COM Express Board Roundup
The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing
Display Technologies Enable Complex Command Systems
— Counter-IED Operations Present Volume 14 Number 8 August 2012
An RTC Group Publication
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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing
VME, VPX and cPCI Target Tech Insertion Needs
CONTENTS August 2012
SPECIAL FEATURE VME, VPX and cPCI Target Tech Insertion Needs
10 VME, cPCI and VPX Fuel Technology Upgrade Efforts Jeff Child
18 Managing Tech Insertion for Sensor Processing Subsystems Thomas Roberts, Mercury Computer Systems
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.
Departments 6 Publisher’s Notebook To Partner or Not to Partner... 8
The Inside Track
74 Editorial EW and IT: An Evolving Marriage
24 VME Still the Right Choice for Radar Upgrades Andrew Reddig, Tek Microsystems
32 Many Paths Lead to Tech Refresh Success R.J. McLaren and Vincent Chuffart, Kontron
Coming in September See Page 72
TECH RECON Displays and Subsystems for Command and Control
40 Display Advances Enable Larger, More Complex Command Systems Jeff Child
48 Case Study: APUs Solve Real-Time Image Processing Challenge Cameron Swen, AMD Embedded Solutions
SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Military Instrumentation and Test
52 Hurdles for Structuring Counter-IED Data Are Many Dr. Michael Stumborg, Intelligent Software Solutions
TECHNOLOGY FOCUS COM Express Boards
58 COM Express Continues its Quick Ascent toward Military Acceptance Jeff Child
COM Express Boards Roundup Digital subscriptions available: cotsjournalonline.com
On The Cover: U.S. Army Soldiers travel through the desert in their M1126 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV) with Slat Armor cage. Both CompactPCI and VME have been used to upgrade the various Stryker variants, including VME motion controllers for the turret on the Stryker MGS. (US Army Photo)
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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing
Publisher PRESIDENT John Reardon, firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHER Pete Yeatman, email@example.com
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HOME OFFICE The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Phone: (949) 226-2000 Fax: (949) 226-2050, www.rtcgroup.com Editorial office Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief 20A Northwest Blvd., PMB#137, Nashua, NH 03063 Phone: (603) 429-8301 Published by THEâ€ˆRTCâ€ˆGROUP Copyright 2012, 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 To Partner or Not to Partner… …that is the question. I’m sitting here in the beginning of the summer trying to write something that will be of interest when read at the end of the summer. It’s also the time that we set the stage for COTS Journal’s 2013 editorial focus. This always initiates a communications frenzy with our entire staff. We talk to as many respected users, primes, suppliers and pundits as we have in our contacts folders before trying to make sense of all of this year’s tea leaves. This process always unearths some interesting information. Without rehashing all the previous words used to discuss politics, budgets and policies that will contribute to the outlook for 2013, there are some basics that will be resolute for the military electronics industry. Cost sharing, joint investment, partnering and similar catch phrases will be part of every new RFP or RFQ for new programs. These words translate into a couple things. They’re saying “we want the supplier to pay for all the development, or any costs necessary to modify their product to fit the specific needs of the program.” Not only that, they translate into “we also want them to pay for part of the overall design-in and program win process.” All this is at a time when there’s less probability that new programs will be funded and moved forward into production. As such, those burdens may be a financial nut that some smaller electronics suppliers won’t be willing to support. Until and unless there is a world crisis, most funding for new offensive tactical systems and their support systems will be sacrificed for new defensive, surveillance and information gathering systems. That in turn forces the concept that current tactical systems—along with their support systems—will have life extensions and technology upgrades to service the needs of whatever the political vision is for the U.S. military. Those two concepts present two very different opportunity scenarios for electronics suppliers. Life extensions and technology insertions to current systems will provide opportunities for board and systems suppliers that use established and entrenched architectures. With limited available funding, there’s less temptation to throw out the baby with the bathwater. So that means staying with existing system architectures—except when an entire subsystem can be replaced by an all-in-one system. Where extended quantity contract options on existing programs are in place, they will more than likely be exercised. Where they’re not in place new upgrade RFQs will be issued. Although there is a strong interest by the military to obsolete or replace many programs—like the Stryker, F-18, Black Hawk and others—many of these older programs will be given a life extension instead in order to avoid the higher costs of new program developments. Much of the electronics for these extensions will come from old standards like VME, cPCI and PC/104. 6
COTS Journal | August 2012
Defensive, surveillance and information gathering systems will mostly come from two ends of the performance spectrum—limited requirements and very extreme requirements. The lower end will mostly come from small self-contained busless systems or mezzanine architectures. These electronics will service the growing demand for small autonomous vehicles in the air, on the ground or in the sea. These will also serve for comms and IT for the individual warfighter and small in-thetrenches units. Funding and support for this class of systems will continue to grow. These systems tend to be larger quantities, but have a smaller individual unit cost. At the extreme performance end we will find smaller volume but very high value systems. This is an area that many primes would like to dominate with custom grounds-up designs. But with diminishing available funds, ultimately the VPX market will come into dominance here—with some life being blown back into the ATCA market for rear echelon programs. These systems will contain a large number of CPU cards each containing multiple multicore processors. Such systems strive to interrogate high-volume, high-speed data from multiple inputs, process the data and provide near real-time interpretations. That capability is critical now and will only be exponentially more critical in the near future. When times are tight we see most companies falling into two categories: those that charge ahead and those that stay in the fox hole. Each philosophy has merits for different companies and different target markets. Unless overly confident in their funding position, users and primes are going to seek out the lowest cost-effective alternatives. Those can be either upgrades or new programs, so no supplier should sit on its laurels. Everyone designed into a program should do their utmost to defend it from their competitors trying to unseat them as the preferred supplier. Aggressive suppliers will focus on established and funded programs in an effort to unseat current suppliers to existing programs. New development programs—although riskier than existing funded programs—can provide a large return to companies that have been partnered into programs if and when the programs go into production.
Pete Yeatman, Publisher COTS Journal
INSIDE TRACK AAI Awarded $358 Million for Upgraded RQ-7B Shadow Tactical UAV AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems, an operating unit of Textron Systems, announced that it has received a $358 million award from the U.S. Army’s Program Manager – Unmanned Aircraft Systems for engineering support and system upgrades that will create a fleet of 45 upgraded RQ7B Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (TUAS). Deliveries of 43 systems for the Army and two for the Marine Corps are expected to begin in late 2013. The new RQ-7B Shadow aircraft (Figure 1) builds on the same architecture that has proven highly successful on the current Shadow aircraft throughout nearly 750,000 flight hours. It is multi-mission equipped with an integrated payload for day and night imagery, as well as communications relay and laser target designation capabilities. The aircraft also applies the Army’s interoperability profiles, while vastly increasing communications bandwidth and enabling digital data delivery. In addition, the upgraded Shadow aircraft integrates the Tactical Common Data Link for digital data dissemination and encryption. Figure 1
AAI Corporation Hunt Valley, MD. (410) 666-1400. [www.aaicorp.com].
The new RQ-7B Shadow aircraft builds on the same architecture that has proven highly successful on the current Shadow aircraft for over almost 750,000 flight hours.
Harris Awarded Contract to Maintain and Upgrade JTRS SRW Harris has been awarded a $26 million indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract to upgrade and maintain the U.S. DoD Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) for wideband tactical communications. The U.S. government will leverage Harris’ expertise in wideband networking to add greater capabilities to the open-standard SRW waveform software and make it more widely available to U.S. forces in next-generation tactical radios. Developed by the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program, SRW is a DoD voice and data waveform standard used to extend battlefield IP networks to the tactical edge. Under terms of the contract, Harris will deliver improved capabilities, maintenance and ongoing support for the waveform
COTS Journal | August 2012
with tactical radios developed by other vendors. Harris Melbourne, FL. (321) 727-9100. [www.harris.com]. Figure 2
The Harris Falcon III AN/PRC117G manpack is NSA certified for a Type-1 implementation of SRW.
Army C4ISR Integration Lab Aims to Improve Agile Acquisition Process
over five years. Key enhancements developed by Harris will be placed in the JTRS Program Information Repository (IR), which was established to facilitate software reuse in DoD tactical radios. The Harris Falcon III AN/PRC-117G manpack (Figure 2) is NSA certified for a Type-1 implementation of SRW. Additionally, Harris has integrated the AN/PRC-117G and AN/PRC-152A with the JTRS Joint Enterprise Network Manager to assure interoperability
CERDEC’s new laboratory hub for C4ISR integration was officially launched at the Aberdeen Proving Ground and will have the mission to ensure candidate systems for Network Integration Evaluations are integrated and field ready prior to testing. The C4ISR Systems Integration Laboratory, or CSIL, is the site for all lab-based risk reduction for systems prior to NIE. It provides a powerful resource that will be leveraged to identify and resolve bugs
and ensure configuration settings and mission threads are validated prior to the field evaluation. CSIL provides a simulated, advanced lab environment for engineers to assess, evaluate and integrate new capabilities onto current and next-generation tactical networks. The concept for CSIL was formed in July 2011 as a way to help alleviate costs and find potential problems prior to field testing. In previous NIEs, interoperability issues with capabilities had to be fixed on-site, increasing time and expenses. Fixing system integration problems on the ground required lengthy travel accommodations for Army engineers and prevented soldiers participating in NIEs from dedicating more time to their regular activities. CERDEC Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD (443) 861-7566. [www.cerdec.army.mil].
Raytheon Awarded $636 million for Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle Raytheon was awarded a $636 million development and sustainment contract to provide the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle to The Boeing Company, which is the prime contractor for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program. Raytheon booked the award during its second quarter. EKV (Figure 3)
EKV is the intercept component of the Ground Based Interceptor, which is designed to engage highspeed ballistic missile warheads in space. represents the centerpiece for the Missile Defense Agency’s GMD as the intercept component of the Ground Based Interceptor, also known as GBI, which is designed to engage high-speed ballistic missile warheads in space. Under conditions of the contract, which extends through November 2018, Raytheon will provide EKV development, fielding, testing, system engineering, integration, configuration management, equipment manufactur-
ing and refurbishment, and operation and sustainment. Leveraging more than two decades of kill vehicle technology expertise, the EKV is
designed to destroy incoming ballistic missile threats by colliding with them, a concept often described as “hit to kill.”
Military Market Watch COTS Market Wrestles with Strengths and Weaknesses
Raytheon Waltham, MA. (781) 522-3000. [www.raytheon.com].
NA COTS VME Markets by Platform (Revenues in $M)
Manned Military Aircraft
A report from VDC Research takes a look at the revenues in the COTS VME market and analyzes some Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) of the strengths and weaknesses of this industry. Figure 4 graphs the revenues by application area for the North Military Ground Vehicles American COTS VME market. According to the report, the manned aircraft area will lose 1% share as UAVs Manned Military (water) Surface Vessels replace missions that had traditionally been conducted with manned aircraft. As a result, more expensive Military Fixed (groundbased) Installations manned platforms will have unit volumes cut and/or delayed. Meanwhile VDC sees UAV’s share growing from Military Manned Submarine Vessels / 16% to 18% as these platforms continue to increase the Vehicles missions for which they are tasked. In addition to being Military Unmanned a less costly platform, UAVs have advantages in that they Ground Vehicles (UGVs) can remain on station for longer periods and, if shot Portable Systems / down, there is no pilot that can be killed or captured. Devices In many cases, the VME COTS systems will find Military Unmanned roles on the ground, processing, switching and storing Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) the data generated by the UAVs. Manned surface vessels Military Robotics. other slightly decline in share by 2%, but upgrades to existing than UAV / UGV / USV / units will still allow them to see some overall revenue UUV Military Unmanned growth. Fixed ground installations will likely be reduced (water) Surface Vehicles through base closures and reduction of presence in Iraq (USVs) and Afghanistan. Other In terms of strengths enjoyed by the COTS market, the VDC report says that for many merchant COTS sup$0 $50 $100 $150 pliers, their products represent their core competency and they likely have detailed knowledge and expertise 2011 Total 2014 Total on every facet of the technology. Many COTS systems suppliers are also (and perhaps primarily) COTS boards Figure 4 suppliers, which further increases their experience with Airborne platforms—both manned and the products and ensures perfect knowledge transfer between board engineering and systems integration. unmanned—represent the strongest revenue Meanwhile, merchant COTS board suppliers that have segment for COTS VME board suppliers. unique/proprietary form factors can leverage these products to make unique form factor systems. On the weaknesses side, VDC says that Mil/Aero may only be a niche market for some merchant suppliers as compared to industrial, medical and transportation, which may be considered more lucrative. As such, they may lack experience. Merchant COTS suppliers may not have the government, DoD and Mil/Aero focused sales resources as compared to the Mil/Aero specialists. And finally, COTS suppliers may not have the political lobbyist resources as compared to the Mil/Aero specialists. For further information about this research part of VDC Research Group’s Embedded Hardware Market Intelligence Service, contact: Chris Rommel, Vice President at email@example.com. VDC Research Group, Natick, MA. (508) 653-9000. [www.vdcresearch.com]. August 2012 | COTS Journal
SPECIAL FEATURE VME, VPX and cPCI Target Tech Insertion Needs
COTS Journal | August 2012
VME, cPCI and VPX Fuel Technology Upgrade Efforts With budgets tighter than ever, technology upgrade programs will dominate much military system development. VME, CompactPCI and OpenVPX each offer unique attributes for consideration in those programs. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief
hile tech upgrades and tech insertion have long been a mainstay for standards-based embedded computing, those activities are quickly moving to center stage these days. In this era of constrained military budgets, there are fewer new programs and platforms that will get funding. As a consequence, existing systems—on land, sea and air— will be expected to have longer deployment cycles than anticipated. That will mean more electronics and computer systems upgrades across all branches of the military. The “poster child” for military technology upgrades for the past couple decades or more is the VME form factor. VME 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. Therefore, 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. Meanwhile, CompactPCI has followed in those same footsteps. And indeed CompactPCI has carved out a respectable August 2012 | COTS Journal
The VME-based advanced mission computer (AMC) for the F/A-18E/F and E/A-18G Super Hornet aircraft performs general purpose, input/ output, video, voice and graphics processing. niche in defense applications—especially in the years before VME follow on solutions such as VXS and VPX came into the picture. That said, upgrades became trickier as those fabric-based VITA-standard boards entered the mix—and they weren’t necessarily replacing VME.
Refresh Programs Abound Slot-card technology upgrade programs are continuing to do brisk business, and such programs are expected to both expand and multiply. Because upgrade programs aren’t as sexy as new programs—and also because vendors like to guard their opportunities—many of these upgrade programs go unannounced. Among the highest profile of these include the Abrams Tank Systems Enhancement Package (SEP) upgrade, F-18 Advanced Multi-Purpose Display program, Bradley Vehicle Electronics upgrade, B-52 mission computer upgrade, Aegis Guided Missile Destroyer Sonar upgrade, B-2 Bomber Radar Upgrade, Boeing B-1B Bomber Avionics Upgrade, and the C-130 cockpit upgrade. Standards-based embedded computer solutions such as VME are used in almost all of these upgrade programs. 12
COTS Journal | August 2012
Exemplifying VME’s ability to serve long deployment cycles is General Dynamics’ VME-based advanced mission computers (AMC) for the F/A-18E/F (Figure 1) and E/A-18G Super Hornet aircraft. For 11 years the unit has provided a reliable, open and cost-effective nerve center for the U.S. Navy’s Super Hornet. Its open architecture approach lets customers upgrade with the latest capability without the expense of changing the aircraft or its support systems. Last year the U.S. Navy awarded General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems a $17.9 million contract to produce Type-3 advanced mission computers (AMC) for the F/A-18E/F and E/A-18G Super Hornet aircraft. General Dynamics has delivered F/A-18 advanced mission computers since 2002. The AMC performs general purpose, input/output, video, voice and graphics processing, and it is designed to operate in extreme environmental conditions of today’s highperformance fighter aircraft. The computing in the AMC has been a series of PowerPC VME SBCs, upgraded from 400 MHz to 1 GHz PowerPCs over the years.
New Processors on VME Feeding the need for VME refresh computing, many vendors continue to produce new VME boards that sport refreshed technologies such as processors and memory. Many of these are drop-in replacements completely backward compatible with previous generation versions on those SBCs. As an example along those lines, Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing (CWCEC) last fall introduced the low-cost, ultra-rugged SVME/DMV-194 (Figure 2). The 6U VME board, 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 SVME/ DMV-179. It’s designed specifically for upgrading existing SWaP-C-constrained systems based on older PowerPC or Power Architecture processors. The board features two 64-bit PMC/ XMC sites and a large complement of I/O including Gigabit Ethernet, up to six serial ports, SATA, 1553 and USB 2.0 ports. To maximize compatibility with earlier SBCs, the SVME/DMV-194 provides an equivalent complement of I/O to that fea-
The SVME/DMV-194 is a 6U VME SBC based on a Freescale Power Architecture QorIQ P2020 processor with dual 1.2 GHz cores. Itâ€™s designed specifically for upgrading existing SWaP-C-constrained systems based on older PowerPC or Power Architecture processors. tured in earlier generations of CWCEC PowerPC and Power Architecture SBCs. It also has optional pin-out modes for backplane compatibility.
CompactPCI Matures At one time CompactPCI was the new kid on the block, but now with nearly 20 under its belt, CompactPCI offers all the ingredients that attract military decision makers. PICMGâ€™s original CompactPCI specification was adopted in 1995 and is mechanically based on the proven Eurocard form factor. And though cPCI isnâ€™t ever expected to eclipse the legacy of VME in the military market, its niche remains solid. An expanding set of CompactPCI boards has emerged, among them are a wide collection of cPCI products that are available from a variety of vendors in every category including single board computers, I/O boards, slot-card power supplies, storage subsystems, mezzanine carriers, DSP engines and many others.
Serial Upgrade Path Providing a path forward, the PCI Industrial Manufacturers Group (PICMG) developed performance upgrade paths for cPCI, such as PICMG 2.16 and CompactPCI Express, and the PICMG 2.30 specification, called CompactPCI PlusIO. Last March, PICMG upped the ante announcing the successful completion and adoption of the CompactPCI Serial (CPCI-S.0) specification. This speci-
fication adds greater support for serial point to point fabrics like PCI Express, SATA, Ethernet and USB in the classic CompactPCI form factor. The specification contains definitions for both system and peripheral slots in 3U and 6U board sizes. It also includes definitions for eight PCI Express links, eight SATA/SAS serial buses, eight USB 2.0/3.0 buses and eight Ethernet interfaces at system slots. The new
CompactPCI Serial specification developed by PICMG member companies enables that same form factor to benefit from the latest I/O enhancements found in all modern computer silicon, and extends the life of CompactPCI form factors for years to come.
Modernization Using cPCI An example of a CompactPCI technology upgrade program, cPCI was used
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The XCalibur1600 is a 6U CompactPCI SBC supporting the Freescale QorIQ P4080 processor. The board is available in conduction- or air-cooled versions. in the Navy’s AEGIS Modernization Program. AEGIS Modernization Baseline (AMOD CR3) calls for modernizing CG 59-73 and DDG 51-78 with a new computing architecture through technical insertion (TI 12), upgraded display consoles, computer program enhancements, and introduces increased weapon capabilities into the AEGIS Combat System through Advanced Capability Build 12 (ACB 12). Like with VME, board vendors continue to roll out new products based on the latest crop of processors. Along those lines, Extreme Engineering Solutions last month introduced the XCalibur1600 (Figure 3), a 6U CompactPCI SBC supporting the Freescale QorIQ P4080 processor. The XCalibur1600 is available in conduction- or air-cooled versions. Processor configurations range from P4040 processor with four
PowerPC e500mc cores at up to 1.5 GHz all the way up to a P5020 processor with two 64-bit PowerPC e5500 cores at up to 2 GHz. Memory includes up to 16 Gbyte of DDR31333 ECC SDRAM in two channels and up to 512 Mbyte of NOR flash (with redundancy). Up to 64 Gbytes of CPU NAND flash is provided with up to 128 Gbytes of SATA NAND flash (optional). I/O includes three Gbit Ethernet ports, x4 PCI Express to XMC sites, up to four SATA ports, two USB 2.0 ports and two RS-232/422/485 serial ports. A XAUI to XMC site is included along with two PrPMC/XMC interfaces.
VPX Finds its Place Unlike CompactPCI and VME, OpenVPX’s role as a technology upgrade technology is less straightforward. OpenVPX continues to capture acceptance by
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military system developers. The OpenVPX spec provides implementation details for VPX payload and switch modules, backplane topologies and chassis products. VPX is gaining design wins in many data-intensive applications where high throughput and high-compute density (size) are critical factors. For its part, VPX, even in its pre-OpenVPX spec era, enjoyed numerous program wins—many more non-public than public. The architecture has even won some mindshare in legacy military platforms—ones where high data-centric performance needs like those of radar come into play. A particularly noteworthy example was last year’s announcement that Mercury Computer Systems won a contract to deliver OpenVPX-based radar subsystems to Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, to support its Patriot Air and Missile Defense System upgrades for Taiwan and Saudi Arabia. Despite the strong position VPX is gaining, there’s been a misconception as to how VPX is positioned versus VME in the market. 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. With that in mind, VME is expected to remain the primary architecture in these platforms for many years to come. In contrast, VPX is better suited for data-intensive applications where high throughput is the priority.
VPX-VME Hybrid Systems Certainly there are existing military platforms already using VPX that are ripe for upgrades. But the broadest role of VPX
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in upgrade programs will primarily be in hybrid systems. The VPX architecture is designed to simultaneously support a mix of bus segments. For example, these integrated bus segments can be configured in full mesh, pipeline or single or dual star topologies. It is also permissible to have some slots configured as legacy parallel VME. VITA 46.1 defines parallel VME within a VPX slot as was discussed earlier. The VITA 46.1 dot-spec allows the
A C R O M A G
integrator to specify how many slots will support the parallel VME signals. All slots would also conform to the basic requirements of VITA 46.0. An advantage of a hybrid backplane is that it permits the use of existing hardware, preserving years of development and system cost. An example hybrid backplane solution is Elma Bustronic’s VPX Hybrid Backplane with five mesh slots and two legacy VME64x slots (Figure 4). The 5+2
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Elma’s VPX Hybrid Backplane has five mesh slots and two legacy VME64x slots. It features a 16-layer controlled impedance stripline design and provides RTM support. Slot OpenVPX Hybrid backplane features a 16-layer controlled impedance stripline design. The backplane provides RTM support. Bustronic offers other VPX configurations in a 3U 6-slot, 6U 5-slot, 6U 17-slot Hybrid and has developed a wealth of custom configurations. Offering a highly flexible interconnect scheme that can support either differential or single ended connections, the product supports redundant meshes, pipeline topologies and cluster computing. It provides built-in ESD ground protection in every slot. Signal Integrity studies are available from Elma upon request. Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions Ashburn, VA. (703) 779-7800. [www.cwcdefense.com]. Elma Electronic Systems Fremont, CA. (510) 656-3400. [www.elma.com]. Extreme Engineering Solutions Middleton, WI. (608) 833-1155. [www.xes-inc.com].
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© 2012 GE Intelligent Platforms, Inc. All rights reserved. All other brands or names are property of their respective holders.
SPECIAL FEATURE VME, VPX and cPCI Target Tech Insertion Needs
Managing Tech Insertion for Sensor Processing Subsystems Successfully upgrading processing functions on sensor processing subsystems is a multi-layered task. But with the right tools, techniques and standards in place, system developers can do it cost-effectively. Thomas Roberts, Solutions Marketing Manager Mercury Computer Systems
efense prime contractors are seeking dramatic improvements in the capabilities of embedded sensor processing subsystems on existing programs. They need increased processing power and expanded bandwidth for both I/O and internal data movement. Most critically, these improvements must be implemented quickly and on budget, with minimal program risk. Multiple factors are driving the need to increase the capabilities of embedded sensor processing subsystems. First, there is a higher level of demand from the Department of Defense (DoD) to continually enhance the effectiveness of existing programs, an approach that is faster and more cost-effective than developing new programs from the ground up. This shift toward shorter program procurement and upgrade cycles is driving defense prime contractors to enhance the capabilities of existing systems by regularly implementing new technologies.
Sensor Processing The second factor exists at the technical level. New sensor technologies, including advanced antennas and wide-area EO/ IR cameras, are extending the data collec18
COTS Journal | August 2012
tion capabilities of existing ISR systems by orders of magnitude. Managing these expanded streams of sensor data requires a parallel improvement in the existing embedded sensor processing subsystems. The Global Hawk UAV (Figure 1), for example, has electro-optical (EO), infrared (IR) and radar sensors that can extract precise imagery intelligence, and upgrades to processing on that sensor data improves the platformâ€™s value continuously. The third factor involves onboard multi-sensor fusion, which combines, in real-time, information from different types of sensors to achieve a higher order of situational understanding. Exploiting onboard multi-sensor fusion demands more embedded processing power, as well as more sophisticated processing architectures. Several, varied applications illustrate the advantages delivered by upgrades in sensor processing. For example, a SIGINT application might extract more information from an existing antenna array by applying more sensitive RF tuners and A/D converters with greater bit depth. More processing power is then needed to address that expanded bit stream in real time. Another example is the implementation of a new EO/IR gimbal for an exist-
ing airborne platform. With more cameras in the gimbal and more pixel density for each camera, the data stream that must be processed has increased by more than an order of magnitude.
Multifunction Payloads Finally, considering the advantages of multi-sensor fusion, a likely enhancement of an ISR payload would include both SIGINT antennas and EO/IR sensors. Such a payload would have the potential to locate an RF emitter of interest and then, in real time, develop a high-resolution image of that location. Delivering on that potential, however, demands sophisticated embedded processing that can a) process both unique sensor streams, b) enable cross-cueing between the different sensors, and c) overlay the information of interest from both sensors onto a common output format. While every situation is unique, a common set of issues must be considered for embedded sensor processing upgrades. First, there are the limits of size, weight and power (SWaP). In many cases, an ISR platform has a fixed amount of space allocated for the sensor processing subsystem. An upgrade must fit within
Global Hawk’s electro-optical (EO), infrared (IR) and radar sensors can extract precise imagery intelligence. that space. Similarly, the weight allocated to the processing subsystem is usually within some narrow band—and for airborne platforms, every extra pound of electronics means one less pound of fuel, thereby limiting mission duration. And lastly, the power is also limited on many platforms, sometimes very strictly. Subsystem architects must find ways to deliver significant upgrades in processing power and sophistication while remaining within a program’s SWaP constraints. Related to SWaP is the cooling issue. Cooling the electronics in a processing subsystem is a challenge that continually grows. When an existing subsystem is upgraded to one with new, faster, but more heat-intensive processing elements, the original cooling approach often will not work. Designers, therefore, must employ one or more thermal innovations—more effective use of flow-by air on some platforms or more efficient conduction-cooling that diffuses the heat to the platform. Sometimes more elaborate cooling methods must be introduced, such as liquid flow-through or spray cooling. Reliable 20
COTS Journal | August 2012
cooling for all anticipated environmental conditions is vital to mission success.
Preserving Software Another issue important to any sensor processing upgrade is the need to preserve the value of existing application software. The software component of a sensor processing application represents a huge investment of time and money. When the application is upgraded with new capabilities, typically the great majority of the existing application functionality needs to be retained. Fortunately, the value of the legacy software that supports that existing functionality can be retained by porting it from existing hardware to a new generation of processing subsystems. A successful porting effort means that new software investments can be focused on extending the application with enhanced functionality. Needless to say, it’s a daunting task to stay on schedule while porting hundreds of thousands of lines of code to a new processing architecture—and to do so without introducing new operational errors.
A set of techniques has evolved to address these upgrade issues—namely SWaP, cooling and preserving software value. One longstanding technique for achieving maximum application performance is the use of specialized coprocessors for certain operations.
Upgrade Techniques An example in today’s technology landscape is the use of general purpose graphics processing units (GPGPUs), which can execute huge numbers of math operations in parallel. Leveraging GPGPUs is useful for handling certain types of algorithms, such as mathematically intensive image processing filters for target detection and extraction based on electro-optical sensor input. These types of algorithms can run at speeds an order of magnitude faster than on standard CPUs. It does require some innovation to deploy GPGPUs in ISR systems. A standard MXM connector is used with GPGPUs in common commercial environments, such as a laptop. A rugged version of the connector must be used for a deployed defense application (Figure 2).
Mechanical Shock Levels 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
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Standard MXM Connector Rugged MXM Connector VITA 47 ECC1-4
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VITA 47 EAC1-6 (air-cooled)
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Comparing standard and rugged MXM connectors with some parameters from the VITA 47 environmental standard. FPGAs are another type of coprocessor widely used in today’s sensor processing designs. Oftentimes they’re employed for data reduction and protocol conversion operations. Properly configured FPGAs can handle repetitive, dataintensive tasks at least an order of magnitude more efficiently than a general purpose CPU. FPGAs can also be used to implement real-time protocol conversion, which is often needed when an upgrade involves a new family of processors or a new switch fabric. Equipped with the right software tools and using switch fabrics that can deliver extremely high levels of intra-system bandwidth, design engineers are now combining GPUs, FPGAs and CPUs into deployable sensor processing subsystems. These multiprocessor solutions represent tremendous performance upgrades over older subsystems, while still adhering to SWaP and cooling limits.
Open Standard Solutions Additional SWaP and cooling benefits are available when upgrade designs comply with industry standards like OpenVPX (VITA 65) and VPX-REDI (VITA 48). Open VPX is focused on defining a system level standard that supports both high performance and interoperability; it defines an architecture framework that manages and constrains module and backplane designs, including clearly defined pin outs. The VPX-REDI standard incorporates support for advanced cooling techniques for subsystem
electronics. This allows implementations with new generations of very powerful but heat-intensive processor technologies to be used in subsystems sized for deployment on defense platforms. Sometimes innovations like hybrid backplanes are used to combine existing technology with new technology in the same subsystem. Hybrid backplanes are used to bridge legacy solutions by bringing together heterogeneous backplane architectures such as fabric-based OpenVPX and legacy VME into a single chassis. In many cases, re-creating a customdesigned VME board as an OpenVPX module is cost-prohibitive. Industry experience shows that spinning, testing, debugging and then re-spinning a new 6U board of moderate complexity can cost, conservatively, from $1 million to $2 million. In addition, this process takes manyears of engineering effort. Alternatively, with a hybrid backplane, development time can be cut to a matter of months with costs as low as $50,000. In addition, this hybrid backplane approach lowers the overall project risks by using proven technology for a specific function. Addressing the legacy software value issue demands more than new technology or industry standards; it requires a disciplined engineering methodology (Figure 3). The ideal approach is to attack the software porting effort with a step-by-step process. While process specifics will vary with each situation, its larger tenets should remain constant. For instance, in classic engi-
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neering fashion, issues are isolated by making one change at a time, then testing, evaluating, correcting and retesting at each step. One change might involve a new real-time OS, another change might involve new processor architecture, and a third change might mean moving from a bus architecture to a switch fabric. Each of these changes must be isolated during the porting process and dealt with one at a time.
Application Examples For its part, Mercury Computer Systems has used multiple combinations of these techniques to help its customers implement timely, cost-effective technology upgrades to the sensor processing portion of their programs. The company recently worked with a leading prime contractor customer in support of their upgrade to a ground mobile missile defense radar system, enabling it to track more, and faster, targets.
Shown here is a lab-style OpenVPX subsystem used for test and debug while porting legacy software. The requirements for improved sensor processing performance and flexibility were stringent and the schedule was highly compressed. The upgraded sensor processing subsystem delivered the needed processing improvement in an OpenVPX chassis based on the RapidIO fabric. As part of the effort, Mercury helped the customer migrate approximately 150,000 lines of embedded signal processing code to the new platform. In a similar fashion, Mercury helped another customer upgrade a family of airborne maritime radar systems. These upgrades, also based on OpenVPX and RapidIO, involved porting large blocks of legacy software. Mercury not only executed that porting activity but also developed a hybrid VME-OpenVPX backplane so unique legacy hardware technology could be carried forward. Those are just two examples of an increasingly common approach in the defense industry: supporting capability upgrades in existing ISR programs by quickly and affordably inserting new technology into sensor processing subsystems. Mercury Computer Systems Chelmsford, MA. (978) 967-1401. [www.mc.com]. Untitled-18 1 COTS Journal | August 2012 22
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SPECIAL FEATURE VME, VPX and cPCI Target Tech Insertion Needs
VME Still the Right Choice for Radar Upgrades It’s not unrealistic to expect the same or better performance from smaller low-cost processing subsystems. VME is the ideal platform to maintain legacy systems while upgrading with more powerful FPGA and ADC performance. Andrew Reddig, President and CTO Tek Microsystems
o more with less” is the new budget reality for the United States defense and intelligence community across every mission area and battlespace domain. While Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) requirements are often driven by technical challenges, mission success will be achieved in many cases by avoiding exquisite technology solutions and focusing on the right technology at the right cost for a given performance requirement. One way to balance performance and cost is to reuse elements of systems that are already developed, but selectively apply upgraded technology to reduce cost, size, weight and power while maintaining or improving performance. Here we explore one example of using COTS modules with the latest ADC and FPGA technology to leverage an existing VMEbus-based architecture and maintain current performance with significant reduction in unit cost, size, weight and power.
FPGAs Do the Work Digitizers with FPGA processing are used in a wide range of defense and intelligence systems, including signals intelligence, electronic warfare and radar applications. Here we consider a processing subsystem that has been used by an OEM as the building block for a family of radar 24
COTS Journal | August 2012
VMEbus Analog Inputs (4)
Procesing Slice #1
Analog Inputs (4)
Procesing Slice #2
This legacy system using two processing slices consists of an SBC module with a standard Intel-based processor with two PMC sites, one of which is used for the FPDP interface and the other is reserved for other platform interfaces if necessary. systems over a number of years. The subsystem consists of a number of processing slices, each with two stages: a custom developed VME module that contains an ADC to digitize the IF signals along with FPGAs for signal processing, followed
by a COTS SBC module that accepts the data from the ADC / FPGA module and performs general purpose processing of the data stream. Control setup and status monitoring is implemented using the VMEbus while the module-to-mod-
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Analog Inputs (8)
Dual Processing Slice
sulted in a set of FPGA firmware and general purpose processing software modules that are well integrated, mature and proven in multiple deployed systems. The maturity and stability of these elements are a key part of the OEMâ€™s value proposition to customers, enabling rapid, reliable development and deployment of radar systems.
Tech Upgrade to Reduce Cost
In our example, the OEM has been asked to propose a new radar system similar in functionality to deployed systems that use the existing architecture but with an aggressive unit cost target. Because this is a new design, there is an opportunity to upgrade the technology but both the overall budget and the rapid deployment schedule require that Non Recurring Engineering (NRE) be minimized. While technology upgrades are often driven by a need for enhanced performance, in this case the performance requirements are stable but the goal is primarily to reduce unit cost while also saving size, weight and power. The existing architecture uses Intelbased SBC modules for both 2nd stage signal processing, control processing and platform interfaces. The OEM performed an analysis of the processing workload and determined that the two legacy signal processing SBCs and the two general purpose SBCs could be combined into one quad-core SBC module provided that a suitable method for getting data from the ADC / FPGA stage into the SBC could be implemented.
Block diagram of the QuiXilica-V6 module.
Display Figure 2
Block diagram of the upgraded system using the QuiXilica-V6 board. ADC Analog Inputs (4)
DDR x2 Virtex-6 FPGA
VME P1 / P2
ADC ADC Analog Inputs (4)
DDR x2 Virtex-6 FPGA
Gigabit Ethernet VMEbus Serial Link Gigabit Ethernet Link
ule streaming data uses dedicated Front Panel Data Port (FPDP) links. The output of the processing slice is forwarded over the VMEbus to a control processor for downstream processing and display. Each slice accepts two channels of data from the RF front end in the form of four analog signals (two channels x I/Q). Each analog signal has IF bandwidth of 30 MHz centered on 30 MHz (i.e., signal information from 15 to 45 MHz). Each ADC / FPGA module samples its analog signals using 14-bit 105 Msample/s ADC converters and the resulting digital data streams are processed by two Xilinx Virtex-II Pro 26
COTS Journal | August 2012
VP70 FPGAs. The resulting channelized data is then combined into a single 40 Mbyte/s data stream and transferred through a FPDP interface to the adjacent processor module. The SBC module is a standard Intel-based processor with two PMC sites, one of which is used for the FPDP interface and the other is reserved for other platform interfaces if necessary. A block diagram of a legacy system using two processing slices is shown in Figure 1. This processing slice architecture has been used by the OEM in multiple radar systems with different channel counts and performance requirements. This has re-
Several options were considered for primary data transfer, including FPDP, Serial FPDP, Gigabit Ethernet and VMEbus. FPDP was considered unattractive because it potentially required two separate PMC modules on the SBC, which would leave no open mezzanine sites for other I/O requirements. Serial FPDP was a feasible option, but the use of fiber optic I/O on the front panel would increase the volume of the chassis and require custom heatframes for the conduction-cooled SBC module. Gigabit Ethernet was evaluated but ruled out due to the need for a network switch and the potentially non-deterministic timing of the network fabric.
The OEM selected VMEbus for primary data transfer from the ADC / FPGA modules to the SBC because it supported the required data rate with minimum impact to size, weight and power. While the VMEbus interface was not an option for the legacy system due to the 80 Mbyte/s maximum throughput of D64 MBLT transfers, current SBC modules support 2eSST data transfers, which quadruple throughput to 320 Mbytes/s. This makes VMEbus a viable option for processing subsystems with up to four processing slices. The next question was whether to redesign the custom ADC / FPGA module to add support for 2eSST VME or to replace the custom module with a COTS module. Another tradeoff being considered was whether it would be possible to support eight analog signals per module to minimize the module count even further. After reviewing the options, the OEM decided to replace two legacy ADC / FPGA modules with a QuiXilica-V6 ADC / FPGA VME module supporting eight analog inputs with FPGA processing. A
block diagram of the upgraded system is shown in Figure 2. A block diagram of the QuiXilica-V6 module is shown in Figure 3, and a front view photograph of the module is shown in Figure 4. The following discussion reviews each element of the upgraded ADC / FPGA module.
Analog to Digital Converter Current ADC options have significantly improved analog performance relative to the 14-bit ADC used in the legacy ADC / FPGA module, with better resolution, Effective Number of Bits (ENOB), Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) and Spurious Free Dynamic Range (SFDR). Because the RF input characteristics are not changing, the analog frequency range and ADC sample rate are unchanged. The optimum ADC choice is a device that supports the existing bandwidth but offers better signal performance at the required sample rate. The upgraded module uses the Analog Devices AD9265, which is a 16-bit 105 Msample/s converter with improved ENOB, SNR and SFDR over the legacy 14-bit device.
In the legacy ADC / FPGA module, each pair of analog input channels is processed by a Xilinx Virtex-II Pro V2P70 FPGA, which contains 33,088 logic slices and 328 18x18 multiplier blocks. Unfortunately, it is difficult to directly compare Virtex-II Pro and Virtex-6 logic and DSP slice counts because the functionality of both logic and DSP slices changes with each FPGA generation, and the effective use of the hardware is also dependent on the signal processing algorithm being implemented. Based on analysis of representative signal processing applications, we have found the ratio of V2 to V6 slices to be between 35% and 70% for logic slices and between 2 to 3x for DSP slices, prior to any allowance for the faster clock rates supported by V6 devices. After normalizing to V6 slices, each V2Pro P70 therefore contains between 11,580 and 23,162 logic slices and between 110 and 164 DSP slices. The upgraded system has three Virtex-6 FPGAs across eight analog channels, and each FPGA can be populated with either SX315 or SX475 devices. The legacy
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system uses Front Panel Data Port (FPDP) to provide a 40 Mbyte/s interconnect between the ADC / FPGA module and the associated SBC module. The FPDP interface is an open standard interface defined by ANSI/VITA 17-1998, which requires an I/O module on the SBC module to accept data.
VME 2eSST Instead of FPDP The upgraded system uses VMEbus 2eSST data transfers to replace the FPDP interface. The required data flow is a total
of 80 Mbytes/s and the 2eSST interface supports up to 320 Mbyte/s throughput, which provides adequate headroom for overhead and for future expansion. The VMEbus implementation in the upgraded ADC / FPGA module uses a soft IP core to provide an A32:D32 interface for control and status registers as well as a streaming 2eSST master interface for primary data transfer. The soft IP core translates VMEbus transactions into serial messages using one onboard
The QuiXilica-V6 is an ADC / FPGA VME module supporting eight analog inputs with FPGA processing.
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2.5 Gbit/s GTX link for each FPGA. The use of a soft IP core allows the VME functionality to be tailored if necessary and also avoids the size, power and cost of a traditional ASIC bridge solution. For this application, the OEM implemented a DMA controller as part of their FPGA design that is preloaded with a list of buffer descriptors through the A32:D32 interface as a part of system setup. Each descriptor defines a target VMEbus 2eSST address, maximum buffer size, notification method and value, and a pointer to the next descriptor. Once the system is configured, the DMA controller steps through the list, filling each buffer in turn and sending notification messages as each buffer is completed. This maximizes VMEbus utilization by emphasizing “pushing” data and completion events with writes instead of reading status or descriptors. This results in a highly decoupled system, where the SBC simply waits for notification events (typically mailbox interrupts) and then processes the indicated memory buffer. It also easily scales to multiple cores or multiple SBC modules should that be required.
Network Interconnect The legacy system uses Gigabit Ethernet as an external interface for control and status purposes. The upgraded system has additional Gigabit Ethernet ports available on the SBC, which enables a more network-enabled architecture for future technology insertions. The upgraded ADC / FPGA module supports Gigabit Ethernet connections
to the front panel, the P2 backplane connector using a Rear Transition Module, and the P0 backplane connector if a VXS backplane is used. These network interfaces are all connected internally to an onboard Gigabit Ethernet switch, which provides network interfaces to the system controller and to each Virtex-6 FPGA device. This allows future expansion to a network-based control plane as an alternative to the VMEbus without additional hardware.
Snapshot Memory The upgraded ADC / FPGA module has six banks of DDR3 memory available with total capacity of 5 Gbytes and total throughput of 32 Gbytes/s. One of the upgraded firmware functions uses the memory to implement a â€œsnapshotâ€? mode, which acquires a large block of raw analog input data and then transmits the data over the Gigabit Ethernet network to a support processor. This improves the built-in test and diagnostic capabilities of the system without requir-
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ing additional CPU bandwidth, interconnect options or impacting normal operation. The net effect of the technology upgrade is a reduction in module count by a factor of three, with associated reductions in unit cost, size, weight and power while providing better analog and processing performance along with a more network-enabled architecture. By switching from single core to multicore SBC technology and decoupled DMA-based data transfer, virtually all of the existing firmware and software can be reused with minor modifications to the data transfer and flow control portions. Once this system has been implemented and deployed, the upgraded processing components can be reused for smaller or larger systems or for requirements with additional signal processing requirements without changing the hardware modules, backplane or enclosure. This will allow the OEM to mix and match ADC / FPGA and SBC modules as required for different application requirements while maintaining commonality across systems and optimizing size, weight and power of each configuration.
Modular Building Blocks Effective system design uses modular building blocks based on open standards to build deployed systems that can be upgraded over time. While new systems today are increasingly based on the latest architectures such as VXS and OpenVPX, there are still requirements to upgrade legacy systems and also to architect new systems that reuse existing architectures and investments in software, firmware and hardware. The same ADC and FPGA technology that enables the newest open standards can also be deployed through VME-compatible COTS modules to incrementally upgrade legacy systems while retaining compatibility with existing components and infrastructure. This enables an evolutionary approach to technology refresh, which lowers cost, schedule and performance risk while leveraging the latest ADC and FPGA technology to reduce cost and improve mission capability. TEK Microsystems Chelmsford, MA. (978) 244-9200. [www.tekmicro.com].
SPECIAL FEATURE VME, VPX and cPCI Target Tech Insertion Needs
Many Paths Lead to Tech Refresh Success Traditional and new approaches to tech refresh enable military programs to meet technology requirements under tighter budget restrictions. R.J. McLaren, Product Marketing Manager Vincent Chuffart, Product Marketing Manager Kontron
ilitary programs that have been designated for tech refresh often have very specific technology requirements coupled with strict budgetary guidelines. One of the biggest challenges of military tech refresh programs is that systems need to be upgraded to handle the explosive increase in data volume that is shared and used to coordinate the diverse group of air, sea and land systems deployed today. The performance capabilities of many legacy systems are just not up to today’s bandwidth, graphics imaging, advanced sensor capabilities and automated system demands of the modern battlefield. Military designers have learned that there is no “one size fits all” solution for tech refresh, but rather a range of options that need to be carefully evaluated per evolving technology requirements, application lifecycle needs and overall program goals. In step with military OEMs’ needs, embedded computing suppliers are ready to meet tech refresh demands with the latest COTS-based platforms—from off-theshelf, to semi-custom and pre-validated systems. Suppliers of these COTS platforms also understand that there is still a constant need to deliver COTS solutions that continue to support reduced size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements in combination with increasing system performance, reliability and overall security. 32
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The CP6930 is a 6U 10 Gigabit Ethernet Rackmount Switch that offers a rich set of L2 and L3 functions with up to 32 ports and is hardened to meet high shock and vibration, EMI and extended temperature ranges. Next-generation VME-based embedded platforms offer a traditional approach that makes perfect sense as a “drop-in” solution for some refresh programs. But other, more complex upgrades that need higher speed signaling, increased I/O and more sophisticated interfaces may require the additional capabilities and benefits of CompactPCI, VPX, and now even integrated application-ready platforms.
Strategic Migration For many legacy programs that are VME based, it absolutely is the right approach to migrate to the latest highspeed serial switched fabric solutions implemented in a VPX backplane. These applications can easily make the switch
to take advantage of upgraded processor, I/O and memory capabilities. The same holds true for CompactPCI systems that have the ability to migrate to the latest processor architecture performance and feature set. CompactPCI is also an attractive option for designers looking to upgrade from VME-based systems. The operational aspects of CompactPCI closely resemble VME and it has been field proven. Both VME (via the VITA 31.1 specification) and CompactPCI systems are now able to upgrade their connectivity performance with 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switches (Figure 1). These switching platforms increase performance of VME and CompactPCI systems based on the latest
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These two 3U OpenVPX SBCs provide native support for 10 Gbit Ethernet and PCI Express 3.0 to support the highest bandwidth demands of network-centric military applications. The VX3042 and VX3044 VPX boards are 100% backward and upward pin-out compatible to their predecessor VPX SBCs. processors for intra- and inter-communication supporting the rising transaction and traffic load demands that many military system designs must handle today. In contrast, VPX brings a new approach that moves away from using parallel bus architectures on the backplane. VPX employs 1 GbE to implement highspeed serial link point-to-point connections between boards for the control plane. With VPX connectors and backplanes, multi-gigahertz signals are possible so full dataplane bandwidth is no longer shared between boards. For example, each board can have one or more dedicated high-speed connections via GbE, 10 GbE, or PCI Express. Amazing upgrades are now possible that can fully utilize data from advanced sensors for radar, sonar and surveillance applications.
Migrating to VPX But selecting VPX as the hardware solution is only one part of the refresh equation. Migrating to VPX affects the backplane and all system cards, which makes this type of upgrade more challenging than a simple CPU card upgrade. 34 Untitled-3 1
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Additional design expertise is needed to replace the bus-based architecture with a network-based protocol and typically requires a significant retooling of application software. Designers must now take on the challenge of integrating a wealth of interface standards such as PCI Express (PCIe), GbE and Serial RapidIO, which is not an easy task. Currently, PCIe is very popular because it is based on point-topoint serial links rather than system-wide shared parallel bus architecture, which provides a more ideal link between I/Os and processor units, as well as a native communications link in a multiprocessor environment. In addition, faster deployment schedules dictate that migrating to new or upgraded technologies must be simplified. But what resources are available to streamline the integration of these new technologies? One such resource is found with Application Program Interfaces, or APIs, which provides a thin layer of software that facilitates faster application development for IP-based transport over PCI Express. APIs provide the foundation to implement efficient inter-board
communication at hardware processing speeds. Eliminating the need to make code changes, APIs allows existing TCP/ IP-based applications to use PCI Express for higher bandwidth communication. Kontronâ€™s VXFabric API technology is equivalent to an Ethernet network infrastructure, mapped over a PCI Express switch fabric technology that enables OEMs to streamline the development of high-performance OpenVPX technolo-
gies based on next-generation processor architectures (Figure 2). What this means to software engineers is that they can develop their systems applications over a typical Ethernet network infrastructure using their desktop PC-based hardware, and when it is ready to migrate their application onto a rugged embedded system, such as the ApexVX, they will not encounter endless migration issues. Utilizing an API such as the VXFabric offers
The ApexVX system can include a wide range of computing optionsâ€”from the core i7 processor boards to a wide range of carrier boards for either PMC/XMC, FMC or MxM. Tying this all together is a VPX backplane and PCIe / Ethernet hybrid switch that ensures a high level of board-to-board signal integrity and performance. PCI fast link plug-and-play capabilities and is supported by a PCIe-based software ecosystem with broad support for peripheral interconnects.
Intelligent Military Systems The world of military applications is moving toward a connected network of devices where diverse applications communicate with one another creating more intelligent systems. New COTSbased boards and modules based on the technology advancements from 3rd Generation Intel Core processors offer the foundation for intelligent systems that draw on the increased computing power, graphics performance, long-term availability and energy efficiency this new architecture provides. The combination of features in these new COTS platforms enables connected solutions that bring together different form factors and usage models to benefit a variety of military operations such as communications between unmanned vehicles and soldiers, and improved alignment of command and control applications. That is because COTS platforms Untitled-12 1 COTS Journal | August 2012 36
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based on 3rd generation Intel Core i7 processors provide up to 20% enhanced computing power and up to 40% increased performance per watt compared to designs based on the 2nd generation Intel Core processors. In addition, these new embedded computing platforms typically exceed the requirements of reduced SwaP to enable developers to upgrade systems with increased processing density and I/O bandwidth within tight thermal envelopes. They also provide new small form factor solutions that can leverage the power of the latest quad-core Intel processors such as COM Express and 3U VPX. Designers can also take advantage of the improved precision and simplified programming provided by the increased floating point performance of the Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) instruction set for signal processing and SSE-based systems.
Battlefield-Ready Tech Refresh It is becoming more and more important for tech refresh programs to be
deployed as quickly as possible on limited budgets and with a minimum risk to the application or overall program. It is also a fact that many applications now require an integrated technology approach that provides reliable network connectivity. These systems range from weapons control to handheld GPS-based radios to those that handle the real-time sharing of surveillance data. Furthermore, the military has deployed systems with more and more sensors that deliver monumental amounts of important data that enable increased surveillance capabilities with a greater reliance on secure video imaging as an integral element to situational awareness. New applications such as mapping, secure chat and augmented reality are evolving from this available data and are further driving the need for effective networking and increased bandwidth. Ultimately, the trend of making these applications mobile for the individual soldier is proving highly viable and is likely to continue at a greater pace.
Pre-Qualified Systems COTS suppliers are now offering pre-qualified, modular, application-ready platforms that integrate the latest technologies that allow designers to drastically shorten development time for rapid deployment. True application-ready COTS platforms provide the ability to ease and speed development of an extensive range of mission-critical airborne system, mobile military vehicle, precision-guided munition, electronic warfare, UAV and C4ISR applications. An example of a battlefield-ready platform is Kontron’s new multi-mission rugged computer system ApexVX (Figure 3), which allows military system designers to configure different application-ready solutions in the same rugged small form factor enclosure. Another resource that is speeding the ability to go from development to deployment is a new classification of high-performance embedded computing (HPEC) platforms. Designers find HPEC system-level solutions a viable resource to meet military programs’ needs
Designed per MIL-STD-810, MIL-STD-901, MIL-STD-167 and MIL-STD-461 to perform in the harshest environments Conduction, convection or liquid cooled ATR enclosures in standard or custom sizes VME, VME64x, VPX and CPCI architectures to the latest VITA and PICMG specifications Backplanes – sizes 3U and 6U, various slot configurations per functionality and payload LCR’s integrated system designs are born rugged...not recycled commercial products Perfect for airborne, ground mobile and UAV applications LCR’s complete line of integrated military systems, from off-the-shelf to fully customized, are ideal for all aspects of mission-critical computing such as weapons control, navigation, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. To learn more about what we can do for you and your application, contact us today.
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for high-end processing such as in the requirements for an airborne surveillance system. Because it delivers an immense amount of performance in a small footprint, the 19-inch footprint HPEC platform is well suited to radar, SIGINT, sonar and video processing needs of UAV or aircraft programs. Highly integrated HPEC systems are now available that deliver massive processing power for compute-intensive DSP-based systems. For example, the Kontron HPEC platform delivers 1.44 Teraflops of compute density. Kontron’s supercomputer-like system HPEC platform comprises 18 of Kontron’s VX6060 Core i7 2 GHz (or more) computing nodes including 8 Gbyte DDR3 memory on each board, in addition to 36 tightly coupled processors within the HPEC platform. Several switched fabric interconnects are housed in the backplane.
Tech Refresh Flexibility Abounds Military OEMs have many COTS options today. They can choose to stay with
VME and upgrade the performance and capabilities with new processors, I/O and memory to meet tight budget guidelines. Likewise, next-generation CompactPCI boards enable a compatible tech refresh option that provides higher performance and reliability that streamlines development and reduces redesign efforts in a proven platform. More complex tech refresh opportunities need to leverage technology advances, major performance breakthroughs and higher bandwidths that are fully supported by VPX. It is also smart to take advantage of standards-based tools such as APIs that simplify the integration of higher performance communication, which speeds deployment. With the transition to more intelligent and connected military systems, designers now can tap into the performance per watt and integrated technology features offered in COTS platforms based on next-generation processor architectures. These new platforms help developers meet re-
duced SwaP requirements in small form factors such as COM Express and 3U VPX, while at the same time upgrade systems with increased processing density and I/O bandwidth within tight thermal envelopes. Military OEMs that need to costeffectively and rapidly deliver upgrade solutions without risking the overall operation of the application now have additional options in pre-qualified, modular, application-ready platforms and fully integrated HPEC systems. While there is not a “one size fits all” solution for tech refresh programs, there is a wealth of innovative COTS-based options that support the military’s diverse and evolving technology upgrade needs in systems that improve battlefield operations to better protect soldiers and civilians alike. Kontron Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [www.kontron.com].
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TECH RECON Displays and Subsystems for Command and Control
Display Advances Enable Larger, More Complex Command Systems The military continues to hunger for ever more elaborate arrays of command and control set-ups. Advances in displays and display control gear are feeding those needs. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief
everaging cutting-edge graphics chips developed for the demanding gaming market, military graphics subsystems are now able to offer complex video and graphics functionality in highly integrated board-level solutions. Command and control systems have embraced these capabilities and now rank among the most demanding users of these advanced graphics technologies. As it transforms itself to Network-Centric operations, the U.S. military is evolving its command and control into a grand scheme where every vehicle, every aircraft, every ship, every UAV and every soldier on the ground is 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, but where the network meets the users is at the displays and the display subsystems that drive them. Command centers—both facility based and mobile based—along with UAV control stations are making use of advanced display systems that do an unprecedented level of realtime situational awareness and command control. Figure 1 shows an elaborate U.S. Army command and control center set-up at AUSA Winter, using several large highresolution displays and computing systems that are all part of a networked system. 40
COTS Journal | August 2012
COTS Journal Editor-in-Chief Jeff Child is briefed at AUSA Winter about an elaborate U.S. Army command and control center set-up using several large high-resolution displays and computing platforms that are all part of a networked system. For military commanders to finally put their paper maps away and trust electronic displays for tactical and strategic information was not an overnight transition.
But today they’ve made the leap with the acknowledgment that display subsystems that blend real-time video and sophisticated graphics are a vital mission requirement.
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In the past 12 months the trend has been toward not only supporting larger, higher res display technologies, but also seamlessly linking multiple large displays for ever more sophisticated command center capabilities.
Aggregating Multiple Displays Exemplifying those trends, RGB Spectrum earlier this year announced the release of SuperWall, the latest addition to the company’s family of MediaWall display processors. It combines up to four of its MediaWall units with control software, which creates displays with up to 120 windows arranged over up to 48 screens. The SuperWall’s parallel processing architecture can scale up as necessary while maintaining picture quality—no pixel dropped, no frame lost. SuperWall can handle up to four MediaWall 4500 or MediaWall 4200 processors. It offers a Javabased web control interface that supports all functions of the MediaWall processors. The MediaWall 4500 and MediaWall 4200 display wall systems (Figure 2) are based on a custom, high-performance architecture rather than a PC, with faster updates, more display flexibility, robustness and security. The MediaWall 4500 video wall processor displays up to 30 graphics and video signals on up to 12 screens in a 3x4 array; the MediaWall 4200 video wall processor displays up to 12 graphics and video signals on up to 8 screens in a 2x4 array. Unlike other video display walls, MediaWall display wall processors have essentially no limits on
The MediaWall 4500 and MediaWall 4200 display wall systems are based on a custom, high-performance architecture rather than a PC, with faster updates, more display flexibility, robustness and security.
display alternatives; the multi-screen array forms a truly virtual screen in which any display of windows is possible.
Many Displays, One Controller As military command centers become more sophisticated, there’s a parallel trend where even temporary field mobile command centers can make use of sophisticated display set-ups using limited computing resources. Along those lines, Matrox Graphics offers its Matrox Epica TC20+ and TC48 low-profile multi-display graph-
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ics cards. Working in conjunction with the Wyse Technology Z90DE7 high-performance thin client, the Epica TC20+ dualmonitor and Epica TC48 quad-monitor cards enable up to six displays from a single system when combined with Z90DE7’s two native graphics outputs. The additional monitor space allows for easier on-screen access to one or more single or multi-monitor published desktops or applications in such demanding virtual desktop environments as command and control. Co-validated for use with the Wyse Z90DE7 due to high energy efficiency, low thermal properties and their PCI Express bus interface design, the Epica TC20+ and TC48 graphics cards enable a wide variety of multi-display configurations and options for multi-display thin-client users. The dual-monitor TC20+ supports resolutions up to 1920x1200 (digital) and 2048x1536 (analog) per display and up to four VGA displays via an optional upgrade. The Epica TC48 meanwhile supports up to four DVI or DisplayPort monitors at resolutions up to 1920x1200, resulting in both cases up to an unprecedented six displays from a single thin client. Users can subsequently open one or multiple remote sessions on each display or span a single spreadsheet, for example, across several monitors.
Wide-Screen Rugged Displays The new model of net-centric operations in the military means that sophisti-
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cated displays are required even in harsh environment situations such has aboard a ship or aircraft. Feeding such needs, Neuro Logic Systems is now shipping the first ruggedized, rackmount 30-inch LED display (Figure 3). 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, 4763 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
This rackmount 30-inch LED display incorporates NLS’s proprietary LED backlight system that eliminates 80% of the heat and over 50% of the power consumption of an equivalent 30-inch CCFL. 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.
Real-Time Enhanced Video Real-time performance is becoming mission critical in the rugged display arena. Serving those needs, Z Microsystems provides its Intelligent Display Series (IDS)
flat panel displays. The LCD display panels use a high-powered FPGA to apply image enhancement and edge detection algorithms to incoming video streams without adding latency. A sophisticated image enhancement algorithm brings out detail in images degraded by poor visibility or atmospheric interference. The edge detection algorithm identifies anomalous shapes and highlights details for surveillance. Operators can turn image functions on or off with the click of a button. The thin, lightweight IDS panels are available in 24″, 21.3″ and 17″ sizes. Each display can be VESA arm-mounted, panelmounted, rack-mounted, or attached to a specifically designed multi-display mounting frame. The mounting frame allows the user to rotate each display to provide viewing angle adjustability from the 5th to the 95th percentile personnel per MIL-STD-1472F for vertical and horizontal visual fields ergonomic requirements.
Made for Vehicle Use Display systems mounted on military vehicles require a unique level of rug-
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Advanced VEGA Rugged Displays with Real-Time Video Enhancement The VEGA Display Series from Z Microsystems features an adaptable architecture that can satisfy a complete range of rugged COTS needs. Tough, lightweight, element-resistant, and with built-in image enhancement algorithms, VEGA displays can handle multiple inputs from a wide range of video sources. A choice of touch screens with easy on-screen controls offers viewers on-demand access to multiple video feeds in Picture-in-Picture (PIP), QuadView, Dual-View and full screen formats. With an armored shell manufactured from CNC machined aircraft grade aluminum and low profile fold and lock transportation handles these displays are FIELD-READY.
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gedness and compactness. GE Intelligent Platforms targets this challenge with two rugged intelligent vehicle displays (Figure 4) designed for deployment in harsh environments such as tanks and other ground combat vehicles. They are well suited for applications including embedded training, 360° situational awareness, terrain visualization and Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) as well as commander and gunner display consoles.
The IVD2010 and IVD2015 from GE Intelligent Platforms also include the advanced thermal management capabilities necessary for deployment in confined spaces. The 10.4” screen IVD2010 and 15” screen IVD2015 XGA, 1,024 x 768 resolution smart displays both incorporate not only an Intel Core2 Duo processor operating at 2.26 GHz but also a 96-core NVIDIA GT 240 GPU. Together with 4 Gbytes of SDRAM3 memory and four simultaneous
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Neuro Logic Systems Camarillo, CA (805) 389-5435. [www.nlsdisplays.com]. RGB Spectrum Alameda, CA. (510) 814 7000. [www.rgb.com]. Z Microsystems San Diego, CA. (858) 831-7000. [www.zmicro.com].
TECH RECON Displays and Subsystems for Command and Control
Case Study: APUs Solve Real-Time Image Processing Challenge Although the technology was designed for display applications, GPUs coupled with CPUs offer solutions for real-time imaging systems in defense. Cameron Swen, Marketing Manager AMD Embedded Solutions
he concept of marrying the best of CPU computing functionality with the benefits of GPU processing offers a host of benefits for military real-time image processing designs. Such technology, dubbed accelerated processor units (APUs), came into play when the Company for Advanced Supercomputing Solutions (CASS) was approached by an Israeli defense contractor to create a new field video image registration solution. The defense contractor’s executives had come to CASS with a problem: they needed high-quality, smooth, stable, realtime computer vision images delivered from ground and aero systems to back-end systems. The defense contractor’s DSP and FPGA solutions were not capable of developing the high-speed, higher-resolution images that could more accurately track motion—tracking missiles as they are carried on a moving vehicle or detecting a person climbing into a bunker, for example. (See sidebar “What Is Image Registration?) CASS was asked to create a compact system that could process a frame-by-frame 720p video input stream at 120 frames per second. While the defense contractor imposed constraints around maximum size and maximum power consumption, CASS was otherwise unlimited in how it could design the solution. By making the right al48
COTS Journal | August 2012
Comparison of Overall Graphics / 3D and CPU Performance 175%
AMD G-Series T56N AMD G-Series T48N
AMD G-Series T40N
Intel Atom D2700 Intel Atom D525
Graphed here is a performance comparison of various G-Series APUs vs. Intel Atom processors. Percentages in this chart were derived by normalizing the geometric mean of overall benchmark scores to the Intel Atom D2700 processor. (Source: AMD.) gorithmic adjustments and choosing an appropriate architecture, the resulting application runs at real-time speeds where other competitive solutions (DSP and FPGA) failed to meet the requirements. The resulting solution built by CASS can serve as a new-generation DSP for sensor and computer-vision platforms, leveraging a combination of parallel and serial processing on a heterogeneous system architecture.
The Challenge “Lots of industries use graphics processing units (GPUs) for projects that include video,” said Mordechai Butrashvily, CASS chief executive officer and chief technology officer. CASS has been building solutions around AMD GPUs for years and knew that for applications with a high degree of parallelism—like image processing—programmable GPUs offer
What Is Image Registration? Image registration is the process of transforming a set of sequential images (video stream acquired from a sensor) into a similar coordinate system, creating a smoother visual flow. In real life, physical conditions or normal movement affect the images a sensor gathers and may cause vibrations. Viewing a continuous frame-set from an image sensor generally looks shaky or unbalanced, as the sensor is often mobile or not stabilized. Image registration fixes this problem by smoothing the output video stream. Applications for image registration vary from defense to medical imaging and more. Typical registration process stages include: identifying movement vectors between two relative images, performing alignment, and applying further correction/enhancement filters to improve image and stream quality. In defense, sensor-based components use registration from ground to aerial systems with different applications. Adding to its complexity, defense applications require very high-performance computations (high resolutions and frame rates) and have limited space for hardware, dictating a small system size. This requires a solution with good heat dissipation and ability to consistently operate at low power.
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critical performance advantages. “But we knew a stand-alone GPU just couldn’t offer a solution that would meet the power consumption and size constraints of the defense contractor.” Butrashvily and his team looked at a variety of possible solutions and realized their options were rather limited. Few manufacturers can offer the performance needed without compromising on size or power consumption. The CASS team found their research kept pointing them to the AMD Embedded G-Series APU, which combines the parallel processing capabilities of a GPU with the serial processing capabilities of a CPU in a small footprint and low-power solution. “We evaluated several solutions, and nothing else compared to the APU for size, power consumption and capabilities. No one else provides a similar solution in terms of performance per watt,” Butrashvily said. “One additional advantage of the AMD G-Series APU is that they are sold as embedded solutions, meaning a good fit for defense solutions that require longterm availability and durability in harsh environments.” Figure 1 shows a performance comparison of various G-Series APUs vs. Intel Atom processors.
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According to CASS, the defense contractor needed semiautomatic systems that could help aid pilots in making decisions. The way to do that is to take images from both aerial and ground systems
to stabilize video streams, enabling the detection of immediate threats. They required a system that was compact and low power enough to be used in unmanned aerial and ground vehicle (UAV and UGV) surround-vision systems for continuous monitoring of objects and threats anywhere in the world. The AMD G-T56N APU met the power requirements of the system and could deliver the high performance necessary to meet the image registration goals. Since the processor had to employ further image filtering to enhance results, CASS needed to ensure there was enough performance overhead to run additional algorithms while maintaining real-time operation. CASS selected OpenCL to implement the accelerated algorithm building blocks. In the prototype the APU served as a digital signal and image processor, and was connected to a sensor. The CASS engineers tested the APU to see if they could achieve the real-time performance the sensors required. “There was no option for delays: the signal had to be processed at the time it was being received with minimum latency,” said Butrashvily. The entire algorithm was implemented in OpenCL, with the APU serving as the host manager/coordinator and frame grabber. With the goal to achieve faster-than-real-time processing, CASS leveraged parallel processing for the intensive dense matrix operations, including GEMM (matrix multiplication), GEMV (matrix-vector mul-
algorithm processing flow was complex, incorporating additional filters for image enhancement, therefore runtime speedup was summarized by 20 to 30 times. For its next steps, CASS is working on support for hard real-time operating systems, hardware commercialization and board design to match sensor dimensional constraints, and support for next-generation APUs for even higher performance and resolutions. Moreover, because the job was not proprietary to
the defense company, CASS is researching additional applications of its new APU-based image registration technology. Being an important core component in many image-processing systems, registration has relevance for other applications in defense and other markets. AMD Sunnyvale, CA. (408) 749-4000. [www.amd.com].
An AMD G-T56N APU development module used by the CASS engineers.
tiplication) and GESV (matrix Inverse), achieving up to 130 times the performance of running those basic building blocks with the AMD BLAS (basic linear algebra subprograms) libraries on the processor alone. To verify the numeric stability, which is especially important in long-running, mission-critical operations, the arithmetic results of the APU were compared to the x86 CPU following the IEEE 754 standard. CASS found high correspondence and accuracy, assuring that the system achieves great numerical stability.
XMC . +!
Completing the Prototype Within two months CASS completed the prototype development, including software optimization. The solution was developed to support Linux, Windows and their embedded variants. The algorithmic processing engine was also integrated with OpenGL, delivering a live display of the processed results. Figure 2 shows an AMD G-T56N APU development module used by CASS. The performance achieved was impressive, showing nearly 150 frames per second (FPS) peak at HD resolution of 1280x720 with 16-bits per pixel, measured from input to output of corrected images. With the AMD Embedded G-Series APU, CASS was able to achieve real-time performance and processing of 120 frames per second sustained with HD sensor input resolution of 720p (1280x720). The resulting performance is 20 to 30 times the performance of performing the entire algorithm on a traditional CPU. The overall
Technology For: Communication Industrial Instrumentation Medical Military Scientific Transportation
10:05:38 AM August 2012 | COTS4/9/12 Journal 51
SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Military Instrumentation and Test
Hurdles for Structuring Counter-IED Data Are Many Performing Counter-IED operations gets ever more difficult as volumes increase. Collecting and exploiting the mass of data gleaned from IED attacks poses challenging software, data structure and test problems. Dr. Michael Stumborg, Counter-IED and Weapons Technical Intelligence Mission Engineer Intelligent Software Solutions
ounter-IED operations are like every other intelligence-driven operation in that supporting analysts must exploit both structured and unstructured data. When the data structure is simple and data velocity and volume are relatively low, the human mind easily exploits either variety. The analyst need not impose conditions, prerequisites, or standards on the structure of incoming data. Rarely is the analyst even in a position to make such demands. The problem arises when the complexity of the data structure increases beyond the analyst’s cognitive complexity level, or the data velocity and/or volume (in even a simple structure) surpasses the capacity of the analyst’s cognitive load. Current Counter-IED operations increasingly violate these conditions: While smart bomb makers survive by embracing simplicity, uniformity and routine, they do increase IED complexity in response to our countermeasures. Bomb emplacers likewise do increase tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) complexity. IED components and IED event TTPs both serve as a “thumbprint” to identify bomb makers and their networks. The data collected to delineate these thumbprints is becoming increasingly complex, though not beyond the cognitive complexity level of most intelligence analysts. But the ve52
COTS Journal | August 2012
Collecting Structured IED Data on the Battlefield 1. Define and agree to a data structure. 2. Build the software to capture the data. 3. Certify the software for DoD Information Assurance Compliance and Accreditation. 4. Certify the software for potential use in targeting operations. 5. Test the software in a realistic operational environment. 6. Train collectors to adhere to the structure. 7. Acquire and deploy the software. 8. Enforce data collection standards. 9. Repeat steps 1-8 when the adversary changes technology or TTPs. Figure 1
The process for developing, fielding and using software to collect structured IED data in a military environment has nine basic steps. locity and volume of IED data, regardless of its complexity level, is increasing rapidly and probably beyond the cognitive load threshold of most intelligence analysts. As the worldwide dissemination of bomb-making information continues, this growth of IED data velocity and volume shows no sign of abating. As a result, data velocity and volume now burden Counter-IED analysts beyond their intrinsic cognitive capacities. What can be done about this? Expensive labor-intensive human data exploitation makes increasing the number of analysts an unattractive option. Information technology must therefore be leveraged to
collect, store, search, analyze and visualize IED information and disseminate actionable Counter-IED intelligence.
A Question of Structure Emerging technologies may eventually enable machines to fully exploit unstructured data, but in the interim we must make the hard choice of either imposing structure on our data, investing in expensive human exploitation of unstructured data, or limiting our exploitation of unstructured data to the meager capabilities of existing technologies. If the answer to our present dilemma is to maximize the structure of our rapidly
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Soldiers operate a Humvee simulator during a recent training exercise inside the Mobile Counter IED Trainer.
growing IED data set, what are the impediments to be encountered? In theory, imposing structure on IED data collectors results in the structured data sets that solve the problem. In practice, real impediments do exist. These impediments are cultural and programmatic. They are rarely if ever technical, so blindly replacing one hardware or software solution with another will not solve the problem. We must confront these non-technical impediments, and they may still be insurmountable, leaving us with an undesirably large fraction of unstructured data. The significant cultural and programmatic impediments (and the comparatively trivial technical impediments) can be understood by considering the process used to field Material solutions for capturing structured data. The process below focuses only on the collection of (struc54
COTS Journal | August 2012
tured) IED data. The subsequent processes of data storage, discovery, visualization, analysis, visualization and intelligence dissemination are important, but not germane to the issue at hand: Can structure be imposed on IED data collectors?
A Step by Step Process Our process examination focuses on software. Collection devices, fixed or mobile, paper or electronic, manual or automated, faithfully collect structured or unstructured data as designed. The cultural impediments of concern here apply to the person using the device, not the device itself. The ability of a device to collect structured data is irrelevant if the user cannot (or will not) enter data using the required structure. This process for developing, fielding and using software to collect structured IED data in a military environment has nine basic steps (Figure 1).
Itâ€™s reasonable to expect cultural impediments to follow close behind cultural clashes, and that is the primary source of the impediments to collecting structured IED data resulting from step 1. The crossorganizational Counter-IED team is by definition cross-cultural. The structure of the data and the definitions of the terms within must be agreed to by Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, dozens of countries, law enforcement agents, chemists, electrical engineers, strategic, operational and tactical intelligence analysts, EOD technicians, combat arms, software developers, newcomers and old hands, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and even lawyers. All are involved in the collection and analysis of IED data so all demand a say in defining the data structure. Their interests are largely synchronized, but not always. All must agree and most will compromise, but the forces of cultural inertia are pow-
erful. Once terms and definitions come into common use they are hard to dislodge even if they confuse and complicate downstream data processing and analysis. (See sidebar “Wrestling with Definitions” in the web version of this article.)
Developing Schemas Software developers can easily code defined data structures into collection devices or the databases they feed. Technology is not the limiting factor in the collection of structured IED data. One key impediment is the inability of the multidisciplinary Counter-IED community to provide an agreed-upon structure. The fact that only step 2 requires a technical solution supports the assertion that impediments to structured data are rarely technical. For the collection of structured IED data, this consists mainly of developing schemas that map data from collection devices or reports into the proper location in a database. In a defined hierarchical structure this is a routine task. When data structures are modified, skilled programmers can modify schemas virtually overnight. Given the years it can take to complete the other process steps, the technical “impediment” of schema modification fades into triviality by comparison. Programmatic impediments arise largely from acquisition policies. They are synonymous here with time impediments, and impede Counter-IED operations primarily because they preclude rapid countermeasure deployment. We do relax cumbersome acquisition policies and expedite Material solution deployment during wartime with the creation of mission-specific rapid acquisition cells, or in the case of Counter-IED, with an organization like JIEDDO. Nevertheless, bureaucracy inevitably creeps back into the process, even in a shooting war. As we depart Afghanistan and shift to the expected state of worldwide low-intensity conflict where Americans are not the majority target, we can expect these programmatic impediments to expand and persist. Defense acquisition policies require the lengthy certification processes of steps 3 and 4, so these impediments are programmatic, not technical. The time
required to modify code to correct identified deficiencies is an insignificant fraction of the total time (Figure 2). Counter-IED data collectors use software-enabled wireless devices in their civilian lives and expect the same capabilities on the job. Unfortunately, when these capabilities are not forthcoming users often consider this a deficiency of the military technology, unaware that civilian wireless devices are not subject to strict DoD Information Assurance requirements. Figure 3 shows the cycle of the DoD Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP). The impressive speed-to-theater and the capabilities of systems during testing become less impressive when those systems undergo the scrutiny of the Information Assurance Certification required to move from testing to full operational deployment. While Counter-IED data collection software is not currently integrated with kinetic targeting systems, the certification in step 4 bears mentioning because one outcome of the intelligence cycle is to put ordnance on target. Other systems that tightly couple collection and engagement systems do require this step to avoid friendly fire and collateral damage. If one day we succeed in collecting Counter-IED data and rapidly disseminating targeting packages, the pressure to couple data collection systems to ordnance delivery systems will be irresistible.
Problems to Avoid The testing in step 5 creates another time impediment, but the real danger lies in erroneous conclusions resulting from faulty test design. Skilled technology developers are not necessarily skilled testers. Uninitiated developers can erroneously equate a combat environment with a realistic operational environment. This is not always a valid assumption. For example, a system designed to collect structured IED data may show great promise after being used under fire by a small number of highly trained collectors in close contact with the technology (and test) designers. But the operational environment of systems deployed across a large and diverse force is quite different. In reality, IED data comes from operational reporting
conducted by large numbers of specialized and general-purpose forces with a continuum of pre-deployment training ranging from poor to excellent.
Test Phase Challenges In the test environment, technology evaluators can select and then interact with data collectors. The operational reality is that technology providers cannot control how “unsupervised” data collectors will use their products and cannot be present in perpetuity to “correct” unanticipated uses. Test results do not scale. In the case of software, licensing fees may not scale either. Licenses affordable to small numbers of testers during a short period may become cost-prohibitive when deployed force-wide for the duration of a conflict. Experience shows that busy general-purpose forces have a low tolerance for new devices requiring specialized training. They revert to what they already know how to use. In this case, the free text entry of unstructured IED data. One might suppose that training collectors to adhere to the structure (step 6) solves the problem. This could be true, but regrettably is also impractical. Getting data structures defined, approved and inserted into doctrine and training takes so long that they are likely to need changing due to adversary adaptations long before the training is in place. Additionally, when will this training occur? Basic, homestation and pre-deployment training schedules are tight. Adding new training requires sacrificing existing training. This is a difficult proposition under normal circumstances. For training that may be obsolete upon completion it is a non-starter. An alternative to formal training is informal education. Rapidly produced pocket identification guides, field guides and training circulars make Service members quickly aware of emerging issues. Too often, we promulgate and apply informal education inconsistently to reach affected Service members as quickly as possible. This is not conducive to maximizing the consistency and structure of IED data. Formal training on the other hand, has the twin advantages of breadth across the affected force and consistency—two attributes that do August 2012 | COTS Journal
Initiate and Plan IA C&A Register System with DoD Component IA Program Assign IA Controls Assemble DIACAP Team
Initiate DIACAP Implementation Plan
Decommission Retire System
DoD Information Systems · AIS Applications · Enclaves · Platform IT Interconnections · Outsourced IT-Based Processes
Implement and Validate Assigned IA Controls Execute DIACAP Implementation Plan Conduct Validation Activities Prepare POA&M
Maintain Authorization to Operate and Conduct Reviews
Compile Validation Results in DIACAP Scorecard
Maintain Situational Awarness Maintain IA Posture Conduct Reviews (Review of IA Controls must occur at least annually) Initiate Re-accreditation
Make Certification Determination & Accreditation Decision Make Certification Determination
Issue Accreditation Decision
Shown here is the cycle of the DoD Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP). maximize the consistency and structure of IED data. It carries the authority of doctrine. Following it is not optional.
Enforcement Issues Step 7 is another acquisition system time impediment, not a cultural or technical impediment. Step 8 is a cultural impediment. The only way to enforce data collection standards via technology would be to limit data collection devices to those that are technically incapable of accepting unstructured data. This would have the unfortunate side effect of leaving data not conducive to structure uncollected and thus, unexploited. (See sidebar “Enterprise-Level Hurdles” in the web version of this article.) Decentralized acquisition led to a proliferation of IED data collection methods and devices. Some have come and gone, others endure. Some methods and devices require adherence to data struc56
COTS Journal | August 2012
tures. Others do not. Experience shows that collectors prefer tools that allow the flexibility of free text entry, so databases must ingest both structured and unstructured data. Unstructured data may not be in the optimal format for exploitation, but it does have value. We must accept and exploit it using the best available technology. Currently, this means ingesting and indexing it to make it searchable. This data is not readily exportable to a spreadsheet like data ingested from a structured report or a device with a drop down menu would be, but it is discoverable. Unfortunately, the collector’s strong and demonstrated preference for unstructured collection makes this discovery process labor intensive and slow. For the reasons above, structured IED data standards have proven to be unenforceable, and the technology available to index and search the resultant unstructured data cannot cure the ills that would
vanish overnight if only our data were 100% structured. Powerful incentives impede collecting structured data. These impediments are institutional, not technical. Acquisition policies, human nature and the operational environment create them. To lessen their negative impact on Counter-IED operations requires holistic action across the spectrum of doctrine, organization, training, material, leadership, personnel, facilities and policy. This needs to be understood and addressed when choosing the Material portion of the solution. If the non-Material dimensions of the problem are not considered, then new technologies may be procured at great expense and suffer the same fate as their predecessors. Intelligent Software Solutions Colorado Springs, CO. (719) 457-0690. [www.issinc.com].
Why Should Researching SBCs Be More Difficult Than Car Shopping? INTELLIGENTSYSTEMSSOURCE.COM IS A COMPARISON TOOL FOR DESIGN ENGINEERS LOOKING FOR CUSTOM AND OFF-THE- SHELF SBCS AND SYSTEM MODULES. Todayâ€™s systems combine an array of very complex elements from multiple manufactures. To assist in these complex architectures, ISS has built a simple tool that will source products from an array of companies for a side by side comparison and provide purchase support.
TECHNOLOGY FOCUS COM Express Boards
COM Express Continues its Quick Ascent toward Military Acceptance By solving the ongoing challenge of marrying quick changing computing core advances with legacy systems, COM Express is making a rapid conquest of military mindshare. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief
n the past 12 months, COM Express has emerged as one of the common formats among new small form factor product rollouts. The Computer-on-Module (COM) concept has found a solid and growing foothold in military embedded systems. COM Express adds high-speed fabric interconnects to the mix. COM boards provide a complete computing core that can be upgraded when needed, leaving the application-specific I/O on the baseboard. A single COM Express module can provide the same processing and graphics performance as alternative solutions, like a multiple PC/104 board stack. The future of COM Express looks solid, but its acceptance in military applications is so recent that itâ€™s too soon to predict how strong a stake it will hold. However it is being actively considered and is used in numerous programs already. For example, COM Express was leveraged by Synexxus for its Electronic Keel (EKeel) system. EKeel is a highly ruggedized data distribution system used in Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles (Figure 1). Military system developers have three COM Express module sizes to choose from to suit their individual application requirements. All signals are maintained on the carrier card, where additional connectors can be 58
COTS Journal | August 2012
Electronic Keel (EKeel) is a highly ruggedized data distribution system used in Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. added as required per specific applications. As a macro-component, COM Express enables technology insertions without a large time or monetary investment, and supports easy upgrades through multiple product lifetimes. When COM Express was created, the spec planned for the expansion of video and display capabilities, and it provides standard connector access for a variety of high-speed interfaces. The COM Express connector supports multiple video interfaces including DisplayPort, VGA, SDVO, HDMI and DVI. This allows designers to take advantage of the latest graphics capabilities without having to worry about affecting performance. COM Express also is designed to cope with transitions from legacy connectors and offers native interface support for modern-day I/O interfaces. On top of offering more PCI Express and USB ports than PC/104-Express modules, additional connecters can be added for LAN, SATA, video, audio, USB and PCI Express, delivering maximum I/O flexibility to meet specific application require-
ments. And since signals do not have to pass through multiple connectors, the signal integrity remains intact. In June PICMG announced the adoption and availability of the 2.1 revision of the COM Express specification. According to PICMG, the COM Express Revision 2.1 specification allows developers to focus on their specialized I/O requirements, without concern for the complex interactions of CPUs, RAM, chipsets and other basic elements that occur on the module. This revision adds new features and module sizes, and helps ensure that COM Express modules are prepared for future processors and high-speed I/O evolution while accommodating backward compatibility with older modules. Significant enhancements of the COM Express Revision 2.1 specification include standardization of new and smaller module sizes, extended power supply range and support of the latest graphics interfaces. USB 3.0 and CAN Bus support are also included.
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TECHNOLOGY FOCUS: COM Express Boards Roundup Rugged COM Express Card Boasts 3rd Gen Intel Core Processor
COM Express Compact Module Boasts Low Power Performance
ADLINK Technology has released its latest Extreme Rugged COM Express module, the Express-IBR, for airborne and vehicle-mounted military computers and human machine interfaces (HMI) applications required to function in harsh environments. The module supports the quad-core and dual-core 3rd generation Intel Core i7 processors and Mobile Intel QM77 Express chipset. The ExpressIBR is ideal for use in environments prone to severe shock, vibration, humidity and extended temperature ranges.
A low-power COM Express compact module is powered by the Intel Atom processors 400 and 500 Series. The new SOM 6763 B1 from Advantech B1 with Intel Atom processor N455 (512K Cache, 1.66 GHz) and Intel Atom processor D525 (1M Cache, 1.80 GHz) migrates its memory from DDR2 to DDR3 along with both 18-bit and 24-bit LVDS. The SOM-6763 B1 is suitable for portable devices, medical equipment and rugged applications. The SOM-6763 B1 complies with COM R2.0 type 2 specification for customers targeting
The Ampro by ADLINK Express-IBR is powered by a quad- or dual-core 3rd generation Intel Core processor and provides support for USB SuperSpeed 3.0, PCI Express (PCIe) Gen 3, and up to three independent displays. The COM Express module offers up to 16 Gbyte ECC 1333 MHz DDR3 memory in two SODIMM sockets; three Digital Display Interfaces can be independently configured for DisplayPort, HDMI or DVI; PCIe x16 (Gen3) for external graphics or general purpose PCIe (optionally configure as 2 x8 or 1 x8 + 2 x4); as well as two SATA 6 Gbit/s, two SATA 3 Gbit/s, Gigabit Ethernet and eight USB 2.0 interfaces. The Express-IBR with dual-core processor is validated for reliable performance in extended temperatures ranging from 40° to +85°C and features a 50% thicker printed circuit board (PCB) for high vibration tolerance. The card 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.
lower power consumption, higher performance applications. The compact design (95 x 95 mm) is suitable for applications such as portable POS, transportation, entry-level gaming machines, patient monitoring and factory automation. SOM-6763 B1 allows customers to choose from 18-bit or 24-bit LVDS, which makes available a greater variety of displays to choose from. Advantech iManager provides a valuable suite of programmable APIs such as Multi-level Watchdog, Hardware Monitor, Smart Fan and more; all with user friendly interfaces following the EAPI 1.0 standard. Since this is a built-in solution on chip, iManager ensures functions operate even if the OS fails.
ADLINK San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [www.adlinktech.com].
COTS Journal | August 2012
Advantech Irvine, CA. (949) 789-7178. [www.advantech.com].
COM Express Module with the Latest Atom Processor-Based Platform A Type VI compact size COM Express Basic module measures 95 mm x 95 mm (3.74” x 3.74”). The compact PCOM-B218VG from American Portwell includes the Intel Atom processor N2000 and D2000 series and the Intel NM10 Express chipset. This platform includes an integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 3600/3650 engine to enhance 3D performance for media applications such
as high-definition 1080p imaging. Also on board are two Display Ports that support multiple DP/HDMI/DVI functions; one SO-DIMM socket to support DDR3 SDRAM up to 4 Gbyte; two SATA; one Fast Ethernet. Expansion is available—via the COM Express carrier board—on four PCI-E x1, which can be configured to one PCI Express x4, LPC interface and high-definition audio interface; and a PCOM-C211 developer COM Express Type VI carrier board. COM Express safeguards development investments and lowers total cost of ownership by enabling designers to partition commodity host-processor COM Express modules from proprietary, value-added platform building blocks, including FPGAs and specialty I/Os on custom baseboards. COM Express modules can help minimize current and future design risks because they help save development time and costs during initial phase of development, while achieving faster time-to-market, simplifying the future upgrade path and scalability, and increasing the application lifecycle.
American Portwell Fremont, CA (510) 403-3399. [www.portwell.com].
COM EXPRESS BOARDS ROUNDUP
COM Express Type 2 Sports Atom Dual-Core Processors
EMX Form Factor SBC Enables Stackable COM Express
3rd Gen Core i7 Processor Rides Rugged COM Express Module
An entry-level Type 2 Pin-out COM Express module is available with three variants of the new Intel Atom dual-core processor generation, which are manufactured in 32nm technology. The conga-CCA from congatec is available with the Atom N2600 processor with only 3.5W TDP (1M Cache, 1.6 GHz); the Atom N2800 processor (1M Cache, 1.86 GHz) with 6.5W TDP; or the Atom D2700 processor (1M Cache, 2.13 GHz) with 10W TDP and up to 4 Gbyte single-channel DDR3 memory (1066 MHz).
EmbeddedXpress is a new form factor specification for embedded computers introduced by Diamond Systems that defines an efficient stackable I/O expansion. The EmbeddedXpress (EMX) form factor combines COM Express CPU modules with stackable I/O expansion in an SBC format. EMX boards offer increased flexibility and scalability, and a rugged EMX Basic SBC is based on the Intel Atom E680T CPU running at 1.6 GHz and features dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, four
Extreme Engineering introduced the XPedite7450, a rugged COM Express module that complies with the PICMG COM Express Basic form factor (95 mm x 125 mm) and supports an enhanced Type 6 pinout. The XPedite7450 can be hosted on a standard COM Express carrier card or a custom carrier card built to include additional end-user requirements, or it can be integrated into an X-ES XPand6000 Small Form Factor (SFF) rugged system. Based on the 3rd generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, the XPedite7450 operates at up to 2.2 GHz to
The chipset module, which is based on the Intel NM10, provides improved memory, graphics and display functionalities plus intelligent performance and greater energy efficiency. The highlight of the COM Express module is the graphics performance of the integrated Intel GMA 3650 graphics chip. With a clock rate of 640 MHz it is twice as fast as the GPU of the previous Atom generation. In addition to VGA and LVDS, it has two digital display interfaces that can be executed for DisplayPort, HDMI or DVI. Fan control, LPC bus for easy integration of legacy I/O interfaces and Intel High Definition Audio round off the feature set. Four PCI Express x1 lanes, two SATA 2.0, eight USB 2.0 and a Gigabit Ethernet interface enable fast and flexible system extensions. The Conga-CCA is priced starting at less than $225 in evaluation quantities.
serial ports and four USB 2.0 ports. The Altair from Diamond Systems is also the first SBC to implement the new EmbeddedXpress stackable I/O standard. The EMX specification enables flexibility, scalability and increased longevity in the final product by providing interchangeable processor modules. Altair supports 1 Gbyte or 2 Gbyte of DDR2 DRAM soldered on board and provides high-resolution LVDS and VGA graphics interfaces. Additional I/O ports include SATA, USB, serial, digital I/O and dual Gigabit Ethernet. Flexible system expansion is based on stackable EMX modules and a PCIe MiniCard socket. A socket is also provided for an optional onboard USB flash disk of up to 8 Gbyte. Altair’s rugged features include a wide temperature operating range of -40° to +85°C, soldered-on memory plus dedicated locations on the PCB to replace configuration jumpers with 0-ohm resistors for resistance to shock and vibration. Conformal coating is also available as an added cost option. Single unit pricing starts at $795.
deliver enhanced performance and efficiency, making it an excellent processor mezzanine for commercial, industrial and military applications. Designed and tested for the harshest military, aerospace and industrial environments, the XPedite7450 incorporates the same design and manufacturing principles as all X-ES Level 5 rugged products. Designed and tested for operation from -40° to +85°C, it includes additional mounting holes for increased structural integrity. Targeting the quad-core Intel Core i7-3612QE processor with clock speeds up to 2.1 GHz, the XPedite7450 features up to 16 Gbytes of DDR3-1333/DRR3-1600 ECC SDRAM, an integrated high-performance 3D graphics controller, enhanced Type 6 pinout, five Gen2 PCI Express ports, four USB 2.0 high-speed ports, six SATA 3.0 Gbit/s ports and an Intel High Definition Audio port. The XPedite7450 is the perfect compute element for the rugged XPand6000 SFF system. Supporting natural conduction and convection cooling with minimal SWaP, an XPand6000-based system can be bolted to almost any available surface of a small UAV, ground vehicle, or heavy equipment.
Congatec San Diego, CA. (858) 457-2600. [www.congatec.com].
Diamond Systems Mountain View, CA (800) 367-2104. [www.diamondsystems.com].
Extreme Engineering Solutions Middleton, WI. (608) 833-1155. [www.xes-inc.com].
August 2012 | COTS Journal
COM EXPRESS BOARDS ROUNDUP
COM Express Module Offers Choice of VIA Processors
COM Express Board Offers Energy Efficient Multicore Solution
Multicore Rugged COM Board Serves Up PowerPC
For many military system developers, designing computing platforms into equipment for harsh environments is just part of the challenge. There’s also the added drive to reduce overall design cycles and lower validation costs. Serving those needs, GE Intelligent Platforms offers the bCOM6-L1200 Rugged Type 6 COM Express Module.
A COM Express compact Computeron-Module represents an energy efficient entry-level multicore module based on nextgeneration Intel Atom processors with 32 nm technology. The COMe-cCT6 from Kontron is available in three multicore performance levels up to 2x 1.86 GHz and offers an increased performance per watt ratio. The new Kontron COMe-cCT6 Computer-on-Module is equipped with 2x 1.6 GHz or 2x 1.86 GHz Intel Atom
COM boards are becoming a staple in a variety of military systems where slot cards are not needed. MEN Micro now offers a PowerPCbased rugged computer-on-module (COM) that offers speeds up to 1.5 GHz via multicore processing. Equipped with a Freescale QorIQ processor, the new XM51 is an extension on MEN Micro’s family of ruggedized COMs based on the space-saving ESMexpress standard, currently in preparation with ANSI/VITA as
processors (N2600, N2800 and D2550), the The bCOM6-L1200 offers a range of five Intel NM10 Express chipset, and up to 4 VIA Nano and VIA Eden processor options, Gbytes of fast onboard DDR3 800/1600 system with performance between 800 MHz and 1.2 memory. GHz (x2) and power consumption between The integrated Intel Graphics Media 3.5W and 13.0W. Up to 8 Gbytes of DDR3 Accelerator 3600/3650 enables 1080p playback SDRAM can be configured, allowing the most of MPEG4 Part 2, VC-1, WMV9 and H.264 demanding applications to be deployed. videos with minimum processor load. The board provides a Gigabit Ethernet port d Furthermore, the new module provides HDCP supporting transmissions of 10 and 100/1000 support via HDMI 1.3a and DisplayPort 1.1, Mbits/s. Also provided are eight USB 2.0 ports, enabling BluRay playback. Additionally, two serial ATA Interfaces with RAID 0 and 1, OEMs can connect monitors also via the or port multiplier support. The SATA interfaces common LVDS and VGA interfaces. Intel are ready for SATA II drives. For superior High Definition Audio complements the graphic performance, the bCOM6-L1200 multimedia features. Furthermore, the Kontron features integrated nies providing solutions now analog CRT and LVDS and COMe-cCT6 offers two SATA II 300 Mbyte/s two or three DDI ports. I/O functionality is ion into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest interfaces, eight USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet provided through either three PCI Express x1 tion Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you and three PCI-Express x1 lanes for custom lanes or 1x 2+ 1x 1 lane, or a wide PCI Express you require for whatever type of technology, extensions. port. The x8/x4 and productsx8/x4 you are searching for. port can be used in The platform’s enhanced power management applications where high-end graphic and video www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected features include Intel Deeper Sleep and capabilities are required. Together with the Intel Rapid Start Technology, both of which audio port and GPIO or SD-Card interface, a further help to reduce power consumption wide range of multimedia implementations can and enable fast recovery from standby mode be achieved. for intermittent usage. In combination with GE Intelligent Platforms the Intel Smart Connect Technology, the Charlottesville, VA. COMe-cCT6 also enables connected usage (800) 368-2738. scenarios where an instant Internet connection is available as soon as the application is (re) [www.ge-ip.com]. activated and also allows for constant updates even while in standby.
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° 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.
ploration your goal k directly age, the source. ology, d products
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COTS Journal | August 2012
Kontron Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [www.kontron.com].
MEN Micro Ambler, PA. (215) 542-9575. [www.menmicro.com].
COM EXPRESS BOARDS ROUNDUP
Quad-Core 3rd Generation Core Processors Ride COM Express
Type 6 COM Express Card Supports -40° to +85°C Temps
Credit Card Sized COM Module Offers Compact Solution
Two families of COM Express modules are based on the third generation Intel Core processor family formerly codenamed Ivy Bridge, which utilizes Intel’s advanced 22nm process technology with three-dimensional transistors for higher performance at lower power. The two new COM Express module
Today’s military systems are demanding higher processing and graphics capabilities to ensure optimal situational awareness on the battlefield, as well as ECC memory to ensure data integrity for mission-critical applications. These consolidated systems must meet stringent size, weight and power restrictions while providing the processing capacity to combine legacy computers that support multiple, high-
The modular design approach allows for short time-to market, application-specific customization, simplified development, high stability and long life cycles for customers to rapidly develop new and exciting devices. With that in mind, VIA Technologies has an addition in the growing VIA Modular Solutions
families from MSC Embedded support Type 2 (MSC CXB-6SI) and Type 6 (MSC C6B-7S) pin-outs. The first products of these module families are equipped with the quad-core Intel Core i7-3615QE processor with 45W thermal dissipation power and the Intel Core i7-3612QE processor with 35W TDP. The Intel HD 4000 Graphics controller on the processor die offers significantly better video and graphics acceleration than the second generation Intel Core processors. One major advantage is the support of three independent displays. The MSC CXB-6SI module family uses the improved Intel 7-series chipset. Fast dual-channel DDR3 SDRAM modules (two SO-DIMM sockets)—each offer a maximum storage capacity of 8 Gbytes. The module family offers six PCI Express x1 channels, a PCI Express Graphics (PEG) x16 interface, the classical 32-bit PCI bus, eight USB 2.0 ports, HD audio, Gbit Ethernet, DisplayPort and HDMI interfaces with a resolution of up to 2560 x 1600 pixels. The pricing for the highend quad-core Intel Core i7-3615QE will be approximately $680 in volume quantities.
quality displays. Radisys’ extended-temperature -40° to +85°C CEQM77 module with ECC memory is specifically designed and tested to withstand extreme military conditions and meet the processing-intensive needs for these applications. The CEQM77 combines a 3rd generation quad-core performance Intel Core i7 processor and the Mobile Intel QM77 Express chipset with Radisys design expertise to provide breakthrough processing performance on a basic size Type 6 COM Express Revision 2.0 module. The basic size 95 mm x 125 mm module is ideal for compute-intensive applications such as medical imaging, communications, military/aerospace, and test and measurement applications that require high levels of processing performance. Radisys delivers the CEQM77 module in a COM Express Revision 2.0, Type 6 pin-out, enabling customers to take advantage of new technology such as Digital Display Ports while boosting features and performance with up to 16 Gbyte memory, additional PCI Express lanes, and improved storage, graphics and audio. The CEQM77 module provides Trusted Platform Module (TPM) support as well as support for Intel Advanced Management Technology (AMT), enabling remote access and diagnostics via the Radisys Embedded Software Platform (ESP).
portfolio, the VIA COMe-8X91. Measuring 84 mm x 55 mm, the VIA COMe-8X91 is based on the industry standard Computer-on-Module (COM) Express Mini form factor with type 10 pin-outs. The module combines an 800 MHz VIA Eden X2 dual core processor and the VIA VX900 media system processor (MSP). In addition, with the VIA COMe-8X91 module, VIA offers a comprehensive starter kit, including a multi-I/O carrier board reference design, board support packages (BSPs), display, system monitoring tools/SDKs and design guide. Available in the industry standard COM Express Mini form factor of 84 mm x 55mm, the VIA COMe-8X91 module pairs an 800 MHz VIA Eden X2 dual core processor and the VIA VX900 MSP for a low-power, high-performance platform. The VIA COMe-8X91 module offers support for the latest connectivity standards including 18/24-bit single-channel LVDS and either one DisplayPort or one HDMI port (without HDCP). Onboard I/O includes two SATA II ports, one GigaLAN port, eight USB 2.0 ports shared with one USB client port, one HD audio digital interface and two serial ports. System memory includes 1 Gbyte of onboard DDR3.
MSC Embedded Computer Technology San Bruno, CA. (650) 616-4068. [www.mscembedded.com].
RadiSys Hillsboro, OR. (503) 615-1100. [www.radisys.com].
VIA Technologies Fremont, CA. (510) 683-3300. [www.viaembedded.com].
August 2012 | COTS Journal
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Oscilloscopes Offer 2 Mpts, 2 GS/s and 7-inch Widescreen Displays
with companies mentioned in this article. LeCroy has announced two lines Get of itsConnected popular WaveAce oscilloscope series—the WaveAce and WaveAce 2000. WaveAcewww.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected 1000 oscilloscopes feature a sample rate of up to 1 Get Connected with companies and products featured in1000 this section.
Gsamples/s with 2 Mpts of memory in two-channel models from 40 MHz to 100 MHz. WaveAce 2000 oscilloscopes deliver sample rates of up to 2 Gsamples/s and 24 Kpts of memory, and are available in two- and four-channel models from 70 MHz up to 300 MHz. All new WaveAce oscilloscopes feature a large 7” widescreen display and powerful debug tools, such as 32 automatic measurements, waveform math capabilities, pass/fail mask testing, large internal storage, remote control and waveform recorder. Integration with LeCroy’s logic analyzer and waveform generators provides expanded debug and testing capabilities. This powerful combination of features makes WaveAce the best oscilloscope for simplifying the debug process. The WaveAce 1000 is available in three different models with U.S. list prices ranging from $790 to $1,190. The WaveAce 2000 is available in eight different models with U.S. list prices ranging from $1,150 to $2,975. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected
LeCroy, Chestnut Ridge, NY. (800) 553-2769. [www.lecroy.com].
PrPMC/XMC Module Supports Freescale QorIQ Processors Extreme Engineering Solutions has announced availability of the XPedite5401, a conduction-cooled PrPMC/XMC module that supports the Freescale QorIQ P3, P4 and P5 processor families. The XPedite5401 joins the existing XPedite550x line of PrPMC/XMC modules, which support the Freescale QorIQ P1 and P2 processor families. The complete line of QorIQ PrPMC/XMC modules provides processor mezzanine solutions that span a broad spectrum of embedded applications and satisfy a wide range of power, performance and feature requirements. The XPedite5401 supports multiple Freescale QorIQ processors. The lowest power solution utilizes the P3041 with four PowerPC e500mc cores at up to 1.5 GHz. Other processor options include the P4080 with eight PowerPC e500mc cores at up to 1.5 GHz, the P5010 with one 64-bit PowerPC e5500 core at up to 2 GHz, and the P5020 with two 64-bit PowerPC e5500 cores at up to 2 GHz. The module also provides two channels of DDR3-1333 ECC SDRAM, up to 8 Gbytes (4 Gbytes each), up to 16 Gbytes of user flash and 256 Mbytes of boot flash (with redundancy), two Gigabit Ethernet ports, a x4 PCI Express interface to P15 and two SATA 3.0 Gbit/s ports to P16.
Extreme Engineering Solutions, Middleton, WI. (608) 833-1155. [www.xes-inc.com].
150W ATX Power Supply Features Compact Size Size, weight and power are important factors in today’s military systems. And size matters even in power supplies themselves. ADL Embedded Solutions has announced the release of its small form factor ADLPS35-150, 150W ATX Power Supply. The ADLPS35-150 power supply board is designed to meet the needs of industrial and embedded motherboards by providing robust ATX voltages (5V, 5VS, 3.3V, 12V) in a small form factor power supply designed for -40° to +85°C operation. Its small 2” x 4” size (50 mm x 102 mm) allows it to fit many space-limited applications. As well, the ADLPS35-150 is tailored to sit side-by-side with their 3.5-inch product line of motherboards and can also be adapted to a PC/104 stack via an optional mounting plate. The power supply features ATXcompliant signaling to allow ACPI/APM power management from within compliant operating systems. At 150 watts total power and just 50 mm x 102 mm in size, this small and rugged power supply will fit into most embedded applications. The ADLPS35-150 is available in two variants, one allowing an input voltage range of 7-30V but providing only the 5V, 5VS and 3.3V outputs; the other with a narrower input voltage range of 14-30V but providing 5V, 5VS, 3.3V and 12V outputs. Both variants include over-current, over-voltage and short circuit protection.
ADL Embedded Solutions, San Diego, CA. (858) 490-0597. [www.adl-usa.com].
Chassis Mount Switching AC/DC Power Supply Delivers 50 Watts ConTech, a Division of Calex Mfg., has announced the CM50 Series of AC/DC switching power supplies. The CM50 Series offers 50W of fully regulated output power in a chassis mount case. It features an easily accessible terminal block and output voltage adjustment potentiometer. The CM50 series has a universal input voltage range of 88 to 264 VAC. The series offers output voltages of 5, 12, 24 and 48 VDC, with efficiencies up to 84%. The CM50 series has protective features such as short circuit, over-voltage and overload protection. The metal cage type chassis mount case is designed for free air convection cooling. The CM50 series is rated for 3000 VAC isolation, is RoHS compliant, and has UL 60950 approval pending.
ConTech, Concord, CA. (925) 609-1193. [www.contech-us.com]. 64
COTS Journal | August 2012
Extender Module Provides High Speed RS-232 over CAT-5 Aaxeon Technologies has released their newest Industrial Extender. The SED-1010S is a high-speed RS-232 over CAT-5 extender that transfers data to devices at distances up to 1.2 KM, therefore significantly extending the typical RS-232 range of only 15m. The extender also boasts the use of CAT-5 cabling, a common cabling used in many applications, making it easier to implement and deploy with an already fixed infrastructure. The unit features an extended operating temperature of -30° to 75°C guaranteeing the device will work in numerous operating environments. It has built-in surge protection and can be used without a power adapter. An optional power supply is available for those applications that need more power than the host can provide.
Aaxeon Technologies, Brea, CA. (714) 671-9000. [www.aaxeon.com].
PCI Express Synchronizes up to 256 Channels Synchronization is important in multichannel applications such as phased array radar, diversity receivers, and direction finding and beamforming antennas. Serving such needs, Pentek has introduced a system synchronization and distribution amplifier, the Model 7893 PCIe board. This synchronizer is designed to support up to eight Pentek Virtex-6 Cobalt and Pentek Virtex-7 Onyx boards at sample clock rates up to 800 MHz. In the cascade mode, up to eight 7893 boards can be linked to allow 64 Onyx or Cobalt boards to receive a common clock along with timing signals for synchronizing, triggering and gating functions. The Model 7893 is a single-slot PCIe board that uses the slot solely for physical mounting with no electrical connections; power is supplied through a standard six-pin PCIe power connector. The 7893 accepts a user supplied external clock from a frontpanel subminiature version A (SMA) connector, from the input low-voltage positive emitter-coupled logic timing bus, or from the onboard programmable voltage controlled crystal oscillator (VCXO). The VCXO can operate alone or can be phase-locked to a system reference clock signal. Each 7893 has four programmable clock outputs available via SMA connectors on the front panel for distribution of sample clocks to other boards. Operational parameters for the 7893 are programmed through the universal serial bus (USB) port, including VCXO frequency, clock dividers and delays, so the user can make timing adjustments on the gate and synchronize signals before they are sent to buffers for output through eight timing bus connectors. The USB port can also be used to generate gate/trigger and sync/pulse per second signals for distribution to all connected boards. The Model 7893 Eight-Channel System Synchronization and Distribution Amplifier starts at $4,995 for the PCIe board.
19-Inch Rugged LCDs are Sunlight Readable TRU-Vu Monitors has introduced a new 19” Sunlight Readable LCD monitor. The new SRM-19 Series monitors feature 1,000 nits brightness, enabling users to clearly see video images even in direct, bright sunlight. By comparison, laptop screens average 150-200 nits, and standard desktop monitors average 200-250 nits. The SRM-19 Series monitors are built with industrial-grade components to withstand demanding industrial and commercial environments. The SRM-19 Series monitors feature 1280 x 1024 SXGA resolution, VGA and BNC Composite video inputs, 1,000:1 contrast ratio, and operate on 12 VDC and 90-240 VAC. They are also available in touch screen and open-frame configurations.
TRU-Vu Monitors, Arlington Heights, IL. (847) 259-2344. [www.tru-vumonitors.com].
Pentek, Upper Saddle River, NJ. (201) 818-5900. [www.pentek.com].
1U Rackmount System Boosts LAN Throughput 80 Percent A 1U rackmount network security appliance supports Intel’s second generation Core i7/i5/ i3 processor with Intel H61 PCH and DMI 5 GT/s chipset, and is scalable to Intel’s latest third generation Core i7/i5/i3 processor family. The new CAR-3030 network security appliance also features dual-channel 1066/1333 MHz DDR3 memory modules up to 16 Gbytes, PCI-E x8 expansion (with up to two Generation 2.0 bypass segments), LGA-1155 socket, up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, optional dual 10G SFP+LAN module, 80 Plus power supply and six onboard Ethernet ports with two bypass segments. American Portwell’s new CAR-3030 network security appliance is capable of increasing LAN throughput by an average of 80 percent when compared with previous generation platforms.
American Portwell, Fremont, CA. (877) APT-8899. [www.portwell.com]. August 2012 | COTS Journal
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Deployable Rugged System Embeds cPCIand Boards, RichinI/O Get Connected with3U companies products featured this section.
In the time- and budget-constrained system development environment of today, military system developers need proven www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected operational computing solutions as quickly as possible. With that in mind, Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions (CWCDS) has announced the availability of its SYS-C365 Deployable Rugged System, a fully featured rugged COTS system for airborne platforms. The SYS-C365 is a compact, rugged Power Architecture (PowerPC)-based processing unit that provides a flexible array of I/O and standard multi-protocol communication channels. With no non-recurring engineering fees required for standard SYS-C365 units, the system speeds and simplifies deployment of space/weight/power (SWaP)-constrained critical applications. The SYS-C365 comes fully configured. Its three-slot 3U CompactPCI (cPCI) backplane supports a CWCDS DCP-124 SBC, a CWCDS DPMC-601 MIL-STD-1553 module, a dedicated discrete I/O module and a modular power supply. The system also provides a spare 3U cPCI slot available for user configuration. The system communicates with other equipment via a variety of interfaces including MIL-STD-1553B, Gbit Ethernet, serial, USB 2.0 and a total of 51 discrete I/O lines. The system supports an operating temperature range from -40° to +71°C, with specific emphasis on avionic requirements. It requires neither forced air-cooling nor cold-plate mounting. It supports hot starts at up to +85°C to enable immediate operation before air-conditioning brings the ambient down to +71°C. The SYS-C365 provides software support for the Wind River VxWorks 6.5 real-time operating system, enabling system integrators to write their own application software.
Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions, Ashburn, VA. (703) 779-7800. [www.cwcdefense.com].
Small Rugged Embedded Computer Boasts Wide Temp Range The new CEC4 expands the MPL Compact Embedded Computer product range with a headless industrial solution with ARM CPU. The CEC4 comes with three Gbit Ethernet interfaces. The specially designed housing allows the board to operate in harsh environments without the need of fans or ventilation holes, and can easily be mounted on a 35mm DIN-Rail or with a flange on a wall. The compact housing offers sufficient space to add a SSD or SATA DOM, a 5-port switch (MAGBES) with copper only or mixed with fiber, or other peripherals. The CEC4 can be tailor-made to your needs, even with IP67 housing and MIL connectors. The operation temperature range is from -20° to +60°C and optionally even -40° to +85°C, certainly without fan or case openings. The internal miniPCIe slot allows various extensions—such as WLAN and GPRS. Additionally available are three USB connectors and a microSD Memory Card Slot for easy logging and/or configuration capabilities. The CEC4 can be customized over an optional backplane for additional interfaces.
MPL, Dättwil Switzerland. +41 56 483 34 34. [www.mpl.ch].
ATCA Blade Sports Dual Intel Xeon Processors An ATCA processor blade features robust computing power, high throughput connectivity and accelerated packet processing capabilities. The aTCA-6250 from Adlink Technology incorporates dual 8-core Intel Xeon processors E5-2658 and E2648L (2.1 GHz/1.8 GHz) with the Intel C604 chipset, eight channels of DDR3 memory up to 128 Gbytes, and a 400W power supply subsystem. The aTCA-6250 also provides versatile connectivity, including dual 10GbE Fabric Interfaces, dual GbE Base Interfaces, quad front panel GbE interfaces, dual front panel USB and COM ports, and onboard SATA DOM socket. Dual 10GbE ports and dual hot-swappable SAS bays on the optional aTCA R6270 Rear Transition Module (RTM) provide additional network throughput and storage capabilities. High-speed data transfer on the PICMG 3.1 Fabric Interface is enabled by a PCI Express 2.0-capable Intel 82599EB 10GbE controller and Base Interface connectivity is provided by PCI Express 2.0-capable Intel 82576EB GbE controllers. Paired with the optional aTCA-R6270 RTM, the aTCA-6250 supports additional dual 10GbE SFP+ ports enabled by an Intel 82599ES 10GbE controller. The aTCA-6250 supports the Intel Data Plane Development Kit (Intel DPDK), a lightweight run-time environment for Intel architecture processors offering low overhead and run-to-completion mode to maximize packet processing performance.
ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [www.adlinktech.com].
Single Channel DataAcq System Features Analytical Software iWorx Systems has introduced the IX-100BE Data Acquisition System with LabScribe2 Software that provides high resolution/low noise recording of biopotential signals for OEM applications. With one isolated input channel and a low voltage stimulator, the system is ideal for embedded biomedical and life science applications where only one biopotential recording channel is required. The iWorx IX-100BE uses a 16-bit A/D converter to sample data over its full input range of +1V at speeds up to 200 kHz. The iWorx IX-100BE recorder is controlled by LabScribe2 software, a powerful recording and analysis software package. LabScribe2 has an intuitive, user-friendly interface for setting up acquisition screens, calibrating signals and analyzing data.
iWorx Systems, Dover, NH. (800) 234-1757. [www.iworx.com]. 66
COTS Journal | August 2012
Top Load Socket Cuts Tooling Costs and Delivery Times Aries Electronics offers a top-load burn-in socket that saves significant time and money (over conventional top-load sockets) for new IC pin-out designs. Aries’ new top-load socket enables designers to dramatically reduce development and production costs that used to take up to three months and run over $30,000. Based on a modular design, the new socket can easily be configured to accommodate devices on 0.3 mm pitch and higher, and can be employed on virtually any SMT device including BGA, µBGA, QFN, LGA and bare dies as well as a number of other devices like those used for MEMS testing with high acceleration rates. Contact forces are 15g per contact on a 0.30 mm to less than 0.40 mm pitch; 16g per contact on a 0.40 mm to less than 0.50 mm pitch, and 25g per contact on pitches of 0.50 mm or larger. Estimated contact life is a minimum of 500,000 cycles and operating temperature is -55° to +150°C (-67° to +302°F). Pricing for a top-load burn-in socket starts at $125.
Aries Electronics, Bristol, PA. (215) 781-9956. [www.arieselec.com].
FPGA-Based Ethernet Card Provides “Anything” I/O Solution FPGAs have done a lot for military embedded computing systems, but they’re especially useful for providing flexible I/O configurations. The MESA 7I80DB is a general purpose FPGAbased programmable industrial I/O card from MESA Electronics with a 100 BaseT Ethernet host interface. The 7I80DB is a remote Ethernet FPGA card that uses standard parallel port pinouts and four DB25 connectors for compatibility with most parallel port interfaced motion control / CNC breakout cards and multi-axis step motor drives, allowing a motion control performance boost while retaining a reliable Ethernet interface. Unlike the parallel port that the 7I80DB replaces, each I/O bit has individually programmable direction and function. Open source FPGA firmware configurations are provided for hardware step/dir generation to 25 MHz, PWM generation, analog servo control, absolute (SSI and BiSS) and incremental encoder counting, real-time remote I/O, timing, event counting and high speed serial communication. All 68 7I80DB I/O bits are 5V tolerant. A jumper selectable PTC protected power option allows 1A of 5V power to be supplied to the external daughtercards. Four-layer construction is used to minimize radiated EMI and provide optimum ground and power integrity. A series of daughtercards is available for industrial motion control, CNC retrofit, high-speed real-time I/O, Analog I/O, RS-422 interfaces, encoder counting and other applications. The 7I80DB is available with two FPGA sizes, a XC6SLX16 (the 7I80DB-16) and a XC6SLX25 (the 7I80DB-25). Price of the 7I80DB-16 is $108 (100s). Price of the 7I80DB-25 is $122 (100s).
Community-Based Development Kit Targets Xilinx Zynq-7000 A community-oriented development kit for the Xilinx Zynq-7000 Extensible Processing Platform (EPP) is targeted for designers and students who are interested in exploring and prototyping their application ideas for the new Zynq-7000 EPP architecture. Features of the ZedBoard include a Xilinx Zynq XC7Z020 EPP device with memory implemented as 512 Mbyte DDR3, 256 Mbit QSPI Flash and a 4 Gbyte SD Card. The ZedBoard also has onboard USB-JTAG programming. Interfaces include 10/100/1G Ethernet, USB OTG 2.0 and USB-UART plus PS & PL I/O expansion (FMC, Pmod, XADC). There is multiple display output capability in the form of 1080p HDMI, 8-bit VGA and 128x32 OLED and an I2S audio codec. The commercial version of the ZedBoard is available from Avnet for $395.
Avnet, Phoenix, AZ. (800) 409-1483. [www.avnet.com].
MESA Electronics, Richmond, CA. (510) 223-9272. [www.mesanet.com].
2U Network Appliance Sports Core Processors, 28x GbE Ports A 2U rackmount platform designed for network service applications, the PL80460 from Win Enterprises supports single Intel 32nm i3/i5/i7 (code name Sandy Bridge) and Intel E3-xx processors. This is a modular system that will support 4 GbE LAN in its standard configuration, or up to 28 GbE in copper or 24 GbE in fiber, depending on OEM requirements. The front panel has one USB 2.0 port, one RJ-45 console port and LED indicators that monitor power and storage activities. The platform supports four unbuffered and non-ECC DDR3 1066/1333 MHz DIMM sockets with memory up to 32 Gbytes. Storage interfaces include two 3.5” SATA HDD and one CompactFlash. PL-80460 also supports one PCI expansion slot.
WIN Enterprises, North Andover, MA. (978) 688-2000. [www.win-ent.com]. August 2012 | COTS Journal
COTS PRODUCTS Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected
6U CompactPCI Board Boasts Third Generation Core Processor Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section.
A new 6U CompactPCI processor board sets new performance-per-watt marks for high-end applications. Based on the Intel QM77 Express Chipset www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected and scalable up to the quad-core third generation Intel Core i7-3615QE processor with 4 x 2.3 GHz (3.3 GHz in Turbo mode), the CP6004-SA from Kontron provides up to 20 percent enhanced computing power and increased performance per watt compared to designs based on the second generation Core processors. Further advantages include the integrated HD 4000 graphics. OEMs and designers benefit from twice the HD media and 3-D graphics performance by an improved user experience and stunning visuals. With support for DirectX 11, OpenGL 3.1, AVX and OpenCL 1.1, developers can now use the latest APIs to accelerate the development of their applications. The power-optimized Kontron 6U CompactPCI processor board CP6004-SA is designed for high density, thermally constrained CompactPCI systems that require high performance in a typical 60 watt or less power envelope. It is scalable with four processors from low-power dual-core variants up to extremely powerful quad-core technology to meet all individual mission profiles and delivers outstanding data throughput and enables out-of-band communication through IPMI (Intelligent Platform Management Interface). Data protection is secured by the optional onboard Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2). In addition, there is a 6 Mbyte cache and up to 16 Gbyte of 1600 MHz DDR3 ECC SO-DIMM memory. The CP6004-SA supports a configurable 64-bit/66 MHz PCI or PCI-X, hot swap CompactPCI interface.
Kontron, Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [www.kontron.com].
APU Provides Low Power, Extends Availability through 2017
6U Dual-Power Backplane Provides Current Sense/ Share Features
The latest entry to the AMD Embedded G-Series processor family targets very low power, small form factor and cost-sensitive embedded designs that require a combination of x86 compatibility and graphics. The optimized design of the AMD Embedded G-T16R accelerated processing unit (APU) sips power, with consumption of just 2.3 watts on average or 4.5 watts thermal design power (TDP). The new AMD Embedded G-Series fits into small form factor boards by implementing a two-chip platform, the APU and its companion controller hub, and it offers legacy I/O card support based on a full 32-bit PCI interface and an ISA bus solution with DMA support. Along with the announcement of the new AMD G-T16R APU, AMD is also extending the planned availability for the entire AMD Embedded G-Series processor family through 2017, resetting the five-year clock for both existing and new designs.
Pixus Technologies has announced a new power backplane with dual 47-pin connectors per PICMG 2.11 power interface specification in the 6U form factor. The power interface board has sense and current share signals to better regulate and distribute power. The new power interface board physical size comes in 6.5U or 6U height by 16HP wide, with two CompactPCI hot-pluggable slots using standard 47-pin connectors. The boards are designed for either AC or DC power to be supplied, including accommodations for rear power entry modules for 48V requirements. Wire harnesses are also available, providing +3.3V, +5V, +/-12V, GND and control signals between the backplanes. The sense lines help the power board efficiently regulate the power at the load end. The current share lines allow multiple power supplies to share current across the power backplane slots. Pixus also offers power backplanes in single and dual 47-pin connector styles in both 3U and 6U heights. The company has additional power backplanes in sizes up to seven slots. Also, Pixusâ€™ line of CompactPCI and VME64x backplanes have optional configurations that include pluggable 47-pin connectors in the same monolithic board. Pricing for the power interface boards starts at under $100, depending on configuration.
Advanced Micro Devices, Sunnyvale, CA. (408) 749-4000. [www.amd.com].
Pixus Technologies, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. (519) 885-5775. [www.pixustechnologies.com].
Network Processing Card Features Dual Xilinx 7 Series FPGAs Nallatech is now shipping the PCIe-287N, a 7 Series FPGA network processing card that features two Xilinx Kintex-7 FPGAs. The architecture of the PCIe-287N is well suited to a number of applications including real-time network filtering and high frequency trading. The two Kintex-7 FPGAs are directly coupled to four SFP+ ports supporting a range of Ethernet protocols including 1 and 10GbE, SONET and OTN. Each FPGA utilizes multiple independent banks of high-bandwidth, QDR-II+ SRAM and DDR3 SDRAM to support random access and deep storage. A third FPGA provides a PCI Express interface supporting sustained bandwidths up to 5 Gbytes/s.
Nallatech, Camarillo, CA. (805) 383-8997. [www.nallatech.com]. 68
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COM Module Features ARM Cortex-A8 A feature-packed COM supports Samsung’s Exynos 3 Single S5PV210 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor as well as the PowerVR SGX540 for 3D and 2D graphics acceleration. The MXM-V210 from Embedian is combined with robust BSPs to enable OEMs to reach their product goals with minimal time and risk. Carrying the S5PV210 interfaces such as HDMI, USB 2.0, RS232, LCD, SD and LAN, the 232-pin COM interconnect also delivers a maximum performance of 1 GHz and ultra-low-power mode support. Its integrated multimedia hardware codec supports various standards such as MPEG4, h.264 to full HD resolutions. The subsystem also enable users to significantly save on bill of material (BOM) costs as it eliminates the need for additional ASIC/ FPGA.
Embedian, Taipei, Taiwan. +886 2 8712 9693. [www.embedian.com].
Processor Enables On-the-Fly Reconfiguration in Space Space-based systems have unique challenges, chief among them is that there’s no way to access a system hands-on once it’s in orbit. Addressing just that issue, Atmel has announced the ATF697FF, the newest member of the Atmel SPARC V8 processor family and the industry’s first radiationhardened (RAD Hard) high-performance aerospace microprocessor that can be reconfigured on-the-fly. The ability to reconfigure on-the-fly allows users to make on-going design modifications to satellites, including specification updates, in-flight adjustments during trial flights and post-launch alterations. The new ATF697FF integrates Atmel’s proven RAD Hard AT697F processor and reconfigurable ATF280F (FPGA) unit in a single multichip module (MCM). With this MCM solution approach, engineers can reduce overall system cost and save space on the printed circuit board. The ATF697FF adds the flexibility of a reprogrammable FPGA to the reliability of a powerful core processor running application software. It is ideal for systems that require reconfiguration of peripherals and interfaces, making it easy to comply and stay up-to-date with evolving standards that are used on many space missions, such as SpaceWire, CAN or IEEE1553. The flexibility of the ATF697FF processor is also beneficial for late design modifications performed on Earth, for in-flight adjustments on satellites and for space trial operations. The new solution combines an Atmel AT697F SPARC V8 RAD Hard processor with a RAD Hard ATF280F SRAM-based FPGA and an internal PCI link. The ATF697FF delivers best-in-class performance, running at up to 100 MHz, as well as low power, down to 0.7W, for space applications today. Atmel is currently engaging with alpha customers on the ATF697FF. The product is now available for prototyping and for flight model implementation at the end of 2012.
3U CompactPCI Serial Board Transfers 5 Gbits/s on USB A 3U CompactPCI Serial peripheral board incorporates four front-end USB 3.0 host interfaces, used to either connect fast USB 3.0 devices or to extend the 2.0 USB interfaces of the CPU board. On the G201 from MEN Micro, each port, connected via PCI Express, can handle data transfers of up to 5 Gbits/s per direction, which is a tenfold increase over USB 2.0 ports. This enhanced transfer speed makes the new G201 suitable for data-intensive applications, including connecting external storage media and devices such as high-speed cameras. The board is not only fast but robust enough for harsh and mobile environments. Operating temperature is -40° to +85°C and it is prepared for conformal coating to protect against humidity and dust. When combined with a CompactPCI Serial or CompactPCI PlusIO CPU, the G201’s high data transfer rates meet an equally fast, serial-based, high-performance platform, making the resulting system a futuresafe solution. Using the Standard-A connector for the USB ports, the 3.0 interfaces are backward compatible to USB 2.0 for additional system flexibility. Pricing for the G201 is $384.
MEN Micro, Ambler, PA. (215) 542-9575. [www.menmicro.com].
Atmel, San Jose, CA. (408) 441-0311. [www.atmel.com].
DDR3L Modules Solve Double Refresh Rate Challenge JEDEC stipulates that systems running memory beyond 85°C must double the memory self-refresh rate. Compared to other current DDR3 designs, Virtium DDR3L memory modules are able to facilitate a considerable increase in system performance by removing the double refresh rate requirement. Virtium engineering solved this issue using a combination of its screening technique for lowest total electrical current (IDD), incorporating thermal-relief copper pour methodology PCB design, reducing the chip count and utilizing 1.35V DDR3L DRAM. Virtium DDR3L memory modules are available in 4 Gbyte and 8 Gbyte densities in a wide range of form factors including standard height, VLP and ULP low profile ECC SODIMM, RDIMM, UDIMM and Mini DIMM configurations.
Virtium Technology, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. (949) 888-2444. [www.virtium.com]. August 2012 | COTS Journal
COTS PRODUCTS Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected
Starter Kit Aids COM Express Typeand6 products Module Design Get Connected with companies featured in this section.
A new starter kit for COM Express Type 6 modules represents a complete, ready-to-run environment www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected for the new range of Computer-on-Module (COM) cards integrating the latest interface standard. The kit from MSC Embedded contains a COM Express Type 6 baseboard, a heat sink with fan and two 4 Gbyte DDR3 memory modules. Users of the kit are free to choose any suitable COM Express Type 6 computer module from MSC’s growing portfolio. MSC has created the COM Express Type 6 starter kit around a Type 6 baseboard, providing an environment for computer modules implementing the new standard. The baseboard in the kit features the COM Express Type 6 module socket and a large number of peripheral connectors supporting the most important computer interfaces. These include a PCI Express x 4 slot, an LPC bus on 10-pin header, 4x SATA connectors, 4x USB 3.0 interfaces (compliant with USB 2.0), VGA and DVI connectors, 3x DisplayPort and 3x HDMI connectors as well as a 40-pin eDP (Embedded DisplayPort) connector. The Ethernet connector supports 10/100/1000 Mbit/s signals, and there are 6x audio jacks and SPDIF connectors. In addition, a feature connector carries SMBus, I2C bus, a power and reset button, beeper, HD LED and other system signals, and a 4-pin fan connector, which can drive and control the fan on the heat sink provided with the starter kit. The board is powered from a 20+4 pin ATX connector to be connected with a standard PC-type power supply. This carrier board may also be used as a Type 6 to Type 2 adapter card. It features two COM Express Type 2 module connectors soldered to the reverse side, which allow the board to be plugged into the module socket on the popular MSC CX-MB-EVA2 COM Express Type 2 baseboard. Single unit pricing is $495.
MSC Embedded, San Bruno, CA. (650) 616-6048. [www.mscembedded.com].
ARM9 System on Module for Full Range of HMI An ARM9 System on Module supports both Linux and WinCE and supports up to 1280 x 860 LCD with touch screen. The M-9G45A from Artila Electronics is a credit card size system on module powered by 400 MHz AT91SAM9G45 ARM Thumb Processor with memory management unit. It is equipped with 128 Mbyte DDR2 RAM, 128 Mbyte NAND Flash and 2 Mbyte DATAFlash. The touch screen feature makes users free to choose LCD size from 3.5” to 12” for their user interface design. M-9G45A also comes with four UART ports, one 10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet, one USB 2.0 high-speed port, GPIO, SPI, I2C and I2S bus for your design of RS-232/485 communication, wired and wireless connectivity, audio I/O and digital I/O control.
Artila Electronics, New Taipei City, Taiwan. +8184.108.40.206.23.40. [www.artila.com].
PXI DMM Features 6.5 Digit Measurement and 3 MS/s Digitizer A 6.5 digit PXI digital multimeter (DMM) for high-performance measurement applications offers all of the capabilities associated with standard bench top DMMs including DCV, ACV, 2- and 4-wire resistance measurements and current measurements. Additionally, the GX2065 from Geotest features a 3 MS/s, 16-bit isolated input digitizer, which allows users to acquire and analyze waveforms. The GX2065 is supplied with a software package that includes a virtual instrument panel and Windows 32/64bit driver libraries for ATEasy, LabView, LabView/Real-Time, C/C++, Microsoft Visual Basic, Linux 32/64, Delphi and Pascal. Compatible drivers for the Signametrics SMX2040 & SMX2060 DMMs are also supplied, allowing customers to easily upgrade existing applications to the GX2065. The GX2065 is priced at $1,895.
Geotest, Irvine, CA. (949) 263-2222. [www.geotest.com].
Programmable DC Power Supplies Boast Compact Size TDK Corporation has announced that the new TDK-Lambda Z+ Series of programmable DC power supplies are now available. These high-density, high-efficiency, 2U format, bench-top and rack mountable power supplies provide 400 watts of output power with an output voltage range from 0 to 100 VDC and output currents up to 40A. The Z+400 are 33% smaller and 40% lighter than the previous generation (ZUP series) and similar products, thus providing a 49% increase in power density. The standard models are only 3.27” high by 2.76” wide, so up to six units can be installed in the optional 19” rack housing and blanking plates are available for unused slots. Later this year, 200W, 600W and 800W models with the exact same dimensions will be added to the Z+ Series. CE marked in accordance with the Low Voltage Directive, the Z+400 conducted and radiated EMI conforms to EN55022-B, FCC part-15-B, VCCI-B. Safety certifications include UL-, EN- and IEC61010-1, plus these units are designed to meet UL/EN60950-1. The Z+400 series are available now and priced from $1,460 each in 1-9 quantities.
TDK-Lambda Americas, San Diego, CA. (619) 628-2859. [www.us.tdk-lambda.com]. 70
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High-Speed Storage System Targets Net Monitoring Applications Networking is a vital part of today’s military operations. A new platform for high-throughput data recording applications provides very high sustained write-to-disk rates for solutions such as network forensics, application performance optimization and deep packet analysis. The Nucleus RM Capture 16X3 from NextComputing offers 16 front-access removable 3.5” hard drives. These drives are available in either SATA or SAS up to 3 Terabytes each for up to 48 Terabyte total capacity. Additionally, the system has two more rearaccess removable 2.5” hard drives, available as SATA, SAS, or SSD up to 1 Terabyte each. These independent drives allow operating systems and applications to be installed on a separate volume from the high-speed storage array, improving reliability and enabling maximum storage utilizing all sixteen front-access drives.
NextComputing, Nashua, NH. (603) 886-3874. [www.nextcomputing.com].
12.1-Inch Open Frame Panel PC Offers Full Touch Control A 12.1-inch open frame, color flat panel PC uses a 1.66 GHz single board computer (SBC) based on the Intel Atom processor. The PPC3-12 panel PC from WinSystems is a compact, ready-to-mount flat panel display subsystem that also includes a resistive touchscreen integrated into a chassis less than three inches deep. The open frame (i.e. without a front bezel) chassis permits flexible mounting of the system for OEMs and integrators with tight system integration and minimal space requirements. The PPC3-12 is shipped with a wired Ethernet connection plus expansion option for 802.11 wireless Ethernet and/or CDMA/GSM cellular modems. The unit will operate from -30° to +70°C without the need of a fan. WinSystems offers a single core 1.66 GHz N455 and dual core 1.8 GHz D525 version of the SBC to serve as the computing and display engine for the Panel PC. Both SBCs support a full set of I/O interfaces including two Gigabit Ethernet ports, VGA and dual channel LVDS flat panel video, miniPCI connector to support wireless networking modules, eight USB 2.0 ports, four serial COM ports, 48 digital I/O lines, audio, LPT and PS/2 port for keyboard and mouse. The board also has PC/104 and PC/104-Plus connectors for support of additional off-the-shelf or user-designed specialty I/O modules. The system requires +12V and +5V DC and is RoHS compliant. The price configured with a 1.66 GHz single core N455-based single board computer and 2 Gbyte of system DRAM is $1,149.
PCI/104-Express Board Series Supports CAN and LIN Two new PCI/104-Express boards are designed specifically for use in compact industrial computers and mobile systems. The new PCI/104-Express variants from IXXAT are based on a highly modular architectural concept. In addition to a passive version for cost-sensitive applications, an active version with a powerful 32-bit microcontroller is offered. The active version is specially designed for use in applications with high demands for data preprocessing. Depending on the version, the PCI/104-Express boards are available with up to four CAN interfaces as well as with an optional switchable high-/low speed CAN interface and Local Interconnect Network (LIN) interface. All interfaces are galvanic isolated by default. In accordance with the requirements for industrial and mobile applications, the boards have an extended temperature range from -40° to +85°C.
IXXAT, Bedford, NH. (603) 471-0800. [www.ixxat.com].
WinSystems, Arlington, TX. (817) 274-7553. [www.winsystems.com].
6-Slot MicroTCA System Fast Tracks Application Development Concurrent Technologies has announced the release of the latest addition to their range of MicroTCA development systems. The SY AMC/235 is a free-standing 6-slot, single-width AdvancedMC (AMC) development system designed to fast track application development. To enable rapid development the SY AMC/235 comes pre-installed with a dual core processor SBC currently supporting the 2nd and 3rd generation Intel Core i7 processor with integrated high-performance graphics, an 8 Gbyte SATA flash drive, a MicroTCA Carrier Hub (MCH) and an optional Mass Storage AMC. The SY AMC/235 is based on an EMC enclosure, incorporating an integrated power supply and cooling fans, providing the user with a total of six slots: one slot is reserved for the MicroTCA Carrier Hub (MCH); one slot is reserved for the system controller SBC; one slot supports an optional Mass Storage AMC. The remaining single-width slots can be populated with either two full-height or three mid-height AMC modules for system expansion. The backplane connects each of the five slots with the MCH via a PCI Express (PCIe) fat pipe on the data plane and two 1000 Base-BX (SerDes) links on the control plane.
Concurrent Technologies, Woburn, MA. (781) 933-5900. [www.gocct.com]. August 2012 | COTS Journal
ADVERTISERS INDEX Company Page# Website
Company Page# Website
1553 Boards & PC/104 and PC/104 Family Boards Gallery.............. 53...................................................................
Microsoft Windows Embedded Evolve 2012............................................ 41......................... www.evolve2012tour.com
ACCES I/O Products, Inc....................... 22......................................www.accesio.com
Nallatech, Inc......................................... 36....................................www.nallatech.com
Acromag................................................. 16.................................... www.acromag.com
Ocean Server Technology, Inc............... 50.............................www.ocean-server.com
ADLINK Technology, Inc........................ 29................................. www.adlinktech.com
One Stop Systems, Inc........................... 45........................www.onestopsystems.com
Argon Corp............................................. 47................................. www.argoncorp.com
Pentair Technical Products.................... 27.......................................... www.schroff.us
Avionics Interface Technologies............. 5...................................... www.aviftech.com
Pentek, Inc............................................. 76....................................... www.pentek.com
Azonix Corporation................................ 49........................................www.azonix.com
Phoenix International.............................. 4..................................... www.phenxint.com
Ballard Technology, Inc.......................... 46................................ www.ballardtech.com
Pico Electronics, Inc.............................. 21......................... www.picoelectronics.com
Calculex, Inc.......................................... 43.....................................www.calculex.com
RTD Embedded Technologies, Inc.......... 2...............................................www.rtd.com
Calex Mfg. Co., Inc................................ 39..........................................www.calex.com
RTECC.................................................... 73.......................................... www.rtecc.com
Chassis Plans, LLC................................ 25........................... www.chassis-plans.com
SynQor................................................... 35....................................... www.synqor.com
COTS Journal MILCOM2012 Embedded Pavilion................................ 59......................www.cotsjournalonline.com
Themis Computer................................... 30....................................... www.themis.com
TE Connectivity...................................... 34............................................... www.te.com
Crenlo Cab Products, Inc....................... 37........................................ www.crenlo.com
Triple E Corporation............................... 14.................................. www.tripleease.com
Critical I/O.............................................. 15.................................... www.criticalio.com
VITA........................................................ 51............................................ www.vita.com
Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions.................................. 23............................... www.cwcdefense.com
Xembedded............................................ 28............................... www.xembedded.com Z Microsystems, Inc............................... 44....................................... www.zmicro.com
Data Translation, Inc.............................. 75.......................... www.datatranslation.com Elma Bustronic........................................ 7............................ www.elmabustronic.com Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc...... 33...................................... www.xes-inc.com
GE Intelligent Platforms, Inc.................. 17..........................................www.ge-ip.com
A seasoned embedded technology professional?
Intelligent Systems Source.................... 57..........www.intelligentsystemssource.com
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Lauterbach............................................. 42................................. www.lauterbach.com
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Innovative Integration............................ 19..........................www.innovative-dsp.com
LCR Electronics, Inc............................... 38........................................www.lcr-inc.com Lind Electronics, Inc............................... 4........................... www.lindelectronics.com Mercury Computer Systems, Inc........... 31............................................. www.mc.com Microsemi Corporation.......................... 13................................. www.microsemi.com
CONTACT SANDRA SILLION AT THE RTC GROUP TO EXPLORE AN OPPORTUNITY firstname.lastname@example.org
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: Target Report: Processing Solutions for the Net-Centric Military A major portion of today’s U.S. military platforms is either directly or indirectly involved in communications or networking critical information between warfighters. The trend is toward 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. This section explores the display, computing and networking technologies that are all a part of a net-centric military. Tech Recon: Rugged Laptops and Panel PCs in Defense Applications There’s been a major upward trend in the military toward systems that require sophisticated graphical user interfaces. Often in the form of rugged laptops and panel PCs, this is where the warfighter gets the complex situational awareness data—maps, video, images and text—interfaced directly to military weapons platforms on networks. This section explores the technology trends and capabilities of these mission-critical products. System Development: Space-Qualified Electronics and Subsystems With the Space Shuttle program over and the commercial space industry taking the baton, the space electronics industry is certainly in a period of transition. Feeding those systems, space-based semiconductors and board-level systems must be capable of withstanding everything from intense radiation due to high-energy atoms to bombardments from neutrons and other particles. Articles in this section explore the radiation concerns facing space designers, and update readers on radiation-hardened boards and subsystems as well as ASICs, FPGAs and power components designed for those applications. Tech Focus: Test and Instrumentation Boards For complex, high-performance military systems, the PXI bus form factor and its older cousin VXI have become staples as instrumentation and test solutions. Now the LAN-based LXI form factor is the latest stepchild in this space to emerge on the scene. This Tech Focus section updates readers on the latest trends in these technologies along with a focused product album of representative boards in these architectures. 72
COTS Journal | August 2012
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EDITORIAL Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief
EW and IT: An Evolving Marriage
mbedded computing technologies are central players in Electronic Warfare (EW) systems—everything from FPGA-based data acquisitions systems to spectral monitoring and multi-channel direction-finding electronics. Such systems rely on high-performance computing gear that can reconfigure and upgrade multi-mission profiles in real time— all technology areas squarely in the scope of COTS Journal’s coverage. In contrast, the IT (Information Technology) side of military operations—the sort of office-grade networking, cyberspace warfare and related areas—is normally outside the domain we cover. But as the worlds of electronic warfare and information technology begin to overlap, both are beginning to face challenges in coordinating and keeping pace with one another. A recent GAO report addressed some of the issues ahead as the DoD refines its information operations to allocate electronic warfare responsibilities. These efforts in oversight of electronic warfare capabilities can be complicated by the evolving relationship of EW with computer network operations, which is also an information operations-related capability. The goal is to ensure that all aspects of electronic warfare can be developed and integrated to achieve electromagnetic spectrum control. To do so electronic warfare must be clearly and distinctly defined in its relationship to IT computer network operations—and the emerging domain of cyberspace. In the DoD’s fiscal year 2011 electronic warfare strategy report to Congress, it delineated its electronic warfare strategy as having often co-dependent capabilities: traditional electronic warfare and computer network attack, which are part of cyberspace operations. That said, many operations blur the lines between cyberspace operations and electronic warfare because of the continued expansion of wireless networking and the integration of computers and radio frequency communications. EW capabilities may permit use of the electromagnetic spectrum as a maneuver space for cyberspace operations. For example, EW capabilities may serve as a means of accessing otherwise inaccessible networks to conduct cyberspace operations, presenting new opportunities for offensive action as well as the need for defensive preparations. Some of that evolving relationship between EW and cyberspace ops is part of the DoD’s current joint doctrine for electronic warfare, which was last updated in February. That updated doctrine states that since cyberspace requires both wired and wireless links to transport information, both offensive and defensive cyberspace operations may require use of the electromagnetic spectrum for the enabling of effects in cyberspace. This highlights the complementary nature and potential synergistic effects of electronic warfare and computer 74
COTS Journal | August 2012
network operations. This also emphasizes why they must be coordinated to ensure they are applied to maximize effectiveness. While the DoD has not yet published specific joint doctrine for cyberspace operations, it’s widely acknowledged that the threat is real. Without the proper safeguards, it’s possible for electromagnetic access to successfully penetrate the computer system. For example, an airborne weapons system could be used to deliver malicious code into cyberspace via a wireless connection. That would be characterized as an “electronic warfare-delivered computer network attack.” Meanwhile, the military service branches also have recognized the evolving relationship between electronic warfare and cyberspace operations. For example, to address future challenges, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command conducted an assessment on how the Army’s future force will leverage cyberspace operations and found that the Army’s current vocabulary—including terms such as computer network operations, electronic warfare and information operations—will become increasingly inadequate. According to the Army, these terms are becoming outdated as the operational environment rapidly changes due to factors such as technologic convergence of computer and telecommunication networks, astonishing rates of technologic advancements, and the global proliferation of information and communications technology. For its part, the Navy is first working to define the relationship between electronic warfare and electromagnetic spectrum operations. The Air Force has its Instruction 10-706, Electronic Warfare Operations, which states that traditional electronic warfare capabilities are beginning to overlap with cyberspace areas. This is resulting in an increased number of emerging targets such as non-military leadership networks and positioning, navigation and timing networks. Meanwhile, the message from U.S. Cyber Command officials is that it’s vital to understand how electronic warfare and cyberspace operations capabilities interact in an operational setting. Such information could then inform the further development of doctrine. As the DoD, and its various sub-elements, evolves its strategy for synching IT and EW, it’s clear that developers of military embedded systems for EW will need to keep pace with whatever cyber security and related technologies overlap into their domain. Now that the defense industry has entrenched its preference for Ethernet-based IP networks in both embedded systems and IT networks, there’s a lot of crossover already. It will be important to watch closely as the DoD updates its electronic warfare directives and policy documents to clearly manage the relationship between electronic warfare and information operations or electronic warfare and cyberspace operations, specifically computer network operations. The marriage between them is here to stay.
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DT9824 ̶ Isolated, High Stability, High Accuracy, 10 ppm accuracy
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