed 50 percent of all 2010 marketing budget allocations were for the three largest traditional marketing resources: industry events/ tradeshows, magazines/trade publications and direct mail. Not one of the other 13 digital marketing resources in the survey achieved a double digit percentage. If you’d like a copy of the survey please let me know. With the exception of an occasional rant like this by me, your COTS Journal team will continue to provide you with the quality and relevant technology editorial you expect. We want you to continue making us your leading embedded technology information resource. Keep emailing Jeff Child or me with your comments, and keep letting us know how we can improve COTS Journal. Our continuing success is dependent on your success. Happy, healthy and prosperous 2012, from our entire team.

Pete Yeatman, Publisher COTS Journal


Inside Track Lockheed Martin Delivers ISR System for C-130J to U.S. Air Force An airborne signals intelligence system configured specifically for the newest C-130J aircraft has been delivered to the U.S. Air Force by Lockheed Martin. The system, which is part of the Senior Scout program that enables C-130 aircraft to be used for tactical signals intelligence and reconnaissance, underwent acceptance testing in December. Senior Scout is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) system built into a trailer-like container that can be rolled on and off C-130 aircraft (Figure 1). This ISR suite of equipment rapidly configures standard C-130 aircraft for tactical signals intelligence, Figure 1 providing capabilities that exploit, geo-locate and report communications intelligence and signals of interest to air and ground Senior Scout is an ISR system component commanders. built into a trailer-like container In addition to undergoing system upgrades, the latest Senior Scout shelter was enhanced to be structurally compatible with the that can be rolled on and off C-130 newest C-130J aircraft. System interfaces were updated, and the aircraft. shelter was equipped with the latest technology enhancements and improvements for maintenance access. The shelter also defines the design that will be used to upgrade the three legacy shelters over the next 24 months to ensure the entire Senior Scout fleet is C-130J compatible.

Sierra Nevada and Embraer Defense and Security (Embraer) have announced that the U.S. Air Force has selected the two companies to supply Light Air Support (LAS) aircraft to be used as part of the U.S. government’s partner building efforts in Afghanistan and other nations. The A-29 Super Tucano (Figure 2) will be used to conduct advanced flight training, aerial reconnaissance and light air support operations. As specified by the Air Force, SNC is being awarded a firm-fixed price delivery order 0001 contract in the amount of $355,126,541 for the Light Air Support (LAS) aircraft and associated support. The delivery order is being issued under the simultaneously awarded basic contract FA8637-12-D-6001,


COTS Journal | January 2012

Figure 2

The A-29 Super Tucano was built specifically for counterinsurgency missions and is currently used by six air forces and is on order by others. an indefinite-delivery/indefinitequantity (IDIQ) contract. The initial demand is for 20 LAS aircraft together with ground training devices to support pilot training and support for all maintenance and supply requirements for the aircraft and associated support equipment. The LAS mission requires a non-developmental solution that provides the versatility, engagement and persistence

Common Ground Stations are deployed by the Army to assist commanders in the collection, analysis and distribution of ISR information gathered by airborne radar aircraft, UAVs and other sensors.

Army Contracts GD C4 Systems to Maintain and Update Common Ground Stations

Ground Stations (CGS) for the U.S. Army. General Dynamics will provide the spare parts, assemblies, engineering support and other logistics needed to keep the CGS fleet technically current and fully operational worldwide. In 1996, the Army awarded the original Common Ground Station system contract to General Dynamics, ordering 102 systems. The first Common Ground Station was delivered to the Army in 2000. In 2005, General Dynamics received the first contract to supply logistics and maintenance support for the fleet of Common Ground Stations. Common Ground Stations (Figure 3) are deployed by the Army to assist commanders in the collection, analysis and distribution of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information gathered by airborne radar aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and other sensors. Work in support of the Common Ground Station logistics and maintenance contract will be performed by General Dynamics employees located in Scottsdale, Ariz.

General Dynamics C4 Systems has been awarded a five-year, $47 million follow-on contract to update and maintain the operational readiness of all Common

General Dynamics C4 Systems Scottsdale, AZ. (480) 441-3033. [].

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

Sierra Nevada and Embraer Tapped by Air Force for Light Air Support Mission

Figure 3

that the warfighter needs in a counterinsurgency environment, at a significantly lower cost than fighter jets. That aircraft must offer intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities; deliver a wide variety of munitions configurations, including precision guided munitions; and operate in extremely rugged terrain and austere conditions. Sierra Nevada Sparks, NV. Phone: (775) 331-0222 [].

Inside Track

iDirect Government Technologies Herndon, VA. (703) 648-8118. [].

COTS Hardware Remains a Major Portion of Budgets in Military Market


Office Automation



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A recent report from Embedded Percent of Hardware Budget Devoted to COTS Hardware Market Forecasters called “Explor2011 EMF Survey of Embedded Developers ing the Current COTS Marketplace” 35% presents some interesting survey data on off-the-shelf embedded computing technology. Considerable 30% attention and speculation has been 25% given to the use of COTS hardware across different vertical markets, 20% and whether this trend is expanding, remaining stable or declining. If 15% the use of COTS is expanding, one would expect to see an economic 10% benefit to its use—hence, a more important measure of COTS utiliza5% tion would be reflected in the budgeted amount of COTS hardware as 0% a percentage of total hardware cost. In a recent 2011 survey of embedded Figure 4 developers (642 respondents), EMF EMF asked respondents to report the percent of their total hardware budget that was asked respondents to report the percent of their total hardware budget devoted to COTS hardware. Aerospace/Avionics and Military had the highest response, that was devoted to COTS hardware. but Datacom and Electronic Instrumentation had better than average responses. Figure 4 presents their responses acPercent of Hardware Budget Devoted to COTS Hardware cording to vertical market. Whereas 2011 EMF Survey of Embedded Developers Aerospace/Avionics and Military 40% had the highest response—these data reflect the percent of the COTS 35% hardware budget compared with 30% total hardware budget—Datacom and Electronic Instrumentation had 25% a better than average response. It is interesting to note that 20% the budgeted percentage of COTS hardware is consistent across all ar15% chitectures, DSP and FPGA, but it is significantly larger for dual-core and 10% multicore developments (Figure 5). 5% This might be due to the recent inclusion of multiple cores in embed0% ded developments where the focus Figure 5 might be on software development within a mostly reusable hardware Budgeted percent of COTS hardware is consistent across all architectures, DSP configuration. It will be interesting and FPGA, but it is significantly larger for dual core and multi core developments. to see if this data is repeated in 2012. Information regarding the survey and data can be found at Embedded Forecast’s website. Survey data and the use of the EMF Embedded Dashboard used to compute these data can be seen at: www. For more information contact Jerry Krasner, Ph.D., MBA, Principal of Embedded Market Forecasters, at Industry Average

iDirect Government Technologies (iGT) announced that in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), it has successfully tested the Aero-Mobility features of iGT’s advanced Evolution technology using a Ka-band Advanced Multiband Communications Antenna System (AMCAS) lowprofile airborne antenna over the Department of Defense (DoD) Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) system. Considered in the context of emerging commercial Aero Mobile Satcom Services (AMSS), iGT’s Evolution product family provides a unified radio access network technology option for an integrated military WGS and commercial Ka-band AMSS. iGT’s Evolution platform, which uses a Current-Force-Modem on multiple satellite bands, and the AMCAS low-profile antenna have demonstrated the capability to transmit and receive high-speed information when operating over a WGS system in Ka-band. The DISA demonstration, conducted Oct. 6, 2011, validates a qualified solution for next-generation airborne wide-body, high-Doppler on-the-move capabilities and establishes a realistic production specification by demonstrating the performance criteria in an operational environment.

Military Market Watch

Industry Average

Successful Airborne On the Move Test Opens Door for Secure Milsat Comms

Embedded Market Forecasters, Framingham, MA. (508) 881-1850. []. January 2012 | COTS Journal


SPECIAL FEATURE Five Game-Changing Technology Trends for the Military



COTS Journal | January 2012

As computing technology gets faster, denser and more integrated, there’s a host of benefits and challenges that military systems developers will have to embrace or adapt to. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


ompute density has become the mantra for many of today’s advanced military programs. More and more of system functionality is now implemented as software running on single board computers, rather than using hard wired electronic assemblies. The industry has matured to where “new” technologies like FPGA computer, switched

fabrics, multicore processors and boxlevel systems are no longer hampered by a perception of being risky avenues to take. Acceptance of those advanced computing building blocks is now part of the familiar landscape. There are always new game-changing technology and technology trends ahead for the military industry. Not all of these are positive trends providing new capabilities. Some are hurdles that require special design considerations

and some have the unique twists that affect military systems more acutely. To thoroughly cover all the technology challenges facing today’s defense industry would fill an entire book. Here we’ll focus on five technology trends that can be considered the most game-changing in the year ahead: Advanced Networking, Adapting Consumer Platforms, Power and Cooling Challenges, General Purpose Computing Using GPUs and Solid State Drives.

Figure 1

Preparations for the Army’s second Network Integration Evaluation—NIE 12.1—in Oct./Nov. 2011. Hundreds of Soldiers, system engineers, program managers and developers spent months providing full-time acquisition expertise, integration and training support at White Sands Missile Range, NM and Ft. Bliss, TX. January 2012 | COTS Journal



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As the U.S. military transforms itself to Network-Centric operations, every node in the networked military will be affected. The overall idea is for every vehicle, every aircraft, every ship, every UAV and every soldier on the ground to be able to quickly share data, voice and even video with almost any level of the DoD’s operation. A variety of technology areas are part of the overall puzzle to make that happen. These include software and programmable radios, RF beamforming, ultra-wideband optical communications and IP networking on land, sea, air and space platforms. As one of the key parts of that networking, Ethernet has become entrenched as the favorite interconnect fabric in compute-intensive applications like sonar, radar or any application that networks sensor arrays together. At the board level, Ethernet is accepted as a fabric interconnect in its own right, but RapidIO and PCI Express still offer advantages when radar array processor or low-latency control is required.

Internet Protocol and Ethernet At the big-picture level, the defense industry has chosen well when it comes to embracing networking technologies that are certain to enjoy a long life, such as Internet Protocol and Ethernet. System designers are reaping the benefits from the marriage of Ethernet with embedded computing form factors like OpenVPX, VXS, Compact PCI Express, MicroTCA and AMC. While once used only as a pure networking solution for command and control systems in the military, Ethernet is now gaining traction in numerous other military applications as an interconnect fabric in computeintensive applications. It’s also deployed as multilayer switches with dual IPv4 and IPv6 forwarding to support the DoD’s sweeping plans to leverage the benefits of IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6). Interestingly, the move from IPv4 to IPv6 is one area of technology where government and defense

are somewhat ahead of the curve. In civilian networks, not many companies or ISPs have embraced IPv6 fully, even though it’s been available since the 1990s. Most are still on IPv4. It’s likely that many networks will run both IPv4 and IPv6 together until IPv6 becomes the worldwide standard. The U.S. Government had planned to move all federal computer networks to IPv6 by 2008 but extended that until 2012, when all government servers and services must use native IPv6. Meanwhile board- and boxlevel systems for military networking have been supporting IPv6 for some years now. For example, the Ethernet switches used as the communications hub for command and control systems in the U.S. Army’s Brigade Combat Team Modernization (BCTM) program have support for IPv6. The program plans to make use of the protocol’s much larger “future proof ” addressing capability and its capabilities that simplify network administration. BCTM (Figure 1) is the U.S. Army’s principal modernization program. The military is poised to make use of the virtually unlimited IP address spaces of IPv6 in unique ways. The full benefit with IPv6 for the military is its ability to provide IP peer-to-peer connections for embedded systems. Imagine, for example, if each of the various electronic subsystems in a jetfighter could have its own IP address. That would enable diagnostic data about each subsystem’s status to be accessed while the aircraft is in flight. Moreover, with IPv6 allowing each device to have its own unique global IP address, network address translation is no longer necessary. Two devices— like a soldier’s radio and UAV flying overhead—would be able to establish direct communication without the need to translate between global and private addresses. Two-way applications, such as IP telephony and video conferencing, become much simpler to develop.


Adapting Consumer Platforms A theme that inevitably permeates any discussion of military technology these days is the notion of ruggedized smartphone and iPad-type devices adapted for military use. That shift is fueling the need for sophisticated services platforms to enable such devices to function in deployed military scenarios. While embedded computer suppliers may not play a direct role in those devices, the networking and security gear that would allow such devices to work in deployed battlefield situations is very much in line with our market. Warfighters in the field are so familiar with today’s smartphone devices like iPhones and Android phones, that there is high demand to figure out ways to make them usable in deployed areas. What’s needed, of course, is a way to operate them in areas where there’s no cell

tower infrastructure. The solution is to deploy the equivalent of a cell tower in a mobile system—one that networks not just smartphones but also traditional tactical radios in the same network. Taking exactly that approach is Lockheed Martin’s MONAX system. Providing 4G wireless to the Tactical Edge, the MONAX system combines the convenience of smartphone technology with the power and flexibility of a secure, highly portable infrastructure. The 4G wireless system consists of a unique portable MONAX Lynx sleeve that connects touchscreen COTS smartphones to the MONAX XG Base Station infrastructure on the ground or in airborne platforms, offering uninterrupted service to warfighters in the field. Figure 2 shows the MONAX system at last year’s MILCOM conference.

This COTS-based, smartphone enabling interface operates anywhere in theater. MONAX uses a secure RF Link, protected through strong exportable encryption, enabling the transfer of pertinent and sensitive information with speed and ease. It offers improved, flexible range and penetration delivering superior link performance in voice, video and data transmission. Following in the footsteps of the consumer market, MONAX offers a rich set of applications and governance, leveraging commercial smartphone “app” development and the “app store” model. Apps can be easily written or re-hosted on a smartphone, reviewed/approved for mission effectiveness, hosted in a 24/7 app store and made available to the warfighter.

Figure 2

At last fall’s MILCOM conference, Editor-in-Chief Jeff Child is briefed on Lockheed’s MONAX system. The 4G wireless system consists of a unique portable MONAX Lynx sleeve that connects touch-screen COTS smartphones to the MONAX XG Base Station (shown here under the table) on the ground or in airborne platforms. January 2012 | COTS Journal



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COTS Journal | January 2012

1/5/12 9:22:21 AM

Power and Cooling Challenges To satisfy demands for greater compute density, system developers embraced faster processors and boards with more processors and processor cores. All that inevitably pushes power dissipation to the limit. In an industry in which aircooling using fans is only acceptable in limited conditions, all new cooling techniques are on the table. In UAVs environmental control systems aren’t needed because there’s no onboard crew. That’s allowed platform integrators to look for alternative cooling solutions. Increasingly, direct spray is being viewed as an acceptable alternative to aircooling. Direct spray systems from Parker Aerospace were used in the Air Force’s Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload (ASIP) program on the Global Hawk UAV. Scaled versions of the ASIP are being designed for Predator and Reaper UAVs. Last fall, Parker Aerospace signed a production contract for thermal management systems for the U.S. Air Force’s Global Hawk and U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. Northrop Grumman awarded a contract valued at more than $4 million for production of Parker’s SprayCool chassis and support hardware as part of the company’s ASIP program. The contract includes hardware for the ASIP systems on Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk and Lockheed Martin’s U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. The U-2 aircraft uses six SprayCool chassis per aircraft; the Global Hawk UAV uses two.

Severe Environments The challenges for military system design with regard to cooling techniques have increased along with higher performing processors, smaller system footprints and the evolution of extremely rugged environments. Battlefield settings today include severe temperatures, shock and vibration, explosive decompression, immersion or exposure to sand and dust—just a handful of the potential variables up for consideration by designers building rugged, high-performance military

systems. As a result, the SWaP protocol has transitioned into SWaP-C (Size, Weight, Power and Cooling) as a priority focus for packaging engineers solving thermal challenges of these nextgeneration designs. While exotic cooling schemes have made some inroads, the defense market is risk-adverse when it comes to such revolutionary changes. At a more basic evolutionary level, board- and box-level embedded computing vendors have been steadily improving their conduction-cooling designs. An example on the enclosure side is Curtiss-Wright Controls Electronic Systems’ new technology for thermal management of rugged embedded computing enclosures, called CoolWall. Tests using the company’s baseplate-cooled Hybricon SFF-6 enclosure showed a 2.4x increase in thermal conductivity at the chassis level (2.4x decrease in sidewall temperature rise) along with a 10 percent weight decrease as compared to aluminum construction.

End to Dennard’s Law At a more fundamental chip level, the military—and the semiconductor industry at large—may be headed for tough times in the power dissipation front. At RTC Group’s Milestone conference in Los Angeles last fall, a presentation was made by Dr. Robert (Bob) Colwell, deputy director, DARPA Microsystems Technology Office. Colwell offered a sobering look at how the precious CMOS transistor technology that drives Moore’s Law is headed for a huge roadblock. More accurately, he says, Moore’s Law may continue to provide transistor count doubling for another decade, but Dennard’s Law, which has to do with voltage scaling, power and cooling limits, has hit a wall that will severely constrain new designs. With that in mind, making faster computers will mean exploiting much higher degrees of parallelism. This, in turn, suggests near-threshold-voltage operation, and that raises complex issues of resiliency. According to Colwell, this parallel future appears feasible, but challenges abound.






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General Purpose Computing Using GPUs The sheer complexity of today’s military embedded systems is overwhelming. The challenge gets particularly acute when systems run on a variety of processor engines. FPGA-based systems are an example. In contrast to general-purpose processors, FPGAs don’t have a defined internal architecture, instruction set, data paths or peripheral set. While FPGAs remain a mainstay of military signal processing, a newer trend that’s emerged as a simpler way to do complex multiprocessing is the idea of putting high-performance graphics processors to work on generalFigure 3 purpose processing tasks. This idea of “GPUs as general-purpose processing The VPX6-490 GPU Application Accelerator features dual NVIDIA GPUs based on the engines” also falls nicely into the theme NVIDIA Fermi architecture, each with 240 CUDA cores. of doing more while keeping the complexity at bay—in this case, complexity pabilities of the GPU. Aside from serving applications in to the system developer. Graphics chip vendor NVIDIA developed a parallel computing architec- radar, signals intelligence and video surveillance and interpretation, GPUs based on the CUDA architecture have ture called CUDA. CUDA lets programmers use conventional computing potential in other application areas, including target tracklanguages to access the massively parallel processing ca- ing, image stabilization and SAR (synthetic aperture radar) simulation. Board-level products have emerged specifically for GPGPU computing in a number of form factors, including OpenVPX. The VPX6-490 GPU Application Accelerator (Figure 3) from Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing (CWCEC), for example, features dual NVIDIA GPUs based on the NVIDIA Fermi architecture, each with 240 CUDA cores. Innovation on the FPGA side hasn’t slowed down; however, last year BittWare introduced the Anemone f loating point coprocessor chip for use with Altera’s highperformance FPGAs. OEM’d from Adapteva’s new Epiphany architecture, BittWare’s Anemone chip is a scalable, true C-programmable, f loating point engine that enables novel solutions for complex and evolving signal processing applications. Because it was specifically architected to be used alongside an FPGA as a coprocessor, the Anemone simultaneously achieves superior power efficiency and processing performance. i SE/LVD/HVD & extended temp options. Each Anemone features 16 processors, providing 32 Gflops i Replacement for obsolete SCSI drives. of floating point processing while consuming only 2 watts of i SCSI legacy support now and into the future. total chip power. Multiple Anemones can be gluelessly coni Uses COTS 2.5” SSDs. nected, thereby scaling to create compute blocks of up to 4,096 i Options for discrete controlled secure erase. processors providing 8 Tflops of floating point performance. The Anemone features an internal high-throughput mesh network, with separate data paths for on-chip and off-chip communications. RedRockTechnologies,Inc. 480Ͳ483Ͳ3777



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Solid State Drives While solid state disk drives are by no means a new technology, their evolution is reaching a key tipping point where complete program and data storage can reside on rugged SSDs. This has interesting implications as storage media of significant densities can now reside in slot-card board-level systems or as mezzanines on SBCs. For example, a Terabyte of solid state storage in a single 3U VPX slot is the boast of the newly available conduction- or air-cooled 3U VPX XPort6172 (Figure 4) Solid State Disk (SSD) from Extreme Engineering Solutions. Military storage implementations used in conjunction with embedded systems have historically fallen into two categories. One is low-capacity, low-performance embedded storage boards. The other is higher-capacity, higher-performance, but physically much larger and heavier external storage boxes or subsystems. However, current f lash-based Solid State Drive (SSD) technology—combined with optimized storage controller architectures—has fueled the development of embedded storage blades that provide high levels of consistent performance, reliability and capacity.

Unified Scalable Storage One current trend is the move to a concept of unified, scalable embedded storage. The building blocks of this approach are flexible storage blades. Unified storage means that all of a system’s storage needs can be supported by a single storage blade. And since these blades are scalable, multiple instances of the storage blade can be aggregated to provide higher levels of capacity and performance, while still being integrated, managed and used in exactly the same manner as a single blade. The f lexibility of a unified storage blade architecture allows it to be used for a large variety of embedded storage applications. That means replacing large power-hungry external RAID and NAS boxes with a 18

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compact, simple, high-performance and high-reliability single blade solution. Some typical applications include Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems and Radar/Sonar/Imaging data recording and playback.

Figure 4

Available as conduction- or aircooled, the 3U VPX XPort6172 Solid State Disk (SSD) provides a Terabyte of solid state storage in a single slot. The latest crop of high-density, rugged, solid state storage solutions is enabling military system developers to pack in system complexity without the burden of memory storage constraints. Just as computing interconnects have transitioned away from parallel buses toward serial interconnect schemes, so too have the interface technologies of the high-density storage realm. That trend is also fueled by the continued dependence on compute- and data-intensive software. With that in mind, Serial ATA has become the dominant interface technology for new storage subsystem designs. SCSI and Fibre Channel in contrast seem to be waning—although far from retreating. Meanwhile, the redundancy of RAID architectures is still a preferred way to ensure reliable mission-critical operations.

SPECIAL FEATURE Five Game-Changing Technology Trends for the Military

Single Event Effects Complicate Military Avionics System Design As semiconductors get denser, the danger of radiation-caused disruptions becomes ever more acute. Understanding and mitigating these effects is a critical part of today’s avionics system design. Minal Sawant, Product Marketing Manager Microsemi


ilitary aircraft routinely operate at altitudes from 30,000 to 60,000 feet or more, including planes with sophisticated f ly-by-wire circuitry and those used for airborne early warning and control (AWAC) and electronic countermeasures missions (Figure 1) that are filled with similarly sensitive avionics systems. The electronics within these aircraft are subjected to high levels of ionizing radiation, which can generate induced pulses or transients that cause operating errors that can affect system functions and data. While the impact of this radiation on memory circuits in avionics has been known since 1992, few engineers fully understand its impact on programmable logic, or how to specify FPGA technologies that mitigate the risks of single event effects (SEEs) caused by the high neutron f lux at these cruising altitudes. There are several industry groups focusing on the impact of single event upsets (SEUs) caused by ionizing radiation from galactic cosmic rays (GCR). These groups include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and its DO-254 standards for electronic airborne system safety, and the International Electro20

COTS Journal | January 2012

Figure 1

The EC-130H Compass Call is an airborne tactical weapon system using a heavily modified version of the C-130 Hercules airframe. The system uses electronic countermeasures to disrupt enemy command and control communications and limits adversary coordination essential for enemy force management. technical Commission (IEC), which has established a certification program for electronic components, processes and related materials as part of the IEC Quality

Assessment System for Electronic Components (IECQ). Military aircraft are particularly susceptible to SEUs because of the high






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Incoming Charged Particle

Oxide Insulation

Gate Drain




- - + + - -+ + + - + +

P Substrate

Depletion Region

Figure 2

Shown here is the impact of a high-energy particle in an SEU. When a high-energy particle such as a neutron strikes the silicon substrate of an integrated circuit, it collides with atoms in the substrate. concentration of electronics aboard. It has been estimated that as much as 20 percent of the cost of new commercial aircraft, and more for military aircraft, is represented by electronics, including systems for f light control, navigation, landing, engine and environment control, and communications. Military aircraft also include weapons, electronic protection systems, and additional sensitive circuitry. It is critical to understand how various FPGA technologies react to GCR in these system applications.

magnetic field. As a result, the greatest modulation occurs at the equator and when the solar wind is most active, which is also when solar f lare activity is high. The f lux generated from an air shower is modulated by the density of the atmosphere (expressed as depth). As a result, particle f lux strength is a function of latitude, longitude, altitude and solar activity, with the greatest f lux occurring at high altitudes over the poles during quiet periods of solar activity.

Radiation from Cosmic Rays

An observer in an aircraft flying at 40,000 feet, for example, over the poles during a period of moderate solar activity will experience more than 500 times the neutron flux as a terrestrial observer in New York City. While most commercial jetliners operate at a cruising altitude of approximately 30,000 to 45,000 feet above mean sea level, many military jet aircraft fly considerably higher, and future aircraft may fly at even greater altitudes. In general, GCR exposure approximately doubles with every 6,000 feet of increased altitude, and particle interactions reach their peak at approximately 60,000 feet.

The earth’s atmosphere is constantly impacted by GCR comprised mostly of high-energy protons originating in space. These particles have enough energy to free nuclei when they collide with molecules in the earth’s atmosphere, which creates an air shower consisting of a wide range and high number of particles. The spallation products that are of most concern to avionics designers are neutrons and protons, in addition to remnant cosmic rays. The f lux of cosmic rays impacting the earth’s atmosphere is modulated by both the solar wind and the earth’s 22

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High Altitude Dangers

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Write Line VDD Bit Line

Bit Line


Figure 3

This is a typical six-transistor SRAM cell with four transistors that form cross-coupled inverters to store the bit value. If an ion strike with sufficient energy occurs near one of these transistors, it can flip the cell’s bit value.

Untitled-1 1 COTS Journal | January 2012 24

There are additional sources of radiation, including the packaging materials used for integrated circuits. These materials contain trace amounts of uranium and thorium, which, as they decay, naturally emit alpha particles. Although these particles have low penetration depth and can be shielded by just a few centimeters of air, the proximity of packaging material to the silicon substrate makes them an issue for electronic circuits. The silicon substrate, itself, is yet another source of ionizing radiation. Large amounts of the element boron are used in polysilicon doping, substrate doping, or borophosoph-silicate glass (BPSG). SEEs are of far greater concern to military avionics systems than total ionizing dose (TID). Studies on commercial air crew exposure provide valuable information about approximate lifetime dosage exposure on electronics. Assuming the maximum dosages are on longhaul f lights, the aircraft receives twice the dosage as the air crew. Assuming a

1/6/12 1:46:32 PM


Silicon Dioxide


Control Gate



Floating Gate



P Substrate

Figure 4

Shown here is the typical flash structure with a floating gate located between a control gate and the metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) structure below, encased in good dialectic. The configuration of antifuse and flash-based FPGAs is immune to SEUs because of their non-volatile structure.

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20-year life for an avionics system, the maximum total dose received would be on the order of 1.1 sievert (Sv) or approximately 110 radiation absorbed dose (Rad). Since TID effects are not seen in electronic devices until tens of kilorads (Krad), the cumulative impact of ionizing radiation on avionics is not of concern.

How SEEs Impact FPGAs Generally, any effects induced by a single radiation event on an electronic circuit (as opposed to effects due to collective dosage), whether transient or damaging, are collectively known as single event effects (SEEs). SEE subclasses include single event upsets (SEUs), single event functional interrupt (SEFIs), and single event transients (SETs). SEUs and SEFIs have the greatest impact on FPGAs depending on whether their configuration memory is constructed from static random access memory (SRAM) or f lash cells, which also dictates how their logic modules are connected. The impact of a high-energy particle in an SEU is shown in Figure 2. When a high-energy particle, such as a neutron, strikes the silicon substrate of an integrated circuit, it collides with atoms in the substrate, liberating a shower of charged particles that leave an ionization trail.

For example, a neutron striking a silicon atom can release energy through elastic and inelastic scattering events or via spallation events that release magnesium and aluminum ions along with alpha particles and protons. If the impact of a high-energy particle or ion occurs at the depletion region of an N-P junction, charges can collect there and create voltage and current transients. SEUs can actually change how FPGAs function when the FPGA’s configuration memory is constructed from SRAM cells. Figure 3 shows a typical six-transistor SRAM cell with four transistors that form cross-coupled inverters to store the bit value. If there is an ion strike with sufficient energy near one of these transistors, it can flip the cell’s bit value.

Cell Switching Speed Issues Due to active feedback of the crosscoupled transistors, the “QCRIT” is also dependent upon the switching speed of the cell. QCRIT is the collected charge needed to change the bias and, thus, the state of the transistor. The slower the cell, the higher the QCRIT. At 65 nm, an SRAM operating at a nominal supply of 0.8V to 1.2V has been shown to be in the range of 2 fF to 3 fF. The decrease in QCRIT between a 65 nm and 45 nm process is estimated to be

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on the order of 30 percent less energy, further increasing the susceptibility of SRAM cells to temporary soft errors, in which only the data stored in the element is corrupted. In contrast, the configuration of antifuse and flash-based FPGAs is immune to SEUs because of their non-volatile structure. Figure 4 shows the typical flash structure with a floating gate

located between a control gate and the metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) structure below, encased in good dialectic. The bit value is stored as a charge on the floating gate. A charged gate represents a zero value for NOR flash cells. With this f lash structure, an ion that strikes in or near the depletion region of the f lash cell will still deposit

a charge; however, the QCRIT of the f lash cell is significantly larger than that of the SRAM cell. Also, the f lash cells used for configuration are created with a far more robust construction than those used in bulk f lash memory, which are optimized for speed and size. As a result, f lash cells used for FPGA configuration are immune to GCR-induced SEU.

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COTS Journal | January 2012

Like SEUs, SEFIs also have an adverse effect on SRAM-based FPGAs. A key difference between flash- and SRAMbased FPGAs is their fabric, and the exact structure of the logic modules and how these modules are interconnected or wired together. It is this interconnect that poses the greatest concern from an SEFI perspective. The vias used in all FPGAs are programmable—the basis of the entire technology. In SRAM-based FPGAs, however, the basic programmable via is a single-bit SRAM cell. This via is programmed and erased the same way as any other SRAM memory cell. Although more robust than block SRAM, the SRAM via is still susceptible to upset. Possible SEFIs in an FPGA include breaking a routing connection or bridging two signals, shorting a signal to power or ground, changing the functionality of a logic module or embedded block, or changing the direction or standard of an I/O.


12/9/11 9:39:03 AM

Regardless of the base technology of the FPGA, SEUs in block memory must be mitigated. Manufacturers of SRAM-based FPGAs recommend various techniques for mitigating SEUs. The easiest method is to clear any SEUs that have accumulated by reconfiguring the SRAM-based FPGA at regular intervals. Unfortunately, the FPGA is unavailable during the hundreds of milliseconds that it is being reconfigured. This downtime may be unacceptable in many applications. More recently, SRAM-based devices have become available that feature a built-in error detection scheme in the configuration engine of SRAM-based


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devices. The CRC for each configuration frame is calculated and compared to a golden CRC using a configuration memory read-back feature. If a mismatch is detected, it means that an SEU has occurred and the application can reconfigure the entire FPGA. Alternately, the application can attempt to correct the error and rewrite the frame in background. Even when the correction is made, however, errors will still have propagated. Error detection can only reduce the timeto-correction as compared to mitigation techniques that employ periodic wholedevice reconfiguration. Millions of clock cycles can occur during the process of detecting and correcting errors, giving them ample time to propagate through even the most complex systems. Regardless of the methodology, any mitigation techniques can only be used to correct errors and lessen their impact after they have occurred. In other words, mitigation should not be confused with immunity. Correction schemes can only handle single-bit errors within a configuration memory frame, so any multi-bit errors still require full device reconfiguration. Also, mitigation schemes require additional reliability analysis and engineering time to implement, and to fully assess the impact of errors that still propagate.

Assessing the Impact of SEEs According to the FAA’s DO-254 specification, titled Design Assurance Guidance for Airborne Electronic Hardware, a hardware safety assessment (Section 2.3) must be performed for airborne electronic hardware (AEH) as part of the design process, to ensure safe operation. This assessment determines the criticality (design assurance level) for each functional block in the system and must identify potential functional failure paths (FFPs). For SRAM-based FPGAs, GCR-induced SEEs are considered as potential FFPs and require that an assessment be made of the risk of SEEs and a mitigation plan be developed. Determining potential failuresin-time (FIT) rates for a given SRAM-

based FPGA is fairly straightforward (1 FIT = 1 failure/109 hours). The first step is to determine the relative neutron f lux rate for the worst-case f light conditions. JESD89A references neutron f lux relative to New York City. The relative f lux rate can either be derived via the equations found in Annex A of JESD89A or determined via a webbased calculator based on the standard located at FluxCalculator.cgi.


Per-Megabit Upset Rate The next step is to determine the per-megabit upset rate for the configuration memory of the target FPGA. Manufacturers publish quarterly reports of FIT rates derived from ongoing atmospheric tests of FPGA arrays. This atmospheric testing includes upsets from all particles, not just from atmospheric neutrons. Several studies have determined that the composition of GCR is fairly constant over altitude, allowing the relative neutron flux rate to be used as a scaling factor. The last data needed is the configuration memory size for the large FPGA. This data is also available in manufacturers’ reports. Airframes may use four or five FPGAs per each of as much as 20 line replaceable unit (LRUs), which increases the number of upsets per hour, accordingly. Various memory elements within the electronic devices on military aircraft are susceptible to upset when impacted by high-energy particles within the earth’s atmosphere. In addition, other elements of a device may propagate induced pulses or transients that can result in functional errors. Given the high neutron flux found at typical cruising altitudes, military avionics designers must consider the impact of SEUs and SETs, especially on FPGA devices. It is important to choose FPGAs with a base technology that is fundamentally immune to upset, and to use appropriate mitigation techniques per industry guidelines. Microsemi Aliso Viejo, CA (949) 380-6100. [].

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SPECIAL FEATURE Five Game-Changing Technology Trends for the Military

Middleware Evolves to Suit the Era of Multicore Middleware is a critical component to military systems like software radios. To get the most out of today’s multi-core technology, middleware implementations must keep pace.


COTS Journal | January 2012


Middleware API Middleware Transport Abstraction

Data Transport Services





ulticore processors have become a ubiquitous foundation for hardware and software product development. They are present in embedded systems ranging from consumer mobile devices to mission-critical avionic systems. Traditionally, software performance gains were achieved by running the same application on newer microprocessors having higher clock speeds and optimized instruction pipelines. However, as silicon fabrication technology has approached thermal limitations for increased clock speed, manufacturers have turned to designs incorporating multiple processor cores at lower clock speeds on a single chip while still improving overall chip performance. As military and avionics systems age, application developers now face the challenge of how to best leverage existing application code written for single-core processors when redesigning applications to take advantage of the performance benefits of multicore processors. While upgrading hardware and software components remains a common and cost-effective method of maintaining applications, this approach has not always resulted in performance


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Figure 1

Middleware functions as “plumbing” because it connects software components or applications of the heterogeneous and/or distributed systems, and passes data between them. gains when deployed on multicore processors. As Program Executive Offices (PEOs) continue to assess and deploy modernization plans, realizing the full potential of multicore processor architectures will require a deeper assessment of the legacy application to adapt the code for scalable concurrency. It requires the explicit management of intra- and inter-process communication and shared resources to take advantage of multithreading on the multiple cores. Software components that

address these concerns will benefit the most from multicore architectures.

Overlooked Middleware One often overlooked software component that can impact concurrency is the software communications infrastructure, commonly referred to as middleware. Middleware is typically defined as the layer of software technology above the operating system but below the application. It is sometimes known as the glue or a logic bridge

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Software Communication Infrastructure — ORBexpress in a Multicore Environment 450.0 Windows




350.0 300.0 250.0 200.0

Improper Use of Locks

150.0 100.0 50.0 0.0 1





Figure 2

Compared here are the performance aspects of software communications infrastructure in multicore systems.

Radio Application ORBexpress


Radio Application ORBexpress


SCA Core Framework Android

Radio Application ORBexpress


Network Protocols


Software Defined Radio Development Environment

Figure 3

This Software Defined Radio diagram shows how ORBexpress moves data logic through the application stack. as it is often used to integrate legacy components. It is also referred to as the plumbing because it connects software components or applications of the heterogeneous and/or distributed systems, and passes data between them (Figure 1). Middleware plays a critical role providing the communications framework 34

in this area that much of the expected performance improvements migrating from single to multicore hardware are not always properly realized. As with many applications that have evolved to this state, the chosen middleware component was very likely not designed for multicore processors. Poorly designed or implemented middleware is often a result of one or more of the following four issues: improper use of locks; excess resource usage, improper network management or single- vs multicore multithreaded design.

COTS Journal | January 2012

to support the exchange of application logic by providing interfaces to reduce the complexity of programming for distributed systems. This offers the application developer a common programming abstraction to easily pass data or application logic blocks between software components and applications in distributed and heterogeneous systems. It is

Locks are necessary to protect critical sections of an application or system resource from being used by more than one thread of execution at a time, which could cause system slowdown or failure. Inefficient use of locks drastically affects application performance by preventing applications from doing the most parallel efforts possible. Examples of poor locking include write-locking when read-locking is sufficient; locking a larger section of code than was necessary; or even using too few locks and inviting resource contention. Efficient middleware minimizes the number of necessary locks and ensures that each thread holds the lock for the minimum amount of time.

Excess Resource Usage If the middleware does not efficiently reuse or release resources, this can affect not only the stability of the application, but all other applications, including the operating system. Resources that are finite and shared between all applications, such as file descriptors opened during the creation of a network communication socket, must be used sparingly and released correctly. In a distributed environment, improperly setting quality of service options for communication sockets can also lead to leaking resources on a remote server, which is exacerbated when the server receives connections from many clients. Again, efficient middleware will consume the minimum amount of resources to get the job done.


Improper Network Management A key component of a network communications middleware is the data transport services that read and write to the network. How well these services exploit the power of today’s multi-core processors and adapt to different network topologies plays a major role in determining an application’s networking performance. Issues to consider include the speed of different transport services and whether concurrent processing across a network interface is supported. It is also important to determine if middleware can use different physical network transport protocols, such as TCP/IP, UDP/IP, IP Multicast, PCI Express, FireWire, Shared Memory, TCP/IP, RapidIO, ATM and InfiniBand. Well-designed middleware will include a pluggable transport architecture that places minimal limitations on the number or types of transports and protocols that can be used.

of the application. Figure 2 illustrates the performance issues of software communications infrastructure in multicore systems. When compared to other challenges in legacy software migration or complete code refactoring, re-evaluating the middleware or communication framework offers a low-cost, low-risk foundation for migrating legacy applications to multicore systems.

Middleware for Software Radio Understanding the influence and power of middleware will aid developers and system integrators in leveraging multicore processors. This is important as military programs evolve from research and development to deployment and to deliver on the trend to modernize military’s business systems to missioncritical applications. For example in the



Multithreaded Design Just as with applications, the software communications infrastructure must be properly architected to facilitate parallel execution and take advantage of multicore processors. Many multithreaded designs that were sufficient for use on single-core processors fail when ported to systems with multicore processors. Sections of code that are not considered critical when run on a single-core system may become critical on multicore systems, which feature true concurrent thread execution. Interrupts that now occur independently on cores in a multicore processor open up cases in which device access and availability differs and introduces race conditions that were not encountered on single-core systems. Properly designed middleware will have a multithreaded pattern that is compatible and safe to use with both single- and multicore processors. As critical as the software communications infrastructure is, it is often an overlooked opportunity for improving application performance. Many military systems have legacy applications in which the middleware components may actually hinder multicore performance despite careful upgrades to other portions

Designed to Survive in Demanding Environments The NanoATR system has a fully sealed, conduction cooled chassis with two 19 mm and two 12.5 mm payload slots, a storage slot, and a dedicated connector panel-PSU slot in a small, light footprint that optimizes size, weight, power, and cooling. The front panel may be equipped with either circular MIL or rectangular connectors. Leveraging Themis thermal and kinetic management design expertise, the NanoATR boasts a completely sealed, finned, hardened-aluminum conduction-cooled chassis, designed to withstand extreme environmental conditions. The rugged NanoATR is ideal in a wide range of mission-critical applications, while its performance and cost-competitive price make it an attractive choice for commercial and industrial use. For more information, go to




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software defined radio (SDR) programs, the software communications architecture (SCA) specifies a communication framework standard, like ORBexpress, on how data and logic is exchanged among the various processors, transports and applications. This abstraction of the inter-process communication is what makes it an ideal middleware or communica-

tion framework because it does not care if the communication of data is occurring locally or remotely. It is this abstraction and exchange of logic that enables these SDR systems to achieve interoperability with large legacy systems and with new systems that utilize the small form factors using new operating systems like Android. The SDR diagram in Figure 3 shows how ORBex-

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press moves data logic through the application stack. With the ORBexpress framework, the core application does not have to be re-factored as technology implementation changes or evolves, for example, from a traditional RTOS to an Android platform. The use of an adaptable communication framework, such as ORBexpress, is especially relevant as the military continues to leverage existing code into the emerging markets and the availability of new technology, like small form factors and virtualization. As these applications and systems continue to evolve into more complex distributed systems, the choice of which communications infrastructure or middleware to implement is more critical than ever. Choosing a communications infrastructure that offers scalability, reliability and adaptability is the key to having an application or system that is truly interoperable and still meets performance expectations. Objective Interface Systems Herndon, VA. (800) 800-6477. [].

TECH RECON ATCA and CompactPCI Take Post-Acceptance Victory Laps

ATCA Military Adoption Mirrors Telecom Success Although created for telco systems, the weight, power savings and performance of ATCA make it well-suited for many aerospace and defense applications. John Long, Product Line Manager, ATCA Radisys


ince its introduction to the telecommunications industry 10 years ago, the widely adopted AdvancedTCA (ATCA) standard continues to evolve and enable new segments. Originally targeted to the needs of the telecommunications sector, ATCA rapidly gained popularity due to cost savings, increased functionality, multi-vendor compatibility and reduced development time, leading to faster time-to-market. Since its introduction, ATCA has been widely adopted in wireless communications networks, and billions of telephony consumers rely on ATCA infrastructures. Recognizing the standard’s success and its relevance for applications outside of the telecommunications market, the aerospace and defense (A&D) industry turned to ATCA to meet the stringent performance requirements of A&D communications and server applications. Now a de facto communications solution for the A&D space, early industry adopters are introducing second generation ATCA products, moving additional applications over to ATCA and utilizing the architecture on a variety of platforms.


COTS Journal | January 2012

Progression to A&D Applications The key to ATCA’s rapid acceptance in the telecommunications sector points to the standard’s foundation as a highly available, open, bladed architecture. At its core, the ATCA specification defines all the electrical and mechanical requirements of the ATCA industry standard platform—backplane properties, blade size (8U), backplane interface specifications, power rating, cooling and so on. ATCA is designed to meet network equipment building systems (NEBS), which define requirements for fire suppression, thermal margin testing, vibration resistance (earthquakes), acoustic limits, failover and partial operational requirements, along with many other testing and certification requirements. Because ATCA is an open standard, customers can build platforms that address multiple applications based on products from multiple vendors. The adoption of ATCA in the A&D space has mirrored the telecommunications space. For the military, ATCA adoption has enabled a smooth transition away from compartmentalized war machines toward a new network-centric warfare approach, using interconnected units that operate cohesively. Key re-

quirements for this shift were reduced development time and total cost of ownership savings, which ATCA has been able to provide based on its foundation as an open standard. The military’s turn to open-standard, ATCA-based components has also allowed developers to take advantage of the latest in networking, performance and computing capabilities, including new silicon architectures, such as x86, switching, packet processing and DSP. This allows designers to focus their time and resources on developing their value-add instead of solving integration challenges. Lastly, since ATCA was designed for NEBS, it can meet many of the Mil-STD 910 requirements with minor modifications.

ATCA for High Performance ATCA’s higher performance per watt makes it particularly well-suited for mil/aero applications. To process multiple streams of incoming and outgoing information, control systems require the latest in high-performance computing, high-end graphics and storage capacity. ATCA solutions are specifically designed to offer the f lexible, high-performance computing



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Military customers are transitioning to UGCSs capable of controlling multiple unmanned aircraft, land vehicles or surface vessels.

Case Study: U.S. Navy Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance System This U.S. Navy deployment case study illustrates ATCA’s role in an aerospace system performance update. A military aircraft, developed primarily for anti-submarine warfare, employed an ATCA-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) system consisting of three chassis with eight blades each. While initially this met the military’s needs, eventually the U.S. Navy requested a form, fit and function replacement of the computing blades to modernize this deployment to meet the current performance requirements of today’s surveillance and reconnaissance applications. Working with chassis maker LCR Electronics, Radisys ruggedized its off-the-shelf Promentum ATCA-4550 blade to ensure that the operating temperatures and the power envelope were identical to the previous generation of products, the overall weight of the product was the same and it could meet the shock and vibration requirements. In this case, the robustness, modularity and interoperability of this ATCA system enabled the Navy to quickly move from generation to generation, enhancing performance and significantly reducing development time and use of resources.

power required for several applications in an easy-to-manage platform. Today, the high-performance and bandwidth capabilities of ATCA bring the latest technologies to standards-based appli40

COTS Journal | January 2012

cations, 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 in UAV Ground Control Until recently, every type of unmanned aircraft had a specialized ground control station, which resulted in a proliferation of single-purpose equipment. AAI Corporation decided to develop a universal ground control system (UGCS) architecture (Figure 1), including simultaneous mission control of multiple unmanned aircraft, rather than its current one-system GCS, a VMEbased server platform. For the UGCS architecture, AAI weighed the trade-offs between ATCA architecture and rackmount servers. AAI chose ATCA due to its bladed platform that easily scaled features and performance to support new applications or more computing power. The ATCA platform also increased serviceability and availability, and simplified power supply requirements over the prior generation equipment.


After thorough evaluation, AAI built a UGCS on an open standard-based ATCA platform comprised of a Radisys Promentum ATCA-4300 Compute Processing Module running MonteVista realtime Linux and VMware virtualization software, all within an LCR Electronics Gemini ruggedized military ATCA chassis, which also housed storage blades from Astute Networks. According to Tom Bachman, vice president of new products and technologies at AAI, “ATCA gives us the scalability we need to design a universal ground station controller capable of responding to the needs of a wide range of unmanned aircrafts and multiple military branches.”

Balancing SWaP and Performance As ATCA’s performance advantages continue to evolve and update existing applications, the space, weight and power savings push the technology into a variety of new A&D opportunities. Today’s mobile military environment is demanding lighter, more compact designs for highly portable computing and communication equipment. This places a premium on reducing system weight without sacrificing performance. By designing on ATCA-based systems, developers can deliver significantly lighter command and control stations that allow for improved mobility in the field. ATCA computer modules offer capabilities and processing power comparable to RMS servers—which are built

App1 on OS


App2 on OS


App3 on OS


App4 on OS


Figure 2

The CANES program’s afloat component is planned to be based on ATCA architecture.

on multi-core server class processors— whereas ATCA allows multiple modules to be incorporated into a single chassis. Since the ATCA blades share a common enclosure, fan and power supply, they offer a simpler architecture that weighs significantly less than comparable solutions. Based on its weight, space and power savings, ATCA has paved the way for use in emerging A&D applications, such as navy shipboard.

Virtual Server1 App1 on Guest OS

One example of an emerging A&D ATCA application is for navy shipboard components. With the initial trial deployment coming in 2012, the Consolidated Afloat Network and Enterprise Services technology (CANES) program (Figure 2) will utilize ATCA architecture. Although the final configurations have yet to be finalized, the afloat (ships) component is planned to be based on ATCA, while the enterprise portion will

Virtual Server2 App2 on Guest OS

Virtual Server3 App3 on Guest OS

Virtual Server4 App4 on Guest OS


Core 2

Core 3

Core 4


Figure 3

Virtualization allows multiple virtual servers, with different functions and operating systems, to run under one single board computer.

January 2012 | COTS Journal


Copyright Š 2012 RTD Embedded Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. All trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective companies.


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utilize proprietary bladed architectures. This is a key area of expansion for ATCA in the shipboard sector and within the A&D industry as a whole.

Virtualization Follows ATCA’s Lead Virtualization is an emerging technology for open-standard military solutions like ATCA. Similar to ATCA,

virtualization was quickly adopted in the enterprise data center and is now expanding into the A&D market. In the traditional data center, each application had its own dedicated server; therefore, if you needed more capacitors for an application or you were adding a new application, servers were added. Over time this model became very inefficient and expensive.

Virtualization involves a thin layer of software between the physical hardware, the server and the operating system. This thin layer of software “virtualizes” the hardware components and creates “virtual machines.” To the operating system, the virtual machine looks likes its own individual server allowing multiple operating systems and applications to safely share the same physical server. The introduction of virtualization to open-standard, military solutions like ATCA addresses developers’ key priorities, enabling further time savings and reduced cost of ownership, while also providing increased reliability. Virtualization applications are easily extended from the commercial realm into the military market and are positioned to provide benefits valuable to military applications, including shared server support for applications, shared server support for operating systems and fault tolerance offerings at the application layer.

An Accepted Solution ATCA is an established standard with broad success in the telecommunications industry, but it is now apparent that ATCA has been accepted as a key solution within the aerospace and defense marketplace as well. As the military evolves toward network-centric operations, ATCA’s performance, space, weight and power benefits continue to meet developers’ evolving needs for reduced development time and total cost of ownership. ATCA has achieved widespread acceptance within the A&D industry and will continue to expand into additional applications, supporting advancements for new opportunities and technologies along the way. RadiSys Hillsboro, OR. (503) 615-1100. [].

Untitled-4 1 COTS Journal | January 2012 44

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TECH RECON ATCA and CompactPCI Take Post-Acceptance Victory Laps

Embedded Computer Building Blocks Serve High-Bandwidth Military Needs Form factors such as CompactPCI, VME and VPX provide solutions for today’s ever growing demands for high-bandwidth data movement in military systems. PCI Express and Ethernet provide the fabric interconnects that bring it all together. David Pursley, Product Line Manager Kontron


he need for advanced connectivity and bandwidth is continually evolving to support the modern battlefield. This is mainly due to the availability, and thus demands, for higher image resolution technologies along with the ability to support multiple types of data and sensor sources for radar, sonar and surveillance applications. Military systems designers have begun to incorporate Ethernet and other high bandwidth protocols for more than pure networking. A growing number of military applications that require immense data processing are able to realize the benefits of using Ethernet and PCI Express for advanced switch deployments or as an interconnect fabric. Designers of new and tech refresh programs looking for high bandwidth building blocks are turning to a variety of high-performance embedded computing platforms, including VME, CompactPCI and VPX. The sidebar on p. 48, “CompactPCI Builds Legacy of Success in Mil/Aero Programs,” describes some example program wins for CompactPCI. For instance, VPX is able to utilize Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) on the backplane to implement high-speed serial link point-to-point connections between boards that enable significantly improved performance compared to parallel bus 46

COTS Journal | January 2012

Application Socket TCP/IP Stack VxFabric

Ethernet Driver

PCIe Hardware

Ethernet Hardware

Figure 1

APIs provide a thin layer of software that helps simplify application development for IP-based transport over PCI Express architectures. With VPX connectors and backplanes, the full data plane bandwidth does not have to be shared between boards. The result is that each board can have one or more dedicated 10 Gigabit connections via Ethernet or PCI Express, which is a tenfold increase in I/O bandwidth.

Fabric Choices Matter But design challenges are far from over, even when the hardware platform is set. Ad-

ditional analysis to determine the optimum communication protocol for the application is needed. Current standards, such as PCI Express, GbE and Serial RapidIO, offer different advantages that must be weighed. For example, PCI Express uses point-to-point serial links to provide an interface between I/Os and processor units, as well as a native communications link in a multiprocessor environment.

APIs Simplify Development Application Program Interfaces (APIs) are becoming an essential development and data flow management tool to speed high bandwidth designs. APIs provide a thin layer of software that helps simplify application development for IP-based transport over PCI Express. Leveraging PCI Express’ high bandwidth through an API allows designers to implement efficient inter-board communication at hardware processing speeds. From a software perspective, an API acts the same as the Ethernet network infrastructure, allowing applications written for TCP/IP sockets to use PCI Express for increased communications performance. Addressing those needs, Kontron offers its VXFabric (Figure 1), which is an API for its PCI Express switch fabric technology for VPX High Performance Embed-




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CompactPCI Builds Legacy of Success in Mil/Aero Programs

as a “surrogate“ unmanned air vehicle (UAV). The Tornado pilot also had the responsibility of commanding three other simulated UAVs. For the flight trials, the control of the BAC 1-11 and the three simulated UAVs was handled by QinetiQ software running on Kontron components in four server CompactPCI took a number of years to become an overnight success racks—one rack for controlling each of the UAVs. Each rack contained for military applications. Typical of the defense industry, acceptance of new multiple VMP2 3U Power PC processor boards and CP306 3U processor embedded computer form factors takes time. But with two decades under its boards with processors based on Intel Centrino technology. belt, CompactPCI is no longer the new kid on the block and has become an In a space-based example of CompactPCI in action, a cPCI board established option in a number of military and aerospace programs. There is part of a research module aboard the International Space Station. Built are numerous examples of CompactPCI providing the right solution. by EADS Space Transportation, the research module called DECLIC is dedicated to fluid and material research under microgravity. Using the system, scientists study the behavior of near ambient temperature-critical fluids. Depending on which experiment container is currently installed and operated, a control library and a hardware description relevant to that experiment are loaded. A CP303 CompactPCI based on a socketless low voltage 933 MHz Mobile Pentium III-M processor manages the following three tasks: it controls the temperature for each of the various experiment containers; it operates as the command interface for the scientific scripts which run on the data management computer, also based on a CompactPCI board; and finally, it collects the data from the five to eight microcontroller boards on which the specific intelligence for the individual experiment is implemented. There are numerous Navy application examples of CompactPCI use. Among them was the Navy’s Stiletto program. For the Stiletto boat, an embedded computing platform was needed that could perform flawlessly within the The CompactPCI computers aboard the Navy’s Stiletto boat manage the onboard integrated carbon fiber material used in Stiletto’s hull (Sidebar Figure 1), systems, such as situational awareness sensors and navigation, communications and which has been known to put special demands on electronnetworking, and craft control. ics. The embedded computing runs Azimuth’s CIES software to manage all of the boat’s integrated systems—situational awareness sensors and navigation, communications and networking, craft control and integrated video capabilities. One example was a system developed in 2007 by QinetiQ as a defense Azimuth chose a Kontron CP6012, a 6U CompactPCI CPU board with project funded by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD). The system gives an Intel Core Duo processor. This high performance, PCI Express-based unmanned aircraft an advanced level of independence and intelligence. computing blade enabled the Azimuth system to handle data throughput like A series of successful flight trials were flown using a Tornado as the a server. The CompactPCI-based solution also provided easy expansion command and control aircraft and QinetiQ’s BAC 1-11 trials aircraft acting capabilities for Azimuth, allowing 14 blades per chassis.

ded Computing (HPEC) environments. It allows military designers to develop extremely high-performance 6U OpenVPX technologies with greater than 10 Gbit/s board-to-board connectivity. This HPEC platform can facilitate the design of highspeed, socket-based communication between blades by using multiple switched fabric interconnects within the backplane. 48

COTS Journal | January 2012

Another benefit of PCI Express is that it is a native data bus in all of today’s processor chipsets with broad support from an existing and growing software ecosystem. Compute-intensive military applications will continue to progress with the help of advanced fabric interconnect technologies, such as PCI Express and 10 Gigabit Ethernet, that can deliver the high

bandwidth needed. Modern APIs accelerate the software development, allowing these technologies to be leveraged even under aggressive deployment schedules. Kontron America Poway, CA. (858) 677-0877. [].

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SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT 10 Gbit Ethernet as Board- and System-Level Data Plane

New Focus for Sensor Data Recording Tech: Scalability With sensor bandwidths and resolutions constantly on the rise, military data storage systems need to leverage technologies that blend scalability and performance. Greg Bolstad, Chief Systems Architect Critical I/O


he defense and intelligence communities face an increasing reliance on high-resolution and high-bandwidth sensors of varying types. Raw data rates in these systems are increasing—due to higher bandwidth and higher resolution sensors— as are mission durations. The majority of these sensor systems require that some or all of the raw or partially processed data be recorded for later analysis, post-processing or archiving. The high data rate and capacity requirements place a huge burden on sensor data recording subsystems. This burden is often compounded by severe SWaP constraints and the need for high reliability in sometimes demanding environments. Because sensor bandwidths and resolutions are increasing so rapidly, the storage capacity and bandwidth requirements of the sensor system are also escalating rapidly. Thus, it is essential that the recording storage solution be able to scale so that these increasing system recording storage requirements can be accommodated without the need to discard the recording subsystem architecture and start over again. 50

COTS Journal | January 2012

Data Source Processor


Storage Control NFS/CIFS Server

Data Source Processor

GP File System

Data Source FPGA or ADC or Processor



GP File System RAID

SSD Control

Storage Control DAS Target

NAS Model 200 MB/s

Storage SSD Control


Storage Control DMA

SSD Storage

SSD Storage

DAS Model 500 MB/s


Recording File System RAID

SSD Control

SSD Storage

Recorder Model Multi-GB/s

Figure 1

These three data recording system modes each offer varying degrees of performance and scalability.

Three Main Components A recording storage system is comprised of the following three main components: storage controllers, storage modules and the interfaces. Storage controllers implement the intelligence needed to manage storage resources. Storage modules provide the raw data

storage—often SATA SSD based. The interfaces comprise not just the physical recording/playback interfaces, but also the associated protocols. A scalable recording storage system must allow for growth—in both capacity and bandwidth—and flexibility in all three of these areas.

Storage technology, especially SSDs and controllers, is evolving rapidly. A recording building block approach that leverages the latest in commercial and enterprise storage technologies can meet the data recording needs of current and future sensor platforms. In particular, blade-based recorder building blocks, including storage controller blades and storage blades, can be used to build a wide variety of military sensor recording systems. These systems can support scalability in different dimensions, allowing them to meet the current and future needs of a wide range of sensor platforms.

Sensor Data Recorder Usage Models The majority of sensor data recording applications are mission-oriented, with data typically captured for a large part of each mission. Generally after mission completion, the full set of acquired data must be transported to an analysis/ post-processing/archiving facility. In the mission-oriented model, the recording system data storage modules start out empty and the complete set of recorded data is generally saved (not overwritten). As a result, the recorder storage is filled only once per mission. The total storage capacity generally has a direct impact on supportable mission durations. Storage capacities ranging from a few Terabytes to over 100 Terabytes are common in these systems, with aggregate recording bandwidths from a few hundred Mbytes/s to over 10 Gbytes/s. In this mission model, the recording system is configured with freshly erased storage prior to the start of a mission. Upon the completion of the mission, recorded data is extracted from the platform, generally using one of two methods. The first is to offload data to some other storage device through the use of a high speed playback interface. After offload, the data storage modules can be erased and made ready for the next mission. The second method is to physically remove the data storage modules, replacing them with fresh storage modules. The removed modules are then physically transported to the analysis/ post-processing/archive facility. Thus

5 TB

10 TB

Storage Storage Control 5 TB

1 GB/s

Storage Storage Storage Control 5 TB 5 TB

1 GB/s


Scaling for Capacity

10 TB

20 TB

Storage Storage Control 5 TB 2 GB/s

Storage Storage Control 5 TB

Storage Storage Storage Control 5 TB 5 TB 2 GB/s

Storage Storage Storage Control 5 TB 5 TB

Scaling for Bandwidth

Scaling for Bandwidth and Capacity

Figure 2

A building block approach allows bandwidth and capacity to be scaled independently.

Linux SBC


VxWorks SBC


FPGA Processor




Linux or VxWorks SBC

Storage Control Modules

1 GbE 10 GbE


Storage Modules

10 GbE

UDP Streaming

PCIe 1/2/4/8 Gb

Sensor Subsystem


Recording Interfaces (read/write)

Fibre Channel


Playback Interfaces

Scalable in Capacity and/or Bandwidth

(read only)

Figure 3

Options for the physical interfaces and interface protocols of the sensor recorder subsystems.

the platform is made immediately available for the next mission. Other usage models include a continuous recording model, where data is recorded continuously for long durations. Older data is continuously overwritten with newer data, and only “data regions of interest� are retained for further processing or analysis. This model can result

in recorder storage being overwritten many times during the course of the mission, which can place additional requirements on the specific types of SSD storage that can be used. Hybrid usage models may also combine the above two models, as well as partitioning parts of the storage system for use in non-recording applications. For January 2012 | COTS Journal



Data Sources (4 channels) Chan 1


Chan 2


Chan 3


Chan 4









Storage Blade

Removable Storage Module

Storage Blade

Removable Storage Module

Storage Blade

Removable Storage Module

Storage Blade

Removable Storage Module


PCIe System Controller


Storage Controller Blade

10Gb Ethernet (playback) @ 500 MB/s

Figure 4

This real-world example application uses a single storage control blade along with multiple storage blades to form a four channel data recorder that can record data at a sustained rate of 4.0 Gbytes/s. example, the storage sub-system may use 50 percent of its total available storage for the mission oriented write-once model, another 25 percent for continuous “region of interest” recording, and the remainder for general purpose network-based file sharing. That general purpose data is not typically removed or erased.

Choices in Recorder Modes As illustrated in Figure 1, there are several data recording system modes that can be used, each with varying degrees of performance and scalability. The first two, NAS and DAS modes, require the involvement of a host processor board, which can limit performance and scalability. The third mode, Recorder mode, does not require that data pass through an intervening host processor board; data may be captured directly from the raw data source. Network Attached Storage (NAS) Mode: In NAS mode, the recorder resource is configured to act like a network 52

COTS Journal | January 2012

file server. A host processor board writes data to the storage system using NFS, FTP (for Unix, Linux file sharing) and CIFS (for Windows file sharing). Playback of recorded data is typically via the same interface as recording. Performance is lower when using NAS mode as compared to DAS or Recorder modes—typically about 200 Mbytes/s maximum per NAS recorder. Direct Attached Storage (DAS) Mode: In DAS modes, raw storage is aggregated and presented to a host processor board as one or more large disk drives (actually, RAID 0/5 arrays). DAS host use a PCIe or Fibre Channel (FC) connection to the host CPU board. The host CPU fully controls the allocation and use of the ‘virtual’ storage blocks presented by the DAS recorder resource, generally through the use of a general purpose file system on the host. Playback of recorded data is typically via the same interface as recording. Typical maximum performance for DAS mode is moderate—about 500 Mbytes/s.

Recorder Mode: In Recorder mode, one or more Storage Controllers implement a high performance recording file system that fully manages the raw storage resources. It can accept a stream of data directly from either a “dumb” data source, such as an ADC or FPGA; a “smart” data source, such as a CPU or DSP board; or from a network data source like an Ethernet or UDP/TCP stream. In all cases, data is transferred from the data source to the recorder using highly efficient DMAs of data blocks directly to recording storage system. The recording file system may allow striping of data from a single data source across multiple storage blades for increased capacity and performance. Playback of recorded data may be via a PCIe/SRIO connection or via Ethernet (NFS, FTP, CIFS, etc.) Typical recording performance is about 1 Gbyte/s per blade, with possible aggregation of multiple blades for higher rates.

Scalability: Multiple Dimensions There are several dimensions of scalability in sensor recording systems. First, there is scaling in the number of data channels. There is also scaling in the bandwidth that can be handled for each channel. And finally, there is scaling in the total storage capacity per channel. Note that scaling for increased bandwidth per channel or number of data channels often also results in increased capacity as well. Figure 2 illustrates scaling for bandwidth and capacity in a blade based recording architecture. Capacity Scalability: This is the most basic form of recording system scaling. It simply involves adding more storage—storage blades—associated with an existing storage controller blade. Single Channel Bandwidth Scalability: Each storage entity has a limited bandwidth capability. “Entity” here means either storage controller blade or storage blade or both. The only way to attain higher bandwidths is to “stripe” data from a signal channel across multiple storage entities, while still retaining a common “single point” recording and data playback model. That is, the multiple storage entities are combined for increase


bandwidth, but to the user they still appear as a single entity. Multi-Channel Scalability: A multichannel recorder supplies multiple data storage entities, each dealing with its own streams of data. It is still highly desirable

to retain a common single point control and playback paradigm. A system can scale from one channel to three channels by adding only storage blades. The threechannel system in this case still only requires a single storage controller blade.

Interfaces and Protocols Sensor data recorders must also support a diverse set of record and playback interfaces. Recorders are somewhat unique in that the record interface used to capture data from the sensor is not

Figure 5

The StoreEngine (left) is a VPX blade that can also host up to 3 Terabytes of non-removable onboard SSD storage. StorePak (right) is a Storage VPX blade that can host up to 6 Terabytes of hot swappable SSD storage.

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necessarily the same as the playback interface used to transfer the recorded data to some consumer. As shown in Figure 3, there’s a variety of options for the physical interfaces and interface protocols of the sensor recorder sub-systems. These are a key element of system flexibility, as different sensor systems have a diverse set of “preferred” interfaces. And in addition, for airborne systems in particular, it is highly desirable

to be able to rapidly extract recorded data after a mission. The interfaces, and especially the protocols that are most effective to use for data playback, may be different than those that are most effectively used for data recording during the mission. There are a number of record and playback data interfaces from which to choose. PCI Express and Serial RapidIO both provide multi-lane high speed serial. Gen 1 of both technologies runs at

2.5 Gbps per lane, while Gen 2 runs at 5.0 Gbps per lane (optionally 6.25 for SRIO). Both can scale to configurations of up to 32 lanes wide for highest performance applications. A typical G1 x8 or G2 x4 configuration supports data rates of up to 2 Gbytes/s. While these two technologies are significantly different in terms of addressing and routing, they can be viewed as roughly equivalent with respect to sensor recording interface usage.

Ethernet Simplicity Ethernet, meanwhile, is seeing increasing usage as a sensor interface. Common protocols include “vanilla” TCP or UDP, optimized stream oriented implementations of UDP, as well as specialized protocols such as GigE Vision(1) that layer on top of UDP. Recording data rates of up to 120 Mbytes/s to 1200 Mbytes/s can be achieved using 1 GbE and 10 GbE respectively. Ports can be aggregated for higher recording data rates. Ethernet is probably the most commonly used playback interface, especially where full-speed playback is not required. Depending on performance requirements, normal network file sharing protocols such as NFS, FTP or CIFS can be used, or for highest performance “vanilla” TCP or UDP, optimized stream oriented implementations of UDP can be used. File sharing protocols typically provide playback performance of several hundred MB/s, while optimized UDP stream protocols can easily support playback at full 10 GbE line rate of 1200 MB/s. Fibre Channel (1/2/4/8 Gb FC) is a multi-gigabit storage networking technology that is commonly used as the standard for direct attached storage applications. Not generally used as a recording interface, but sometimes used for playback. Playback rates of up to 8 Gbytes/s can be achieved with 8Gb FC.

Example Storage Blade Application A real-world example application that uses a single storage control blade along with multiple storage blades is shown in Figure 4. It forms a four-channel data recorder that can record data at a sustained rate of 4.0 Gbytes/s. The system provides Untitled-4 1 COTS Journal | January 2012 54

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a total storage capacity of 12 Terabytes, expandable to 24 Terabytes by simply adding more storage blades. This system usage generally follows the “mission-oriented” usage model, where the storage is filled during the course of a mission, and then removed and replaced with fresh storage prior to the next mission. During the course of the mission, however, certain sections of recorded days must be played back for “on-the-fly” analysis.

This capability is implemented using a 10GbE interface utilizing a UDP stream protocol for efficient data access at greater than 500 Mbytes/s. Two examples of storage building blocks along those lines are Critical I/O’s StoreEngine and StorePak, shown in Figure 5. StoreEngine is an ultra-high performance storage controller VPX blade that can also host up to 3 Terabytes of non-removable on-board SSD storage.

StorePak is a Storage VPX blade that can host up to 6 Terabytes of easily removable and hot swappable SSD storage. Various combinations of multiple StoreEngines and multiple StorePaks can be interconnected using PCIe backplane connections to support a huge variety of easily scalable sensor data recording systems.

Leveraging Commercial Developments StoreEngine and StorePak leverage best-of-breed commercial storage technologies, and build on these technologies to adapt them to the needs of military recording systems. In addition to clear cost advantages, this approach allows system designers to take advantage of the latest commercial developments while still meeting SWaP, performance and environmental requirements of their systems. StoreEngine and StorePak support a wide variety of recording and playback interfaces, including PCIe, 10GbE, and Fibre Channel, and supports recording in NAS, DAS and Recorder modes. In Recorder mode, StoreEngine completely manages its storage resources using a recording file system that runs on the StoreEngine. This file system allows striping data from a single data stream across multiple StoreEngines for increased capacity and performance as well as aggregating the additional removable storage provided by multiple StorePaks. Time stamps are added to each data block, and a provision for user extensible meta-data is provided. Modular, scalable, blade-based recording systems provide a mechanism to help meet the ever-increasing storage capacity and bandwidth needs of high resolution sensor systems. Critical I/O’s StoreEngine and StorePak VPX blades are examples of blade-based storage building blocks that leverage the latest in COTS commercial and enterprise storage technologies to meet these rapidly increasing requirements. Critical I/O Irvine, CA. (949) 553-2200. [].

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9/17/09 3:09:10 PM

SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT 10 Gbit Ethernet as Board- and System-Level Data Plane

10 GbE Digital Recording Feeds Demands from Wideband Sensors As sensor speed and accuracy increase, demand for high-bandwidth acquistion and recording of incoming signals is ramping up fast. Ethernet interfaces help keep pace with the avalanche of incoming data. Rodger Hosking, Vice President Pentek


cquisition and recording of signals from sensors occurs on virtually all commercial, government and military systems for aircraft, ships and manned and unmanned vehicles. Similar technology abounds in manufacturing, medical and testing operations. Often scattered at various remote locations, these sensors require secure links back to the acquisition system. To avoid signal degradation over long distances, traditional analog sensors are often coupled to local digitizers to support digital transmission back to the system. The latest sensors are not only faster and more accurate, but most now feature integrated digital interfaces. As the quantity and speed of these sensors increase, so do the demands on the recording system. With that in mind, it’s helpful to look at how high-bandwidth remote sensors can be configured for transmitting the data and how new recorder architectures can support the steadily increasing data rates to ensure real-time performance.

Distributed Sensor Subsystems Some sensors measure physical properties with low information bandwidth, such as pressure, position or temperature, with only a few readings per second. Oth58

COTS Journal | January 2012

Figure 1

Northrop Grumman’s APG-81 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar has been tested by successfully tracking long-range targets as part of the mission systems test flights of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II BF-4 aircraft. ers require bandwidths up to 100 kHz or more, such as transducers for sonar, acoustics, shock and vibration. Video sensors and HF radio frequency antennas might boost the required sample rate upwards to 100 MHz. Rapidly advancing A/D con-

verter technology gives us monolithic devices suitable for digitizing much higher frequency radio signals for wideband communications and radar system. At the high end, the new Texas Instruments ADC12D1800 A/D delivers 12-bit samples at 3.6 GHz, generating a data stream at an impressive rate of 5.4 Gbytes/s. To make matters even more challenging, these wideband systems often use multi-element antenna arrays. A linear array might consist of multiple antennas distributed along the length of a ship for a directional diversity receiver. Twodimensional arrays of adjacent elements making up a SAR radar antenna are installed on the outside surfaces of military aircraft (Figure 1). Each antenna signal must be conditioned and digitized for delivery to the required software defined radio signal processing and recording system tailored to each application.

Moving Processing Up Front As mentioned earlier, these signals are digitized as close to the antenna as possible to maintain signal fidelity. Another objective of signal processing near the antenna is to reduce the required transmission data rate. This yields two immediate benefits: it eases traffic on the


digital link to the recording system, and it reduces the maximum recorder data rate. To achieve this data rate reduction, digital downconverters (DDCs) take advantage of the fact that signals of interest for radar and communications are usually located within a certain frequency band. For example, the 850 MHz GSM band used for mobile telecom has two allocated 25 MHz bands, one for uplink at 824-849 MHz and one for downlink at 869-894 MHz. Signals outside of these two bands are generally of no interest to an acquisition and recording system in-

tended for GSM signals, so there is no benefit in capturing unwanted out-ofband information. In this case, the sensor acquisition system would typically translate these two 25 MHz RF bands down to an IF frequency using an analog RF tuner. By dropping these frequency bands to a center frequency of 70 MHz for example, the signals of interest fall between 57.5 and 82.5 MHz, ideal for a 16-bit A/D converter operating at 200 MHz sample rate. The A/D output sample stream feeds the DDC, which contains a digital mixer, digital local oscillator and digital low pass

Antenna 850 MHz GSM 25 MHz Band

RF Tuner

70 MHz IF

400 MB/sec

200 MHz A/D

DDC Dec: 6

133 MB/sec 25 MHz BW

Figure 2

850 MHz GSM remote sensor uses a DDC to reduce the data transfer rate.

filter. The DDC further translates the 25 MHz band down to baseband (0 Hz) and delivers a bandlimited, complex (I+Q) digital output at a decimated sample rate of 33.3 MHz, or 133 Mbytes/s. This results in a 66 percent reduction in the 400 Mbyte/s data rate at the A/D output, yet preserves all of the required signal information bandwidth. This signal sensor front end, shown in Figure 2, must deliver this stream through a link to the recording system.

10 Gigabit Ethernet Older high-speed digital cable interfaces using parallel differential copper pairs over flat ribbon cable or multi-conductor round cable suffer from bandwidth limitations, expensive connectors, expensive assembly, bulky size and signal degradation over even moderate distances. Over the last decade, several new gigabit serial standards have emerged and matured into mainstream high-speed digital intercon-

Ant #1 850 MHz GSM

RF Tuner

70 MHz IF

400 MB/sec

200 MHz A/D

DDC Dec: 6

133 MB/sec 800 MB/sec


Ant #6 850 MHz GSM

RF Tuner

70 MHz IF

400 MB/sec

200 MHz A/D

DDC Dec: 6

10 GbE Interface

133 MB/sec

10GbE Copper or Fibre

Figure 3

Six-channel 850 MHz GSM remote sensor subsystem with 10 GbE interface. Disk Drives

6 CH GSM Sensor #1

6 CH GSM Sensor #2

10 GbE 800 MB/sec 10 GbE 800 MB/sec

Figure 4

Dual Port 10 GbE Interface


PCIe x8 Gen2 1600 MB/sec

System Memory

800 MB/sec PCIe x8 Gen2 800 MB/sec PCIe x8 Gen2





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The RTS 2715 12-channel GSM recorder accepts dual 10 GbE links. SystemFlow software uses PCIe links and hardware DMA controllers move data at rates up to 2 Gbytes/s. 60

COTS Journal | January 2012


nection strategies. The most popular are 1 Gbit Ethernet, and 10 Gbit Ethernet, both driven down in cost by widespread, highvolume IT and network applications. The system software transparency of these two standards from legacy 10 and 100 Mb Ethernet ensured immediate adoption as soon as they became affordable. Ethernet was not originally well-suited for transmission of real-time signals because of non-deterministic latency, 8B10B channel coding (adding 25 percent overhead), and reliance on system processors to manage the stack. However, the new 10 GbE standard radically changes the landscape. It is inherently fast because of its higher bit clock rate, it has more efficient 64B66B

channel coding, as well as dedicated hardware engines for protocol processing. All of these benefits make 10 GbE suitable for moving data up to 1 Gbytes/s. Standardization of copper and optical connectors and cables for 10 GbE have eased system integration tasks with most systems using the SFP+ (small form-factor pluggable) modules that incorporate interface circuitry and connectors. Maximum cable length depends on the interface: about 15m for Twinax copper, 300m for multi-mode optical fiber, and 10 km for single-mode optical fiber. Imagine a 12-channel GSM recorder system requirement, where each channel digitizes the antenna signal and down-

converts it to the 133 Mbyte/s stream described earlier. Six streams yield a combined data rate of 800 Mbyte/s, well-suited to the 1 Gbyte/s capacity of a single 10 GbE link shown in Figure 3. Thus, a 12-channel recorder could use two of these remote, 6-channel sensor subsystems delivering data through two 10 GbE links. The recorder would need to store this data at an aggregate rate of 1.6 Gbytes/s, about 16 times faster than a typical single hard drive.

High-Speed Recorder Hardware Fortunately, recording rates of over 2 Gbytes/s in a single chassis are now achievable by judiciously combining the

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Figure 5

The RTS 2715 Dual 10 GbE recorder is accommodated in a 4U or 5U rackmount chassis. latest technology available in high-performance server-class PCs, I/O adapters, RAID controllers, and disk drives. The most significant major performance boost in embedded systems and servers is the widespread adoption of PCIe links between system elements, replacing the much slower PCI and PCI-X parallel buses. Instead of sharing a single parallel bus with sequential read or write opera-

Untitled-3 1 COTS Journal | January 2012 62

tions for one board at a time, full-duplex serial PCIe links join each slot to a switch, supporting simultaneous reads and writes on each board. And PCIe links outperform PCI-X in raw speed: a 64-bit PCI-X bus at 133 MHz moves data in one direction at a peak rate of 1 Gbytes/s, while a PCIe x16 Gen2 link performs simultaneous reads and writes, each at 8 Gbytes/s. New I/O boards take full advantage of PCIe to eliminate system bottlenecks. Because a two-channel 10 GbE host bus adapter board must handle two 1 Gbyte/s streams, choosing a PCIe x8 Gen2 interface provides comfortable headroom with 4 Gbyte/s throughput. Likewise, the latest RAID controller boards use motherboard PCIe x8 Gen2 ports to handle faster disk drives with their new 6 Gbyte/s SATA-III interfaces. Although rotating media hard drives now offer capacities of 2 Tbytes or more, solid state drives (SSDs) are quickly gaining ground with capacities exceeding 500 Mbytes. More important for highspeed recorders, SSDs now deliver read/ write rates of over 400 Mbytes/s, a four-

fold increase over rotating drives. When connected to a high-performance PCIe RAID controller, multiple SSDs can be aggregated in speed and capacity to achieve overall transfer rates of 1.2 Gbytes/s for a six-drive array. For our 12-channel GSM system shown in Figure 4, two of these RAID arrays can easily handle both 10 GbE streams. Finally, data streams joining all of these hardware components must be artfully managed by controlling software.

High-Speed Recorder Software The big challenge for embedded system recorders is keeping the software away from the data. If the processor is responsible for moving data between system resources, high-speed sustained rates are hard to guarantee, even when running under a real-time multitasking operating system. One successful strategy enlists hardware DMA controllers to conduct all real-time data transfers. These dedicated engines can be programmed with source and destination addresses, transfer block

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lengths and configurable interrupts for starting and stopping. Instead of touching the data, the system processor simply orchestrates DMA operations, keeping track of real-time block transfers as they occur through interrupts. DMA controllers on the I/O boards move data from the 10 GbE streams into blocks of system memory, and DMA controllers on the RAID boards move data from system memory onto the disks. Careful calculation of the size and number of system memory blocks is based on the data transfer rates and buffer characteristics of each board. The optimal solution maximizes throughput and ensures zero loss of data. Pentek offers its SystemFlow recording software, which incorporates all of these high-speed recording strategies. Built using a client/server architecture, all real-time server operations are handled with hardware DMA data transfers that are independent of the operating system activity. This allows hard real-time performance when running under the

Windows 7 operating system. One major benefit is that all recorded files use the NTFS file format so they may be opened immediately after recording by any Windows application. SystemFlow presents a ready-to-use virtual instrument GUI control panel client with intuitive push buttons and text entry windows for file names and recording parameters. An API allows users to connect directly to the server as a controllable record/playback subsystem and as a front end to a larger application system.

Putting It All Together The RTS 2715 Dual 10 GbE recorder shown earlier is accommodated in a 4U or 5U rackmount chassis like the one shown in Figure 5. The system accepts two 10 GbE streams over copper CX4 cables, or alternatively, multi-mode or single-mode LC optical cables. An optional GPS receiver allows time and location stamping of the recorded data files. Two types of disk drives are available. SSDs are used for rugged environments

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because of their inherent resistance to shock and vibration. A 12-drive dual 10 GbE SSD system can store 3 Terabytes of data for sustained recording of more than 30 minutes at 1600 Mbytes/s. For laboratory environments, larger rotating media drives are available. A 24-drive dual channel system with 20 TB or storage can record continuously for more than 200 minutes. Distributed wideband sensors for recording systems are well-matched to 10 GbE, currently the fastest and most popular network standard. High-performance embedded computers will continue to benefit from PC and IT market forces for fast board-to-board links, higher-capacity and faster disk drives, and advances in silicon technology. Recording software must be carefully crafted to take best speed advantage of this powerful hardware. Pentek Upper Saddle River, NJ. (201) 818-5900. [].

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Refresh-Centric SBCs Keep VME’s Immortality on Track With VME still in the sweet spot for many military embedded computing systems, a continuous crop of refresh-centric VME SBCs offers the latest and greatest computing technologies. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


ME has a rich and successful legacy in military systems in part because of its unique ability to remain backward compatible and facilitate technology refresh in military programs. A new board with the latest and greatest processor, memory and I/O can easily be dropped into a slot that could be decades old. Feeding that need, vendors continue to roll out new VME boards that sport the latest and greatest processors and memory technology. Since its introduction in 1981, the VMEbus standard has certainly satisfied the requirements of many defense systems. Successive generations of new processors provided more and more compute cycles, while VME bandwidth evolved in a similar fashion, from 40 Mbytes/s on the original VMEbus to 80 Mbytes/s, then 160 Mbytes/s, and finally 320 Mbytes/s on 2eSST. After a run of more than two decades, there weren’t any tricks left to squeeze more bandwidth out of the VME connector. The VXS standard (VITA 41), begun in March 2002 and ANSI-approved in May 2006, has extended the life of VMEbus, offering both increased bandwidth and a high level of board-level backward compatibility. Meanwhile, the VPX standard (VITA 46) or OpenVPX, emerged with a different set of characteristics for system bandwidth and backward compatibility. VPX is decidedly more aimed at high-bandwidth, data-intensive military applications. But there’s been a 64

COTS Journal | January 2012

Figure 1

The C-130 cockpit upgrade consists of a digital glass cockpit driven by mission computers based on open architecture VME rack systems. misconception as to how VPX is positioned versus VME in the market. As pointed out in VITA’s “2011 State of the VITA Technology Industry,” released last fall, to think of VPX as replacing VME is only a half-truth. VME is used in applications that are event-driven. These applications—controlling motors and actuators, moving gun turrets and missile launch-frames into position—are control system applications. VME’s interrupt structure is the only architecture that can handle these kinds of applications in real time. In contrast, other technologies such as fabrics and parallel PCI bus-based systems aren’t suited to meet those requirements. With that in mind, VME is expected to remain the primary architecture in these platforms for many years to come. Another aspect of VME that ensures its longevity is the fact that there are more than 400 programs in the military using VME.

And with the reductions in the DoD budget looming, VME upgrades and refreshes are much more likely to be funded, rather than forklift upgrades requiring new backplanes, packaging and power supplies. An example is the C-130 cockpit upgrade, which is comprised of a digital glass cockpit driven by mission computers based on open architecture VME rack systems (Figure 1). Adding a late-life kicker to VME, the VXS standard was developed to provide greater system bandwidth while maintaining enough backward compatibility to preserve the value of investments in VME board-level technology. VXS achieves this through an updated connector and the addition of a switch fabric architecture. With a VXS backplane, system engineers can also carry forward VME64 cards in payload slots without the need for a hybrid backplane.

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Perhaps the greatest triumph of VME is its capability to maintain backward compatibility while remaining suited to incorporating new computing elements as they evolve. Exemplifying this trend is Aitech Defense Systems’ 6U VME SBC using Intel’s T7500 low-power, high-performance Merom Core 2 Duo dual core processors. The C160 is designed for rugged, mission-critical mobile applications requiring exceptionally low power and high processing throughput.

VXS has found a solid niche as a “here and now” solution for marrying switched fabric performance with legacy VME backward compatibility. BittWare’s latest VXS offering is the GT-6U-VME (GTV6), which features

The new single-slot C160 offers clock frequencies up to 2.2 GHz for the highperformance version and 1.67 GHz for the low-power version, which draws only 25W. The new board also uses Intel’s Virtualization Technology (VT), enabling the board to run different applications simultaneously using multiple virtual partitions. The fully featured C160 incorporates a custom metal thermal management frame supporting an array of integral stiffeners for increased resistance against high shock and vibration. The board offers large memory arrays providing extensive volatile and nonvolatile memory resources. These include up to 2 Gbytes fast DDR2 SDRAM operating at 667 MHz and up to 8 Gbytes of onboard flash disk (NAND Flash), with IDE controller eliminating the need for externally attached mass-storage media. OEM pricing for the C160 6U VME SBC starts at $6,050.

Aitech Defense Systems Chatsworth, CA. (888) 248-3248. [].

two Altera Stratix II GX FPGAs (2SGX90 or 130), two processing clusters consisting of two ADSP-TS201S TigerSHARC DSPs from Analog Devices, and up to 3 Gbytes of DDR2 SDRAM memory. This conduction-cooled board is optimized for high-end, multiprocessing applications, while also providing complete flexibility for future adaptability, ideal for existing and future military applications requiring embedded signal processing in a VXS/VITA 41 form factor. The GTV6 implements a dual BittWare Atlantis framework to interface between the FPGAs and DSPs. The GTV6 also features two clusters of two ADSP-TS201S TigerSHARC DSPs, which are interconnected by a 64-bit cluster bus running at 83.3 MHz.

BittWare Concord, NH. (603) 226-0404. [].

Second Generation iCore Processors on 6U VXS Form Factor A 6U VXS single board computer is fully compliant with the VITA 41.x standard and features the enhanced processing and graphics performance of the quad-core Intel Core i7-2715QE processor or the dual-core Intel Core i5-2515E processor. Additionally, the VX 81x/09x from Concurrent Technologies supports up to 16 Gbyte of ECC DDR3 SDRAM, configurable PCI Express fabric interface

operating at 1 x8, 2 x4, 1 x4 + 1 x4 at Gen 1 or Gen 2 data rates. In addition, it features dual Gigabit Ethernet, dual SATA600, dual PMC / XMC slots, dual serial RS-232/422/485 ports, 6 USB 2.0 ports, dual independent display ports, onboard Compact Flash and optional 2.5-inch hard drive. The VX 81x/09x provides support for quad-core or dual-core second generation Intel Core processors, enabling Concurrent Technologies to provide enhanced performance and features over previous Intel Core processor based boards. The second generation Intel Core processors offer enhanced graphic capabilities resulting in virtually double the graphics performance of previous architectures, and with support for SATA600, PCI Express Gen 2, Intel Turbo Boost Technology capabilities and media acceleration, this single board computer offers cutting-edge technology for tomorrow’s applications. The VX 81x/09x is available in three temperature grades: 0° to +55°C (N-Series), -25° to +70°C (E-Series), -40° to +85°C (K-Series) and two ruggedized grades: Ruggedized Conduction-Cooled -40° to +85°C (RC), Ruggedized Air-Cooled -40° to +75°C (RA).

Concurrent Technologies Woburn, MA. (781) 933 5900. [].


COTS Journal | January 2012

VME SBCs for Tech Refresh

QorIQ VME SBC Design with SWaP-C in Mind

Ruggedness, Low Power Combine on VME SBC

2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo Climbs Aboard 6U VME

Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing (CWCEC) has introduced the low-cost, ultra-rugged SVME/DMV-194, the newest addition to its industry leading family of cost-effective, low power VME SBCs. The 6U VME64 SVME/DMV-194, based on a Freescale™ Power Architecture QorIQ P2020 processor with dual 1.2 GHz cores, delivers 6x the compute performance, at nearly the same cost, than was available from earlier VME designs, such as CWCEC’s 179. This rugged air- or conduction-cooled SBC is ideal for upgrading existing SWaP-C-constrained

Packing the most performance possible into a single VME slot, at low power, is now an easy feat. Dynatem, a member of the Eurotech Group, accomplished that with its Core-Duobased DPD VME SBC. The DPD is a single-slot VMEbus (and VME64)-compatible platform based on the Intel low-power Core-Duo

VME, combined with VXS, is an ideal way to marry the legacy of installed VME with the performance of fabric-based VXS. Doing exactly that, GE Intelligent Platforms announced the V7875 SBC with extensive I/O capability and advanced graphics. VITA 41.3 (VXS) for Gigabit Ethernet across the backplane is also an available option. Featuring the Intel Core2 Duo T9400 processor running at 2.53 GHz, the V7875 also provides up to 6 Mbytes

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Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration systems based on older PowerPC or Power (Yonah) processor. The DPD takes advantage of into products, technologies companies. Whether your goal Architecture processors. the Core-Duo’s low and 15W power consumption as is to research the latest from a company, directly of L2 cache. Use of the Intel GM45 chip set The SVME/DMV-194 provides system a rugged SBC.datasheet The DPD requires onlyspeak 5V from with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the integrators with a path for the cost-effective provides fast access to up to 4 Gbytes of DDR3 the backplane. This enables full functionality in goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. technology insertion upgrade of legacy VME SDRAM and a x16 PCI Express interface to legacy VMEbus backplane systems. Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, systems. It also provides a high performancedeliver exceptional performance for demanding Shock and vibration immunity were major Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products to-cost ratio computing component foryou are searching applications. goals in the DPD design. All major components for. SWaP-C constrained new designs. Designed The V7875 provides support for a PCI-X including processor, chipset and memory are especially for demanding military systems XMC/PMC site, but also a connector to the BGA-based. The only socketed devices on board that require maximum processing in extreme EXP237 mezzanine board to deliver an optional are the optional CompactFlash and optional temperature conditions, the SVME/DMV-194’s three additional XMC/PMC sites. Additional battery, both of which are securely fastened features typical power dissipation rated at 20connectivity is provided by a dual SATA disk when required. The DPD is available as an IEEE 25W. interface, two Gbit Ethernet ports routed to 1101.2-compliant, conduction-cooled VMEbus The board features two 64-bit PMC/XMC module with wedge locks and a full-board heat the front panel, four USB 2.0 ports and two sites and a large complement of I/O includingGet Connected serial ports. For sink for high shock/vibration with technologyenvironments and companies providing solutions nowapplications not requiring the Gigabit Ethernet, up to six serial ports, XMC/PMC site, even further I/O—one eSATA and temperature extremes. The DPD comes Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research th SATA, 1553 and USB 2.0 ports. To maximize datasheetinstalled with 2 Gbyte ECC-compatible DDR2port, one USB 2.0 port and two Gbit Ethernet from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connect compatibility with earlier SBCs, the SVME/ in touch with ports (whentype VITA 41 is not available)—can be 400the memory. Memory is BGA for the best right resource. Whichever level of service you require for whatever of technology, DMV-194 provides an equivalent complement via the front shock/vibration Two SATA ports, VGA Get Connected will help youspec. connect with the companies and productsprovided you are searching for. panel. of I/O to that featured in earlier generations video, two Gbit Ethernet ports, four RS-232 of CWCEC PowerPC and Power Architecture ports, one RS-422 port, an IDE interface, PS/2 GE Intelligent Platforms SBCs. It also has optional pin-out modes for mouse and keyboard, and two more USB 2.0 Charlottesville, VA. backplane compatibility. For example, the ports are routed to the backplane. Conventional (800) 368-2738. SVME/DMV-194 eases the upgrade of systems PC I/O is accessible with industry standard based on the legacy VME/DMV-179, SVME/ connectors on optional rear I/O modules. The []. DMV-181, SVME/DMV-182 and SVME/ two onboard mezzanine card interfaces include DMV-183 SBCs. The board is designed for one PMC site based upon the 64-bit PCI-X bus. harsh environment applications, both air- and Pricing for the DPD starts at $4,738 in single conduction-cooled. Availability is Q1 2012. quantity.


Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Dynatem Computing Mission Viejo, CA. Get Connected with (949) companies and Ashland, VA. 855-3235. products featured in this section. (703) 779-7800. []. [].

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January 2012 | COTS Journal


VME SBCs for Tech Refresh

VME SBC Provides Versatile 2.16 GHz Core 2 Duo Solution

VME SBC Sports Core2 Duo CPU and M96 GPU

Core i7 6U VME SBC Boasts Extended Service Lifecycle

For a lot of military programs—in the Navy in particular—reducing cost is a high priority. Often that means choosing an embedded computing solution that can be applied to multiple systems. Along just such lines, General Micro Systems provides the “Maritime” (VS275), a new VMEbus CPU that defies obsolescence by enabling seamless upgrades and complete flexibility with the addition of five different expansion modules.

Ideal for military tech refresh situations, the VME marketplace is seeing a wave of upgraded boards with the latest and greatest silicon. An example of this is Interface Concept with its new VME board based on the Intel Core2 Duo processor SL9380/SU9300 associated with the

There are a number of obsolescence management aspects that go on behind the scenes of supporting a long-life VME product. Along just those lines, Kontron offers the 6U VME SBC VM6050 with an Intel Core i7 processor QM 57 controller hub that offers up to 8 Gbyte of soldered ECC memory. It can be expanded via two mezzanine sockets for up to two XMC/PMC or one FMC (VITA 57 FPGA I/O) cards. In the left mezzanine slot, 2x

Intel 3100 chipset. The IC-DC2-VMEb, being VME64x-VITA31.1 compliant, is aimed at highly integrated applications like leading-edge computing, embedded network control, signal processing, etc. The large number of interfaces turns this IC-DC2-VMEb into an ideal open platform for a wide range of applications. The board boasts an AMD/ATI M96 Graphic Processor Unit (Radeon E4690- R700 core), which provides the IC-DC2-VMEb with the performance needed for demanding embedded graphics applications. The analog video interfaces offer STANAG B & C support, especially useful to airborne applications. While maintaining a low power consumption and a wide temperature range, the IC-DC2VMEb benefits from a long life product cycle for high-reliability and safety-critical embedded applications.

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

Maritime uses the GMS P70 “Nucleus” processor module, a module that supports either the ultra-low-power Core 2 Duo operating at 1.5 GHz or the Core 2 Duo at 2.16 GHz with 4 Mbytes of L2 Cache and 667 MHz FSB. Custom configurations are made possible through one PMC-X and/or 16-Lane d XMC-compliant site with rear I/O and an optional workstation I/O module (second VME Site). Other features include two Gbit Ethernet ports with TCP/IP offloading engine and dedicated interrupt; ten USB 2.0 ports; four serial ports with RS232/422/485 options; two PATA ports—one nies providing solutions now to the rear, one for onboard HDD/SSD/CF; 16 individually programmable ion into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest buffered user I/O lines, and custom I/O tion Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected to put you Interface isConcept functions as technology, FireWire or octal SIO via you require for whateversuch type of Briec de l’Odet, France. SAM-III module. and productsa you are searching for.Pricing for the standard +33 (0)2 98 57 30 30. version of Maritime (VS275) starts at $3,200, in quantities of a single unit. [].

General Micro Systems Rancho Cucamonga, CA. (909) 980-4863. [].

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COTS Journal | January 2012

DisplayPort, VGA, USB, high-definition audio and additional GPIOs can be implemented via corresponding modules. This modular concept allows the Kontron VM6050 to be configured to the most varied applications. This modular COTS approach further minimizes implementation efforts and thus the time-tomarket. The Kontron 6U VME SBC VM6050 offers on-board USB flash support for extremely secure and reliable performance and a system design without vulnerable storage media. Dedicated interfaces at the front include 2x Gigabit Ethernet and 1x USB 2.0 at dedicated interfaces and 1x serial port (SR-232/422/485). There are 2x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x SATA II, 2x USB 2.0, PCI Express x4, SRIO, GPIO and 32 I/ Os for PMC 1 implemented on the backplane via the PO plug (VITA 31.1). In addition, Kontron’s latest VME board also supports the double-edged source synchronous transfer (2eSST) which allows a data throughput of up to 320 Mbytes via P1, along with the 64-bit VME bus (VME64x). P2 routes 64 I/Os from the FMC and PMC 2 slot and 32 I/Os from the PMC 1 slot to the backplane.

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

VME SBCs for Tech Refresh

6U FPGA-Based VME SBC Boasts Triple Redundancy

VBC SBC Provides Quad-Core Xeon Processors

VME Card Is 1 GHz Drop-In Replacement for Predecessor

For some military embedded control applications, a step above the usual levels of reliability is required. Along such lines, MEN Micro offers the A602, a 6U FPGAbased, triple-redundant 64-bit VME SBC that employs a lock-step architecture, keeping software development at a minimum. With

A host of deployed programs and long design cycle programs continue to demand VME SBC upgrades that drop into an existing slot with the latest and greatest processing technology. Feeding that need, vendors continue to roll out new VME boards that sport the latest and greatest processors and memory technology. An example along those lines is Themis Computer’s XV2 VME SBC. The XV2 is based on the low-power Quad-Core Xeon L5518

The longevity of VME in the military is partly thanks to technology updates to legacy slots. Feeding exactly such needs, Xembedded offers a drop-in replacement for the End of Life SBS VR7, but with much more processor power. The XVME-689-VR7 is a powerful, very low-power single slot 6U single board

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computer with the same VMEbus P1 and P2 pin outs as the VR7. The XVME-689-VR7 VMEbus processor integrates an Intel Celeron this redundant lock-step system that increases M processor running at 1.0 GHz with up to 512 system reliability, the SEU-resistant A602 runs Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration the same set of operations in parallel to ensure into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal Kbytes of level 2 cache and a PCI-to-VMEbus is to research the latest datasheet from a company, speak directly interface. It is also available with 512 Mbytes that the programming only views the hardware with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the or 1 Gbyte ECC or Non-ECC DDR, 266/333 components once, making the new board ideal goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. MHz SDRAM. The XVME-689-VR7 has VGA for mission-critical applications, including Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, Graphics out front panel or rear video support those in the avionics market. Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products (pixel resolution up to 1600 x 1200 at 85 Hz). To ensure the highest safety standards, the you are searching for. The EIDE Ultra-100 DMA controller supports 900 MHz PowerPC 750, the 512 Mbyte main up to three EIDE devices, one PMC 32/64-bit memory and the internal structure of the FPGA 33/66 MHz site (IEEE P1386/P1386.1) with are triple-redundant. Critical functions, like front panel I/O bezel and user I/O on optional voters implemented as IP cores in the FPGA, processor clocked at 1.73 GHz, and Intel’s P0 rear connector. monitor at least two of the three redundant 3420 chipset used in high-performance Xeon Additional options available on the XVMEcomponents to provide the same result to servers. The L5518 memory controller supports 689-VR7 are EIDE onboard 1.8-inch hard guarantee system reliability. In the event that ECC to maintain the highest system integrity, drive, CompactFlash carrier, two Serial one of the three redundant components fails, Get Connected and provides the to withbandwidth technologynecessary and companies providing solutions now ATA150 (SATA150) external devices and a the system remains completely operational and support high-performance I/O. XV2 memory is Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research th floppy disk interface. SCSI can be added with provides the required availability for highly datasheetexpandable to 24 Gbytes of DDR III memory. from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connect thewhatever use of atype SCSI board. PMC expansion critical systems. Standard I/O contained in the The XV2 base configuration includes 3 in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require for of PMC technology, FPGA is accessible via the rear. This includes Gbyteswill of help DDR memory, Gigabit and productsfor Get Connected youIIIconnect withfour the companies youtwo are additional searching for.PMC sites is available using the XVME-976/209. This XVME-689a sextuple UART, an I²C bus and an RS-232 Ethernet ports, five SATA II ports, four SAS VR7 processor module allows users to take interface that can also be led to the front. The ports, eight USB 2.0 ports and two XMC/PMC advantage of the low-power, multiprocessing A602 also provides two PMC slots, one accessed slots. An onboard ATI ES1000 video controller capability of the VMEbus while using standard via the front or rear I/O that can be used with is provided with either front or rear panel VGA off-the-shelf PC software, operating systems all standard PMC modules, and the other for an display access. Storage—is provided through and VMEbus I/O modules. AFDX PMC connection via rear I/O. Operating the use of an onboard CompactFlash or with temperature is -40° to +50°C with qualified an optional on-board 2.5 inch SATA drive. components. Pricing for the A602 is $12,994. The computer includes dual-Gigabit Ethernet Xembedded to support the modern highly networked Ann Arbor, MI. environments.

Get Connected with technology and companies providing solutions now


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

Themis Computer Fremont, CA. Get Connected with (510) companies and 252-0870. products featured in this section. [].

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(734) 975-0577. []. Get Connected

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January 2012 | COTS Journal




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Ethernet Switch Offers -40° to +85°C Temp Operation

with companies mentioned in this article. Eurotech subsidiary Parvus Corporation announces the DuraNET 10-10, a rugged low-costGet IP67Connected Ethernet switch targeting defense sacrificing reliability boasts a dustGethomeland Connected with applications. companies andWithout products featured in this section. or performance, the product and water-proof design with IP67 environmental protection that will appeal to more cost-sensitive commercial user applications that may not require MIL-STD compliance. Featuring a robust mechanical design and extended temperature operation from -40°C to +85°C (-40°F to +185°F), the DuraNET 10-10 network switch provides five 10/100 plug-and-play Ethernet ports over rugged field deployable RJ-45 or M12 connectors in a sealed and fanless metal chassis designed for mounting to any machine or flat surface. With provisions for exposure to wide thermal ranges, shock, vibration, dust particles and liquid immersion, the rugged DuraNET 10-10 combines proven and open-architecture PC104 Ethernet switch and vehicle-grade power supply components in a rugged package designed for maximum reliability under extreme conditions, including provisions for hazardous locations and potentially explosive atmospheres. As an unmanaged Ethernet switch, the DuraNET 10-10 is designed to provide local area network (LAN) connectivity to IP-enabled equipment, such as onboard computers, cameras, sensors, monitoring devices and command-and-control gear for situation awareness and information sharing.

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

Control Consoles for Military Provides Improved Ergonomics Crenlo has announced that it has expanded its lineup of Emcor console products for the air traffic control (ATC) and defense markets. New cabinet height options and available slat walls boast improved usability and ergonomics, while providing the flexibility to accommodate changes in the design and layout of control towers and command centers. With a lower 21-inch available cabinet height and a separate bench-style work surface, the new configuration options provide excellent visibility for sit/stand environments. The reduced footprint and increased flexibility also serve to reduce operator reach distance and improve ergonomics. With a continuous slat wall positioned above the work surface, operators are easily able to accommodate change by moving the monitor elsewhere in the tower without the significant disassembly associated with the traditional, fixed turret system. The use of articulating arm mounts also allows operators to angle monitors to meet their individual ergonomic needs, keeping users comfortable and productive throughout each shift.

Crenlo, Rochester, MN. (507) 289-3371. [].

Touch Screen HMI Displays Speed Development A series of touch screen HMIs offers built-in Ethernet communications, advanced alarming/recipe/data logging capabilities and live video input/ display capabilities. By allowing direct resetting of faults, the NS Series HMIs from Omega Engineering save time and effort in troubleshooting and quickly return your lines to production. The NS Series achieves flexible data access to a variety of devices. It enables operators to reach the devices on the network, including special I/O units. Screen project design time is cut from days to a few hours by preprogramming function blocks that easily drag-and-drop into a program. All you do is specify values for key parameters. The built-in Smart Active Parts library lets you establish communications and parameters for a wide range of products. Just select the product and drag its icon into your project and it automatically sets the correct protocols. The integrated simulation function simulates ladder programs and screen data simultaneously, even without the actual hardware. Operation is also simple; just click the icons and that’s it. No extra software needed. Two of the models are the NS5 at 7.68 x 5.59 x 2.13 inches and a screen resolution of 320 x 240; and the NS12 at 12.4 x 9.49 x 1.9 inches and a resolution of 800 x 600.

Omega Engineering, Stamford, CT. (203) 359-1660. [].

Box Computer Provides AMD Embedded G Dual Graphics Processing MEN Micro offers the BC1, a rugged, maintenance-free box computer using an AMD processor to unite low power consumption with excellent graphics performance. The unit comes equipped with two DisplayPorts, each offering a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. The first port can optionally be configured for a USB connection to allow for touch functionality on the display, while the second port comes standard with a USB channel, versus an auxiliary one. The DisplayPorts, as well as all I/O, from the HD audio and Gigabit Ethernet ports to the USB 2.0 and SA-Adapter slots, are accessible via the front panel. The standard front panel interfaces, including USB, 9-pin D-Sub, 8-pin M12 and DisplayPort, can all be configured individually, enabling the BC1 to quickly adapt to all application-specific requirements without additional overhead. Pricing for the BC1 is $1,665.

MEN Micro, Ambler, PA. (215) 542-9575. []. 70

COTS Journal | January 2012

COTS Products

Chassis Mount DC/DC Converter Delivers 400 Watts Calex has announced the 400W FCM Chassis Mount DC/DC Converter Series. The FCM Series features an ultra wide 4:1 input range of 18 to 75 VDC with output voltages of 5, 12, 24, 28 and 48 VDC. All models are isolated input to output and housed in a rugged, encapsulated enclosure with recessed barrier strips. The operating temperature range of the FCM is -40° to +100°C. Through holes are provided for backplane mounting or the attachment of a heatsink for extended temperature operation. The FCM is ideal for a variety of COTS military applications requiring screw terminal connectivity. The output voltage accuracy for all output voltage options is +/- 1 percent. Line and load regulation is 0.05 percent and 0.02 percent All models exhibit 0 percent turn-on overshoot. Efficiencies are up to 93 percent.

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

Rugged Subsystem Optimizes SWaP for Critical, Mobile Platforms Compact, small form factor box-level systems are the latest trend in military system design. Exemplifying that trend, Aitech Defense Systems has released the A175, a rugged, self-contained, EMC/EMI-protected Remote Interface Unit (RIU) I/O expansion subsystem that provides dynamic mission profile reprogramming. The subsystem uses platform location monitoring built into the onboard FPGA to recognize its physical location within the platform and communicate with the main mission computer, allowing the unit to alter its functionality ‘on-the-fly’ or at power up. Also classified as a data concentrator unit (DCU), the A175 optimizes SWaP (size, weight and power) with dimensions of only 7” x 7” x 1.3” and a weight of less than 2.5 lbs (the approximate weight of one 6U conduction-cooled VMEbus board), while drawing only 10 W, or about the same as a standard household incandescent nightlight. Applications that benefit from the A175 include manned and unmanned vehicles such as wheeled, tracked ground units as well as tactical fixed and rotary wing aircraft. The A175’s expansive I/O includes dual platform data channels for connection to the aircraft main bus with either dual GbE channels or one dual redundant MIL-STD-1553B channel. In addition, there are two asynchronous RS232/485 serial ports, eight single ended 12-bit A/D input channels, up to eight ARINC-429 drivers/receivers, two differential 16-bit D/A output channels and four differential channels with an external or internal reference voltage. The A175 operates from -40°C to +71°C with natural convection cooling and is powered from a standard 28 VDC input per MIL-STD-740D. In addition to EMI protection, endurance against shock, vibration and acceleration per MIL-STD 810F, as well as extreme resistance to altitude, humidity and temperature are ensured by the subsystem’s rugged Faraday cage design. Pricing starts at $7,500 in OEM quantities.

iPhone App Helps Marry Heat Sinks to Cooling Needs Advanced Thermal Solutions has developed a heat sink design calculator iPhone app that identifies the proper heat sinks to solve most component-level cooling issues. The Heat Sink Design Tool app enables users of Apple’s mobile devices to design heat sinks for cooling hot PCB components and other electronic devices. Design parameters that the user can enter include the heat sink material, heat sink dimensions (length, width, height) and the number and dimensions of the sink’s heat spreading fins. When the key heat sink specs are entered, the ATS app lets users search a number of databases to find if a sink exists that fits or closely matches the entered data. The Heat Sink Design Tool app can be downloaded for free from Apple’s iTunes App Store. It is compatible with all iPhones, the iPod touch and the iPad.

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

Aitech Defense Systems, Chatsworth, CA. (888) 248-3248. [].

Rugged 60W System Serves Up Intel Core i5/i7 Logic Supply has introduced the Extreme Environment PT912, a rugged, industrial system designed for the most demanding applications. With shock and vibration resistance, fanless cooling and extended operating temperature of -40°C to 70°C, the PT912 lends long-term durability to complex usage scenarios. Based on an Intel Core i5-520M processor supported by the QM57 chipset and up to 4 Gbytes of wide-temperature DDR3 RAM, the PT912 offers an ideal balance between durability and versatility while consuming less than 60 W of power. It features up to 4 RS-232 COM ports, DisplayPort, Digital I/O, dual Gbit LAN and PCI Express x16 and x1 expansion below the board to preserve its compact footprint. A covered front panel slot provides access to a SIM card and CFast slot for embedded operating system installation and hot-swappable storage. Passive cooling minimizes the number of moving parts, extending system lifetime and protecting internal components from damaging effects of dust, dirt, and grease exposure. The PT912 system is also designed to withstand up to 20 G/11 ms of shock and 3 G of vibration, which further increases reliability resulting in a rugged, dependable device.

Logic Supply, South Burlington, VT. (802) 861-2600. []. January 2012 | COTS Journal


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Family of Multi-I/O Expansion Modules Supports SUMIT Standard The SUMIT I/O scheme provided an innovative way to deal with multiple PC-based I/O connector interfaces. Leveraging that innovation, VersaLogic has released new expansion modules that provide industryGet With Connected companies and products featured in this section. standard I/O interfaces for SUMIT-based embedded systems. extendedwith temperature operation and extensive ruggedization, VersaLogic’s M1 multi-I/O cards are an ideal solution for all SUMITbased applications that require USB, SATA, PCI Express and mSATA capabilities. Based on the SUMIT interface standard, the M1 boards support SUMIT and PC/104 stackable expansion buses on an industry-standard 90 mm x 96 mm (3.55” x 3.78”) expansion module. Various M1 models support I/O requirements These include up to four USB ports, dual drive SATA controller with latching connectors compatible with both solid-state drives (SSDs) and rotating drives and a PCI Express Mini Card socket for plug-in Wi-Fi modems, GPS receivers, flash data storage and other functions. An mSATA interface provides high-throughput, low-latency flash storage capabilities utilizing small form factor mSATA SSDs. Designed for full industrial temperature operation (-40° to +85°C), the M1 boards are built to withstand thermal extremes and meet MIL-STD-202G specifications for mechanical shock (20g) and vibration for use in harsh environments. Transient voltage suppression (TVS) devices on all USB channels provide enhanced electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection for the system. The M1 boards are customizable in low OEM quantities. Customization options include conformal coating, revision locks, custom labeling, customized testing and screening and so on. Pricing starts at $128 in OEM quantities.

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

Graphics-Capable HMI for Mobile Systems A new graphics-capable HMI comes with a 4.3” large TFT Display and has been designed especially for vehicles and mobile machines that are used in harsh environments. The BTM 012 from Jetter complies with the applicable safety requirements as to ambient temperatures, shock, vibration, electromagnetic compatibility and tightness (IP65 front panel). The night design serves for safely operating the device at night. The display brightness and key lighting can be adjusted in the application program according to the ambient brightness. There are two independently functioning CAN buses available for communication with remote peripherals. CANopen and SAE J1939 are offered as standard protocols. For data exchange, the BTM 012 has been equipped with an Ethernet interface, a USB port and four video inputs (multiplexed).

Remote Isolated Field Input Card or PC-Based Control A 48-point remote isolated field input card designed for fast realtime PC-based control systems, the 7I70 from Mesa Electronics communicates with the host with a robust isolated RS-422 link. Standard CAT5 cables are used for wiring convenience. The 7I70 is supported by Mesa’s low cost FPGA cards, which present a simple parallel register interface to the host, with all protocol details handled by the smart interface. One FPGA card can support up to 32 external devices and up to 3,072 control points while still maintaining a 10 kHz service rate for all points. The 7I70 has 48 DC voltage sensing inputs. Price of the 7I70 in quantity100 is $57.

MESA Electronics, Richmond, CA. (510) 223-9272. [].

Jetter AG Ludwigsburg, Germany. +49 7141 2550 - 466. [].

CSP Sockets Enable Testing of Any Area Device Aries Electronics offers the industry’s first CSP (chip scale packaging) sockets that accept any areaarray device for high-temperature testing up to +200°C. The new AR4HT Series sockets incorporate a low-profile 0.45 mm contact structure (compressed) that is shorter than other low-profile contacts and provides excellent compliance for reliable ATE testing and burn-in. The AR4HT sockets accommodate a variety of area-array devices, including BGA, LGA, QFN, DFN, CSP, MLCC and POP, as well as bumped die with full and partial arrays. Full socket operating temperature is -55°C to +200°C with a life expectancy of more than 10,000 actuations. The socket can accommodate IC devices with a pitch of 0.4 mm or greater, as well as mixed pitch environments. Pricing for an AR4HT socket starts at $175.

Aries Electronics, Bristol, PA. (215) 781-9956. []. 72

COTS Journal | January 2012

COTS Products

Development Kits Aids H264 System Design Advanced Micro Peripherals has introduced new SDKs for the H264-ULL-SD4 to reduce development time and increase time-to-market. The H264-ULL-SD4 is an ultra low latency, quad channel, H.264 encoder on a single PCI/104 form factor board. The board is supported by comprehensive and well-supported software development kits (SDKs) for video recording and video streaming. The standard Video Recording SDK and sample applications are supplied free of charge with each board and include the services of AMP’s technical support team. The Video Streaming SDK is available for a one-time fee and enables real-time streaming of compressed video data over an IP network.

Advanced Micro Peripherals, New York, NY. (212) 951-7205. [].

Rackmount UPS Product Line Provides Lightweight Solution There are many situations in which an uninterruptible power supply needs to be not only rugged but also mobile. Falcon Electric has announced a new three-module version of its popular 5000VA ED Series rugged uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs). Designed to protect sensitive military communications and electronic equipment in harsh environments against costly power problems, the ED Series is now available in a modular form factor that significantly improves the ability for military personnel to move and relocate the UPS. Electronic equipment is typically hand-carried through tight spaces onto and off of military vehicles, aircraft and vessels. With the new three-module configuration, lifting the UPS is now within acceptable weight limits for a “oneman” lift. The new ED Series 5000VA rackmount UPS, model ED-4-5000RM-3/1-6-L-3, batteries and control electronics are housed in three modules that each consist of a 2U (3.5 inches high) form factor for 19” racks. Now, approximately 130 pounds of weight is distributed between the modules, making service and logistics of the UPS much easier. In order to make a “single” 5000VA UPS out of three modules, the ED -4-5000RM-3/1-6-L3’s three 2U modules each perform a specific role which, in concert with multiple power and communications cables, gives users the ability to slide the three 2U chassis into the equipment rack and then connect all of the functionality through the cables. The system consists of two UPS modules and a single module that contains the charger and other electronics. The end result is a UPS, which, in terms of functionality and performance, mirrors Falcon’s model ED-5000RM-1 two 3U “double-module” UPS.

Digital Receiver Module Triples EMC Testing Range to 18 GHz Teseq offers a high-performance digital EMC/EMI receiver module that extends the frequency range of the PMM 9010 receiver system from 6 GHz to 18 GHz. Ideal for use in commercial test labs and by in-house manufacturers’ labs, the upgraded PMM system can now be used for a wider range of EMC testing. The uniquely designed, batterypowered PMM 9180 is the only fully-compliant EMI receiver module on the market directly connected to an antenna located inside the testing chamber. The PMM 9180 features a high speed optical interface, an operating temperature of -5°C to 45°C, a measurement accuracy of +2.0 dB and a maximum input level of 137 dBuV without damage. Weighing approximately 4.5 pounds, the PMM 9180 is highly portable and reliable. The PMM 9180 receiver module starts at $36,000.

Teseq, Edison, N.J. (732) 417-0501. [].

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

Flexible FPGA and I/O Complement SBCs in VITA 57 offering With VITA 57 FPGA Mezzanine Card (FMC)-based designs, OEMs can minimize latency for high data throughput in their COTS designs and still maintain flexible I/O configuration. The FMC optimizes the handling and formatting of data and is approximately half the size of a PMC. This makes the VITA 57 products from Kontron an attractive fit for applications in which size, weight and power (SWaP) are critical. Thanks to the modular approach of VITA 57-based designs, OEMs benefit from reduced development costs by integrating multiple functions into a single PCI Express-enabled FPGA. The Kontron FPGA Mezzanine Card FMC-SER0 is a multi-channel interface card for buffering up to 16 IEA-232 or 8 EIA-422 serial lines. With a standard air cooled build, it provides up to 24 General Purpose I/ Os at the front via 50 pin Tyco front connector for direct connection of peripherals. The rugged conduction cooled build complies with VITA 47-Class CC4 and is suitable for the extended temperature range -40°C to 85°C. The Kontron VM6250 combines high processing power with exceptional memory bandwidth with a choice of Freescale MPC8640 1.00 or 1.25 GHz single- or dual-core processors; or Freescale MPC8641 1.33 GHz single- or dual-core processors. The Kontron 6U VME SBC VM6050, with an Intel Core i7 processor, combines extremely high x86 computing and graphics performance with flexible and modular expansion possibilities in four different ruggedization levels. With the Kontron 3U VPX FMC carrier board VX3830, OEMs can easily expand the I/O flexibility of their dedicated VPX systems. The Kontron 3U FMC carrier board VX3830 is based on a Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA and offers enhanced I/O capabilities with high integrated performance logic.

Kontron, Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. []. January 2012 | COTS Journal


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Four-Channel, 1.25 GHz D/A Module Targets Beamforming A high-performing D/A converter module for RF and IF waveform playback delivers four independent analog outputs, each through its own digital upconverter. It also offers 16-bit D/A with sampling rates to 1.25 GHz. The Cobalt Model Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. 71670 includes an on-board Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA that contains factory-installed IP to provide turnkey waveform playback functionality for output signal bandwidths up 250 MHz. Users can also customize the module’s operation by implementing their own IP in the FPGA. Channel independence in the Model 71670 is achieved with two new DAC3484 D/A converters from Texas Instruments (TI), each providing two digital upconverters (DUC) and 16-bit D/A channels with up to 16x interpolation that can translate a quadrature (I+Q) signal to a user-selectable IF center frequency. The Model 71670’s internal clock generator supports a wide range of timing modes and operates from an on-board programmable VCXO or an external clock. A front-panel connector accepts a 5 or 10 MHz reference clock to phase lock the internal programmable VCXO. The module also accepts a direct D/A sample clock input that can be as high as 1.25 GHz. The board complies with the VITA 42.0 XMC interface specification, providing two gigabit serial connectors. The primary XMC connector supports x4 or x8 PCIe Gen 2 with multiple DMA controllers for efficient transfers to and from the module. The secondary connector supports two 4x or one 8x link with bit rates up to 3.125 GHz to support user-installed gigabit serial protocols, such as Aurora, SRIO or a secondary PCIe interface. An additional I/O option provides 20 LVDS differential pairs to the FPGA through the PMC P14 connector. Pricing with 2 Gbytes of memory starts at $12,795.

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

MEMS Unit Is Suitable for Shock-Induced Energy Harvesting

COM Express Type 6 Module Is Extreme Rugged Solution

A micromachined harvester for vibration energy boasts an output power of 489 µW. Measurements and simulation show that the harvester developed by Imec is also suited for shock-induced energy harvesting in car tires, where it could power built-in sensors. In a tire, at 70 km/h, the new device can deliver a constant 42 µW, which is enough to power a simple wireless sensor node. Imec’s harvester consists of a cantilever with a piezoelectric layer sandwiched between metallic electrodes, forming a capacitor. At the tip of the cantilever a mass is attached, which translates the macroscopic vibration into a vertical movement— putting strain on the piezoelectric layer and generating a voltage across the capacitor. As piezoelectric material, AlN (aluminum nitride) was chosen. The harvesters are packaged with a 6-inch wafer scale vacuum packaging process.

A COM Express Type 6 module based on the quad/dual-core second generation Intel Coreª i7 processor and Mobile Intel QM67 Express Chipset is targeted at mobile applications running in harsh environments. The Express-HRR is compatible with the COM Express COM.0 Revision 2.0 Type 6 pinout, which is based on the popular Type 2 pinout, but with legacy functions replaced by digital display interfaces (DDI), additional PCI Express lanes, and reserved pins for future technologies. The new Type 6 pinout also supports the SPI Interface, which was unavailable in COM.0 Rev. 1.0. The Express-HRR is validated for reliable performance in extended temperatures ranging from -40°C to 85°C and features a 50 percent thicker printed circuit board (PCB) for high vibration tolerance.

Imec, Leuven, Belgium, +32 16 28 12 11. [].

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

Rugged, Liquid Cooled ATR Chassis Accepts 6U VPX Boards A new rugged 1 ATR tall, short enclosure with independent dual liquid cooled side walls offers significantly better cooling than conduction only and air-flow designs. Targeted for highly dense embedded systems with exceptional heat dissipation requirements, the new platform holds 6U conduction cooled boards with a 1" pitch per VITA 48.2 (REDI) and VITA 65 (OpenVPX). The new liquid cooled chassis is available with a 6U OpenVPX backplane on a 1" pitch per VITA 65 Backplane Profile BKP6-CEN07-11.2.3-n. The backplane provides seven slots, each cooled up to 100 W; one slot for storage, one for switch and five payload slots. Additional backplanes are available, including VME, VME64x, VXS, cPCI or custom backplanes. The unit offers users the choice of a fixed-mount 400 W or 500 W 6U plug-in power supply. Dimensions of the new chassis are 10.625" H x 10.12" W x 12.52" L. This new enclosure is designed to meet shock and vibration standards per MIL-STD-810G, as well as MIL-STD-810F, MIL-STD-901D and MIL-STD-461F (CE102, CS101, CS116, RE102, RS103). It can operate at altitudes of up to 75,000 feet. Operating temperature is -55°C to 70°C and storage temperature is -62°C to 95°C. Pricing starts at $30,000, including the backplane and power supply.

Elma Electronic, Fremont, CA. (510) 656-3400. []. 74

COTS Journal | January 2012

COTS Products

Fanless Desktop Platform Sports AMD G-Series CPU A desktop platform is designed for networking applications in which low-power and fanless operation is desirable. Powered by the AMD T24L 1.0 GHz low-voltage G-Series processor and A55E chipset, the PL-80400 from Win Enterprises maintains a typical appliance-level power budget of under 25 watts, while supporting a 1.0 GHz AMD Embedded G-series T24L processor (5W) with advanced P-States operation for more efficient power use. The unit supports fanless operation with CF, SATA Disk-On-Module or 2.5” SSD storage with optional 2.5” disk mounting hardware. In addition, a single SO-DIMM slot supports up to 4 Gbytes of DDR3 1066 MHz SDRAM. Typical system power draws under 25W using HDD storage and cooling fans.

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

VPX Board Set Provides High-End DSP for Aero and SIGINT Two modules, both designed to meet demanding SIGINT, COMINT and radar processing applications, together with FPGA engines and FMC I/O modules from Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing, deliver comprehensive and high performance single board computer (SBC) and GPGPU solutions for demanding high performance embedded computing applications. The Champ-AV8, CWCEC’s first rugged, high performance OpenVPX DSP engine, is based on the new quad-core Intel Core i7-2715QE processor and accelerates SIGINT algorithms with its 256-bit AVX floating point instruction set. The VPX6-490 GPGPU compute engine features dual NVIDIA GPUs based on the NVIDIA Fermi architecture, and the massive compute capability of a pair of 240-core GPU devices. Together these two 6U OpenVPX processor engines comprise the heart of very high performance rugged deployable signal processor systems for aerospace and defense applications. The Champ-AV8 multi-processing board brings the floating-point performance of the quadcore Intel Core i7-2715QE processor to the OpenVPX form factor standard. The Champ-AV8’s dual processors deliver performance rated at up to 269 GFLOPs. With a 21 Gbyte/s (peak) DDR3 memory subsystem connected directly to the processor, the Intel Core i7-2715QE is able to maximize the throughput of its Intel AVX vector processing units and process larger vectors at peak rates significantly greater than was possible with previous AltiVec-based systems. Supporting the DSP engine’s floating-point performance is a 21 Gbyte/s (peak) DDR3 memory subsystem that provides ample bandwidth to simultaneously serve CPU access and streaming I/O from its sRIO and PCIe interfaces. The Champ-AV8 incorporates the enhancements of the OpenVPX (VITA 65) standard with a complete suite of data plane, expansion plane, and control plane interfaces. Supporting Gen2 SRIO and Gen2 PCIe interfaces, the Champ-AV8 offers triple the bandwidth of first generation VPX products with up to 32 Gbytes/s of fabric performance, thus ensuring that application performance can scale commensurately with the much higher CPU performance.

Dual-Core CPU and HD Video Inhabits Palm-Sized Chassis One of the smallest full featured DIY PC kits available today squeezes a range of features that include a 1.0 GHz dual core Via EdenX2processor, HD video support, HDMI and VGA display connectivity, Gigabit networking, Wi-Fi Support and five USB ports into a palm-sized PC chassis. The Via ARTiGO A1150 from Via Technologies is suitable for a variety of applications in the home or office, including home server, media streaming and surveillance applications, or as a regular desktop PC, using only a fraction of the physical real estate. The small 5.7” x 3.9” x 2” (14.6 cm x 9.9 cm x 5.2 cm) Via ARTiGO A1150 offers a high performance native 64-bit computing experience while remaining within a low-power thermal envelope. The Eden X2 processor is joined by the Via VX900H media system processor, a fully integrated all-in-one chipset that brings an exceptional multimedia experience to small form factor devices.

VIA Technologies, Fremont, CA. (510) 683-3300. [].

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

Qseven Mini Carrier Baseboard for Accelerated Design-In A new mini carrier baseboard for space-critical applications is based on the Qseven standard. The CongaQMCB baseboard from Congatec is suitable for fast prototype design and compact, mobile applications. Measuring 145x95 mm, the easy-to-integrate mini carrier board is packed with a wide range of state-of-theart interfaces and is designed to accelerate the evaluation process in the design-in phase, thereby facilitating faster time-to-market. DisplayPort, HDMI and LVDS 18/24 Bit graphics interfaces have been implemented, together with six USB interfaces and an Ethernet connection. The board also offers additional standard interfaces such as high definition audio and a mini PCI express socket, which can be used for WLAN. SD-Card, 2x SATA and CFast have also been integrated on the baseboard to enable the connection of mass storage devices. The Conga-QMCB is powered by a single 5V DC supply. Battery management signaling is fully incorporated, enabling the use of the Congatec Smart Battery Manager (Conga-SBM2) and making the baseboard a simple solution for mobile systems. The Conga-QMCB is designed for use with the new Conga-QAF computer module, which is based on AMD Fusion technology; and the Conga-QA6, which is based on the current Intel Atom E600 series.

Congatec, San Diego, CA. (858) 457-2600. []. January 2012 | COTS Journal


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Conduction-Cooled 1000 Watt Supply Does I2C Comms TDK-Lambda Americas has launched the new CPFE1000F series of baseplate/conduction-cooled power supplies capable of providing up to 1000 watts without fans or forced-air-cooling, thereby Connected with companies and products providing audible-noise-free operation. With a baseplate Get and ambient operating temperature range featured in this section. of from -40°C up to +85°C, this new series of AC-DC power supplies will be of special interest to designers who need high power but cannot use fans, or where the power supply is mounted in an enclosure. These single output power supplies operate with a wide universal input range of from 90 to 265 VAC with PFC and are available with DC outputs of 12V, 28V (adjustable to 24V) or 48 VDC. Due to its wide output adjustment range of +/- 20%, the output voltage can be set to match a variety of customer-specific applications. The outputs of these units can be connected in series or parallel for higher power applications. The power supply’s baseplate is designed to easily attach to metal enclosures or other heatsinking surfaces, thus eliminating the need for fans or forced-air-cooling. To guard against moisture, dust and other containments, the internal PCB assembly has a protective coating. The new 1000-watt baseplate/conduction-cooled CPFE1000F models are available now and priced at $825 each in 50 piece quantities.

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

Lithium Ion Battery Packs Power Rugged UPSs

Chip Inductors Meet Qualification to MIL-PRF-83446

The difficult conditions soldiers face ensuring reliable power in-theater are lessened with Acumentrics’ Rugged Uninterruptible Power Supplies (RUPS) with lithium ion battery packs. Dramatic weight reduction, extended run time and longer battery life mean a lighter, more powerful and mobile RUPS solution for battlefield command and control. Expressly designed to offer a lower weight profile, these new lithium ion battery packs provide a superior option to sealed lead acid batteries, which have a much lower energy density. With the capability to supply up to 86% more energy per pound under a 2,400W load than the average sealed lead acid battery, Acumentrics’ packs are the best energy source available for RUPS products.

Gowanda Electronics has announced that the company recently achieved qualification to the military’s MIL-PRF-83446 (/36A and /37A) for its ML0603 and ML0805 series of RF surface mount wirewound ceramic core chip inductors. These are the first series in the industry to address the market need for Qualified Product List (QPL) inductors which meet this particular Department of Defense specification. Gowanda’s ML0603 Series is QPL approved to MIL-PRF83446/36A and provides inductance from 1.8 to 270 nH, Q Min from 16 to 40, SRF MHz Min from 600 to 6000, DCR Ohms Max from .07 to 1.78 and Current Rating DC mA from 195 to 1000. The ML0805 Series is qualified to MILPRF-83446/37A and provides inductance from 2.2 to 2200 nH, Q Min from 15 to 65, SRF MHz Min from 40 to 6000, DCR Ohms Max from .08 to 5.0 and Current Rating DC mA from 140 to 1000.

Acumentrics, Westwood, MA. (781) 461-8251. [].

Gowanda Electronics, Gowanda, NY. (716) 532-2234. [].

Smart Panel Blends Touch-Screen LCD with Motherboard ADLINK Technology has announced the availability of the revolutionary new Smart Panel series of products designed to provide a new “all-in-one” concept to panel computing applications. The Smart Panel series of products provide users an embedded human-machine (HMI) where cloud computing is used to enable access to information and services from any location as needed. Smart Panel products comprise highly integrated, ultrathin, and flexible designs ready for development. Benefits of this series of products include a quicker time-to-market of your end products, reduced development risks and costs, and simplified material management. This is the first series of products on the marketplace to integrate the CPU, networking capability and a display into a single panel device. The Smart Panel incorporates the main board and is designed at minimal size and thickness, which gives greater flexibility to the case design of the target application. The Smart Panel completely integrates three key components of a system design: a high-brightness LCD panel, a touch screen and a main board. This allows designers to focus on the I/O board design needed for their application. Use of the Smart Panel not only reduces design risks, but cuts system development time in at least half. The 8” model Smart Panel offers a screen brightness of up to 800 cd/ m2 to ensure a clear image both indoor and even outside under direct sunlight. The high-resolution full-color interface makes it much easier for users to use the device to gather data and display images, reports and text for viewing through simple operations.

ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. []. 76

COTS Journal | January 2012

COTS Products

Module Links GPIB to LAN Printer Interface ICS Electronics announced a new GPIB-to-LAN Printer Interface for connecting older analyzers and instruments with GPIB outputs to a printer with an Ethernet interface. ICS’s Model 4872 lets older analyzers and instruments that were designed to operate with a GPIB plotter find new life with a modern printer. The need for this interface has come about as the older GPIB-based printers and plotters are failing and replacement parts and supplies are becoming obsolete. Printers have also evolved from having GPIB interfaces to parallel ‘Centronics’ to USB and now to Ethernet interfaces. The 4872 solves this problem by acting as a transparent, GPIB-to-LAN Interface for today’s Ethernet equipped printers. Pricing for the Model 4872 is $485 each is quantities of 1 to 4 units.

ICS Electronics, Pleasanton, CA. (925) 416-1000. [].

Fermi NVIDIA GPGPU Rides 3U OpenVPX The concept of using graphics processors for general purpose computing is catching on big in the military. Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing (CWCEC) has announced its first 3U OpenVPX general purpose graphics processing unit (GPGPU) multi-core engine, the VPX3-491 GPU Application Accelerator. The small form factor VPX3-491 features an NVIDIA GPU based on the NVIDIA Fermi architecture with 240 CUDA cores. Integrated into a subsystem, the VPX3491 functions as a coprocessor attached to a host Intel processor board and takes advantage of the new PCIe Expansion Plane definitions in the VITA 65 OpenVPX standard to provide off-the-shelf backplane support for high-speed interconnection between pairs of SBC/GPU. The combination of 2nd Generation Intel processors, gen2 PCI Express interconnect and 240 NVIDIA CUDA cores raises the performance bar for compact systems for demanding military digital signal processing (DSP) applications such as C4ISR, EO/IR and SatCom. The VPX3-491 takes full advantage of GPUs based on the NVIDIA Fermi architecture. Designed for high performance computing, the newest generation of NVIDIA processors feature larger internal shared memories, a completely new L2 cache, unified memory addressing and many other enhancements to improve CUDA-based applications performance and improve programmer productivity. The VPX3-491 supports its high performance GPU processor with a 2 Gbyte, 256-bit wide, 80 Gbyte/s GDDR5 memory subsystem designed to eliminate data bottlenecks and support large signal processing datasets into the onboard memory. The VPX3-491 supports a full 16-lane Gen2 PCIe interface to the backplane, supporting the maximum possible bandwidth between host and GPU. The VPX3-491also supports 8-lane and 4-lane PCIe interfaces.

Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing, Ashburn, VA. (703) 779-7800. [].

AMC Board Serves Up Cavium OCTEON II Packet Processor High-speeding networking is a critical piece of today’s military push toward netcentric operations. Kontron has announced that the second generation of the Kontron AMC Packet Processor module AM4211 for MicroTCA platforms is now available with the Cavium (NASDAQ: CAVM) 10core OCTEON II cn6645 series. For telecom equipment manufacturers (TEMs), this AMC module represents a 40 percent increase in performance for any new designs of security and Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), network applications for SNOW 3G and KASUMI, TCP/ IP packet processing acceleration and QoS that are integrated into eNodeB base stations and other types of network security and test and measurement applications for LTE networks. The combination of Cavium hardware acceleration engines and production-ready Cavium TurboDPI software ensures that the Kontron AM4211 is available as an “out-of-thebox” DPI card for application system developers who require 10GbE wire-speed performance of various deep packet inspection (DPI) functions. This includes five main DPI categories: protocol analysis/application recognition; antimalware/anti-virus; application performance management; network intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS); and URL filtering. The Kontron AMC Packet Processor module AM4211 is available now.

Kontron, Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [].

30-inch Rackmount LED Display Targets Harsh Environments Neuro Logic Systems has begun shipping the first ruggedized, rackmount 30-inch LED display. Designed for military, shipboard and other harsh, demanding environments, the RF-30 incorporates NLS’s proprietary LED backlight system that eliminates 80% of the heat and over 50% of the power consumption of an equivalent 30” CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp) display while greatly extending the brightness adjustment range from over 325 cd/m2 down to zero cd/m2. Compared to an equivalent CCFL display, the LED backlighting also makes the display thinner at only 3.8 inches, and lighter at only 24 lbs. The RF-30 was originally developed for the surveillance airplane in the air-to-ground JSTARS (Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System) program. Standard input power is 95-240 VAC, 47-63 Hz via a MIL-STD MS38999 connector. Alternative power options include 28 VDC and 48 VDC and 115 VAC at 400 Hz. Power dissipation at maximum brightness is less than 90 watts; standby power is under 5 watts. Operating temperature is -10° to +50°C and MTBF is 50,000 hours. The RF-30 is certified to MIL-STD-461E and MIL-STD-810.

Neuro Logic Systems, Camarillo, CA. (805) 389-5435. []. January 2012 | COTS Journal


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Multicore Rugged COM Board Sports PowerPC COM boards are becoming a staple in a variety of military systems where slot-cards are not needed. MEN Micro now offers a PowerPC-based rugged computer-on-module (COM) that offers speeds up to 1.5 GHz via multi-core Getnew Connected companies products featured in this section. processing. Equipped with a Freescale QorIQ processor, the XM51 is anwith extension on and MEN Micro’s family of ruggedized COMs based on the space-saving ESMexpress standard, currently in preparation with ANSI/ VITA as RSE 59. The computer-on-module supports four USB 2.0 interfaces with host function and one USB client port, two Gigabit Ethernet channels, two 3 Gigabit SATA (“gen 2”) and two PCI Express x1 links with 5 Gbits/s each (PCIe 2.x), which can be made accessible on any ESMexpress carrier. The XM51 offers 16 Gbytes of soldered DDR3 SDRAM memory with ECC, which—thanks to the QorIQ technology—is controlled by one or two controllers and can be assigned to the processor cores as desired. Up to 128 Kbytes of onboard non-volatile FRAM and 256 Mbytes of flash provide more memory options, which can be expanded via USB on the carrier board. As with all ESMexpress modules, the COM is installed in a closed, conduction-cooled housing that allows the module’s highperformance operation in temperatures from -40°C to +85°C, while guaranteeing 100% EMC protection. All components are soldered against shock and vibration and prepared for coating against humidity or dust. ESMexpress is designed for extreme resistance against shock and vibration. Modules are firmly secured to the board with eight screws and come with rugged industry-proven connectors supporting high frequency and differential signals. All ESMexpress modules use a single, space-saving 95 mm x 125 mm form factor. Pricing for the XM51 is $3,370.

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

Remote Isolated Field I/O Card Does Real-Time Control

60 GHz Real-Time Oscilloscope Does 160 Gsample/s Sampling

The MESA 7I66 is a remote isolated field I/O card designed for fast real-time PC-based control systems. The 7I66 communicates with the host with a robust isolated RS-422 link. Standard CAT5 cables are used for wiring convenience. The 7I66 is supported by Mesa’s low-cost FPGA cards, which present a simple parallel register interface to the host, with all protocol details handled by the smart interface. One FPGA card can support up to 32 external devices and up to 3072 control points while still maintaining 10 KHz service rate for all points. The 7I66 is available in two models, the 7I66-24 and the 7I66-8. The 7I66-24 has 24 outputs and no inputs. The 7I66-8 has 8 outputs and 16 inputs. Outputs are 2.5A sourcing drivers with 8 VDC to 32 VDC field power and local clamps for inductive loads. Price of the 7I66-8 in hundreds is $57, price of the 7I66-24 in hundreds is $86.

LeCroy Corporation has announced deployment of the highest bandwidth—36 GHz—and highest sample rate—80 GS/s— silicon technologies in the LabMaster 10 Zi oscilloscopes. This advanced new chipset represents technology capability well beyond that offered by other oscilloscope companies. Its four oscilloscope channels, all at silicon-based 36 GHz bandwidth and 80 GS/s sample rate in a single acquisition module, provide twice the bandwidth density of competitive oscilloscopes. LeCroy’s patented DBI technology allows extension of the silicon-based 36 GHz bandwidth and 80 GS/s sample rate to 60 GHz and 160 GS/s by combining two 36 GHz channels. The 60 GHz real-time bandwidth is also an industry first, and is nearly twice the bandwidth rating of competitive 32 and 33 GHz oscilloscopes with an equivalent number of channels. LabMaster 10 Zi oscilloscopes start at $252,900, with acquisition modules priced as low as $156,000.

MESA Electronics, Richmond, CA. (510) 223.9272. [].

LeCroy, Chestnut Ridge, NY. (800) 553-2769. [].

Clock Oscillator Provides High Frequency Audio Control Crystek has launched the CCHD-957, a new Ultra-Low Phase Noise HCMOS Clock Oscillator with Standby Mode, featuring an extremely low close-in phase noise of -100 dBc/Hz at 10Hz offset and a typical noise floor of -170 dBc/Hz at 100kHz offset. The Crystek CCHD-957 HCMOS Clock Oscillator also features a “Standby Function”—when placed in disable mode, the internal oscillator is completely shut down and its output buffer is placed in Tri-State. This family is housed in a 9x14 mm SMT package and operates with a +3.3V power supply consuming 15 mA of current. Stability is rated at 20-50 ppm (0° to +70°C) and ±2550 ppm (-40° to +85°C). The CCHD-957 generates frequencies between 10 MHz and 50 MHz. Its output driver is capable of driving ±24 mA, translating to a rise/fall time of approximately 3 nsec max at 20% to 80% Vcc with a 15 pF load.

Crystek Corporation, Ft. Myers, FL. (239) 561-3311. []. 78

COTS Journal | January 2012




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Xembedded..................................... 54..........................

MSC Embedded, Inc....................... 49..................... COTS Journal (ISSN#1526-4653) is published monthly at 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673. Periodicals Class postage paid at San Clemente and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to COTS Journal, 905 Calle Amanecer, Ste. 250, San Clemente, CA 92673.

Coming Next Month Special Feature: FPGA Boards in Radar and SIGINT Once used merely as glue-logic, FPGAs are now complete systems on a chip. And now that many of them even have general purpose CPU cores on them, the military is hungry to use FPGAs to fill processing roles. As the signal processing capabilities of FPGAs continue to climb, they’ve become key enablers for waveform-intensive applications like sonar, radar, SIGINT and SDR. This feature section delves into the VPX, VXS and VME solutions available in this area and explores how they’re transforming military processor-based systems. Tech Recon: Power Supply Trends for Board- and Box-Level Systems There’s no avoiding the trend toward processors and other key components ramping up in wattage. And more power means more challenges dissipating heat. Rugged board- and box-level systems using VPX, CompactPCI and nonstandard form factors are now available that address these problems themselves. Exotic techniques such as spray-cooling and liquid-cooling are all on the table as possible ways to attack the cooling challenge. Articles in this section touch on all these present-day and future cooling solutions. System Development: Secure Embedded Systems and Anti-Tamper Solutions Military systems that employ advanced electronics, new technologies and encrypted digital systems are always at risk of becoming perishable items. Reverse engineering exploitation of lost, captured and “misplaced” military systems threatens our national security and billions of dollars of R&D investment. This is a problem that has now moved front and center to the design process of military systems. This section explores the importance of “anti-tamper” circuitry and what military system designers need to do to keep pace with this challenging issue. Tech Focus: CompactPCI and CompactPCI Serial Boards The CompactPCI embedded form factor has achieved the maturity and broad product range that military system designers so crave. Now well into its second decade of existence, the 3U flavor of cPCI is particularly attractive to space/weightconstrained applications like avionics. The new serial version of cPCI adds new levels of bandwidth. This Tech Focus section updates readers on cPCI trends, and provides a product album of representative 6U and 3U cPCI and cPCI Serial boards. 80

COTS Journal | January 2012


Editorial Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

The Way Ahead for Unmanned Tech


ou’d be hard pressed to cite a segment of military systems development that so directly relies on embedded computing innovations more than unmanned systems. Unmanned systems in their various forms—UAVs, unmanned ground systems and unmanned underwater systems—are an area where size, weight and power concerns are side by side with a strong desire for computer-based automation and functionality. This year, with the U.S. defense budget under the knife for cutting programs, UAVs— and unmanned systems in general—seem poised to retain more than their share of funding versus other areas. Charting the way forward for unmanned system development, last fall the DoD published its latest version of its Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap outlining the direction and challenges ahead for 2011 to 2036 for the U.S. military’s unmanned platforms. While there are numerous areas in the document that telegraph opportunities for embedded electronics and computing products, the one area that caught my eye was the chapter on autonomy. Autonomy in this context focuses on a system’s ability to be goal-directed in unpredictable situations—to make a decision based on a set of rules and/or limitations. In 2010, the USAF released the results of a year-long study highlighting the need for increased autonomy in modern weapon systems, especially given the rapid rollout of UAV systems. The study called the need for greater system autonomy the “single greatest theme” for future USAF science and technology investments. For unmanned systems to fully realize their potential—according to the roadmap— they must be able to achieve a highly autonomous state of behavior and be able to interact with their surroundings. This should include an ability to understand and adapt to their environment, and an ability to collaborate with other autonomous systems. Meanwhile, there needs to be new verification and validation (V&V) techniques to prove the new technology does what it should. For an autonomous unmanned system to sense and understand the environment it first has to be able to create a model of its surrounding world by conducting multisensor data fusion (MDF). It then has to convert these data into meaningful information that supports a variety of decision-making processes. The perception system must be able to perceive and infer the state of the environment from limited information and be able to assess the intent of other agents in the environment. The roadmap describes that understanding is needed to provide future autonomous systems with the flexibility and adaptability for planning and executing missions in a complex, dynamic world. Although such capabilities are not currently available, recent advancements in computational intelligence—especially neuro-fuzzy systems—, neuroscience and cognition science, may lead to the implementation of some of the most critical functional82

COTS Journal | January 2012

ities of heterogeneous, sensor net-based MDF systems. Beyond just the command and control aspects of unmanned system autonomy, there’s the issue of autonomy for the Tasking, Processing, Exploitation and Dissemination (TPED) side of a UAV or other unmanned systems’ duties. Traditional TPED processes offer huge opportunities for reducing the degree of human involvement. Near-term developments could introduce a greater degree of automation, ultimately evolving to more autonomous systems. Current TPED processes are manpower-intensive. In today’s combat environment, most full-motion video and still imagery is monitored and used in real time, but then stored without being fully analyzed to exploit all information about the enemy. This challenge is not unique to the unmanned environment, but it has been exacerbated by the large numbers of ISR-capable, long-endurance unmanned systems being fielded. The sheer quantity of information that these systems are collecting is overwhelming current TPED processes. Applications of face recognition software could enable highfidelity full-motion video to identify individuals of interest. Increased automation in COMINT sensors has the potential to identify key words and even specific voices to rapidly alert operators to targets of interest. Ultimately, automated cross-cueing of different sensor types in a networked environment could enable greater autonomy in tasking systems and their sensors to identify and track threats more rapidly. Increased processing power and information storage capacities also have the potential to change how unmanned systems operate. For example, many current UAVs transmit ISR data that is processed and exploited in ground stations. If more processing and exploitation processes can be accomplished on board a UAV—like the automatic target recognition or communications intelligence examples discussed above—the system can disseminate actionable intelligence for immediate use and reduce bandwidth requirements. Video ISR, for example, uses roughly an order of magnitude more bandwidth than the C2 data for a UA. By accomplishing more of the TPED process on board the unmanned system, the link bandwidth can then be focused on transmitting only what’s needed, and the overall bandwidth requirements can be reduced. The good news for the embedded computing market is that all the challenges of achieving autonomy in UAVs are directly attached to the use of ever increasing compute density. That compute density is achieved by packing more processing power, memory and I/O functionality into smaller boards or in rugged box-level systems. And as pressures mount to control costs of all defense efforts, military system developers will need to rely on the best of breed off-the-shelf solutions supplied by the military embedded computer industry.

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COTS Journal  

January 2012

COTS Journal  

January 2012