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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing


Processing Solutions for the Net-Centric Military

CONTENTS September 2012

Volume 14

Number 9

SPECIAL FEATURE Processing Solutions for the Net-Centric Military

10  Networking and Comms Evolve into Game-Changing Military Resources Jeff Child

20  FPGA Implementations Sometimes Need a Coprocessor

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 The End of the Storm 8

The Inside Track


COTS Products

78 Editorial The Industry Needs List

Jeff Milrod, Bittware

30  Fast Processors Drive Need for Cooling Mobile Electronics Jim Burnett, Aspen Systems

Coming in October See Page 76

TECH RECON Rugged Laptops and Panel PCs

36  Rugged Laptops and Panel PCs Serve Mobile, Connected Military Jeff Child

SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Space-Qualified Electronics and Subsystems

46  Space-Qualified ICs and Systems Leap New Hurdles Jeff Child

54  Space Industry Looks toward On-the-Fly Reconfiguration Bernard Bancelin and Nicolas Ganry, Atmel

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS Test and Instrumentation Boards

64  PXI and PXI Express Dominate Test and Instrumentation Trends Jeff Child


Test and Instrumentation Boards Roundup Digital subscriptions available:

On The Cover: The Mobile User Objective System is an array of geosynchronous satellites being developed for the DoD to provide global (SATCOM) narrowband connectivity for communications use by the U.S. and allies. Shown here is the MUOS ground station at Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific, Wahiawa, Hawaii. (Photo by MC Specialist 2nd Class John W. Ciccarelli Jr.).

Solid or Spin...

The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

we go both ways

Publisher PRESIDENT John Reardon, PUBLISHER Pete Yeatman,



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COTS Journal | September 2012

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NOTEBOOK The End of the Storm


his fall should be a whirlwind for the military electronics industry with elections, sequestration, and a continuing depressed worldwide economy in play. Some will benefit and some may suffer. Most players in the military market have already compensated or planned for what they anticipate as the effect that the outcome of these events may end up having on their organizations. The results of November’s elections will definitely be a jump ball for the military and its suppliers. With the two houses of congress and the presidency in play for potential change, the effect of these results on the military is wide open. On the supplier side, an even bigger issue may be the worldwide economy. Aside from depressed sales, these economic times promote acquisition of critical talent and technology. In the commercial world we are seeing small companies with critical technology expertise being acquired by larger companies. One of the latest technology interests is flash memory: IBM and Texas Memory Systems, EMC and XtremIO, LSI and SanForce, with others in the works. In the military industry a technology of interest is RF communication front ends: Mercury and Micronetics, Easterline and Eclipse, and more like those to come. The issue of sequestration sets in place mandated budget cuts of $1.2 trillion dollars over 10 years, or $100 billion on January 2, 2013. $40 billion of additional cuts are to come from the defense budget; the other $60 billion must come from non-defense budgets. However we only hear about the defense cuts. The reason for this is that defense cuts come from programs and projects in the works. The non-defense cuts will mostly come from proposed programs that just won’t be put in place, or raises that won’t be initiated. There is no question that prime contractors have already begun to do this, but they will need to lean out their workforce even more. The question is where and which primes will be most affected. Keeping the impending additional cuts in the news is key to keeping the pressure on the government to act and make prudent decisions on the budget rather than blanket cuts. Logic—if in play—mandates that new military programs will be more affected by cuts than existing programs. Cancellation charges can be much lower on new uninitiated programs than for on-going programs, resulting in less of a loss of real material to the services. However, teams to work on new programs that might be eliminated but are retained by the primes pending the outcome of the sequestration issue will be let go when it goes into effect. The elimination of these real jobs and talent will have a greater impact on the economy than the effect of not implementing a potential non-military government program with its associated potential employment positions being eliminated. 6

COTS Journal | September 2012

Amongst all the gloom and doom is the good news that rarely gets any notice. There is reason for primes and suppliers to feel good. There will be shifts in programs causing consternation and individual dilemmas, but that also means there will be new opportunities. With a reduction in uniformed and civilian employees by the services, there will be an increased need for technology replacing the functions these individuals performed. These resultant technology needs will not be of the size and scope of an F-35 or Future Combat System; they will be smaller but there will be many more of them. Our industry is aware of these potential opportunities and has started to act to make sure it is in the position to take advantage of these needs. As reported by Jeff Child, COTS Journal’s Editor in Chief, it is clearly evident that our industry is showing increased momentum. The Las Vegas AUVSI conference had over 550 exhibitors and more than 7400 attendees. A major portion of these exhibitors came from the electronics industry. Many of the attendees that came to our booth to speak with Jeff affirmed the concept that opportunities for existing programs and program upgrades are really picking up. When reviewing the initial exhibitor list for MILCOM 2012 in Orlando, here too there is an increase in the number of embedded electronics military suppliers. Both of these conferences are key indicators of the military electronics market, and whether exhibiting or attending, it requires a financial commitment. Couple that conference information with a start in the flow of upgrade and technology insertion orders, and things are looking pretty good. For example, recently BAE received an additional $353 million order on top of a previous $340 million upgrade order for M3 Bradleys. More similar orders will be forthcoming especially for upgrades and refurbishment of hardware that is being moved to Reserve and National Guard units. Although the overall military direction and focus may still be in the storm, the electronic suppliers may have had the worst of the storm pass. Now it’s a function of picking up the pieces and rebuilding stronger than before.

Pete Yeatman, Publisher COTS Journal


INSIDE TRACK Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Demo SEWIP Electronic Attack Capability Navy Lockheed Martin and Raytheon demonstrated a potential electronic attack solution for the U.S. Navy’s Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) during the multinational Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) maritime exercise near Hawaii. The team’s potential electronic attack solution went to sea aboard Lockheed Martin’s mobile Integrated Common Electronic Warfare System test bed to demonstrate proposed improvements to the fleet’s capability to electronically attack anti-ship missiles, in advance of a Navy competition later this summer. SEWIP (Figure 1) is an evolutionary development of block upgrades to the AN/SLQ-32 electronic warfare system installed on all U.S. aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers and other warships to improve anti-ship missile defense, counter targeting and counter surveillance activities. The Lockheed Martin-Raytheon team completed thorough land-based integration and test activities of its SEWIP Block 3 solution earlier this year in a realistic, simulated environment at Lockheed Martin’s new $3.5 million electronic warfare test facility in Syracuse, N.Y. The Navy competitively awarded Lockheed Martin the SEWIP Block 2 contract in November 2009 to upgrade the passive detection capabilities of the fleet’s AN/SLQ-32 systems and establish a framework to easily install future upgrades. The company held a successful critical design review in February 2011 and is now integrating and testing its SEWIP Block 2 solution on two engineering development models.

Army Orders 13,000 More JTRS HMS Rifleman Radios from General Dynamics General Dynamics C4 Systems has received a new order from the U.S. Army for an additional 13,000 Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (HMS) AN/PRC-154 Rifleman radios and accessory kits. This is the second order placed by the Army for PRC-154 Rifleman radios, bringing the number of radios ordered by the government to more than 19,000. The new order is valued at approximately $53.9 million. Both the JTRS HMS PRC-154 Rifleman and two-channel AN/ PRC-155 Manpack networking radios are planned for inclusion in the Army’s Capability Set 13, which is to be delivered to


Infantry Brigade Combat Teams beginning in October 2012. The PRC-154 Rifleman radio enables soldiers on the battlefield to have mobile voice, video and data communications capabilities similar to those available through commercial cellular networks. The two-channel PRC-155 Manpack radio is the only JTRS radio to successfully demonstrate all three transformational government waveforms: the Soldier Radio Waveform, the Wideband Networking Waveform and the Mobile User Objective System satellite-communications waveform. It is also interoperable with legacy waveforms including SINCGARS. General Dynamics C4 Systems Scottsdale, AZ. (480) 441-3033. [].

COTS Journal | September 2012

Figure 1

SEWIP is an evolutionary development of block upgrades to the AN/ SLQ-32 electronic warfare system to improve anti-ship missile defense, counter targeting and counter surveillance activities. Lockheed Martin, Bethesda, MD. (301) 897-6000. []. Raytheon, Waltham, MA. (781) 522-3000. [].

L-3 Wins Voltage Switchgear Contract for LHA 7 Amphibious Assault Ship L-3 SPD Electrical Systems has been awarded a contract from Huntington Ingalls Industries Shipbuilding to supply the Medium Voltage Switchgear and the associated circuit breakers for the U.S. Navy’s latest amphibious assault ship, the LHA 7 (Figure 2). The L-3 SPDES Medium Voltage Switchgear and circuit breakers provide the proven, compact, shock-tested power equipment needed to support electrical distribution for the ship’s services and operating requirements. L-3 SPDES is a trusted supplier, having provided similar power distribution products on all Nimitz-class carriers, as well as LHD 8 and LHA 6.

Figure 2

An artist’s rendering of the amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA 7) to be built in 2013. L-3 claims to be well positioned to provide the Medium Voltage Switchgear for LHA 7 thanks to strong program performance on LHA 6. The group helped the U.S. Navy to build more affordable ships by using an approach that minimized non-recurring efforts. A division of L-3 Marine & Power Systems, Philadelphia-based L-3 SPD Electrical Systems (SPDES)


is a leading supplier of shockhardened circuit breakers and switchgear used aboard U.S. Navy vessels and has supported every major U.S. Navy shipbuilding program. L-3 Communications New York, NY. (212) 697-1111. [].

BAE Systems Gets $306 Million Contract Modification to Upgrade Bradleys BAE Systems received a $306 million contract modification to upgrade 353 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. This production contract is in addition to $340 million in funding the company has received to purchase upgrade materials for the Bradley program, bringing the full contract total to $646 million. The upgraded Bradleys will be provided to the Minnesota and Pennsylvania National Guard units. The company will also provide upgraded vehicles for Combined Armed Battalions to the Kansas, South Carolina and Ohio National Guard units. As the systems integrator, BAE Systems will upgrade Bradley Operation Desert Storm M2A2, M3A2 (Figure 3) and M7 Bradley Fire Support Team vehicles to Operation Desert Storm Situational Awareness (ODS-SA) configurations. The Bradley ODS-SA upgrade integrates the latest digitized electronics providing soldiers with optimal situational awareness, network connectivity and enhanced communication hardware. Its proven durability and commonality of design reduces the logistics burden while enhancing battlefield performance to meet a variety of mission requirements in

Figure 3

The Bradley ODS-SA upgrade integrates the latest digitized electronics providing soldiers with optimal situational awareness, network connectivity and enhanced communication hardware. close-combat, urban scenarios and open-combat situations. The contract was awarded by the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command with final delivery expected in April 2014. BAE Systems McLean, VA. (703) 847-5820. [].

Lockheed Martin Wins $65 Million Contract for Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Lockheed Martin received a $65 million contract from the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps to continue developing the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) through the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase. The Lockheed Martin team optimized a JLTV model already proven in government testing to create its EMD design. The production-enhanced JLTV maintains the proven force protection, mobility, transportability and reliability of the earlier Technology Demonstration (TD) model, while significantly reducing weight and cost. The team’s

JLTV design reflects improvements from more than 160,000 combined testing miles. Formed in 2005, the Lockheed Martin-led JLTV team includes tactical wheeled vehicles expertise at BAE Systems in Sealy, Texas, which is an industry leader in advanced armor solutions and high volume assembly. The firm fixed-price contract has a 27-month performance period with deliveries of 22 vehicles taking place within 12 to 14 months. Primary variants with companion trailers include the utility carrier and shelter (JLTV-UTL), a two-seat prime mover with an open bed; and the general-purpose vehicle (JLTV-GP), which is a fourseater that will carry troops, ammunition and small supplies. Lockheed Martin Bethesda, MD. (301) 897-6000. [].

GE Aviation to Provide Systems on Boeing KC46A Tanker GE Aviation announced it has signed an agreement with Boeing potentially worth up to $180 million to provide the mission control system for the U.S. Air Force’s KC-46A tanker (Figure 4). The agreement includes design, development and production throughout the life of the program. GE Aviation was selected for the mission control system including the flight management system (FMS). The FMS provides the ability to fly shorter flight paths and idlethrust descents, which reduce fuel consumption while lowering emissions and reducing community noise impact. GE’s mission control system will provide the integrated communications

Figure 4

Artist’s conception of the KC46A. Boeing will build up to 179 of these next-generation aerial refueling tanker aircraft to replace the Air Force’s fleet of 416 KC-135 tankers. management function to support air traffic management data link, including the first implementation of the Aeronautical Telecommunications Network on a U.S. DoD air vehicle. Software and hardware updates provide the latest technology to continue to meet the needs of the world’s evolving airspace, offering safe and efficient improvements to aircraft operations. GE’s optimized descent flight management system is an ecomagination product. Boeing will build up to 179 next-generation aerial refueling tanker aircraft that will begin to replace the Air Force’s fleet of 416 KC-135 tankers. GE Aviation Cincinnati, OH. (513) 243-2000. [].

September 2012 | COTS Journal


SPECIAL FEATURE Processing Solutions for the Net-Centric Military


COTS Journal | September 2012

Networking and Comms Evolve into GameChanging Military Resources On land, in the air and in space, the U.S. military continues to build out its next-generation communications and network infrastructure. Meanwhile consumer technologies are securing a role alongside specialized military communications gear. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


ontinuing an accelerating DoD-wide effort over the past decade, the next generation of technology development for military networking and communications is headed toward a goal of full interoperable operations. This move toward network-centric warfare, enhanced situational awareness and increased use of commercial technology is the focus of much technology development and funding activities. Defense communications technologies such as tactical radios and military satellite and network-centric communications are the key technologies driving this transition. Either directly or indirectly, the requirements of many of today’s U.S. military platforms are involved in communications or networking critical information between warfighters. Net-centricity is a service-based architecture pattern for information sharing. Falling under the responsibility of the DoD’s September 2012 | COTS Journal



Figure 1

Lockheed Martin’s Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) in thermal vacuum testing in September 2011. Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Intelligence (C4I) community, the ongoing plan is building joint architectures and roadmaps for integrating joint airborne networking capabilities with the evolving ground, maritime and space networks. It encompasses the development of technologies like gateways, waveforms, network management and information assurance. Feeding the needs of those systems are next-generation embedded computing solutions— in the form of single board computers, box-level systems and special-function subsystems—used to build sophisticated compute-intensive radio and network nodes—each suited for different environments, platforms and warfighter users.

Communications Front and Center Even with defense budget cuts looming, many expect that networking and comms related programs will survive reductions more than other segments. 12

COTS Journal | September 2012

The thinking is that in a reduced-sized military, the ability to do more situational awareness and reconnaissance becomes more of a priority when forces are smaller or in a less active mode. The systems span across all the branches, and include programs like the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite and Wideband Global Satellite (WGS). Airborne comms systems are playing a role too, such as those aboard the Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle, the RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 20 and the P-8A Poseidon. Other programs play closer to the user like the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program and the Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WINT), which also form a vital part of this net-centric continuum. Among the major spaced-based DoD communications programs is its Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), the nextgeneration DoD advanced narrow band

Ultra High Frequency (UHF) communications satellite constellation. MUOS consists of four satellites in geosynchronous orbit with one on-orbit spare and a fiber optic terrestrial network connecting four ground stations. The MUOS satellite includes the new networked payload and a separate legacy payload. The MUOS will replace the existing UHF Follow-On (UFO) constellation and provide a much higher data rate capability for mobile users. The plan is to be able to produce 16 beams per satellite with data rates of 64 Kbits/s “on the move.” The DoD Teleport will be the portal to the Defense Information System Network (DSN, SIPRNET and NIPRNET).

Space-Based Communications In February the first MUOS satellite (Figure 1), built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Navy, was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.


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SPECIAL FEATURE S latitude worldwide. The AEHF is a collaborative program that also includes resources for Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. This includes eight full time spot beam antennas at 75 bit/s to 8.192 Mbit/s data rate and 24 time shared spot beam coverages at 75 bit/s to 2.048 Mbit/s data rate. Two crosslink antennas per satellite provide 60 Mbit/s and up to 160 simultaneous agile beam coverages provide 75 bit/s to 8.192 Mbit/s data rates. The mission of the AEHF constellation is to provide survivable, anti-jam, worldwide secure communications for strategic and tactical warfighters. Also built by Lockheed Martin, the first AEHF military communications space vehicle (SV-1) was launched on Aug. 14, 2010 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. In February the satellite had completed on-orbit testing that included establishing communications networks between combinations of EHF terminals at the backward-compatible MILSTAR data rates as well as at the new AEHF extended data rates. On-orbit testing began with SV-1 then progressed with SV-1 networked with the MILSTAR constellation. The second satellite AEHF-2 was successfully launched in May.

Communications Relays Aboard UAVs

Figure 2

The EQ-4 communication relay configuration of the RQ-4 Block 20 Global Hawk includes a communications-relay system called the Battlefield Airborne Communication Node (BACN) payload. This first MUOS satellite and associated ground system will provide initial onorbit capability this year with the foursatellite global constellation achieving full operational capability in 2015. In July Lockheed Martin completed on-orbit testing of MUOS-1, paving the way for the U.S. Navy’s multi-service operational test and evaluation phase in preparation for the start of operations. 14

COTS Journal | September 2012

Another important satellite program is Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) system. AEHF will be a constellation of communications satellites in geosynchronous orbit that will replenish the existing EHF system MILSTAR satellite at a much higher capacity and data rate capability. It will provide 24-hour low, medium and extended data rate satellite connectivity from 65 N to 65

While the primary missions on most large and medium UAVs are situational awareness and reconnaissance, the idea of adding communications relay payloads to those platforms has taken a firm hold. Based on the Predator design, the Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle also has the unique mission of communications relay—which was not part of the Predator’s function. In June, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems announced the recent deployment of the first full company of Gray Eagle UAS, F/227. Unlike previous Predator-class deployments, that system fielding does not rely on a legacy Ground Control Station (GCS). Instead it supports the One System GCS/ Universal GCS combined with the Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL) architecture. The Grey Eagle does both Common Data Link (CDL) line-of-sight communications/air data relay communications and satellite communications. Meanwhile the RQ-4 Block 20 Global Hawk (Figure 2) also includes a communications-relay payload. Block 20s were ini-

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Figure 3

In preparation for the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E), soldiers trained on-the-move during the new equipment training at Fort Bliss, Texas. tially fielded with IMINT-only capabilities, but four Block 20s will be converted to an EQ-4 communication relay configuration carrying the Battlefield Airborne Communication Node (BACN) payload. Northrop Grumman’s BACN’s Airborne Executive Processor (AEP) enables a persistent Gateway in the sky that receives, bridges and distributes communication among all participants in a battle. BACN’s AEP provides translator and gateway interfaces among all supported communications systems, and forwards knowledge-based intelligence information to the Global Information Grid. By controlling the AEP via a ground station, BACN becomes radio agnostic, platform agnostic and untethered.

More Waveforms for JTRS The communications and networking program that is closer to the end user is the DoD’s Joint Tactical Radio 16

COTS Journal | September 2012

System (JTRS) program. It encompasses ground, airborne, vehicular, maritime and small form fit variants of the radio hardware; 17 Increment 1 waveforms for porting into the JTRS hardware; and network management applications. All JTRS products are being developed in a joint environment to ensure interoperability and the enhancement of hardware and software commonality and reusability. The JTRS Ground Mobile Radio (GMR) program has been cancelled, as the Army has revised its requirements and is seeking a more affordable solution. The FY 2013 Budget funds the development, testing and manufacture of JTRS engineering development models (EDMs), low rate initial production (LRIP) and full rate production (FRP), to include hardware and software, as well as sustainment of fielded radios and certified waveforms.

Earlier this year the JTRS JPEO Network Enterprise Domain (NED), in conjunction with SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic, completed the Very High Frequency/Ultra High Frequency (VHF/UHF) Line of Sight (VULOS, version 2.1.1a) waveform. The effort commenced in October 2009 and was completed on 31 May 2012. The VULOS waveform supports 22 narrow and wideband Line of Sight communication modes across the VHF and UHF bands. The waveform is capable of data rates ranging from 2400 to 56000 bits per second. Originally developed by Harris under the JTRS Cluster 1 program in 2007, SSC LANT upgraded the waveform to the latest Software Communications Architecture (SCA) and National Security Agency (NSA) Information Assurance (IA) requirements and added the Air Traffic Control modes.

SPECIAL FEATURE The VULOS waveform completed Functional Qualification Testing (FQT) in October 2011 and demonstrated interoperability with a number of commercial radios including the Harris AN/ PRC-117F and the Raytheon AN/PSC-5. The JTRS Test and Evaluation Laboratory (JTEL) certified VULOS compliant with SCA 2.2.2 in March 2012. The NSA conducted an IA Assessment on VULOS in December 2011 and has completed a delta-IA Assessment in June 2012.

More Testing for WIN-T and JTRS Another program that’s more on the hands-on side of net-centic operations is the Army’s Warfighter Information Network–Tactical (WIN-T) effort. This is the Army’s on-the-move, high-speed, high-capability backbone communications network, linking warfighters in the battlefield with the Global Information Grid (GIG). The system is being developed as a network for reliable, secure and seamless video, data, imagery and voice services






General Atomics San Diego, CA. (858) 455-3000. [].


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

7+((0%(''('352'8&766285&( 1.800.548.2319

Untitled-9 1 COTS Journal | September 2012 18

for the warfighters in the theater to enable decisive combat actions. The WIN-T program consists of four increments. Increment 1 (Inc 1) provides “networking at the halt� by upgrading the Joint Network Node (JNN) satellite capability to access the Ka-band defense Wideband Global Satellite (WGS). Increment 2 (Inc 2) provides initial networking on-the-move to the battlefield. Increment 3 (Inc 3) provides full networking on-the-move via air tier. Increment 4 (Inc 4) provides protected satellite communications on-the-move. The DoD’s FY 2013 Budget procures and continues to field WIN-T Inc 1 to the Army, with a Ka satellite upgrade. Fielding of Inc 1 will be completed by the end of 2QFY12, and Inc 1b Material Work Order (MWO) fielding will start in 4QFY12. WIN-T Inc 2 is currently in Limited Rate Initial Production (LRIP) in anticipation of its Initial Operational Test in FY 2012 followed by Full Rate Production in FY 2013. WIN-T Inc 3 continues in its Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) phase to deliver full networking on-the-move, including the airborne tier. This past spring the U.S. Army began conducting realistic operational evaluations of the next generation of high-speed communications equipment developed for ground forces using WIN-T Increment 2 (Figure 3) and the JTRS Manpack and Rifleman Radios. It was the largest deployment yet of the General Dynamics-developed JTRS HMS Manpack and Rifleman Radios and the Warfighter Information NetworkTactical (WIN-T) network. Those two networking programs of record completed operational testing at the Network Integration Exercise (NIE) 12.2 at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. earlier this year.

9/4/12 4:01 PM

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

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SPECIAL FEATURE Processing Solutions for the Net-Centric Military

FPGA Implementations Sometimes Need a Coprocessor While FPGAs provide a myriad of benefits, they’re plagued with numerous challenges. A coprocessor approach helps optimize performance and ease system development. Jeff Milrod, President and CEO Bittware


PGAs are the de facto choice for military algorithm processing in land- , sea- and air-based platforms. They’ve increasingly replaced standalone DSPs because FPGAs offer flexibility, high-density/high-performance processing, onboard soft- or hard-core CPUs, gigabit I/O and reconfigurability. Depending upon instantiation and overall system design, they have the potential to maximize system SWaP. They are also a favorite mezzanine approach in PMC or FMC flavors plugged onto already highperformance SBCs in VME, VPX and other open-standard formats. But FPGAs aren’t perfect and FPGA computing implementations sometimes fall short in practice. They’re hard to program initially since high-level tools for coding in C, C++ or OpenCL are in their infancy, and making small logic changes to modify algorithms can feel like starting over in VHDL. While integer math is doable, floating point operations create substantial challenges. And FPGA cores/processors may not provide enough cores for some algorithms such as high radix FFTs. But there is good news: CPU vendors like Intel (x86), AMD (Am29K) and others years ago found ways to solve these kinds of problems by adding a math coprocessor. Why not take the same approach with an FPGA? 20

COTS Journal | September 2012

FPGA Work Flow The work flow is to design the main system FPGA (or FPGAs) once in HDL, then execute high-intensity floating point math in a coprocessor that’s programmable in C/C++ or OpenCL. The coprocessor algorithm can be readily changed, there’s a fast data pipe between chips, and efficient coprocessing performance might allow choosing a smaller and cheaper FPGA—improving SWaP in dense systems such as UAV/UAS. In effect: an FPGA coprocessor can make an effective co-pilot in high-performance, algorithm-based signal processing systems. FPGAs can do great DSP in many cases—but not all cases. Outstanding FPGA signal processing success stories indeed exist. It’s helpful to examine what they have in common. The three types of situations are: the system already contains FPGAs managing realtime I/O; the I/O drives computational resources in the FPGA; or the processing requirements are well defined. A marriage between I/O and computation describes a large percentage of DSP applications, and indeed FPGAs are frequently used in signal processing applications. But what additional factors are required for the successful signal processing FPGA deployment? Table 1 lists a variety of

system metrics that point to where FPGAs work well, and where they could use a little assistance from an algorithmic coprocessor.

Data Dependent Algorithms FPGA computation is more likely to be successful when algorithms are “dataindependent.” Put another way, if the algorithm contains few “IF” statements or can be expressed as a state machine, FPGA tools are more capable of translating that algorithm into efficient Register Transfer Level (RTL, hardware’s assembly language). A second key insight that points to successful implementations is that FPGAs are appropriate platforms when the algorithm is well defined, stable and “mature.” In such cases the challenges of FPGA coding, timing closure, simulation and verification are minimized. So far we’ve described two important FPGA DSP algorithm classes: fixed algorithm and data independent. But there are other DSP considerations where FPGAs fall short. An FPGA is a questionable choice when an algorithm isn’t mature or is ever changing in response to new threats or modes, since expressing computations using gates requires significantly more effort to code, optimize and test than a traditionally programmable processor. For example, when coding a processor—even

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External I/O Link Port: North eCore







Register File Network Interface & DMA

Segmented Memory


BittWare Anemone AN104-SACP




eCore 1,0


eCore 1,1

eCore 2,0



eCore 2,2

eCore 3,1










External I/O Link Port: East

External I/O Link Port: West


eCore 3,2


External I/O Link Port: South

Figure 1

The initial Anemone coprocessor, AN104, uses 16 cores to balance performance with I/O to the FPGA since fine-grained acceleration of an FPGA requires data movement and synchronization. If more FLOPS are required, additional coprocessors can be added. in assembly—the developer doesn’t have to worry about hardware timing closure. Thus, to meet development schedules, or to even have a schedule at all, the algorithm can’t be changing. Another suspect use case for FPGA implementation is when the algorithm is data dependent—that is, the algorithm changes based upon the specific data flowing through the chip. In this case, every possible “IF” result must have a separate path in the hardware—thus requiring exponential development time and logic resources.

Alternatives Tried for Helping FPGAs FPGAs are “Good” for half of the system metrics listed in the Table 1 on page 26, but are found wanting for the other half. This is not a new revelation. Therefore several attempts have been made at overcoming the shortcomings. Before FPGAs were able to perform most of a system’s signal processing needs, an external CPU or stand-alone DSP performed some calculations, while the FPGA performed others. To consolidate 22

COTS Journal | September 2012

functions onto the FPGA for board, cost and power savings, an early solution was to put CPU cores inside an FPGA. This approach began with “soft” cores and extended to include hard cores. In 2002, Xilinx integrated “hard” PowerPC cores. Today industry leaders Altera and Xilinx both offer FPGAs with popular ARM cores inside. Theoretically, this could reduce SWaP, close datadependency gaps and aid in multiprocessing DSP applications. Unfortunately, integrated cores have only successfully addressed the low end of the data-dependent and complexity challenges. We say “low end” because integrated cores have had narrower feature sets and lower clock speeds than separate DSP/CPU and embedded microprocessors. They are simply not powerful enough for most signal processing applications. However, integrated cores are ideal for out-of-band and “housekeeping” applications—which all systems have— such as hosting a USB protocol stack or controlling the data processing through the rest of the FPGA.

FPGAs also are hard to program, although High-Level Synthesis (HLS) tools and C-to-RTL or C-to-gates tools are attempting to improve this challenge. Conceptually, these tools allow developers to abstract the FPGA or program it in standard C, thereby enabling rapid algorithm changes. Altera has plans to add OpenCL tools in future releases of Quartus. So far in practice this hasn’t worked out yet, since low-level hardware dependencies are ever present, and the abstractions and C end up having to depend upon language extensions that significantly deviate from standards and/or generate code that instantiates a runtime architecture that is effectively a soft processing core. And by their nature, DSP functions need to run “bare metal” to wring every cycle of performance out of an FPGA’s logic, which flies in the face of programming at a higher abstraction level. Arguably these tools have reduced the gap, but specialized design skills and extensive compile variations and simulations are still required. These problems are exacerbated with the data dependencies inherent in DSP.


New Approach to Extend FPGAs For many DSP algorithms that run in an FPGA-based system, the coprocessor idea has substantial merit. Rather than embed â&#x20AC;&#x153;low-endâ&#x20AC;? hard or soft cores in the FPGA to get more processing resources or try to abstract the FPGA to make it programmable with a standard methodology, an external chip full of processing resources could provide standard C language design flows to the FPGA. What would be the characteristics for such an algorithmic coprocessor? Ideally, it would be a highly efficient coprocessor tightly integrated with the FPGA to extend the performance of the FPGA while providing straightforward C programmability. If the FPGA is coded and for all practical purposes â&#x20AC;&#x153;lockedâ&#x20AC;? in RTL, then the programmable part of algorithm development should occur in the coprocessor. Having it support floating point would further simplify the design and implementation of new and changing algorithms. Leveraging the trend to multicore would bring impressive peak performance numbers and could dramati-

Figure 2

The AAFM FMC board with four Anemone AN104 floating point coprocessors for FPGAs. cally lower power consumption making it more effective at addressing embedded military and SWaP demands. The coprocessor could sit directly on the FPGA fabric, looking to VHDL or Verilog designs just like an embedded soft or hard core. This tight integration would give the coprocessor direct access to data

inside the FPGA, or memory connected to the FPGA, and allow very fine-grained interaction with the FPGA, and vice versa. This new FPGA algorithmic coprocessor approach would combine the best of both worlds. It maintains the uncompromised strengths of the FPGA for implementing predictable data-independent integer algorithms, while overcoming data dependence and algorithmic complexity challenges by leveraging the ease of use and power efficiency of a programmable multicore processor. Such a device extends the capabilities of FPGAs and better realizes DSP designersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; dreams to replace external DSPs in many, if not most, embedded signal processing systems.

Coprocessor Designed to Assist FPGAs Ideally, the algorithmic coprocessor would feature a tiny but repeatable set of cores that are optimized for f loating-point calculations and integrated with high-performance interconnections to allow scalable mul-

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Untitled-2 1 COTS Journal | September 2012 24

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FPGAs: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Ease of programming

Bad (but getting better)

FPGAs are programmed in HDL (VHDL or Verilog); the designer is essentially designing an integrated circuit. There are few choices (yet) for programming FPGAs in a high-level language like C/C++ or OpenCL, and the ones that exist are very immature.

Ease of changing program


FPGA vendors’ tool sets now offer some support for changes to only portions of logic; however, timing closure, place and route, simulation, verification, and other system-level functions to realize the whole design are still challenging.

Flexible on/off chip I/O


Clearly, FPGAs are ideal for flexible I/O. Virtually any memory interface, I/O signaling standard, or high-speed SERDES can be supported. Also provides prodigious quantities of I/O.

Floating point operations


Many signal processing algorithms require floating point math (as opposed to fixed-point or integer).

Performance density


When used with well-defined, parallel state machine implementations (e.g. FFTs, FIRs, matrix math)—there is nothing better.


Good to Bad

They’re high density, but power hungry. It’s a tradeoff between cost, FPGA size/density, and power consumption. When used to implement well suited algorithms, FPGAs can be extremely efficient, otherwise they can be a poor fit.

Data independent algorithms Good

FPGAs are a good fit for processing that is predictable and repetitive—especially if it can be expressed as a state machine. Conversely, data-dependent algorithms (IF statements) are difficult, if not impossible to implement, and require substantial real estate and verification testing to cover corner cases.

Complex & data dependent algorithms


These implementations are extremely difficult to implement in FPGAs, and are rarely even attempted (such as CFAR, target identification, pattern recognition and so on).

Well-defined or mature algorithms


DSP algorithms are difficult to implement in FPGAs)—therefore they should be mature, stable, and rarely changed; even better if they are already available in an FPGA vendor’s library.

Evolving or adaptive algorithms


Because FPGAs are difficult to program, and are hard to modify, they can be a poor choice for evolving or adaptive processing (e.g. IED detection with an every changing threat model).

Table 1

FPGAs: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. They’re good at many things, but not for every processing need.

ticore implementations. Seeing the opportunity this new approach provides to designers wrestling with DSP in FPGAs, BittWare partnered with startup Adapteva to develop just such a f loating-point coprocessor for FPGAs. The resulting chip is the Anemone coprocessor for FPGAs. This coprocessor isn’t based upon general purpose CPU architectures such as that from ARM, PowerPC or MIPS; rather, it has a DSP optimized instruction set that is designed for efficiency, coprocessing and minimizing the weaknesses of FPGAs. The architecture is optimized around an efficient floating-point unit (FPU) that’s great for both DSP and ease of use. The result of this tight focus is that a single core can deliver 1.5 GFLOPS in about 60 mW, or 25 GFLOPS per watt. By comparison, a wristwatch consumes twice the power and runs for a year off a button battery. The coprocessor reduces system development cost and directly bridges the FPGA’s gaps shown in Table 1 by enabling out-of-the-box execution of applications written in regular ANSI C. It does not use any C subset, language extensions, SIMD, or other “funny stuff.” Standard GNU development tools are supported including an optimizing C compiler, simulator, GDB debugger with support for multicore, and an Eclipse multicore IDE. Higher level tools and abstractions such as OpenCL,

Multicore Debugging: Mix & Match Untitled-7 1 COTS Journal | September 2012 26

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multicore profilers and optimized libraries further enhance the opportunity for the coprocessor approach to improve productivity.

Mulitcore Processing Solution The initial Anemone coprocessor, the AN104, uses 16 cores to balance performance with I/O to the FPGA since fine-grained acceleration of an FPGA requires data movement and synchronization. If more FLOPS are required,

additional coprocessors can be gluelessly added to create seamless arrays of larger core counts (Figure 1). Future generations will boast up to 64 cores each and will deliver 96 GFLOPS of double precision floating-point processing while achieving efficiencies exceeding 50 GFLOPS per watt. From the perspective of the FPGA, the coprocessor looks much like an embedded core. The coprocessor’s linkport endpoint core interfaces directly to stan-

dard FPGA data fabrics such as Avalon and AXI. This tight integration gives direct access to data inside the FPGA (and vice versa). The coprocessor software tools support fine-grained interaction with the FPGA, as well as direct host access and code debug through the FPGA. Of course, the coprocessor is much faster than any internal core and uses very little power. To take make this new approach readily available for COTS military deployments such as UAVs, Anemone is available on an open-standard FMC card, convection or conduction-cooled (Figure 2). Carrying a total of 64 cores on four coprocessors, providing a total 96 GFLOPS of coprocessing, it can be integrated on to any FMC carrier FPGA card, facilitating rapid deployment on existing carrier cards (such as VPX, CompactPCI, PCIe & AMC). In addition, BittWare is rolling out 3U and 6U VPX boards, also available convection or conduction-cooled, which already have the Anemone AN104 integrated on board with Altera’s Stratix V.

FPGAs Made Perfect? It has been well understood that the inherent flexibility of an FPGA does not come for free, especially in signal processing applications. Many attempts to mitigate these costs have been tried in the past, but none of these has proven effective or achieved even moderately wide adoption. Adding an external coprocessor to FPGAs is a new approach that promises to finally succeed in mitigating most (if not all) of FPGA limitations executing signal processing—such as once and for all bringing C/C++ to FPGAs. This offers system designers the best of both worlds: the flexibility and massive resources of FPGAs, combined with the ease of use and power efficiency of a programmable multicore processor. This approach could prove ideal for embedded applications in the evolving modern-day military that increasingly require high performance, productivity, flexibility and adaptability—all while improving SWaP. BittWare Concord, NH. (603) 226-0404. []. Untitled-1 1 COTS Journal | September 2012 28

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SPECIAL FEATURE Processing Solutions for the Net-Centric Military

Fast Processors Drive Need for Cooling Mobile Electronics As the military demands ever faster processing, the challenge to manage the heat dissipation involved gets trickier all the time. As a result, the importance of thermal management systems has moved to the forefront. Jim Burnett, Director-Government Business Development Aspen Systems


ilitary electronics in use for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) missions are required to withstand the extreme climate conditions of desert and mountainous operational theaters. Further, the government has focused on reducing the cost of these systems, including the use of COTS electronics. In combination these events have increased system power density and reduced the ability to reject waste heat, while operating in extreme environments. The requirement for effective cooling strategies and components is becoming a critical consideration in designing high-end computing, sensing and communications systems. Under certain conditions and requirements, designers can meet these cooling needs without incorporating a dedicated thermal management subsystem. However, when the C4ISR requirements must be carried out in sealed enclosures and/or extreme environments, traditional cooling techniques simply will not work. In these cases it is necessary to have an environmental control unit (ECU) that can maintain the required temperature of these electronics while minimizing the impact on size, weight and power (SWAP) requirements of the system. 30

COTS Journal | September 2012

Heat-Sensitive Devices There are several types of heat-sensitive, high-power devices that are innate to the new mission requirements and therefore present a significant thermal management challenge. A few classes of devices that have been identified as particularly problematic are phased array antennas, field programmable gate arrays, certain sensors and radar systems. It is certain that there are other types of devices and electronics yet to be identified that are problematic as well. This paper discusses some of the basics of heat transfer from these devices, and provides information on options for ECUs that will effectively cool electronics with a minimal impact on SWAP requirements. The focus of this discussion is on transferring heat to the ultimate heat sink, usually ambient air, and the benefits of active cooling systems. All electronics systems produce waste heat due to inefficiencies in the system. Figure 1 shows the energy balance of an electronics system. The power in equals the power out, less the energy of inefficiency (electric energy converted to waste heat). This simplification becomes useful as we look at the function of thermal management in cooling electronics systems. The need for thermal management in electronic systems is usually driven by the maximum temperature of semicon-

ductors on the integrated circuits. Exceeding the maximum design temperature at the semiconductor junction limits functionality, reliability and durability of the device. Dopant migration within the semiconductor is a fundamental material property that occurs at a rate that rises exponentially with temperature. Exceeding maximum junction temperature has been shown to reduce performance and lead to circuit failure. In passively cooled systems, the temperature of the electronics enclosure will rise until the waste heat produced is equal to the heat being dissipated to the environment. This means that in hot environments the temperature of passively cooled electronics can exceed the maximum junction temperature causing communications or computing failures. Active cooling systems can prevent this temperature rise and enable systems to function in extremely hot environments.

Active Cooling Approaches Active cooling systems are those that use electric energy to cool the circuits to below ambient and raise the surface-to-air-temperature to be higher than the natural temperature for sensible heat transfer. The effect of these processes is to increase the heat


Electric Power In

Electronics System

Electric Power Out

Waste Heat Out

Waste due to efficiency loss of electronics

Figure 1

Depicted here is the energy balance of an electronics system. The power in equals the power out, less the energy of inefficiency—electric energy converted to waste heat.

Q Heat In Ceramic Insulator

Cold Side




Semi-Conductor Legs Electrical Current Path Ceramic Insulator

Hot Side

Figure 2

Q Heat Out

In thermoelectric coolers, when a current is passed through a junction of two materials, heat is absorbed in one junction and generated at the other junction according to the equation. A schematic of a thermoelectric cooler is shown. transfer rate by effectively pumping heat to ambient. The two most common techniques available for “active” cooling are vapor compression refrigeration and thermoelectric (Peltier effect) systems. Thermoelectric Cooling: Thermoelectric coolers use a phenomenon first discovered in 1834 by French scientist Jean Charles Peltier. He discovered that when a current is passed through a junction of two materials, heat is absorbed in one junction and generated at the other junction according to an equation. A sche32

COTS Journal | September 2012

matic of a thermoelectric cooler is shown in Figure 2. When current is passed through two differing semiconductor materials, connected electrically in series, one surface becomes cold, the opposing surface is hotter. The efficiency of this process is dependent upon the Peltier coefficient and the thermal conductivity of the materials. The main advantages of thermoelectric effect coolers are: the lack of moving parts in the cooling system, the ability to be made in very small physical sizes or low cooling capacities, and

to be configured to conform to unusual shapes. The disadvantages are: the semiconductor materials can be brittle and they require a large amount of power to cause the effect. Therefore, thermoelectric modules exhibit a relatively low efficiency. Thermoelectrics still require fans and conventional finned heat exchangers to dissipate heat to air. These features add considerable weight and volume to thermoelectric systems, which when combined with their inherent low efficiency, limit wide acceptance in high wattage cooling applications. Vapor Compression Systems: Vapor compression systems take advantage of the latent heat of vaporization of liquids that have a boiling point lower than the desired temperature to be managed, for the purposes discussed here, Tjmax. The first complete refrigeration cycle system was constructed and successfully tested by an American working in England in the same year the Peltier effect was discovered, 1834. A vapor compression system is based on boiling a refrigerant in an evaporative heat exchanger at low temperature in a closedloop system. To accomplish this there are four major elements of the system: the compressor, condenser, expansion valve and evaporator, as shown in Figure 3. In the evaporator the refrigerant boils at a low temperature using heat derived from the thermal load. At the evaporator exit the refrigerant is ideally a low temperature vapor. The vapor is then compressed to high pressure during which the temperature of the refrigerant rises to a level typically 10° to 15°C higher than ambient temperature. This hot liquid then flows through a condensing heat exchanger where heat is rejected to the heat sink, in this case ambient air. To complete the cycle, the liquid exiting the condenser is expanded through an expansion valve, flash liquefying the refrigerant to a low pressure. This flash expansion also lowers the temperature of the refrigerant as it liquefies. It then enters the evaporator and the cycle begins again. Therefore, a vaporcompression system enables heat rejection at a temperature much higher than


ambient, and cooling at or below Tj. The energy input of the compressor combined with the expansion valve, create the low and high temperature heat transfer where heat is absorbed on the cold side and dissipated on the hot side of the system, pumping heat from cold to hot.

Condenser may be water cooled or air cooled.






Customizing Heat Removal Vapor-compression refrigerators also offer the ability to customize the cooling approach to optimize heat removal from a specific component or improve overall efficiency. The evaporator can be configured to optimize electronic system configuration requirements. It can be a refrigerant-to-air heat exchanger to cool air in an enclosure, a refrigerant-to-liquid heat exchanger for chilled water loop systems, or a direct expansion cold plate upon which electronic components can be mounted. Each of these approaches has features and benefits to certain enclosures and electrical components. In general the key features of these respective systems are as follows: Air-Cooled System: The air-cooled system is typically used in electronic packages that circulate cooled air within a sealed enclosure, directly over the circuit boards. Circulating air within a sealed enclosure prevents contamination of the circuits by sand, dust, or other contaminants. This type of system is typically used for rack-mounted electronics in specific enclosures, or in operational transit cases that use rack-mounted electronics in mobile applications. With air-cooled systems, heaters may be placed in the air stream to warm up the circulating air and assure a minimum cold start temperature in cold conditions. Liquid-Cooled System: A typical liquid-cooled system uses an evaporator that cools a circulating coolant, typically glycol and water. The coolant is then pumped to the thermal load, which is typically mounted on a cold plate. This approach has the advantage that the refrigeration system can be remotely located from the electronics and disconnected in the field if desired. Direct Refrigerant System: In this approach, the refrigerant is passed directly to the cold plate or metal chassis where it

Cold Air

Warm Air


Expansion Liquid + Vapor



Figure 3

Vapor-compression systems take advantage of the latent heat of vaporization of liquids that have a boiling point lower than the desired temperature to be managed. Technique


Volume Efficiency

Weight Efficiency

Power Efficiency



WattsTh/ Wattse


Refrigeration with chilled Air (ECU-Chill 550)

Enables COTS Rack mounted electronics





Refrigeration to liquid cold plate

Enables remote cooling of cold plates





Refrigeration to refrigerant cold plate

Most efficient cooling of cold plate electronics





Peltier effect (440 watt thermoelectric module)

Best at <100 watts and near ambient cooling





Figure 4

A comparison of thermoelectric and vapor-compression active cooling. vaporizes, pulling heat directly from the conductively cooled electronics. With no separate heat exchanger fans or pumps on the evaporator side of the system, this approach has the advantage of relatively few components. Since it has no secondary

heat exchanger pulling the heat out of air or liquid, it also is the most efficient approach and causes minimal temperature rise within the system. A comparison of vapor-compression and thermoelectric systems shows that vapor-compression September 2012 | COTS Journal



refrigeration offers significant SWAP advantages of thermoelectric modules as shown in Figure 4.

Advancements in Vapor Compression Historically, vapor-compression refrigeration has been limited by the size of the components needed to fabricate the system. Advances in component technology have enabled significant reductions

in size, weight and power requirements. A key advancement is the development of a miniature rotary piston compressor by Aspen Compressor. This compressor is one-tenth the size and weight of similarly rated commercial units. The compressor, shown in Figure 5, is now being used in electronics cooling refrigerators for military service. Systems have been fabricated and fielded that meet stringent environmental standards (MIL STD 810G) that

Figure 5

Miniature rotary piston compressors are one-tenth the size and weight of similarly rated commercial units. The compressor shown is now being used in electronics cooling refrigerators for military service. remove between 200 and 850 watts of waste heat from sealed electronics enclosures that weigh as little as 20 pounds. Miniature refrigeration-based environmental control units have been applied to a wide variety of mobile electronics systems. The first adapters of this technology have been programs that have experienced thermal problems in field situations. The list of such systems includes phased array antennas, radios, COTS-based operational transit case rack-mounted electronics and infrared cameras. Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s high-end C4ISR missions require the use of complex and heat-producing, heat-sensitive processors, antennas and sensors to meet the ever growing demands of mobile networking, surveillance and computing. With the advent of miniature refrigeration systems, these stringent thermal requirements can be met to mitigate potential mission reliability and durability issues with minimal impact on system size and weight. Aspen Systems Marlborough, MA. (508) 481-5058. [].

Untitled-4 1 COTS Journal | September 2012 34

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TECH RECON Rugged Laptops and Panel PCs

Rugged Laptops and Panel PCs Serve Mobile, Connected Military Though the terminology blurs, rugged laptops—or servers or workstations—and panel PCs are filling vital military roles providing mobility and net-connectivity for today’s warfighters. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


ften called network-centric operations, the evolution toward a networked military means that every vehicle, every aircraft, every ship, every UAV and every soldier on the ground should have the capability to share data, voice and even video with almost any level of the DoD’s operation. A consequence of this has been a major upward demand in the military for 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. With that in mind, user interface (UI)centric devices like rugged laptops and panel PCs are being tasked as facility-based and mobile-based tools for providing whole new levels of real-time situational awareness and command control. Meanwhile on the panel PC side, there’s a growing base of product solutions—some designed for industrial use— that provide military system integrators a PC embedded within a flat panel. These can be simply connected to a keyboard or used as touchpad panels if that feature is available.

Remote Laptop Control An example of mission-critical laptop use is the Army’s truck-mounted 36

COTS Journal | September 2012

Q-53 radar system (Figure 1). It can be rapidly deployed, automatically leveled and remotely operated with a laptop computer or from a fully equipped climate-controlled command vehicle. The U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin $391 million in production orders for a new radar system that provides soldiers with enhanced 360-degree protection from rocket, mortar and artillery fire. Lockheed Martin won the competitive development contract for the EQ-36 radar in 2007. Lockheed Martin submitted its bid for this current contract in open competition in September 2011. The term “workstation” gets used often when describing rugged laptops that are designed specifically for harsh environment use. Exemplifying this trend, Argon provides its RWS15 Rugged Workstation that comes with a 15-inch XGA display and provides an affordable, lightweight solution for aircraft maintenance support, mobile command & control, or any other rugged computing application. Argon can fully customize the product to exact specifications. Designed for a variety of environments, the RWS15 is suitable for land, air and sea applications. The RWS15 features a small mechanical footprint with fully rugged mechanical packaging. It uses military connectors and has

display options for both high brightness and rugged touch screen. The fully enclosed unit uses no fans—conductioncooled only. Commercial connections are accessible via access panel and the system has a built-in ac power module (no external brick for ac power). The battery is removable and replaceable.

Enterprise Capability in Deployed Environments Terms like server and workstation get used interchangeably in these classes of products. For its part, NextComputing has in recent years expanded its line into ever more rugged deployable types of solutions. An example is its Vigor EX-B (Figure 2), a rugged portable server solution for forward deployed military environments, or any remote location that requires enterprise computing resources.. It is designed to support tactical operations centers and other mission-critical environments. The rugged anodized aluminum chassis with both interior and exterior rubber shock absorbers ensures that the system will hold up to the rigors of field use. With its integrated Lithium-ion battery, the unit is able to run for up to 4 hours on battery power alone. Key features include a dense, small form factor, rugged chassis (7.92” D x 17.53” H x

Panasonic recommends Windows® 7.

Access mission-critical information anywhere. Fully-rugged Panasonic Toughbook® mobile computers, powered by the Intel® Core™ i5 vPro™ processor. Keeping you combat-ready with industry-leading reliability is how we’re engineering a better world. Toughbook 31 Toughbook 19 Toughbook H2 Intel, the Intel logo, Intel Core, Intel vPro, Core Inside and vPro Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. Toughbook notebook PCs are covered by a 3-year limited warranty, parts and labor. To view the full text of the warranty, log on to Please consult your Panasonic representative prior to purchase. Panasonic is constantly enhancing product specifications and accessories. Specifications subject to change without notice. ©2012 Panasonic Corporation of North America. All rights reserved. Mission-critical_FG_FY12-4



Figure 1

The truck-mounted Q-53 can be rapidly deployed, automatically leveled and remotely operated with a laptop computer or from a command vehicle. 19.75” W) weighing less than 35 lbs. with easy access to internal components for field service and upgrades. The unit has a 320W power supply with removable Lithium-ion battery pack. The processor is a Xeon E3-1200 series Quad-Core processor with up to up to 32 Gbyte DDR3 memory. Also, to ensure security of sensitive data, the system supports Intel’s Trusted Platform Module (TPM) technology, a growing requirement for many defense and intelligence programs. 38

COTS Journal | September 2012

Offering a more traditional style laptop, but tailored for mission-critical and long life use, Eurocom is now supporting the Intel Xeon Processor E5-2690 in its Panther 4.0 Mobile Servers, along with an entire range of Intel Xeon E5 processors. Eurocom’s Panther line of high-performance Mobile Servers will be bolstered by the introduction of the Intel Xeon Processor E5-2690 and complete line of Intel LGA2011 processors. The Panther 4.0 is the world’s first Sandy Bridge-E notebook with a full X79 chipset

using the LGA2011 socket. Eurocom Mobile Servers are ideal for professionals and teams who frequently travel yet need access to high-performance computing. Eurocom Panther 4.0 provides 4 Terabytes of storage with four physical SATA-300 or SATA-600 solid state, hybrid or hard disk drives and RAID 0/1/5/10 capability. The system uses quad channel memory, and enables the Panther 4.0 to initially support up to 32 Gbytes of DDR3 1600 MHz RAM via four 8 Gbyte SODIMM 204 pin modules.


Integrated Military Systems Though technically not a stand-alone laptop, a popular trend for integrated military terminals is to connect a rugged keyboard and LCD display with a box-level computer. Along those lines, Chassis Plans provides the CCXR-17 Slideways (Figure 3), a 1U rackmount LCD keyboard drawer. It offers unique side access usage for spaceconstrained applications. It is military grade providing rugged 5052-H32 aluminum construction, 17-inch 1280x1024 resolution, bonded Anti-Reflective glass contrast enhancement filter, NEMA-4 / IP65 sealed keyboard and a rugged 4-port KVM. A contrast enhancing glass AntiReflective (AR) filter is bonded to the LCD for superior contrast in high bright environments. A separate bonded layer provides an ITR EMI filter across the face of the display. A military grade Genesis LCD controller provides a mix of features with aRGB VGA and DVI-D video inputs. The controller is conformal coated for environmental and shock/vibration protection and supports an operating temperatures of -40° to +80°C. Two keyboards are offered providing either 133 keys and a Hula point mouse device or 97 keys with a touch pad. Both keyboards are sealed silicon rubber and provide full travel with tactile feedback for ease of typing. They are sealed to NEMA-4 / IP65 standards. The 97-key keyboard is also backlit for use in low light situations. Both keyboards provide a spill-proof system impervious to spills such as Coke or coffee, common in the rugged environments these are installed into.

Figure 2

The Vigor EX-B is a rugged portable server solution for forward deployed military environments. It is able to run on its own internal power for up to 4 hours.

Higher Performance Panel PCs Shifting gears to the Panel PC side, products released in the last 12 months provide the highest possible resolutions and performance, allowing system developers to support the most sophisticated graphics and video applications that the military needs. WinSystems’ latest offering is a 12.1-inch open frame, color flat panel PC that uses a 1.66 GHz single board computer (SBC) based on the Intel Atom processor. The PPC3-12 panel PC (Figure 4) 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 (without a front bezel) chassis permits flexible

Figure 3

The CCXR-17 Slideways is a 1U rackmount LCD keyboard drawer. It offers unique side access usage for space-constrained applications. 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 connec-

tion 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. September 2012 | COTS Journal


TECH RECON 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 in-

cluding 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.

Designed for Vehicle Use

Figure 4

The PPC3-12 is a 12.1-inch open frame, color flat panel PC that uses a 1.66 GHz SBC based on the Intel Atom processor.

Application-specific panel computers are also rolling out to target specific needs like vehicles. Some examples are GE Intelligent Platform’s release of two rugged intelligent vehicle displays designed for deployment in harsh environments such as tanks and other ground combat vehicles, 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. Both displays integrate advanced processing capabilities to deliver a complete, self-contained, COTS display solution with a high Technology Readiness Level (TRL) that enables prime contractors and OEMs to shorten time-to-market, minimize program risk and more easily add value to create competitive advantage. The

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TECH RECON IVD2010 and IVD2015 from GE Intelligent Platforms also include the advanced thermal management capabilities necessary for deployment in confined spaces. The 10.4â&#x20AC;? screen IVD2010 and 15â&#x20AC;? 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 video inputs, this equips them to handle the most demanding, sophisticated graph-

ics applications such as picture-in-picture and symbology overlay, stitching multiple videos into a single panorama, and allows high-performance GPGPU applications to be deployed directly on the display unit. Both the IVD2010 and IVD2015 also include display features designed to deliver optimum screen visibility and usability, thereby maximizing personnel effectiveness. These features include LED illumination for sunlight readability and MILSTD-3009 NVIS (Night Vision Imaging System) compatibility; a multitouch resis-



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tive touchscreen; and a high-quality optical stack-up with toughened glass. Advantech Irvine, CA. (800) 866-6008. []. Argon Great Neck , NY. (678) 608-4930. []. Chassis Plans San Diego, CA. (858) 571-4330. []. Eurocom Nepean, Ontario, Canada. (613) 224-6122. []. GE Intelligent Platforms Huntsville, AL. (780) 401-7700. []. Lockheed Martin Bethesda, MD. (301) 897-6000. [].


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


Panasonic Solutions Company Secaucus, NJ. (888) 223-1012. [].


Rave Computer Association Sterling Heights, MI. (800) 966-7283. [].


Via Technologies Fremont, CA. (510) 693-3300. [].

Email: website:

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

Power Matters. Untitled-2 1 COTS Journal | September 2012 44

6/6/12 3:52 PM



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SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Space-Qualified Electronics and Subsystems

Space Qualified ICs and Systems Leap New Hurdles As the space industry transitions to a new landscape, providers of chips, boards and software are keeping system developers supplied with leading-edge space-qualified solutions. This is all in the face of a consumer semiconductor market that has diverged away from the requirements of space. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


ith 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 needs, the industry of spacequalified products is well tuned into the concerns facing space designers. A steady crop of radiation-hardened boards and subsystems continues to emerge as well as ASICs, FPGAs and power components designed for those applications. Spacebased 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. Choosing electronic components and subsystems for space-based platforms is not getting any easier. As the entire commercial semiconductor industry some years ago made the switch over to lead-free technology, military and aerospace industries were left scrambling to cope with a landscape of lead-free devices. The tin-whiskering and other phenomena that occur in lead-free chips is no problem for the short lifecycle consumer electronics realm. But for the ultra-long development times of defense programs, lead-free is a risky prospect. And for space applications that problem is multi46

COTS Journal | September 2012

plied by the fact that space-based systems literally cannot be physically accessed to be repaired once launched. Fortunately the space electronics industry is keeping pace with products and logistics services that mitigate those issues.

Real-Time OS on Mars Among the most recent and exciting news in the space-based embedded computing arena occurred early last month with the successful landing of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity (Figure 1). The most complex robotic interplanetary probe ever designed, the rover is running on Wind River’s realtime operating system (RTOS), VxWorks. VxWorks served as the core operating system for the spacecraft control system—from the second the rocket left earth on November 26, 2011, and will continue to serve that role until completion of the mission. In particular, Curiosity relied on VxWorks for the complex landing sequence called EDL (entry, descent and landing), which is being described as “seven minutes of terror” due to the absolute precision required for the spacecraft to survive the landing. While on Mars, Curiosity will depend on VxWorks to perform mission-critical tasks, such as ground opera-

tions control, data collection and Marsto-Earth communication relay. VxWorks has been launched aboard a number of space platforms over the years including the Clementine Moon probe, the Mars Pathfinder Mission as well as the Mars Exploration Rovers and Stardust spacecraft, among others.

… and Actuators Too Another of the many electronics technology vendors with reason to boast about the Curiosity landing was Aeroflex. Aeroflex provided actuators for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). They’re employed to drive the rover wheels, provide steering motion, robotic arm joint motion, high-gain antenna and camera motion along with various instrument functions on the mobile robotic rover. Aeroflex’s actuators were designed to meet the challenges of the grueling Martian atmosphere including -120°C temperatures and a volatile dust environment. The actuators provided included a range of low, medium and high torque designs that were used in almost every motion-related activity on Curiosity. Aside from the actuators, Aeroflex’s highperformance RadHard microelectronics were utilized throughout the Curiosity vehicle and revolutionary descent system

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

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

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

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


Figure 1

This artist’s concept features NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover. The rover’s mission it to investigate whether Mars has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life, and assess Mars’ habitability for future human exploration.

used to safely land the rover. The company’s RadHard microelectronics were also used on the spacecraft that safely transported Curiosity to Mars.

Board-Level Space Solutions Standard form factor boards likes VME and CompactPCI are no stranger to space platforms. Aitech Defense Systems is among the few COTS vendors to offer products in this area. Last month Aitech announced its high-performance SP0 (Figure 2), a space-qualified, radiation-tolerant 3U CompactPCI SBC. The board boasts exceptionally low power of only 10W for manned spacecraft and unmanned satellite subsystems and platforms. The compact MPC8548E, PowerQUICC-III PowerPC-based SBC provides high levels of onboard functionality and integration combined with low power dissipation. It can achieve a processing speed of 1.17 GHz and 333.3 MHz of core complex bus (CCB) and DDR-1 memory speeds, while adhering to the low power 48

COTS Journal | September 2012

and small form factor requirements necessary in most satellite and spacecraft mission-critical applications. The SP0’s processor includes an e500 System-on-Chip (SoC) integrating both an L1 cache with 32 Kbyte instruction and 32 Kbyte data and a 512 Kbyte L2 cache. A large user Flash of 1 Gbyte is standard, with the option to expand up to 8 Gbyte. Supporting both processor and application needs, the large onboard memory also includes up to 512 Mbytes of fast DDR1 SDRAM with ECC protection for high data integrity as well as 512 Kbyte of redundant Boot Flash. The board’s extensive I/O, all of which is routed to the rear panel connectors for application usage, reduces the number of additional peripheral cards needed for a fully functional subsystem. Pushing the limits of onboard functionality and I/O interfaces, the SP0 includes two Gigabit Ethernet ports, four asynchronous, high-speed serial communications ports and up to five general purpose discrete I/O channels.

An included industry-standard PMC slot, either air- or conduction-cooled, accommodates additional modules and onboard functionality. In addition, up to eight PCI Express lanes or four Serial RapidIO lanes as well as dual PCI buses further help increase onboard high-performance and exceptional functionality. A 1 PPS (pulse per second) timer provides a critical system backplane and external heartbeat for synchronization to other autonomous computing and communications subsystems on the satellite bus or spacecraft platform.

Reconfiguration in Space Space-based systems have unique challenges. Chief among them is that there’s no way to access a system handson once it’s in orbit. Addressing just that issue, Atmel recently announced the ATF697FF, the newest member of the Atmel SPARC V8 processor family and the industry’s first radiation-hardened (RAD Hard) high-performance aero-

WinSystemsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; DesignSolutions

SBCs with advanced CPU chipsets employing sleep modes and active power management. Also, the unit can operate in a +85°C ambient temperature environment using normal convection cooling and no fan. The outputs are +5V@10A, +3.3V@10A, +12V@3A, -12V@500mA, and

PC/104 ATX-compatible DC/DC Power Supply offers Wide Input Range and -40° to +85°C Operation WinSystemsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; PPM-DC-ATX is a PC/104-Plus DC/DC power supply for PC/104, EPIC, and EBX single board computers (SBCs) that support ATX power controls. It features a wide voltage input range from 10 to 50 volts, which allows the unit to operate with 12, 24, or 48 volt batteryoperated or distributed DC power systems. It JHQHUDWHVÂżYHUHJXODWHG'&RXWSXWYROWDJHVIURP one common DC input, plus supports the software controlled shutdown and power monitoring for

+5VSTBY@2A. Each output is short circuit protected and current limited. A minimum load is not needed to bring the the supply into regulation. When power is applied to the ERDUGÂżYH/('VZLOO illuminate providing a visual status that power is available. WinSystems, Inc. (817) 274-7553

PC/104 Analog In/Out Module Does Not Require Calibration WinSystemsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; PCM-MIO-G is a versatile, PC/104-based analog input, analog output, and digital I/O board designed for high-accuracy and high-channel count analog and digital I/O. It includes a 16 channel, 16-bit analog-to-digital (A/D) converter, 8 channel, 12-bit digital-to-analog (D/A) converter, and 48 lines of digital I/O. Its design is unique since it requires no trimpots for calibration of the analog FLUFXLWU\WRUHPDLQZLWKLQLWVVSHFLÂżFDWLRQV






Call 817-274-7553 or Visit Ask about our eval program


The input ranges are 0-5V, ¹5V, 0-10V and ¹10 volts. The board will support up to 16 single-ended or 8 differential channels or various combinations of both. Eight independent, 12-bit D/A converters are also on the board. The output voltage ranges are 0-5V, 0-10V, ¹5V, and ¹10V. The PCM-MIO-G has 48 lines of digital I/O programmable for input, output, or output with UHDGEDFN7KHOLQHVDUH77/FRPSDWLEOHDQG can sink 12 mA. The PCM-MIO-G will operate from -40° to +85°C. WinSystems, Inc. (817) 274-7553

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The SP0 is a space-qualified, radiation-tolerant MPC8548E, PowerQUICC-III PowerPC 3U CompactPCI SBC. The board boasts low power of only 10W for manned spacecraft and unmanned satellite subsystems and platforms. space 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). (More details about this technology can be found in the article “Space Industry Looks toward On-the-Fly Re-Configuration” on p. 54.) Where once space-based platforms used nothing but custom built electronics and ICs, today there’s a growing selection of off-the-shelf space-qualified components. Power products are no exception. For example, VPT this summer announced that the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) has issued Standard Microcircuit Drawings (SMDs) for VPT’s SVGA family of space-level, radiationhardened, point-of-load DC/DC power converter modules.

With the SVGA Series power converters (Figure 3) now on official DLA SMDs, engineers can procure these components quickly, easily and with confidence of reliable performance over time in the harshest of space environments. VPT’s SVGA Series converters are available in 10A or 15A versions and are suited for use in low earth orbit (LEO) systems, geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) systems, deep space probes and other demanding space applications. With the addition of these two modules, VPT now offers more than 35 power conversion modules on DLA SMDs specifically designed for rugged duty in space.

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For a variety of reasons, developing a space-based system is becoming a logistical challenge. It’s a logistical problem to procure all the necessary electronics—especially in this era where most chips are lead free and therefore unusable for space systems. Fortunately there are vendors that offer complete services to solve these broader challenges of space-based system design.


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An example along those lines is the Electronic Components Group (ECG) of TCS’ Space & Component Technology. Its role is that of a value added supplier of electrical, electronic and electromechanical (EEE) parts and services to spacecraft and launch vehicle manufacturers and their subcontractors. Part of an AS9100C / ISO 9001:2008 certified company, the ECG group specializes in procurement and quality assurance services for electronic components used in


space and military applications worldwide. Through their Comprehensive Parts Management service they can provide solutions for a single line item, an entire project parts list, or a consolidated parts list across multiple programs and users. They also do high reliability parts procurement and provide engineering services support during the preliminary design phase and extending through mission or project completion. To date, TCS has been involved with over 150 major


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Figure 3

The SVGA Series modules are spacelevel, radiation-hardened, point-ofload DC/DC power converters. The converters are available in 10A or 15A versions and are suited for use in low earth orbit (LEO) systems, geosynchronous orbit systems, deep space probes and other space applications. space programs with zero on-orbit failures or launch delays attributable to TCS supplied parts. Aeroflex Plainview, NY. (516) 694-6700. [].

Configurable FPGA Solutions on VPX, PMC, XMC, or IP Modules

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Atmel San Jose, CA (408) 441-0311. []. TCS Space & Component Technology Torrance, CA. (310) 214-5500. []. VPT Blacksburg, VA. (425) 353-3010. []. Wind River Alameda, CA. (510) 748-4100. [].

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SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Space-Qualified Electronics and Subsystems

Space Industry Looks toward On-the-Fly Reconfiguration Stakes are high whenever sophisticated electronic systems are launched into space. In the past, reconfiguring electronics hardware was problematic. But advances in reconfigurable FPGA technology are changing those rules. Bernard Bancelin, Marketing and Application Lab Manager of Aerospace Products Nicolas Ganry, Marketing Manager of Aerospace Processors Atmel


he market for space equipment worldwide is growing rapidly. Development cycles are becoming increasingly costly and time-consuming, but at the same time, equipment designers are expected to deliver product to market in shorter time frames. The space market is becoming extremely competitive, requiring equipment that is reusable and adaptable, with less development time and less dollars to spend. Key players include the USA, Russia and Europe, with China not far behind. Both South America and India are new players and have strong penetration strategies. New requirements and constraints are appearing in this market. These include tolerance and fault correction. With reconfigurable solutions now available, designers have compelling new choices when addressing the challenges of developing space applications for satellites expected to be in operation over longer periods of time or to perform multiple tasks (Figure 1).

Selecting the Right Device Designers can select from three primary ICs for space processing units, excluding commodity products. They can use standard ICs for processing units (standalone processors or boards); they can use application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) designed specifically for an application; or they can employ FPGAs, which 54

COTS Journal | September 2012

can be customized at any point in the design cycle. Each solution offers its own advantages—along with its disadvantages. Standard ICs offer higher performance, allowing the end application to use only a few tenths of the full device. ICs have some of the best performance while the acquisition costs are the lowest based on the selection above. Compared to a customized solution, standard ICs support faster time-to-market due to the already proven performance and first level of validation. ASICs are designed specifically for end applications but have a very high acquisition cost. Even more, the process technologies continue to change, from 180nm to 90nm and then from 65nm to 45nm later in the life cycle. These products also require a very high level of competence, as well as very expensive and complex design tools. FPGAs offer a high-level of flexibility in commercial designs and are required in military and space applications. FPGAs are accessible to any end user but offer lower performance from a MIPS and power consumption standpoint, compared to standard processors and ASIC solutions. What’s more, a dedicated validation is required for each programmed design.

Requiring Reconfigurable ICs Due to the complexities and last-minute change requirements for a number of

space applications, it’s becoming increasingly important for ICs within these units to be reconfigurable. As such, the FPGA stands out as the optimal IC choice. Reconfigurability is important for three main reasons. First, with digital functions being extremely complex and hard to verify, it’s vital that an FPGA have reconfiguration capabilities even late in the development cycle of a satellite. In addition, with the decreasing design times, it is extremely important for a device, such as an FPGA, to configure tasks during the development. An FPGA can offer this advantage vs. an ASIC, which can only be altered late in the system development cycle impacting schedules with additional costs. Next, satellites being deployed into space are staying there longer. Several years back, satellites would typically stay in orbit for 10 years, while today it’s common for satellites to remain in space for 15 to 20 years. As satellites continue to stay active longer in space, it’s important that the specifications for the equipment be adjusted to meet new requirements. The specifications must ensure evolution of one instrument while at the same time meeting the evolution of the communication standards. Meanwhile they must allow new interfaces or peripherals to be implemented. Last-minute bug fixes must also be made. These may include the need



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Lockheed Martin engineers work on the second space-based infrared system (SBIRS) geosynchronous orbit (GEO-2) spacecraft at Lockheed Martin’s facilities in Sunnyvale, CA. to reconfigure the equipment on earth to, for example, update the FPGA code.

Why FPGAs Are Ideal for Space FPGAs are a very viable solution for space applications, offering extreme flexibility, especially for space-quality grade equipment that requires high processing power. What’s more, there have been a number of situations in the space industry requiring a satellite to perform two separate missions using one piece of equipment (for example, image compression and image processing in different frequency bands). FPGAs support the need to implement different, not simultaneous, algorithms in a single device, allowing switching from one application to another. With new features in a communication payload, such as on-the-fly mobile-tomobile frequency band allocation, there is a growing need for reconfiguration. But with reconfigurability there is an opportunity for new features in communication satellites. Up until recently, most FPGAs in space applications were one-time programmable (OTP) FPGAs. OTP FPGAs are qualified for the harsh space environment, while some SRAM-based reprogrammable FPGAs are not. Most recently, microcontroller supplier Atmel Corpo-

ration introduced a radiation-hardened (rad-hard) SRAM FPGA. This FPGA can be integrated into designs much like a commercial FPGA can be, but the result guarantees radiation hardening without requiring a complementary test. Although the OTP FPGA can meet aggressive development times, it does not offer in-system or in-flight reconfiguration.

Design Methodology for Reconfiguration Reconfiguration can be achieved in three different ways: static total, static partial or dynamic partial. Total reconfiguration is performed by resetting the FPGA. However, in-flight reconfiguration safety is guaranteed by the EEPROM. The use of a redundant EEPROM is recommended for safer operation: one memory storing the code is never changed while the other can be updated whenever necessary to correct codes or introduce new functions. It can also be used to store various configurations. In the reconfigurable processor, the FPGA can also be loaded from the processor. Partial configuration can be considered when an application requires fewer devices, and power and weight are concerns. Partial dynamic configuration can be implemented through sequential mul-

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SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT tiple functions using the same FPGA core cell resources, also known as the “cache logic” concept. Dynamic reconfiguration guarantees that the modified part can never interfere with the rest of the running FPGA. The design is performed with an interface that inhibits the modified parts from impacting the rest of the design. This interface, also known as the “isolator,” operates as a galvanic isolator.

How It Can Be Done The architecture of the Atmel ATF280F FPGA authorizes partial reconfiguration while running the rest of the FPGA. The reconfigurable part is placed, routed and generated as a macro. The first design is generated using the macro, which can then be modified while the full

design is reloaded. The design tool detects a modification of the macro, and generates a new bit stream. Partial reconfiguration is performed by extracting the difference between the two bit streams. The resulting bit stream contains only the modified block. In the AT40K architecture, the bit stream is built with the configuration bits as the address to be modified with their status (0 or 1). A direct write is performed at the bits listed in the bit stream by the configuration memory controller, without interference on the non-modified bits. The main constraint is that the macro to be modified must be maintained under reset by the static configuration. Depending on the interface between the macro and static configuration, the usage of

the I/Os in the macro determines if the isolator may use a tri-state. The integrity of the code after reconfiguration is controlled by the CHECK function, providing the checksum of the bit stream that will be updated during the configuration memory update. The integrity of the configuration memory can also be checked using configuration self integrity check (CSIC). Isolators have been analyzed for the SpaceWire interface, 1553 Bus controller, CAN bus, ring network and star network. Different interfaces have been envisaged to be qualified as master or slave and so on. Finally, an AMBA bus interface is a good solution to manage all the interfaces. During this time, all the signal controls and requests must be controlled by a “reconf” signal.

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Comparing Reconfigurable Solutions For the most advanced system flexibility, an FPGA can be coupled with a processor that runs the applications software. Increasingly, more applications are requiring more complex software management, providing the highest level of flexibility and reuse. This trend is pushing the core processor CPU to deliver higher MIPS performance. Standard processor ICs offer the most generic configuration capability. These devices can be associated with an



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Figure 2

The ATFF697FF solution combines a reprogrammable FPGA and SPARC V8 processor. most optimal PCB size solution. In fact, the completion of the design process guarantees the final functionality but does not always completely optimize the design, as in the case with a stand-alone processor. A processor core implemented in an ASIC offers 25 to 50 percent less performance than the same core as a stand-alone processor operating at maximum frequency. FPGAs with embedded core processors, however, offer maximum flexibility but with some disadvantages. A core-based FPGA design flow offers a lot of freedom that also needs to be controlled to avoid some design weaknesses. They also suffer higher-power consumption, especially at power on. Meanwhile the performance of the processor core implemented with the FPGA is typically 50 percent lower. With three primary solutions available for the space industry, the usage breakout for each solution follows: Standalone processors are used in solutions 90 percent of the time; FPGAs are used 9 percent of the time; and ASICs are used 1 percent of the time. The wider usage of the stand-alone processor is justified by the fact that the acquisition cost of the ASIC may be 10 to 100 times more than the processor acquisition cost. On the other side of the spectrum, an ASIC fits over 90 percent of the hardware specification (as embedded IPs or size), as it’s a fully dedicated device. The best compromise would be to bring the hardware flexibility of the FPGA together with a standard stand-alone processor to maintain the best software computing capability in the same IC. This is

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By integrating an FPGA and a SPARC V8 processor, the ATFF697FF solution saves overall system space. the kind of solution that Atmel provides for space applications.

Reconfigurable Rad-Hard Processor The Atmel ATF697FF (Figure 2), designed and developed in France, is the newest member of the Atmel SPARC V8 processor family. It is the industry’s first

rad-hard high-performance aerospace microprocessor that can be reconfigured onthe-fly to accommodate on-going design modifications to satellites, including specification updates, in-flight adjustments during trial flights and post-launch alterations. Building on the company’s 30 years of innovation in the aerospace market, the new ATF697FF solution is a unique reconfigu-

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rable processor that integrates Atmel’s proven rad-hard AT697F processor and reconfigurable ATF280F unit. With this multichip solution approach, engineers can reduce overall system cost and save PCB space (Figure 3). The ATF697FF gives designers the flexibility of a reprogrammable FPGA and 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.

A Choice of Modes Depending on application needs, the designer can implement two main modes based on the same hardware solution. In one mode, the FPGA is in master mode so that the FPGA controls the processor boot load. This mode ensures that the FPGA configures and sets up the peripherals needed for booting the complete system, for example, in the case of a SpaceWire boot. Another configuration is where the processor is in master mode, while the FPGA configuration is fully controlled by software running on the processor, for example, in the case of an in-flight interface update. This configuration allows updating of the FPGA application while the processor is running. For years there has been a clear need for on-the-fly reconfigurability in the underlying technology for space applications. A number of requirements have driven this need, from late design modifications to experimental satellites and telecommunication satellites requiring an extended lifetime and power savings. Atmel has answered this need with the recent release of its ATFF697FF, combining an AT697F SPARC processor and an ATF280 FPGA in a single package. The ATF697FF solution provides an in-flight reconfigurable processor that meets the key challenges to space application design with cost and board area savings. Atmel San Jose, CA (408) 441-0311. [].

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TECHNOLOGY FOCUS Test and Instrumentation Boards

PXI and PXI Express Dominate Test and Instrumentation Trends Just as PXI leveraged the benefits of PCI, PXI Express has carried test and instrumentation in the realm of switched fabric bandwidths. The two technologies have paved the way to new capabilities for military test engineers. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


o longer the new kid on the block, the PXI bus form factor has become entrenched as the mainstay architecture for military test and instrumentation. Its older cousin VXI and the most LAN-based LXI form factor meanwhile have seen significantly less new product development in the last 12 months. In parallel to this trend, USB and PCI Express solutions are dominating segments like data. PXI (PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation) is an open specification from the PXI Systems Alliance, which defines a rugged, CompactPCI-based platform optimized for test, measurement and control. PXI products are compatible with the CompactPCI form factor and bus architecture. In 2005 the PXI Express spec emerged, which integrated PCI Express and CompactPCI technology into the PXI standard. PXI Express provides bandwidths up to 6 Gbytes/s per system while preserving compatibility existing PXI products. Expanding on PXI’s strengths, PXI Express provides the additional timing 64

COTS Journal | September 2012

Figure 1

The Orion Crew Module Ground Test Article (GTA) after successfully completing the Pressure Influence Coefficient testing at the Lockheed Martin facility in Denver, CO. The test is performed to identify potential weaknesses in the integrated Crew Module GTA structure under 10 psi of pressure. and synchronization features of a 100 MHz differential system clock, differential signaling, and differential star triggers. By using differential clocking and synchronization, PXI Express systems benefit from increased noise immunity for instrumentation clocks and the ability to transmit at higher-frequency rates. PXI Express chassis provide these more advanced timing and synchronization capabilities in addition to all of the standard PXI timing and synchronization signaling. An example program using PXI is a data acquisition system crafted by G Systems that conducted the first structural test for NASA’s Orion Ground Test Article (GTA) (Figure 1). This proof pressure test at 1.05 atmospheres required three distributed systems working together. First

was the pressurization and vent (P&V) system for automated control of the pressure within the module. The next was the data acquisition system (DAS) for realtime collection of structural data, realtime calculation of virtual channels, and analysis of limits and alarms. And the third element was the data distribution system (DDS) for real-time and post-test distribution of synchronized parametric, video and audio data to test controllers and data clients. G Systems developed each system using PXI hardware and software components, which helped shorten development cycles and maintain advanced functionality. The DAS for example was made from a PXI and LabVIEW Real-Time system that collects over 1,800 channels of synchronized data. In addition, the DAS can calculate several thousand synchronized, user-defined, virtual channels and simultaneously monitor alarm and limit levels that may trigger a test shutdown. A quad-core PXI real-time controller, optimized to execute specific loops on each processor in order to maintain deterministic performance, performed all of those activities in parallel. Aside from PXI and PXI Express, advances in serial fabric interconnects and embedded computing technologies have had a profound effect on the test and instrumentation market. Now the same test functions can be done on the PC using USB, PCI Express data acquisition and test modules. Meanwhile the PC itself— whether in desktop, laptop or single board embedded computer form—functions as the platform for running the test software and serves as the user interface.

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS: Test and Instrumentation Boards PXIe/PXI Family of Boards Provides Fast Throughput ADLINK Technology provides a family of high-performance PXI and PXI Express (PXIe) products for applications requiring fast data throughput, such as audio and image test. The three products include: PXES-2590, the industry’s first all-hybrid, 9-slot PXIe chassis that provides up to 8 Gbyte/s throughput; PXI-9527 (shown), a dynamic signal acquisition (DSA) module that offers 24-bit resolution

and IEPE signal conditioning for accurate sound and vibration testing; and PXIe9842, a digitizer with 200 MS/s for dynamic measurements. The PXES-2590 9-slot PXIe chassis provides all-hybrid peripheral slots for high data throughput up to 8 Gbyte/s and offers a flexible solution by allowing engineers to take advantage of both PXI and PXIe modules. The chassis is efficient and low-maintenance, protecting the system with cooling and alarms that reduce power consumption and increase the life of the chassis. The PXI-9527 DSA module provides accurate measurements for audio analysis with up to 432 KS/s at 24-bit resolution. The new DSA module is easily integrated into existing systems with software support for NI LabVIEW and MATLAB, or engineers can use ADLINK’s Dynamic Signal Assistant with no additional programming to verify the system performance and shorten development time. The ADLINK PXIe-9842 is a single-channel, 14-bit, 200 MS/s digitizer. The digitizer capitalizes on the benefits of PXIe, offering a high-throughput measurement tool for demanding applications that require high bandwidth, including fiber optic sensing, video signal analysis and radar signal acquisition. Prices of this product family range from $2,700 to $4,500.

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


COTS Journal | September 2012

PCI Express 3.0 Receiver Test Software Offers Integrated System

PXIe Card Provides MultiFunction, Multi-Protocol Solutions

Agilent Technologies provides what it claims is the industry’s first fully integrated PCI Express (PCIe) 3.0 receiver test calibration and transmitter test software. The software provides an integrated environment for calibrating the stressed voltage and stressed receiver eye using an Agilent J-BERT bit error-ratio tester, an Agilent 90000A-, Q- or X-Series oscilloscope, an Agilent pulse function generator and Agilent

Thanks to advances in semiconductor integration, test functions that used to require racks of boards can now be combined on a single card. Along just such lines, Avionics Interface Technologies offers its PXIe-CFC4X-2 Simulyzer, a multi-function high-performance intelligent Fibre Channel interface testing module offering

PCI Express 3.0 calibration test channels. Agilent N5393C Option 004 PCI Express 3.0 receiver test calibration software provides a receiver signal calibration test suite that allows engineers to set up a J-BERT N4903B bit error-ratio tester for performing PCI Express 3.0 jitter tolerance testing under the PCIe 3.0 Base specification. By automating the calibration of the bit error-ratio test signal, engineers save valuable test time and are able to achieve a consistent and reliable stressed eye signal, ensuring their PCIe 3.0 devices meet the requirements of the specification for jitter and voltage stress levels. PCI Express technology is commonly used in high-performance server, workstation and graphics-intensive desktop applications. The PCIe 3.0 standard, for operation at 8 gigabits per second, requires that PCIe 3.0-compliant devices support a robust receiver equalizer capable of opening what would otherwise be deemed a closed-eye signal. To validate that a receiver’s equalizer meets the minimum performance called out in the PCIe 3.0 specification, engineers must be able to emulate a worst-case PCI Express 3.0 signal that contains the maximum allowable jitter and noise while delivering only a minimal amount of peak-to-peak voltage to the receiver. The Agilent N5393C Option 004 PCI Express 3.0 receiver test calibration software is available now for $9,000.

both data generation/simulation and monitor/ analyzer functions for test and verification of nodes and/or switches communicating via the international communication protocol standards of Fibre Channel. The card supports point-to-point, switched fabric and arbitrated loop topologies and has in-line port configuration for a transparent analyzer. In-line port configuration provides the user with the capability to monitor a receive data stream and reroute to the other port without “disturbing” the data stream thus providing a transparent analyzer function. An onboard IRIG-B time code decoder/generator provides synchronization between multiple boards and precision time stamping of all captured data. An external IRIG-B signal enables the host system clock or user-provided time to be used as the time source. User application can be hosted on the PPC for end-device simulation. The board operates in a single PXIe slot supporting bus mastering with DMA and has scalable memory resources. It supports data rates at 1.0625, 2.125 and/or 4.25 Gigabaud respectively including non-standard Fibre Channel clock frequencies; each port can operate at different speeds. The board performs auto-speed negotiation providing negotiation to the highest speed available within the current speed range. Protocol support includes SCSI-3 FCP, FICON, JSF ASM, F-18 RDMA, AS5653, FC-AV and FC-AE 1553.

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

Avionics Interface Technologies Omaha, NE. (402)763 9644. [].

Test and Instrumentation Boards ROUNDUP

Synchro, Resolver and LVDT Converter Is 3U cPCI/PXI Compatible The magic of semiconductor integration means several functions can co-exist on one board. The CP3000 is a Universal Synchro, Resolver and LVDT Converter that provides up to 8 channels of individually Transformer Isolated and individually programmable sensor input that includes 3 wire Selsyn or Synchro Format, 4 wire Resolver (Sine Cosine) Format, 2 or 3 wire LVDT / RVDT format, and both

2 wire Linear digital demodulator or Sine weighted Control Transformer type format. The CP3000 has auto-ranging inputs to accommodate 1-28 VAC signal inputs over a frequency range of 47-10,000 Hz. 16-bit resolution is provided on both position and velocity / tachometer outputs, accuracy is better than 1 arc minute, and each channel dynamically tracks input rates of up to 152 revolutions/s. CP3001 is a universal high voltage variant that accepts up to 8 channels of Isolated 30-90/115 VAC at 47-10,000 Hz, (60/400) synchro inputs. Cards feature autoranging of inputs, programmable bandwidth, internal auto-calibration, extensive built-in auto-self-test that includes loss of field signal and reference inputs and programmable stepinput limit detect. Power input only requires +5 and +3.3 VDC off the cPCI or PXI compatible backplane. Signal and AC Reference inputs are independently transformer isolated on board withstanding less than 500 VDC high pot, using MIL-27-compliant high impedance transformers that allow tying on to existing sensors. It does that without loading or disturbing existing installations and without the fear of oscillations, ground loops or suffering ground induced noise, cross-talk, or interference. Price is $1,500 to $3,500 each in quantity.

Computer Conversions Northport, NY. (631)261-3300. [].

Module Does Strain- and BridgeBased USB Measurement A strain- and bridge-based acquisition module for USB offers high-speed performance in a compact form factor for applications including strain, load, pressure and other bridge-based measurements. The bus-powered DT9838 module from Data Translation removes the need for an external power supply and offers 24-bit resolution, direct connectivity and 52 ksamples/s simultaneously sampled analog inputs. It features full-, half- and quarter-bridge

completion; up to 10 Vinternal excitation; transducer electronic data sheet (TEDS) smart sensor compatibility and channel expansion using the RJ45 synchronization connector to synchronize up to four DT9838 modules. Many strain measurements are taken in the field where power sources are not available. Extremely accurate bridge data can now be obtained using a laptop with USB providing the data flow and power needs. Applications such as high-speed mechanical tests, in-vehicle testing and on-site impact measurements can now be done easily with our bridge software. All Data Translation devices include comprehensive driver and software support to get your application up and running quickly. The DT9838 USB data acquisition module and VIBpoint Framework software application bundle provides a turn-key real-time test and measurement solution. The DT9838 is available installed in a metal connection box with RJ50 connectors, or as a board-level OEM version.

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

Transient Recorders Add PCI Express for Increased Data Precision Many military applications demand exceptionally rapid data acquisition such as signal intelligence (SIGINT), communication intelligence (COMINT), spectral monitoring, RF recording and IF/baseband streaming. By using a PCIe 4-lane architecture, recorders provide real-time data streaming in a continuous acquisition mode that meet those needs. With that in mind, Elsys Instruments has expanded its family of LAN-controlled

transient recorders to include high-speed PCI Express (PCIe) data transfer on its data acquisition modules. The new TPCE data acquisition modules are high-precision and high-resolution digitizers with sophisticated features such as advanced trigger modes, continuous data acquisition mode, single ended and differential inputs, digital input lines and ICP coupling for piezo sensors. They enable the development of scalable systems that can be expanded to meet growing data acquisition needs. The new PCIe modules can be housed in Elsys’ TraNET FE transient recorders that hold four to 32 single-ended channels, or two to 16 differential channels, in the TraNET EPC industrial computer frame with 16 slots for a total of 64 channels or in the TraNET PPC ruggedized portable computer system with six slots for a total of 24 channels. Up to eight systems, of TraNET FE and/or EPC, totaling up to 512 channels, can be synchronized for clock and trigger by applying Elsys’ unique Sync-Link Box. Modules with different sampling rates—from 10 MS/s to 240 MS/s—and different vertical resolutions—14 bits or 16 bits—may be combined to match various application needs. Standard memory is 32 Msample per channel, expandable to 128 Msamples per channel. Pricing for a LAN transient recorder system equipped with TPCE modules is dependent upon recorder selected. Prices for individual TPCE modules start at $5,900.

Elsys Instruments Niederrohrdorf, Switzerland. + 41(0)56 496 01 55. []. September 2012 | COTS Journal


Test and Instrumentation Boards ROUNDUP

PXI DMM Features 6.5 Digit Measurement and 3 MS/s Digitizer Geotest has announced the release of the GX2065, a 6.5 digit PXI DMM for highperformance measurement applications. The GX2065 is a full-featured, multifunction DMM and offers all of the capabilities associated with

PXI Controller Supports the MOST150 Standard

RTD Module Joins PXI Sensor Measurement Family

GOEPEL Electronic provides the PXI 6161, currently the only worldwide PXI communication controller supporting the MOST150 standard. Software and hardware are offered on a single-source basis allowing users the flexible configuration required for their individual requirements. A break out module as an optional accessory facilitates the connection

National Instruments provides the NI PXIe-4357 RTD module, the latest addition to its SC Express sensor measurement family for PXI Express. The high-performance module is optimized for temperature measurements with Pt100 RTD sensors for a variety of thermal monitoring applications. The NI

standard bench top DMMs including DCV, of additional resources such as the Electronic ACV, 2- and 4-wire resistance measurements ploration Control Line (ECL) or trigger lines. In addition and current measurements. Additionally, the your goal to the PXI version, GOEPEL Electronic offers k directly GX2065 features a 3 MS/s, 16-bit, isolated input the module as a USB variant. digitizer, which allows users to acquire and age, the The card’s intelligent PowerPC architecture analyze waveforms. The GX2065 incorporates source. allows access to two on the board integrated proven DMM design techniques with the ology, network interface controllers (INIC OS81110), d products newest in component technologies—resulting to ensure the MOST internal communication as in an instrument that offers both precision and well as monitoring of MOST contents. PXI 6161 performance. d has been optimized for applications in the endThe GX2065 is supplied with a software of-line area, offering numerous functionalities package that includes a virtual instrument to implement various test scenarios. As many panel and Windows 32/64-bit driver libraries MOST networks as required can be generated for ATEasy, LabView, LabView/Real-Time, C/ by utilizing several modules in a PXI system. C++, Microsoft Visual Basic, Linux 32/64, One module can be configured as Master, Delphi and Pascal. Compatible drivers for the Slave or Spy, allowing for any facets of ECL, nies providing solutions now Signametrics SMX2040 and SMX2060 DMMs which can be actively initiated or passively are also supplied, customers to easily ion into products, technologies andallowing companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest responded. For multibus applications, there are existing applications thethe GX2065. tion Engineer,upgrade or jump to a company's technical to page, goal of Get Connected is to put you two configurable interfaces that are able to send you require for type technology, Thewhatever GX2065 is of available now. U.S. list price is and process CAN and LIN messages in parallel and products$1,895. you are searching for. to the MOST communication. The standard Geotest-Marvin Test Systems Ethernet interface allows the routing of MOST information on the MOST Ethernet channel. Irvine, CA. Simultaneously, an add-on board provides the (949) 263-2222. usage of DVI or S/PDIF signals for multimedia []. applications.

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COTS Journal | September 2012

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

PXIe-4357 module integrates sensor-specific signal conditioning with 24-bit ADCs to sample all 20 channels at 100 Samples/s and offers typical accuracies of up to 0.09 degrees Celsius. To expand a system’s channel count, engineers can integrate additional NI PXIe4357 modules or use other SC Express modules to add complementary sensor inputs including thermocouples, strain gages, accelerometers and FBG optical sensors to the same system. The card was designed to improve measurement accuracy and reliability by integrating signal conditioning and AD conversion into a single module. Because SC Express is based on the PXI Express platform, engineers can easily expand their channel counts or synchronize with other measurement or control modules to meet the specific requirements of their test application. The board synchronizes with other members of the SC Express family within the same PXI chassis, across chassis or across facilities.

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

Test and Instrumentation Boards ROUNDUP

PXI Module Sports 10 Fault Insertion Channels

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

High-Res 300 MHz Oscilloscopes Ride Multiple Form Factors

Pickering Interfaces has expanded its range of over 20 PXI Fault Insertion solutions with the introduction of the 40-199. Fault Insertion (FI) modules are used within an Automatic Test System to simulate common fault conditions

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

Board-level oscilloscopes can replace benchtop oscilloscopes in many ATE, aerospace and defense applications. The LXI instruments specifically are ideal for applications requiring remote monitoring and control as well as for portable test applications. ZTEC Instruments introduces three new series of high-resolution 300 MHz bandwidth oscilloscopes in PCI, PXI, VXI and LXI form factors. The new ZT4420

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(12-bit), ZT4430 (13-bit) (shown) and ZT4440 recordings at up to 1.4 Gbytes/s through the such as an open, short to ground or a short to Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration (14-bit) series of oscilloscopes are the fastest PCIe x8 bus (both mechanical and electrical) to other connections in a device under test. The into products, and companies. goal sampling oscilloscopes or digitizers available in PC disk technologies storage without any breakWhether in the your analog 40-199 provides 10 fault insertion channels the latest datasheet from a company, speak directly PCI, PXI, VXI and LXI at these levels of ADC record. that can be connected to either (or both) of is to research with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the resolution. The PX1500-2 can be set up to use either a two fault bus connections. Each fault insertion goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. All instruments offer 128 Msamples of transformer-coupled front end or an amplifier channel can switch up to 125 VDC with powers Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, acquisition memory on each input channel. connection. The transformer connection can up to 300W or 250 VAC at up to 2500 VA. Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products The instruments can be interleaved for 256 only be set for AC-coupled operation and has Each channel can carry and hot switchyou 10A. are searching for. Msamples maximum acquisition length on one a frequency capture range of 5 MHz to 2 GHz. Both fault buses are rated at 20A enabling the half the channels. The ZT4440 series has 14-bit The amplifier can be set for either AC-coupled support of two 10A fault conditions from each ADC resolution and a maximum real-time or DC-coupled operation with a frequency one. sampling rate of 400 Msamples/s per channel, range of up to 1 GHz. In addition, the PX1500The 40-199 uses a switch design based or 800 Msamples/s max when interleaved. 2’s frequency synthesized clock allows the ADC around high-quality electromechanical relays, The ZT4430 series meanwhile boasts 13-bit sampling rate to be set to virtually any value and in addition to being supported in any ADC resolution and a max sampling rate of from 200 MHz—the minimum allowable ADC PXI-compliant chassis, it can also be supported 250 solutions Msamples/s clock—up to 1500 offering in Pickering Interfaces Modular LXI Chassis. Get Connected with MHz, technology andmaximum companies providing nowper channel, 500 Msamples/s max when interleaved. And finally, the ZT4420 flexibility for sampling rate selection. Pickering Interfaces offers a wide range of Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research th series has 12-bit ADC resolution with a max divide-by-2 circuits are provided for fault insertion modules available in the PXI datasheetAdditional from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connect sampling Msamples/s per channel, sampling at even lower frequencies. platform, allowing users to choose the size and in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require for whateverrate typeofof500 technology, 1 Gsamples/s max interleaved. These rating of the fault insertion channels they Get needConnected will help you connect with the companies and productsoryou are searching for. Signatec oscilloscopes provide the same triggering, from 2A to in excess of 30A. All fault insertion Newport Beach, CA. acquisition, waveform math and analysis solutions are compatible with the most (949) 729-1084. functions that are commonly found in common real-time operating systems. today’s performance benchtop instruments []. Pickering Interfaces and that are found in ZTEC’s other M-Class Grants Pass, OR. oscilloscopes.

(541) 471-0700. [].

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

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

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September 2012 | COTS Journal




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Integrated GaAs MMIC Doubler Meets SATCOM Needs

Get has Connected mentioned in thisfor article. M/A-COM Technology Solutions introducedwith thecompanies GaAs MMIC Doubler VSAT applications. The XX1010-QT an active doubler in a RoHS-compliant 3x3 mm 16Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section.

Lead plastic QFN package that delivers +20 dBm output saturated power (Pout) and 35 dBc fundamental suppression. Using a GaAs pHEMT process, the XX1010-QT covers the 14.625-15.0 / 29.25-30.0 GHz frequency bands and integrates a gain stage, doubler and driver amplifier into a single device. The doubler is well suited for SATCOM and millimeter-wave Point-to-Point Radio applications. The XX1010-QT integrates DC blocking and bypassing capacitors, eliminating the need for any external components. The device has a self-bias configuration, requiring only a positive 5V supply.

M/A-COM Technology Solutions, Lowell, MA. (978) 656-2500. [].

Rugged Platform Aids FACE Application Development

H.264 XMC Card Eases Video Compression Challenges

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the FACEREF1 Software Reference Platform designed to allow organizations developing FACEcompliant applications to take advantage of a COTS solution that is pre-configured, pre-validated and pre-tested. The Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium, an Open Group Managed Consortium, is leading the development of open standards for avionics systems. The Consortium is creating a technologically appropriate open FACE reference architecture, standards and business model that will ensure interoperability, increase portability, promote innovation and competition, bring advanced capabilities to the warfighter faster and lower implementation costs. GE is working closely with Wind River Systems and Presagis to ensure that the two companies’ software roadmaps for FACE-compliant operating system, OpenGL and HMI tools, work “out of the box” on the FACEREF1 hardware platform. GE’s FACEREF1 Software Reference Platform is a complete, rugged subsystem that features GE’s SBC312 single board computer and PMCCG1 graphics PMC. The SBC312 is based on Freescale’s Power Architecture P4080 8-core processor yet has the power envelope of previous dual core systems, while the PMCCG1 features the high performance/low power S3 2300E GPU (graphics processing unit). The interface between the CPU and GPU is via a 4-lane PCI Express to PCI-X bridge, allowing highbandwidth connectivity between the two processors.

Tech Source has introduced the low-power Condor VC 100x H.264 video capture and compression card designed to ease the video compression challenges in UAVs and in other surveillance, image detection and video recording applications. The XMC form factor module features an H.264 video encoder with baseline, main and high profile support up to Level 4.1. It supports up to 4 composite video inputs (NTSC/PAL/SECAM) or up to 2 SDI inputs (SD-SDI/HD-SDI). The video inputs are selectable through the provided API. Condor VC 100x also has 2 stereo or 4 mono audio inputs. The Condor VC 100x card performs H.264 encoding in hardware to minimize CPU usage. Video data is captured and stored in files and made available to customer applications for processing, analysis or display on a local graphics card. The Condor VC 100x XMC configuration also supports transfer of the video stream via UDP or TCP/IP using RTP and RTSP protocols for remote display of captured data with low latency. An API is provided to manage captured video data. I/O is handled either through the front connector or through the rear Pn4 connector. Condor VC 100x is available in various ruggedized levels and has conduction or convection-cooled variants.

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

Tech Source, Altamonte Springs (407) 262-7100. [].

Tactical Radio Amplifier System Gets Additional JITC Certification AR Modular RF has received JITC certification for its KMW2030 tactical radio amplifier system (30 MHz - 512 MHz / 125 watts) when used with the Harris PRC-117G tactical radio. It has been previously certified for use with the PRC 117F and the PSC-5D. The KMW2030 was tested along with its associated Low Noise SATCOM pre-amp, the KMW2030P. This auto-band switching AM/FM-UHF/VHF DAMA amplifier uniquely fills the need for high-power tactical communications from ground vehicles, and can also be used for aircraft tactical operations. Designed for easy operation, the user need only select MODE and POWER LEVEL to operate. The "Battle Tested" amplifier is protected against antenna mismatch, overtemperature, excessive current draw, high VSWR and DC power mismatch.

AR Modular RF, Bothell, WA. (425) 485-9000. []. 70

COTS Journal | September 2012

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

6U VPX VITA 62 Power Supply 1000W GetOpen Connected with companies and products featuredDelivers in this section.

Behlman has introduced the VPXtra 1000CD series COTS DC to DC power supply. The unit is a rugged, highly reliable, conduction-cooled, switch mode unit built for high-end industrial and military applications. This VITA 62, Open VPX-compliant 6U power supply delivers 1000 watts of DC power with a 3.3 volt AUX. 12-volt output can be paralleled for higher power and redundancy. The 1000CD can accept a 28 VDC input, IAW MIL-STD-704, and can supply a high-power DC output at various power levels dependent on cooling capability. It has no minimum load requirement and has overvoltage and short circuit protection as well as over current and thermal protection. The power supply is designed to support the rigors of mission-critical airborne, shipboard, vehicle and mobile applications.

Behlman Electronics, Hauppauge, NY. (631) 435-0410. [].

Two-Channel RF/IF Recorder Targets Ultra Wideband Signals It used to be that capturing a very wideband signal meant you had to break up the signal into smaller bands, each covering an adjacent slice of the spectrum. Now with today’s state-of-the-art A-D converters it’s possible to digitize and record such signals with bandwidths as high as 1.5 GHz. Along just those lines, Pentek has introduced an ultra wideband RF/IF rackmount recorder, the Talon RTS 2709. Using 12-bit, 3.6 GHz A/D converters and state-of-the-art solid state drive storage technology, this system can achieve sustained recording rates up to 3.2 Gbytes per second. It can be configured as a one- or two-channel system and can record sampled data, packed as 8-bit or 16-bit wide consecutive samples. As a complete recording system, the Talon RTS 2709 recorder is ideal for capturing high-bandwidth RF/IF signals with frequencies up to 2.8 GHz. The built-in Windows 7 Professional workstation with an Intel Core i7 processor provides a platform that allows the user to install post-processing and analysis applications directly on the recorder itself. Signal viewing and analysis tools are provided as part of the SystemFlow recording software for monitoring signals prior to, during and after a recording session. The RTS 2709 streams this digitized data to files created on the recorder’s built-in RAID array. These files include time stamping as well as recording parameters and optional GPS information. Files are stored in the native Windows NTFS (new technology file system) format, allowing them to be immediately used by PCs and applications without the need for post-recording file conversion. The RTS 2709 is configured in a 4U 19” rack-mountable chassis, with hot-swappable data drives, front-panel USB ports and I/O connectors on the rear panel. Systems are scalable to accommodate multiple chassis to increase channel counts and aggregate data rates. The Model RTS 2709 2-Channel RF/IF rackmount recorder starts at $60,000.

Test Solution Supports 12.5 Gbit/s Optical/Electrical Conversion LeCroy has introduced software and hardware test solutions for 10GBase-R and 40/100GBase-R4 Ethernet. The full lineup includes the LabMaster 10 Zi real-time oscilloscopes with 4 channels at up to 36 GHz bandwidth (expandable to 80 channels), the industry’s first 10 Gbit/s optical-to-electrical (O/E) converter for use with real-time oscilloscopes. Also included are automated compliance software packages for SFI/SFP+ and 10GBase-KR, new SDAIII-CompleteLinQ multi-lane serial data and crosstalk analysis toolsets, and the SierraNet M408 protocol test system. These tools provide the most complete compliance, debug and analysis capability from single-lane electrical Ethernet through multi-lane optical signaling. The SDAIII-CompleteLinQ extends LeCroy’s superior serial data analysis toolsets to include the simultaneous analysis of up to four lanes of serial data traffic—ideal for 40 and 100GBASE-R4.

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

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

Constant Current AC/DC LED Supply Serves Up 30W Green Watt Power, a division of Calex Mfg., has announced the “GLC-30” Series of Constant Current AC/DC LED power supplies. The GLC-30 Series with universal / full range AC input voltage of 100 - 277 VAC, offers stable and reliable 30W output power and is available in three different models of constant current output at 500 mA and 750 mA with self-adjusting output voltage from 30 VDC to 60 VDC range in the various models. All models are enclosed to IP67 standards in extruded aluminum metal case design and well suited for virtually all LED lighting applications for indoor, outdoor, signage, refrigeration, thermally harsh and damp environments.

Green Watt Power, Concord, CA. (925) 687-4411. []. September 2012 | COTS Journal


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Rugged Multi-Platform Mission System Targets Vetronics and Avionics Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section.

Developers of platforms such as UAVs, helicopters and ground vehicles are hungry for compact and lightweight small form factor solutions. Feeding such needs, Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions has introduced the newest member of its family of fully integrated Multi-Platform Mission Computer (MPMC) subsystems. The new MPMC-9105 VMC (Versatile Mission Computer) is an ultra compact, volume optimized system designed for space, weight and power (SWaP)-constrained vetronics and avionics applications. This highly rugged subsystem is especially well suited for platforms requiring general processing with deep and diverse I/O requirements including video. Packaged in an environmentally sealed enclosure, this low-profile (W: 278 mm x D: 230 mm x H: 85 mm) and lightweight (6.5 Kg fully configured with two XMC mezzanine modules and four SSDs) mission computer is designed to meet challenging thermal management and intensive processing and I/O requirements ranging from low power systems to high-performance computing solutions. The MPMC-9105 VMC is designed to meet the harsh environments of demanding defense and aerospace computing applications in a multitude of conditions including extreme temperatures, shock, vibration and EMI. To ensure the highest level of performance, the MPMC-9105 VMC meets or surpasses the MIL-STD-810F Test Method Standard for Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests, and for EMI as per MIL-STD-461 Requirements for the Control of EMI Characteristics of Subsystems. Delivering the optimal performance under rugged conditions, the MPMC-9105 VMC will meet a wide range of environmental tests including temperature, altitude, shock, vibration, fluid susceptibility, voltage spikes and electrostatic discharge. The circuit cards installed in the sealed compact chassis are completely isolated from external environmental conditions such as humidity, dust and sand. Pricing for the MPMC-9105 starts at less than $10,000 in quantity.

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions, Ashburn, VA. (703) 779-7800. [].

2U VME64x Enclosures Boast Sleek SlimBox Format

Low Power, DDR3L Modules Sport Lower Profile

Pixus Technologies announced a new 2U VME64x enclosure in the SlimBox style, allowing up to 4 slots. The backplane comes with pluggable 47-pin PSU connectors in one monolithic 9U-long horizontal mount backplane. The 2U VME64x SlimBox features integrated ESD and EMC protection in a rugged enclosure. The chassis are 2U high by 19” wide by 300 mm depth and have optional rear I/O. Hot swappable AC or DC power supplies to 250W are standard. Other power options are also available. Pixus Technologies’ 9U monolithic VME64x backplanes come with active or passive termination and provisions for one or two 47-pin PSU connectors. A header is provided for system management options with SYSReset, SysFail, ACFail_PS and Ground signals. The backplane also has provisions to work with Pixus’ mini alarm cards. The company also offers VME64x chassis in 1U and 4U SlimBox versions, as well as vertical-mount enclosures in 4U, 7U, 8U, 9U and larger heights. The company has a wide range of VME64x backplane slot sizes in 6U, 6.5U for increased power and 9U monolithic versions. VME, CompactPCI and OpenVPX backplanes are available as well. Pricing for Pixus Technologies’ SlimBox VME64x enclosures starts under $1,000 depending on size, configuration and volume.

A new reduced height Very Low Profile (VLP) form factor DDR3L memory module offers a lower 17.17 mm alternative to the JEDEC standard VLP that has a height of 18.75 mm. By reducing the height, the DDR3L Blade VLP memory modules from Virtium offer a cost-effective solution that solves the space-constrained applications where it is difficult to accommodate the memory required for both an industry-standard DIMM or Mini DIMM socket plus a standard VLP at the 18.75 mm height. These DDR3L Blade VLP memory modules not only solve system space constraints allowing more air flow in the system, but also use low power DRAM to reduce the thermal dissipation up to 10°C on the DRAM surface, thus enabling a considerable increase in system performance. This is a particular design advantage as JEDEC specifies that systems running memory beyond 85°C must double the memory self-refresh rate. Virtium DDR3L Blade VLP memory modules are available now in 4 Gbyte and 8 Gbyte densities in a wide range of ECC SODIMM, RDIMM, UDIMM and Mini DIMM configurations.

Pixus Technologies, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. (519) 885-5775. [].

Virtium, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. (949) 888-2444. [].

PCI/104-Express Card Provides Quad-Port Gigabit Ethernet LAN ADL Embedded Solutions has announced the ADLLAN-41000e. The ADLLAN-41000e employs the Intel i350-AM4 quad port Gigabit Ethernet controller to bring server class connectivity to PCI/104-Express. With the PCIe V2.0 interface, four Gigabit LAN ports can operate at Gigabit speed while consuming just one PCI Express lane (x1). An additional three ADLLAN-41000e boards may be used in a stack for a total of 16 available Ethernet ports, loading 4 PCIe x1 lanes. The ADLLAN-41000e also provides a maximum of two additional USB 2.0 ports via the Type 1 PCIe bus interface from the host SBC. Since the USB ports are not implemented using an independent USB controller, only two ports will be available in configurations that use more than one ADLLAN-41000e.

ADL Embedded Solutions, San Diego, CA. (858) 490-0597. []. 72

COTS Journal | September 2012


Externally Triggered Pulse Generator Drives E/O Modulators The T240 from Highland Technology is a singlechannel externally triggered complementary-output pulse generator for driving electrical/optical modulators. It features programmable delay/pulse width in two ranges, from 100 picoseconds FWHM up to 25ns, and a programmable trigger threshold. It is controlled via USB, RS-232, or trimpots, with optional SPI, and is powered by USB or standard 5-volt micro-USB power supply. Designed for driving E/O modulators, the T240 is also ideal for driving seed lasers in pumped fiber systems, RF applications including fast-pulse modulation, phase shifting and harmonic generation. Other applications include time-domain device characterization and modeling, semiconductor test and system cable/timing trims.

Highland Technology, San Francisco, CA. (415) 551-1700. [].

Waveform Generators Offer High Signal Accuracy, Low Jitter Agilent Technologies has introduced the 33500B Series waveform generators. The eight new oneand two-channel models, which generate waveforms up to 30 MHz, incorporate exclusive Trueform signal-generation technology. Trueform enables these models to offer unmatched capabilities for generating a full range of signals for the most demanding measurements required when designing electronic devices. The 33500B waveform generators provide the lowest jitter and lowest total harmonic distortion in their class. With better jitter performance, engineers can place edges more accurately, helping them reduce timing errors in their circuit designs. With total harmonic distortion less than 0.04 percent and non-harmonic spurs less than 75 dBc, the 33500B Series offers clean signals that don’t introduce noise, enabling users to get more accurate results. The 33500B Series’ 8.4-ns rise and fall times and low jitter allow engineers to set trigger points more accurately as well. The instrument’s 16 bits of resolution allows engineers to make output changes down to 1 uV. With the 33500B Series, engineers can take advantage of easy software upgrades to expand the instrument’s capabilities when they need to increase bandwidth and add true point-by-point arbitrary waveforms and deeper waveform memory. Over the past two decades, direct digital synthesis has been the waveform-generation technology of choice in function generators and economical arbitrary waveform generators. Waveform generators built with DDS offer good frequency resolution, convenient custom waveforms and a low price. However, DDS has intrinsic limitations as well. Engineers with exacting requirements have had to either work around the compromised performance or spend up to 10 times more for a high-end, point-by-point waveform generator. In addition to point-by-point arbitrary waveforms, the 33500B Series offers features not normally found on waveform generators in this class. Available now, Agilent 33500B waveform generators start at $1,650.

Type VI COM Express Card Sports 3rd Gen Core i7 A high-performance module in a COM Express form factor features mobile Intel Express QM77 PCH with 22nm third generation quad-core/dual-core Intel Core i7/ i5/i3. The new PCOM-B219VG Type VI COM Express module from American Portwell offers an enhanced feature set, which includes Intel HD Graphics 4000 high-performance integrated graphics solution for three independent displays. Other features include: CPU support for Gen 3 PCI-E x16; QM77 PCH that supports faster I/O interfaces on seven PCI-E lanes; power sharing technology between the CPU and graphics engine to maximize performance; support for four SATA ports; display port (DP), HDMI and DVI supported with an increase of up to 50 percent in 3D performance and 18X HD to HD transcode performance; and support for four USB 3.0 ports.

American Portwell, Fremont, CA. (510) 403-3399. [].

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

Analog Servo Control System Is FPGA-Based The MESA 7I77 card set from Mesa Electronics is an FPGA-based 6 axis analog control system for CNC, industrial automation retrofits and OEM systems. Six axes of analog outputs and encoder inputs are sufficient for up to 5 axis machines plus spindle control. Encoder inputs are individually programmable for TTL or differential mode. The PCI or PCIE host interface provides robust real-time access to the motion hardware. In addition to the motion-related I/O, 32 digital inputs and 16 digital outputs are provided. These digital I/O points are isolated from the system ground and can use 5V to 32V I/O voltage. Inputs have a threshold of ½ the I/O voltage for high noise immunity. Outputs can supply 300 mA each and are short circuit protected. I/O can be expanded to more than 400 I/O points with real-time access or up to 12 motion axis. Price of the 7I77 set with PCI host adapter is $173 in 100s. Price of the 7I77 set with PCIE host adapter is $187 in 100s.

Mesa Electronics, Richmond, CA. (510) 223-9272. []. September 2012 | COTS Journal


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Module Links PC, CAN and Bluetooth for Control Systems An intelligent CAN/Bluetooth module that supports both bridge and gateway modes also comes with a new PC interface mode. Support of the Windows driver package VCI (Virtual CAN Interface) enables easy, wireless access for PC-based applications to CAN networks. The CANblue II from Get Connected companies products featured in this section. IXXAT supports customer-specific applications as wellwith as the IXXATand analysis and configuration tools. Furthermore, the VCI driver package can be used with all other PC interfaces offered by IXXAT. Depending on the application requirements, this allows switching between the various interfaces without adaptation of the user’s application software. Besides the new PC interface mode, the device also comes with the established generic mode, which enables easy access to CAN networks for “non-Windows” systems such as embedded systems and handheld service devices. For this, the Bluetooth communication is performed using simple ASCII commands and CAN-optimized binary messages. In bridge mode, several CANblue II devices can be linked with each other for a wireless connection of different networks. This is particularly useful in systems with mobile components or rotating parts that need to be linked by using fault-prone slip ring connections. The message exchange is performed transparently, which enables the use of CANopen, DeviceNet and other customer-specific protocols. Due to its compact design, the CANblue II can be easily integrated into existing systems. The device features an integrated antenna (optional external) and mounting holes. Its wide supply voltage range from 9 to 30 VDC, the galvanic decoupling and the extended temperature range from -40° to +70°C allows its use in a variety of applications. CANblue II is designed according to the Bluetooth specification V2.1 EDR with a maximum transmission distance of 300 meters (expandable with external antenna). Depending on the spatial conditions, the device is able to handle up to 100% CAN-bus load at a CAN baudrate of 1 Mbit/s.

IXXAT, Bedford, NH. (603) 471-0800. [].

PC/104-Size Gbit Ethernet Card Uses SUMIT PCI Express

HDMI Video/Audio Capture Card Provides Complete Solution

WinSystems has announced a SUMIT-ISM-compatible Gigabit Ethernet module designed for high-speed networking connectivity for small form factor applications. The PXM-GIGE is a 90 x 96 mm module that connects to 10/100/1000 Mbit/s networks using standard Category 5 (CAT5) unshielded twisted pair (UTP) copper cables. It offers a stackable PCI Express expansion on a PC/104 module with the addition of the industry-standard high-speed SUMIT connector. It plugs directly into WinSystems’ PXM-C388-S, a 1.66 GHz Atom N455-based SBC as well as other SUMIT-ISM-compatible products available elsewhere. The PXM-GIGE is based upon the Intel 82573 controller whose architecture is optimized to deliver both high performance and PCIe bus efficiency with the lowest power and smallest size. The 82573 efficiently handles packets with minimum latency by combining a parallel and pipelined logic architecture optimized for Gigabit Ethernet and independent transmit and receive queues. Also IEEE 802.3ab Auto-Negotiation, IEEE 802.3x-compliant flow control, adaptive equalization, echo cancellation and crosstalk cancellation are supported as well. The module is wired to the x1 PCIe lane of the SUMIT-A connector and automatically selects the first available link. The PC/104 connector is supported for legacy stacks. It requires only +5 volts at 0.67A and will operate from -40° to +85°C. The PXM-GIGE is priced at $199 (qty. 1).

An HD HDMI video and audio capture card enables one-card acquisition of full analog/ digital video and digital audio input. Featuring uncompressed full HD up to 1080p at 60 fps, 10-bit high-resolution ADC, and high-bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP) support, the HDV62A from Adlink delivers serious benefits and reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) for applications requiring simultaneous capture from both video and audio signals. The HDV62A not only delivers uncompressed highdefinition video data from DVI or HDMI, but also provides an analog video decoder comprehensively supporting RGB, NTSC/PAL, S-video and YPbPr, with an integrated audio decoder for HDMI and S/PDIF capture. In addition, the HDV62A is compatible with HDCP, securing critical user data during transmission. The HDV62A provides a single card capture solution, allowing acquisition from raw images and audio sources for analysis and measurement, significantly reducing costs of product line inspection. For medical imaging systems, the HDV62A provides video acquisition from a wide variety of video sources, including S-Video, CVBS, YPbPr, RGB and DVI, all of which are widely used in picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), delivering a superior cost/performance solution. The HDV62A is also equipped with ADLINK’s ViewCreator Pro utility, enabling system testing and debugging with no software programming required, and the HDV62A SDK is compatible with Microsoft DirectShow for reduced time-to-market. Driver support is provided for Windows 7/Vista/XP, and third-party software support accommodates LabView.

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

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

3U Power Supply Features Water-Cooled Packaging Ametek Programmable has introduced the Sorensen ASD Series 40V and 60V precision programmable AC-DC power supplies. The Sorensen ASD’s water-cooled packaging allows it to provide up to 30 kW of power in a 3U form factor, giving it unrivaled power density for a power supply in this class. The ASD DSP-based digital architecture, with real-time digital control and Graphical User Interface (GUI), enables advanced features for better control and monitoring of critical processes and applications. Additionally, the ASD’s Advanced Diagnostics and Maintenance (ADAMSM) function includes a “flight data recorder” feature that can capture and record multiple parameters facilitating troubleshooting and process improvement. With prices starting at $6,400, Sorensen ASD Series units are shipping to customers now.

Ametek Programmable Power, San Diego, CA. (858) 450-0085. []. 74

COTS Journal | September 2012


Rugged Rackmount GPU Supercomputer Has Four PCIe Slots Chassis Plans has released their M5U2203 rugged rackmount GPU server. The M5U2203 offers the highest performance of any platform currently offered, providing four x16 PCIe Gen 3.0 double wide slots, dual Intel E52600 processors and up to 512 Gbytes of 1600 MHz RAM. The four double-wide x16 PCIe slots are Gen 3.0 with full bandwidth natively provided by the Intel C602 chipset and dual E5-2600 processors as compared to expansion chassis or single board computer solutions multiplexing limited PCIe lanes across multiple slots. This allows the GPU boards to communicate with system memory and processors at the highest possible speed. The double-wide slots accommodate any high-performance GPU processor such as the latest Tesla M2090 and K10.

Chassis Plans, San Diego, CA. (858) 571-4330. [].

Compact Rugged SBC Serves Up Atom E6x0T CPU VersaLogic has introduced an extremely small, rugged embedded computer. The new Embedded Processing Unit (EPU) format combines processor, memory, video and system I/O into an extremely compact embedded computer. The Falcon features an Intel Atom E6x0T processor, which is optimized for performance/power consumption balance. It provides compatibility with a broad range of x86 application development tools for reduced cost and development time. Integrated highperformance graphics provide hardware-accelerated MPEG-4/H.264 and MPEG-2 video encoding and decoding. It includes a standard LVDS video output for flat panel displays. Onboard I/O includes Gigabit Ethernet with network boot capability, four USB 2.0 ports, four serial ports and Intel High-Definition Audio (HDA). A SATA 3 Gbit/s interface supports high-capacity rotating or solid-state drives. Dual microSD sockets and a Mini PCIe socket with mSATA capability provide flexible solid-state drive (SSD) options. Systems can be enhanced by leveraging the Mini PCIe socket with plug-in Wi-Fi modems, GPS receivers, MIL-STD-1553, Ethernet, Firewire and other mini cards. The Falcon supports an optional Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip for applications that require enhanced hardware-level security functions. Designed and tested for industrial temperature (-40° to +85°C) operation, the rugged Falcon meets MIL-STD-202G specifications to withstand high impact and vibration. Soldered-on RAM, fanless thermal solutions and latching connectors (Ethernet, SATA and main I/O) provide additional ruggedization for use in harsh environments. Falcon is available as an IPC-A-610 Class 2 assembly. Class 3 assembly is optional for situations where extreme reliability is required. Pricing starts at $853 for 1 Gbyte RAM models in OEM quantities.

19-Inch LCD Monitor Is Sunlight Readable TRU-Vu Monitors has introduced a new 19” Sunlight Readable LCD monitor. The new SRM19 Series monitors feature 1,000 nits brightness, enabling users to clearly see video images even in direct, bright sunlight. The SRM-19 Series monitors are built with industrial-grade components to withstand demanding industrial and commercial environments. They 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. The SRM-19 Series Sunlight Readable LCD displays are ideal for use in law enforcement and military vehicles, on ships, in airplanes, for outdoor surveillance systems, in trains and many other outdoor applications requiring good video image quality in direct, bright sunlight.

TRU-Vu Monitors, Arlington Heights, IL. (847) 259-2344. [].

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

PrPMC/XMC Module Supports Freescale QorIQ Processors A conduction-cooled PrPMC/XMC module supports the Freescale QorIQ P3, P4 and P5 processor families. The XPedite5401 from Extreme Engineering Solutions 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 Gbyte 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. Linux, Wind River VxWorks and Green Hills Integrity BSPs are available.

Extreme Engineering Solutions, Middleton WI. (608) 833-1155. []. September 2012 | COTS Journal


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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: Box-Level Systems Revamp UAV Payload Designs For medium and large UAVs, the pressure is on to add more payload functionality in the same space or add more separate payloads on the same platform. To achieve such goals, systems developers are relying more on complete rugged box-level systems replacing traditional slot-card and chassis design strategies. This section looks at box-level computer systems and the trade-offs versus slot-card solutions and how system consolidation is impacting the radar, imaging processing and communications capabilities of next-gen UAVs. Tech Recon: FPGA VPX and VXS Boards in Radar and SIGINT Once used merely as glue-logic, FPGAs are now complete systems on a chip. And now that many of them even have general purpose CPU cores on them, the military is hungry to use FPGAs to fill processing roles. As the signal processing capabilities of FPGAs continue to climb, they’ve become key enablers for waveform-intensive applications like sonar, radar, SIGINT and SDR. This feature section delves into the VPX, VXS and VME solutions available in this area and explores how they’re transforming military processor-based systems. System Development: Training and Simulation Technology Military simulation and training systems have taken on a whole different character as PC-based platforms take center stage. Articles in this section analyze the technologies behind that trend. Also featured is a preview of the products and papers to be showcased at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC). Tech Focus: Rugged Stand-Alone Box Products Traditional embedded board vendors have added stand-alone rugged box-level systems to their military market offerings. These complete system boxes often support standard form factor boards inside them. The result is a complete, tested and enclosed computing solution that eliminates complex integration chores for customers. This section looks at this emerging product class and outlines the problems they solve. A product album rounds up the latest representative products in this area. 76

COTS Journal | September 2012







EDITORIAL Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

The Industry Needs List


t’s a nagging issue that both I and my publisher Pete Yeatman have discussed often in our respective columns: the fact that our industry of technology suppliers and the upper tier defense prime contractors have few forums in which to interact and share information. Over the past decade or more, COTS Journal is one tool that’s improved matters, but the problem is a major one. The bottom line is that technology decision makers at the primes are not as aware of our industry’s technology and product offerings as they should be. One problem is that conferences and trade shows haven’t met this particular need very well—although that situation has improved in recent years. While there are many, many technology shows, and many, many shows focused on the military, there are surprisingly few that overlap both to any degree. A couple exceptions are MILCOM, AUVSI, and to a lesser extent AUSA. MILCOM over the past seven years has evolved from a show with mostly only primes and niche communications gear suppliers, to today a show where about a third of the exhibitors are companies from our military embedded computing industry. AUVSI, the largest unmanned systems technology show, has grown even faster. And while I don’t know exactly how many of its 550 exhibitors at last month’s show were from our industry, it was a very large contingent. So there are a few examples like those where technology suppliers and the primes are side by side, but my hope is for this trend to continue and become more entrenched. At the other end of the spectrum are modest-sized tabletop technology shows that are regional and suited for attendees to drop in and touch and feel products. Our company’s RTECC shows are the premier example along those lines, and the only successful show series of its type in our industry space. I recently attended our RTECC events in Irvine and San Diego last month. While these events are not military specific, the percent of engineers from the defense industry is typically very high. At the San Diego event, I was very pleased to attend the keynote by Pete Palmer, U.S. Army Brigadier General (retired) and Director of the EDGE Innovation Network. His talk covered the technology challenges and opportunities in today’s military programs, and specifically the challenges to developing and transitioning technology. Created and sponsored by General Dynamics C4 Systems, the EDGE Innovation Network is a network of innovation centers around the country where industry, academia and non-profit organizations, along with govern78

COTS Journal | September 2012

ment entities, collaborate in an open community environment. Its mission is to rapidly deliver new technologies and innovative capabilities to warfighters and first responders. In his presentation, General Palmer touched on the problem I’m talking about here of how different segments of the industry and the government don’t communicate and share technology information as well as they should. On one slide Palmer listed the various technology and capability “Needs Lists” of various organizations and defense branches. If you’re not familiar with these, most of them are actual publically available lists. Examples are the Air Force’s Technology Horizons, the Army’s Science and Technology List, the Warrior Outcomes Needs List and the Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) (all service branches). On the same slide he listed “Industry Needs List,” which caught my eye. He explained that the list was only theoretical, and that the fact that such a list doesn’t exist is part of the problem with today’s defense procurement and program development. The idea of an Industry Needs List is to collect a defined set of technology and solutions that defense prime contractors need from technology supplier companies large and small—including embedded computer vendors, as Palmer said “ the ones here at this RTECC show.” General Palmer was kind enough to chat with me after his presentation, and I was gratified to find that we were on the same page about this problem: Different segments of the defense industry do not have enough awareness of one another. Obviously COTS Journal is in the business of connecting those industry segments—which we do by providing a platform with key editorial information and ads about the technologies that are critical for developing military systems based on embedded computing and electronics. But the idea of an Industry Needs List has a broader scope, and I like the notion of such a thing becoming an institutional reality somehow. As we enter an era in the defense industry where budget reductions and cost-cutting become even more extreme, stakeholders will need all the tools available to enable the DoD to get the most it can for allocated dollars to meet its warfighting and security needs. An Industry Needs List—or the concept of it—should be one of those tools. It’s encouraging to me that we have folks like General Pete Palmer working toward such goals. I’m keeping my eye out for others like him and look forward to using COTS Journal to facilitate any forum or initiative that brings us closer to an Industry Needs List that’s not just a Power Point bullet.

d n a


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