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Rugged Stand-Alone Box System Roundup

The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing


FPGAs and OpenVPX Team to Meet Radar and SIGINT Needs

Simulation Advances Fuel Cost-Effective Warfighter Training

An RTC Group Publication

Volume 14 Number 10 October 2012

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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing


Box-Level Systems in UAV Payload Designs

CONTENTS October 2012

Volume 14

Number 10


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 8 Publisher’s Notebook TMI, Sergeant 10

The Inside Track

12  UAV Payloads Embrace Compute-Dense Rugged Box Systems


COTS Products

20  Effective Video Handling on Unmanned Vehicles

82 Editorial Rough Road for Ground Vehicles

Box-Level Systems in UAV Payload Designs Jeff Child

Tim Klassen, GE Intelligent Platforms

28  Compact Box-Level Systems Enable Net-Centric Open Architectures Ákos Csilling, CES Creative Electronic Systems

34  Achieving Network Security with Common Criteria Gene Keeling, Cisco Systems

TECH RECON FPGA VPX and VXS Boards in Radar and SIGINT

38  FPGA OpenVPX Technology Feeds ISR and SIGINT Needs Tom Roberts, Mercury Computer Systems

48  Throughput and FPGA Processing Drive Mezzanine Choices Rodger Hosking, Pentek

54  Where SWaP Meets Stronger and Faster in OpenVPX Systems Justin Moll, Pixus Technologies

SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Training and Simulation Technology

58  Training and Simulation Systems Leverage PC Processing Jeff Child

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS Rugged Stand-Alone Box Systems

64  Rugged Box Systems Take a More Application-Focused Turn Jeff Child


Rugged Box Systems Roundup Digital subscriptions available:

Coming in November See Page 80 On The Cover: The MQ-9 Reaper has an array of electronics for full motion video, SIGINT and SAR sensor payload, avionics and data links. Last month General Atomics Aeronautical Systems announced the successful first flight of the Block 1-plus Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper, an upgrade to the original Block 1 Predator B that has been in production since 2003. (Reaper portion of image extracted from a U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Ridgeway)












The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

Publisher PRESIDENT John Reardon, PUBLISHER Pete Yeatman,


Art/Production ART DIRECTOR Kirsten Wyatt, GRAPHIC DESIGNER Michael Farina, LEAD WEB DEVELOPER Justin Herter,

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COTS Journal HOME OFFICE The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Phone: (949) 226-2000 Fax: (949) 226-2050, Editorial office Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief 20A Northwest Blvd., PMB#137, Nashua, NH 03063 Phone: (603) 429-8301 Published by THE RTC GROUP Copyright 2012, The RTC Group. Printed in the United States. All rights reserved. All related graphics are trademarks of The RTC Group. All other brand and product names are the property of their holders.


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COTS Journal | October 2012

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pple has just released its iPhone 5 with twice the prerelease sales of its extremely successful iPhone 4S. The media has been abuzz with pundits saying that the new iPhone is not as innovative as smartphone products already released from competitors. Yet other pundits are espousing the merits of iPhone 5. Pre-release sales won’t determine who’s correct. That’s because the sales success is really based on the previous reputation of the company and its products. No doubt there will be a few technical issues like were experienced with previous Apple products. And by the spring we should have a better understanding of which side’s predictions were more accurate. It is clear that all leading-edge communication and information technology are of interest to military and political organizations throughout the world. We see the effect they’ve had with the “Arab Spring” and currently in Syria and other hot spots throughout the world. Last year DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) was involved in two programs that are intended to focus on exploiting iPhone/iPad-type technology. The first involves DARPA seeking smartphone app developers for its Adaptable Sensor System (ADAPT) program. “DARPA is looking to tap the smartphone application development community with experience in application creation,” said Mark Rich, DARPA program manager. From novel approaches to networked connectivity, accelerometer use, user interfaces and others, DARPA hopes to revolutionize sensors built on smartphone-like technology. Rich believes this can be accomplished by adding commercial smartphone application developers to the innovation process to deliver deployed distributed sensor systems for warfighters. According to Rich, “The rapid advancement and sophisticated capabilities in today’s smartphone technology provide opportunities to revolutionize the way sensor systems are developed and used. The integrated processing, storage, communications, navigation and orientation functions built into smartphone hardware and software can be leveraged to create far more powerful distributed sensor devices than we use today.” Sensor systems being developed for ADAPT are very complex and provide capabilities beyond their current utilization. Developing adaptive applications that can exploit these capabilities will be essential to utilizing the sensors to the fullest. UAVs—as an example—have become the most productive ISR platform on the battlefield, and we’ve just begun to tap their full capability. Having new apps that enable easier management is critical—to control UAVs as individual units or as groups. Easyto-use apps by handheld devices are the goal for this program. 8

COTS Journal | October 2012

The second DARPA program is called Transformative Apps, under which it has developed a few dozen smartphone applications that work on several available mobile devices. The apps can do things like mapping, identify explosives and weapons, and set locations of parachute drops. DARPA recently field tested some of its apps in Afghanistan last year utilizing a small Dell Streak 5-inch tablet computer DARPA hardened. The custom mapping app with Google-like maps is based on satellite images. The device was used by the platoon leader to keep track of the exact locations of each of his men while engaged with a sizable number of insurgents. Having this exact data enabled the lieutenant to reposition his men and effectively clear the area without a single casualty. More than 1,000 soldiers in Afghanistan now use this technology as it continues to be rolled out to brigades. Dr. Mari Maeda, the Deputy Director of the Defense Sciences Office (DSO), who heads up the apps initiative, is working to provide the latest smartphone and apps capability to all U.S. Army units in Afghanistan. DARPA worked closely with soldiers on the smartphone program and tried to understand their needs. Early bugs were worked out by embedding engineers with units at their patrol bases. When troops returned from battle, they told the engineers what worked and what didn’t work, and the engineers then fixed the devices. The engineers were also able to develop new apps on site at the request of the troops to solve emerging needs. But the technology has some limits. Because the phones weren’t connected to the military’s encrypted communications network, the soldiers still had to carry radios. There were also too many settings that needed to be customized. Meanwhile, the batteries lasted only for a day, so soldiers had to carry spares. DARPA agrees with the COTS industry that commercial communications capabilities surpassed military capability by the end of the last century. The challenge now is to rapidly adapt these COTS technologies to meet the unique requirements of the various military operations that can work with no communications infrastructure in place; as well as making it secure. The aim is to create a more all-encompassing military wireless network and use it to connect UAVs and other sensors and relay real-time video down to mobile devices in the battlefield. As case in point, the Dell Streak—a smartphone/tablet hybrid from Dell—was not a commercial success and we won’t be seeing DARPA developing new hardened hardware on this COTS device. We’ll have to see where it will turn to and how it will handle the obsolescence issue with all commercial products. Pete Yeatman, Publisher COTS Journal


INSIDE TRACK Marine Corps Awards Four Vehicle Contracts to BAE Systems The U.S. Marine Corps has awarded BAE Systems four different contracts to design, build and test various amphibious vehicles, solidifying the company’s position as a leader in Marine vehicle engineering. The first contract is an Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) upgrade trade study, which will help the Corps’ AAV Program Office determine an optimal design for the AAV RAM/RS vehicle upgrade. This ship-to-shore vehicle has been in service since 1972, but BAE Systems continues to upgrade the vehicle and extend its life. This work will also support a validation that the capability upgrades can be produced at the targeted average procurement unit cost. The second contract is a Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC) (Figure 1) demonstration and study effort that allows BAE Systems to showcase its optimized 8x8 wheeled vehicle to the U.S. Marine Corps and demonstrate its superior balance of sea-keeping capability and force protection. The final two contracts, focused on design work for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV), will provide a leap forward in amphibious vehicle survivability by delivering the U.S. Marine Corps a blast test demonstrator based on the ACV requirements. Included trade studies will confirm the vehicle’s land and water mobility can still be achieved at higher survivability levels. One contract is related to a new, ACV-specific design concept; the second is for a design that is based off of the existing AAV. The

Figure 1

The contract for the Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC) demonstration and study effort enables BAE Systems to showcase its optimized 8x8 wheeled vehicle to the U.S. Marine Corps. purpose for both awards is to allow the U.S. Marine Corps the opportunity to evaluate design concepts based on a new design or an upgrade to current vehicles. BAE Systems, McLean, VA. (703) 847-5820. [].

Boeing Taps Rockwell Collins to Provide Advanced Displays for B-1 Cockpit Rockwell Collins has been awarded a $21 million initial production contract from The Boeing Company to provide high-resolution 6-by-8-inch color displays for the fleet of U.S. Air Force B-1 aircraft (Figure 2). The contract is part of the Air Force’s Integrated Battle Station Program. This contract award follows successful execution of a development contract previously awarded to Rockwell Collins. The displays upgrade is one of a series of aircraft upgrades to replace 25-year-old avionics, including monochrome Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) displays, with modern, state-of-the-art Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Display (AMLCD) technology in both


for night vision goggle compatibility across a broad temperature operating range. Rockwell Collins Cedar Rapids, IA. (319) 295-1000. [].

ESMexpress Form Factor to Become ANSI/ VITA Standard

Figure 2

The B-1 long-range bomber has synthetic aperture radar and is capable of tracking, targeting and engaging moving vehicles as well as selftargeting and terrain-following modes. the forward and aft cockpits. The avionics grade AMLCD provides superior optical performance with a wide viewing

COTS Journal | October 2012

angle for excellent cross cockpit viewing. The high-performance backlight technology enables sunlight readability and provides

MEN Micro has successfully applied for the resumption of the VITA 59 Rugged System-OnModule Express (RSE) standard in a statement of work (SOW) with the VITA Standards Organization (VSO). The standard, which now includes a provision for COM Express compatibility, is set for completion by the middle of 2013. Manfred Schmitz, CTO and co-founder of MEN Mikro Elektronik GmbH,


Northrop Grumman to Supply Additional Radar Systems for Army Gray Eagle UAV Northrop Grumman has been selected to supply an additional 44 STARLite wide area surveillance radars for the U.S. Army’s MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAV

Figure 3

An MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft makes its way down an airfield on Camp Taji, Iraq, before a surveillance mission in the Baghdad area.

unmanned aircraft system platforms for mission-critical tactical reconnaissance. The system is capable of conducting all-weather, wide-area surveillance and detecting stationary, dismounted and moving targets. Northrop Grumman Los Angeles, CA. (310) 553-6262. [].

Military Market Watch The U.S. Defense Budget Expected to Shrink at 0.12% Rate Over 5 Years With the U.S, defense budget for 2012 valued at $645.7 billion, this nation has the largest defense market in the world. Due to its high levels of military spending, a large number of opportunities are available to companies keen to supply the nation with defense equipment. However, the U.S. defense budget, which declined at a CAGR of -0.77% during the review period, is expected to record a CAGR of -0.12% over the forecast period (2012 to 2017), declining to $611.0 billion by 2017. Driven largely by financial constraints caused by the global financial crisis, defense budget cuts are expected over the next five years, which will be achieved by reducing capital expenditure. Threats from North Korea and Iran, modernization initiatives, an arms race with China and Russia, ongoing military operations, and the protection of allies are expected to drive the defense spending of the U.S. The U.S. perceives a potential nuclear threat U.S. Defense Expenditure (US$ Billion), 2009–2013 from Iran and North Korea, 600 12% through their acquisition of long-range ballistic missiles. 500 10% The U.S. needs to 400 8% modernize its aging fleet 300 6% of equipment, such as fighter aircraft, helicop200 4% ters, land defense systems 100 2% and maritime equipment. That is a challenge as the 0 0% rising unit cost of defense 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 systems poses a challenge to Capital expenditure Revenue expenditure Defense expenditure procurement funding. The (US$ bn) (US$ bn) growth % cost of military hardware is increasing due to technoFigure 4 logical advancements and The U.S. defense budget, which declined at a CAGR of -0.77% during the report’s a shortage of skilled labor in the design, engineering review period, is expected to record a CAGR of -0.12% over the forecast period. and manufacturing sectors, coupled with the rising cost of input materials, such as metal. In addition, the per-unit overhead costs at production facilities increased due to a reduction in the number of units manufactured. Defense Expenditure Growth Rate (%)

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

cal Radar – Lightweight) is the Army radar program of record for the MQ-1C Gray Eagle. STARLite has taken part in digital interoperability demonstrations at Camp Roberts in California, showcasing its ability to share data across a network and cue non-collated sensors. Weighing just 65 pounds, the radar system is ideal for equipping a variety of manned and

(Figure 3). STARLite features synthetic aperture radar, ground moving target indicator and dismount moving target indicator capabilities. Under the terms of the contract option, radar deliveries will begin in April 2013 and conclude in March 2014. This order will bring the total number of systems under contract to 174. Northrop Grumman’s AN/ ZPY-1 STARLite (Small Tacti-

Defense Budget (US$ Billion)

the parent company of MEN Micro, has served as head of the VITA 59 working group since its inception. Computer-on-Modules (COMs), also called System-onModules (SOMs) are complete computers on a plug-on module, where individual functionality is tailored to each application by configuring the I/O on a separate carrier board. The incorporation of conduction cooling and completely encapsulated electronic components inside a metal housing—areas lacking in other COM concepts—are an integral part of the new VITA 59 standard. Ruggedized versions of COMs, currently known as MEN Micro’s ESMexpress family, have operated effectively in harsh environment systems for several years.

ASD Media Amsterdam, The Netherlands +31 (0)20 486 1286. [].

October 2012 | COTS Journal


SPECIAL FEATURE Box-Level Systems in UAV Payload Designs


COTS Journal | October 2012

UAV Payloads Embrace ComputeDense Rugged Box Systems Even with budgets tighter than ever, UAV and UAV payloads continue to drive demand for smaller, less power consuming rugged box systems. Technology suppliers are responding with compact, high-speed solutions. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


ven as defense budgets shrinkâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;with more severe cuts aheadâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the area of Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAVs) is seeing less of a hit. On one hand all branches of the military are continuing to invest heavily in UAV platform development. At the same time, technology upgrades of existing UAV platforms and payloads will see more activity as decision makers move toward improving already deployed UAVs while limiting development of new ones. Both of those trends are positive ones for the embedded computing industry, as they roll out new integrated box-level systems with the proper size, weight and power (SWaP) for UAV requirements. In the large UAV segment, the design approach has been to employ multiprocessing with arrays of big, power-hungry boards based on general-purpose processors. However, this is being replaced with more integrated boards sporting FPGAs. At the same time, stand-alone function-specific boxlevel systems are in some cases replacing traditional slot-card implementations. That system consolidation is impacting the radar, imaging processing and communications capabilities of large UAVs by allowing more functionality in the same space. October 2012 | COTS Journal



Figure 1

The Block 1-plus Predator B is an upgrade to the original Block-1 Predator B that has been in production since 2003. The MQ-9 Block 1-plus was designed for increased electrical power, secure communications, auto land, increased Gross Takeoff Weight (GTOW), weapons growth and streamlined payload integration capabilities.

Global Hawk Block 30 Canceled For its part, the Global Hawkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s future has had some turmoil in terms of budgeting. On the list of terminated programs is the RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 (GH30). The GH30 was scheduled to replace the U-2 aircraft in FY 2015, and 14

COTS Journal | October 2012

was expected to provide significant cost savings over U-2. The DoD has determined that the GH30 would require a much more substantial investment than originally planned in order to reach its maximum potential. Also, the Department believes that the termination of

the GH30 is a manageable risk and proposes to extend U-2 operations until FY 2025. Meanwhile, the FY 2013 budget requests funding for three NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) systems. Based on the Block 40 version of the RQ4B Global Hawk UAV, the systems will


Joint ISR Tests for UAVs

Figure 2

The AB3000 is small, lightweight and loaded with capabilities. This rugged, conduction-cooled COTS device marries the efficient Intel E680T processor with MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC 429/708/717 interfaces, Ethernet, USB, video, audio and PMC expansion. enable the Alliance to perform persistent surveillance over wide areas. Using advanced radar sensors, the NATO AGS will continuously detect and track moving objects throughout observed areas, and provide radar imagery of areas and stationary objects. The next level UAV size down from the Global Hawk, like the Predator and Reaper UAVs, are likewise packed with electronics. Platforms consist of an array of sensors to include day/night Full Motion Video, Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensor payload, avionics and data links. Last month General Atomics Aeronautical Systems announced the successful first flight of the Block 1-plus Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper, an upgrade to the original Block 1 Predator B that has been in production since 2003. The MQ-9 Block 1-plus is a capability enhancement over the Block 1 configuration, which has amassed more than 420,000 flight hours across all customers. Block 1-plus was designed for increased electrical power, secure communications, auto land, increased Gross Takeoff Weight (GTOW), weapons growth and streamlined payload integration capabilities. With the completion of development, testing and expected Milestone C decision this fall, follow-on aircraft to the MQ-9 Block 1-plus configuration will be designated “MQ-9 Block 5.”

This past summer saw General Atomics’ successful participation in NATO’s Unified Vision (UV12) Trial at Orland Main Air Station in Brekstad, Norway. Sponsored by the NATO Joint Capability Group on Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JCGISR), the Joint ISR (JISR) trial focused on the enhancing the interoperability of national ISR assets, sharing ISR data, and improving NATO


JISR tactics, techniques and procedures. UV12 was attended by over 1,200 participants from 21 NATO commands, member nations and associated government organizations. General Atomics participated in the trial for the first time, demonstrating a Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper surrogate (manned King Air 200) with a Block 30 Lynx Multi-mode Radar, a FLIR Star SAFIRE 3800HD Electro-Optical/Infra-


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Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery, stationary and moving target information, and High-Definition (HD) video to NATO networks.

Avionics Support at the Box Level

Figure 3

The XPand6000 is a rugged ATR system measuring 4.88 in. x 1.9 in. x 7.7 in. Virtually any conduction-cooled PMC or XMC can be integrated into the system. It also supports an optional 1.8-in. or Slim SATA Solid-State Disk (SSD).

Modularity on the Inside

Figure 4

The DuraCOR\ 80-40 is a tactical mission computer subsystem based on the highperformance Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors with a high-speed, stackable PCI Express bus (PCIe/104) architecture for I/O card expansion. red (EO/IR) sensor and Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL), along with GAASI’s new System for Tactical Archival, Retrieval and Exploitation (STARE) and Link 16 integration. General Atomics’s STARE technology was used at the event, filling critical gaps in data distribution, archiving and retrieval during the various 16

COTS Journal | October 2012

The trend toward complete boxlevel systems has broadened to include some offerings that target specific needs like avionics. Along those lines, Ballard Technology, a wholly owned subsidiary of Astronics, offers its Avionics BusBox 3000 (AB3000) systems. The AB3000 (Figure 2) is small, lightweight and loaded with capabilities for easy integration into today’s modern aircraft, UAVs and ground mobile platforms. With an efficient Intel E680T processor, MILSTD-1553 and ARINC 429/708/717 interfaces, Ethernet, USB, video, audio and PMC expansion, this rugged, conduction-cooled COTS device is ready to take on all of your toughest computing and interface problems. Avionics databus protocols are not an add-on with the AB3000. Choose the model that includes one or multiple protocols built right in to meet the unique needs of your application. Powerful interface circuitry manages protocol functions so the AB3000’s processor is free to concentrate on your software application. Avionics interface support includes MIL-STD-1553, ARINC 429/575, ARINC 708/453 and ARINC 717/573. Other interfaces supported include RS-232/422/485, Ethernet (10/100), USB 2.0 Host (High Speed), CANbus, Discrete I/O and PMC Expansion.

trial vignettes. This was accomplished by simultaneously processing sensor feeds from multiple systems, including the Reaper surrogate, AeroVironment’s Puma Small Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) and Lockheed Martin’s Persistent Threat Detection System (aerostat). STARE was used to collect, exploit and disseminate

Even at the ultra-small box level, there’s often a desire to allow modularity inside the box. Extreme Engineering accomplishes that in its XPand6000 (Figure 3), a rugged ATR system measuring just 4.88 in. x 1.9 in. x 7.7 in. A fully loaded XPand6000 utilizes three types of industry-standard commercial-off-theshelf (COTS) components: rugged COM Express modules, PMC/XMC modules and solid-state storage. With COTS components, the XPand6000 can be deployed quickly into airborne or ground vehicles. Its natural convection-cooling and small


size allow the XPand6000 to be bolted to any available surface; and with a fully loaded weight of less than 4.5 lbs., it is perfect for small UAV ATR applications. Virtually any conduction-cooled PMC or XMC can be integrated into the XPand6000, which also supports an optional 1.8-in. or Slim SATA SolidState Disk (SSD) for applications requiring ruggedized, non-volatile storage. Initially, the XPand6000 will support COM Express modules based on the Intel Core i7 and Atom processors, with Freescale QorIQ support to follow. To meet a wide variety of application needs, the XPand6000 is available in three configurations: a horizontal orientation with natural convection-cooling, a horizontal orientation with conduction-cooling and a vertical orientation with natural convection-cooling. Using the COM Express form factor for the CPU card allows for modules from third-party vendors. Most importantly, it provides a thermally superior solution because the CPU is located on the opposite side of the module connectors, allowing for direct contact between the CPU’s die and the system’s external cooling interface. The PMC/XMC form factor was chosen for the plug-in I/O card because of the wide ecosystem of PMC/XMC I/O modules available from a number of vendors.

Upgrade to Future Processing The model for box-level systems is to replace the whole box when it’s time to upgrade—as opposed to swapping out an SBC or two. Supporting the latest in microprocessor technology, Parvus offers the DuraCOR\ 80-40 (Figure 4), a rugged Commercial-off the Shelf (COTS) tactical mission computer subsystem based on the high-performance Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors with a high-speed, stackable PCI Express bus (PCIe/104) architecture for I/O card expansion. Optimally designed for size, weight and power (SWaP)-sensitive mobile, airborne, ground, manned or unmanned vehicle applications, the DuraCOR 80-40 combines powerful graphics and multicore processing with ultra-reliable mechanical robustness and modular

I/O expansion for extreme environmental and EMI performance per MIL-STD810G (thermal, shock, vibration, dust, water, humidity) and MIL-STD-461F. The DuraCOR 80-40 features modular interlocking chassis segments with pre-installed MIL-DTL-38999 connectors and an internal power/control bus to ease the integration of applicationspecific PCIe/104 or PCI/104-Express I/O cards and meet high-speed mission



payload I/O requirements. Standard I/O includes 2x Gigabit Ethernet, 6x USB, 2x RS-232, 16-bit GPIO, dual display outputs (Analog, DVI), stereo audio, PS2 and a stackable PCIe/104 bus. The unit mounts either horizontally or vertically and supports factory integration of the Cisco IOS-managed DuraMAR 5915 router and/or application I/O into a single appliance combination of computer + router + switch + application I/O.



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The DuraCOR 80-40 is completely sealed (IP67), requires no active cooling, includes a military-grade power supply supporting aircraft (MIL-STD-704F) and ground vehicle (MIL-STD-1275D) voltages, and features a hinged panel on the rear with two slots for removable 2.5â&#x20AC;? SATA Solid State Disks (SSD). Parvus application engineering services are available to support semi-customized configurations, including mechanical changes and pre-integrated PCIe/104 I/O cards.

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

CES - Creative Electronic Systems Geneva, Switzerland. +41.22.884.51.00. [].

Ballard Technology Everett, WA. (425) 339-0281. [].

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions Ashburn, VA. (703) 779-7800. []. Extreme Engineering Solutions Middleton, WI. (608) 833-1155. []. GE Intelligent Platforms Charlottesville, VA. (800) 368-2738. []. General Micro Systems Rancho Cucamonga, CA. (909) 980-4863. []. Kontron Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. []. Mercury Computer Systems Chelmsford, MA. (866) 627-6951. []. Octagon Systems Westminster, CO. (303) 430-1500. []. Parvus Salt Lake City, UT. (801) 483-1533. []. RTD Embedded Technologies State College, PA. (814) 234-8087. [].

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SPECIAL FEATURE Box-Level Systems in UAV Payload Designs

Effective Video Handling on Unmanned Vehicles With UAV sensors bringing in massive amounts of video data, the existing data communications bandwidth is hard pressed to keep pace. But with effective processing of the video data, a lot of constraints can be overcome. Tim Klassen, Video Technology Lead Consultant GE Intelligent Platforms


here are many significant challenges in handling video in an unmanned vehicle environment, and these are exacerbated by the deployment of increasing numbers of sensors and the growing demand for the highest levels of image quality. Given the unique constraints of many unmanned vehicle environments, what are the key parametersâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and what are the ideal characteristics of a solution? In recent years, the proliferation of unmanned vehicle platformsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;in the air, on the ground and in the waterâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; has provided an unparalleled opportunity to expand intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to unprecedented levels. This has resulted in an explosion of information being generated and potentially available to decision makers and command/control centers. Humans have a fantastic ability to process and filter visual information and make quick decisions about a course of action. This has made video sensors one of the most sought after sources of information in unmanned vehicles.

Communications Bottleneck One of the greatest hindrances to effective use of the available visual data 20

COTS Journal | October 2012

Figure 1

A typical situational awareness scenario. is the limited communication bandwidth to transmit that data from remote unmanned vehicles to locations where the information can be used as actionable intelligence. Aggravating the situation is the variability that can arise in available communication bandwidth as the vehicles move into different re-

gions that may use different types of communication links such as terrestrial RF, line-of-sight and satellite transmission, or which have differences in bandwidth availability due to network sharing. Unfortunately, the increase in video sensor installations has not been matched by an equivalent increase in


System Latency Contributions Data Transmission

Surveillance Range of Vision Surveillance Target

Data Capture and Compression Stream Encoding

Factors controlled by video capture, compression, and streaming solution

Network Transmission (variable based on communication link) Stream Reception (limit unnecessary frame buffering) Data Decompression Data Display

Command and Control Center

Figure 2

Latency contributions in video streaming systems.

communication link bandwidth. Efficient and effective use of the existing communication bandwidth is the single most critical feature of the situational awareness or distributed real-time ISR solution (Figure 1). The appearance of unmanned vehicle applications such as cooperative missions, autonomous control, combat roles and unmanned vehicle formation flying (or “swarming”) just increases the complexity and demands of the data transfer and processing cycle. These applications not only increase the aggregate demand on already stretched networking resources, but they also increase the timesensitivity, spatial awareness and mutual awareness needed to correctly understand the data. In all of these scenarios, video streaming and distribution is needed from the location of the video sensor, such as on an unmanned vehicle, to distributed and possibly distant locations where human operators may be situated. To succeed, high-ratio video compression and streaming over a data link is a necessity. There are some typi22

COTS Journal | October 2012

cal challenges that arise that any rugged embedded video compression and streaming solution must address in order to be a viable and effective system. Some of the key challenges are: dynamic configurability, ultra-low latency, f lexible high-definition input, stand-alone operation and, as in all aerospace applications, SWaP (size, weight and power).

Dynamic Configurability In order to effectively manage video from multiple unmanned vehicles with each one containing many video sensors, dynamic control of the video compression and streaming operation is needed. Dynamic configurability must include control over the compression paradigm employed. The compression paradigm can consist of constant bit-rate (CBR), variable bit-rate (VBR) and capped variable bit-rate (capped VBR) approaches. Each of these paradigms presents a different benefit and challenge to the video streaming system. Constant bit-rate settings provide a video stream with a specified bits-

per-second data rate, which is useful in bandwidth-limited environments to supply predictability to the network utilization needs of the video stream. However, it has the drawback that significant scene changes or motion in the video stream will result in video quality degradation. Thus, at the moment when the video data is likely most critical (e.g., target motion within the field-of-view), the video quality may degrade simultaneously and make the critical information less clear.

Data Skip Problems Variable bit-rate settings ensure that the video will be compressed and streamed with a constant quality, but has the drawback that the exact bitsper-second necessary to transmit the video stream will be dependent on the contents of the video data. If the bit-rate level exceeds the available bandwidth, then it is likely that frames will be dropped and the decompressed video being displayed at the remote monitoring location will experience “skips.” This is also most likely to happen when there is the highest level of scene-change in the field-of-view. Thus, again; when the video data contains the most critical and actionable information is when the likelihood of experiencing data skips is highest. Lastly, a hybrid option between the CBR and VBR approach attempts to allow for variability in the bit-rate up to a point, but also considers the issue of maximum bandwidth available and sets a bit-rate limit at which point the variable bit-rate approach is replaced with a constant bitrate approach. When the bit-rate again falls below the set limit, VBR again is employed. The goal of this approach is to allow for higher quality video transmission but without the problems associated with over-subscribing to the communication link bandwidth. Additional configuration parameters include the video quality setting (when in VBR mode), the video frame size and rate, the input video format and the inclusion of audio and/or metadata. Some of these settings must be available during run-time, such as

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The daq8580 is an example of a video handling solution that provides much of the flexibility and functionality required in demanding unmanned applications. video quality settings; others may be available during run-time or only at system start-up.

Ultra-Low Latency Latency in video distribution systems is the time it takes from when the video image is captured at the sensor until it is viewable on the remote monitoring screen. The various contributing factors to latency are: data transmission to the video equipment (generally negligible relative to other components), data capture and compression, stream encoding, network transmission, stream reception, de-compression and data display (Figure 2). Video capture and compression equipment can only affect the front-end contributors to latency up to data transmission. The back-end contributors such as stream reception and decompression are dependent on the software and hardware installed at the destination. The video stream trans24

COTS Journal | October 2012

mission time can be the most difficult to predict or control. Depending on the type of communication link established, the network transmission latency could vary from a few milliseconds in short range radio or line-of-sight data links to 500 milliseconds or more in the case of satellite links. A rule-of-thumb for effective maximum latency of video compression and streaming systems that must be used in real-time analysis and response is 100 ms. This time limit ensures that the imagery data being acted on and the actions being taken will be relevant and correct in the time domain. If the latency becomes too great, then the meaningfulness of the data is questionable and the ability to take appropriate action is uncertain, as the situation may have already substantially changed before a response can take effect. Latency is minimized in a video handling system by an efficient video capture front-end

and by prudent implementation of the video compression algorithm. ITU-T H.264 AVC is the current and most popular industry standard compression algorithm for MISB (Motion Imagery Standards Board)compliant systems. H.264 compression, as it is called, provides very high compression ratios, visually lossless (though not mathematically lossless) settings, convenient parameter controls, and can be encapsulated into an MPEG2 transport stream format for distribution over Ethernet using UDP/ RTP packet protocol. The MPEG2-TS format is the MISB approved protocol for transmitting compressed motion video. MPEG2-TS is also recommended for video archive and storage as the data container format. Latency can be reduced by careful choices of encoder features (some powerful features may impose significant additional processing and latency), and by implementation of an encoding algorithm that does not perform excessive video data buffering. Encoding the bit-stream can often be started prior to receiving the entire frame of data, provided the correct choices are made with regard to features and implementation methodology. The video streaming product must be developed with attention to latency from beginning to end.

Stand-Alone Operation As the number of video sensors increases on a given platform, the complexity of the overall system can become unmanageable if additional embedded processor interconnections and chassis space are needed for additional video handling equipment. The ideal solution to allow for maximum efficiency and flexibility would be a stand-alone, or autonomous, processing module that can interface to one or more video cameras with a simple Ethernet link as the output (Figure 3). Thus as video sensors are added, or even retrofitted to earlier generation equipment, video streaming hardware can be integrated with little or no impact on the rest of the embedded computing solution.


Flexible High-Definition Input The variety of possible video sensors can cause challenges for the video processing equipment if a revised design is required each time the video input changes. Video sensors used in aerospace applications may produce data in a broad range of legacy analog and digital formats in standard-definition and high-definition resolutions such as: analog RGB, including VGA-type for-

mats and STANAG 3350B, composite and component analog video (RS170 and RS343), digital SDI at SD, HD and 3G data rates (SMPTE292M/SMPTE424M), DVI, HDMI, CameraLink and GigE Vision. A video handling solution that is able to receive input from many different types of sensors would be suitable for a large number of applications. The benefit of being able to deploy the same equipment in many environments re-

duces the overall system development, integration, maintenance and long-term sourcing costs. The tight constraints on size, weight and power in unmanned vehicle environments, combined with the continual pressure for added sensor quantity and fidelity, necessitate very efficient processing solutions, particularly for video streaming and distribution equipment. If the number of video sensors in a given application is increased from 3 to 5 or 10, the added power dissipation and increased weight can potentially break the weight or power budget if any but the most efficient solution is implemented. A product that functions autonomously will typically add the minimum amount of additional weight and power dissipation to the overall system.

Timeliness and Completeness In a brief article it is not possible to include the entire gamut of solution considerations such as post-processing and pre-processing features. Typically, some applications require data archive and restoration including the option of using the video in post-processing analysis. Also, to reduce the volume of video data transmitted, smart preprocessing or “at the edge” filtering and decision making may be increasingly desirable in cases where the loss of the complete stream of video data is not detrimental to the system capabilities. In such systems, only “high value” video data would be transmitted, thus allowing for more efficient utilization of the strained communication link bandwidth. It can be seen, however, that the timeliness and completeness with which video sensor-derived input can be expected to arrive is a function of a broad range of system design considerations, which, if balanced correctly, can turn data into information—and into actionable intelligence. GE Intelligent Platforms Charlottesville, VA. (800) 368-2738. [].

Untitled-12 1 COTS Journal | October 2012 26

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SPECIAL FEATURE Box-Level Systems in UAV Payload Designs

Compact Box-Level Systems Enable Net-Centric Open Architectures Small form factors allow the integration of generic computers with standard network interfaces into open architectures, reducing the size, weight and power of avionic mission systems. Ákos Csilling, Product Development Manager CES Creative Electronic Systems


triving for smaller size, weight and power (SWaP) has always been one of the main goals for avionics since the beginning of the industry. Today, there are several competing standards that target SWaP optimization for highperformance electronics. Some of these are new, such as the trio of VITA-73, 74 and 75, while others are more established, such as 3U VPX. And some are simply new ways of using established standards—for example, the PMC-in-a-box approach. At one time the preferred strategy of fitting more performance into the SWaP constraints was the integration of multiple functions into a single box. The benefit was the more flexible allocation of resources to the functions, the economies of scale for the infrastructure, as well as perceived gains in the validation and certification efforts due to the smaller number of LRUs. The drawback was the overall complexity. The large number of avionic I/O channels—augmented by the need for internal partitioning—made each system unique and costly.

High-Speed Links Enable Systems Today, system integrators have begun to recognize the benefits of small 28

COTS Journal | October 2012

boxes. Multiple, single-function boxes can be easily integrated into a coherent system through standard functional interfaces, with practically no performance penalties (Figure 1). As point-to-point high-speed links dominate the internal connections, it is now technically feasible to bring the same links to a connector, and link multiple boxes with 10G Ethernet, sFPDP, digital video, or even PCIe over cable. In the past, the large number of signals between modules required a backplane connection, forcing them into the same enclosure. As the preferred backplane technology moves to high-speed point-to-point links, these connections can be brought outside the box. With enough bandwidth to carry multiple information streams, the rugged optical connections favor a more distributed approach. For processing-intensive functions, integrating multiple processing modules into a single box still makes sense in order to keep the benefits of the scale and f lexibility that this brings. This central processing resource may be a generic COTS mission computer, with a number of high-speed network interfaces connected to the other ele-

ments in the payload system, possibly completed by a few avionic interfaces. It uses virtualization to provide multiple independent services with scalable performance through the addition of more processing modules. CES, for example, offers a sealed conduction-cooled mission computer (Figure 2) based on a general-purpose PowerPC processor board. It provides a video output, two Ethernet connections, as well as several avionic interfaces, including discrete inputs and outputs, serial lines, ARINC-429 ports and redundant MIL1553 interfaces, with empty slots for potential growth.

Network-Centric Approach Specialized avionic I/O functions can be distributed in small, remote boxes installed close to the target devices and sensors. Connected to the onboard network, these small I/O aggregators provide all the custom interfaces. They perform signal conditioning and digital processing for the analog signals, as well as the first-level processing or real-time control functions. In this network-centric approach (Figure 3), each sensor, display and actuator is equipped


Figure 1

Multiple, single-function boxes can be easily integrated into a coherent system through standard functional interfaces, with practically no performance penalties.

Figure 2

This sealed conduction-cooled mission computer is based on a PowerPC processor board and provides a video output, two Ethernet connections, as well as several avionic interfaces, including ARINC-429 ports and redundant MIL-1553 interfaces.


COTS Journal | October 2012

with, or connected to, a small electronics box that provides standard, highspeed connectivity to a central generic processor. Even if the installed equipment needs specific interfaces, these are provided by a nearby small adapter box, and the processing resources and the cabling infrastructure can be completely standardized. As an additional benefit, the length of the specific cables is greatly reduced, a major advantage in terms of weight and reliability. For the most widespread interfaces, even integrated COTS solutions are beginning to appear, as the same requirements are popping up in different applications. The concept is familiar from our everyday life, where most of the processing is centralized in large data centers somewhere in the cloud, running multiple applications on large clusters. Each user has a dedicated small, network-enabled device for the user interface. The same model can be ap-

plied to a large UAV, with a centralized processing engine running multiple applications on multiple modules, and small boxes distributed on the network to provide the dedicated interfaces for specific devices, such as sensors, data links or any other payload. In medium-sized or smaller UAVs, the central processing resource may be small enough to fit on a single SBC. In a traditional approach this would be a module in a backplane, with additional modules providing the diverse avionic I/O functions to interface with the other systems in the aircraft. That means specifying a custom box, which provides many avionic interfaces connected to various devices all over the aircraft. In the new approach, the central resource only needs generic interfaces, which are readily available on any SBC, and only a singleslot, generic computer is needed. The choice of the connectivity may be application dependent, with


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Specialized I/O functions can be distributed in small, remote boxes installed close to the target devices and sensors. Connected to the onboard network, these small I/O aggregators provide all the custom interfaces.

considerations including data volume, latency, real-time constraints and safety requirements. Nevertheless, the various f lavors of Ethernet are gaining traction. One of their benefits is the conceptual simplicity of using the same technology everywhere. It also allows easy expansion through switches, and the open choice between optical and copper cabling, an attractive form of cost and weight optimization. There are even Ethernet-based solutions to meet real-time requirements and achieve certification.

Multiple Benefits The overall architecture of the system may seem to become more complicated—with more boxes and more connections between them. In fact it actually becomes conceptually simpler and more uniform, transparent and flexible. Adding a new function or interface becomes a question of connecting an additional device to the existing network,

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which requires only a spare port on a network switch, instead of several dedicated interfaces on an already crowded computer box. Well-defined, common interfaces favor concurrent engineering, maintenance and technology insertion. There are already initiatives to define open standards for the system architecture that aim at the standardization of the interconnection types, connectors and protocols. Open standards favor COTS solutions, which in turn reduce cost, time-to-market and increase the technology readiness level. Similar initiatives have already been proven in other industries, for example the Generic Vehicle Architecture has been approved by the UK Ministry of Defense for land vehicles. The benefits for maintenance are obvious. Even with basic built-in test environment, failures can be easily isolated to individual boxes, which are small and easy to replace and re-

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pair. Cable and connector failures are detected by the internal and external loopback capability, as well as the link status detection features of the network interfaces.

Remaining Challenges Software complexity remains an issue. This approach transfers the integration complexity from the individual boxes into the overall system architecture, in particular into the software. While previously each interface was dealing with a single information f low controlled by a single application, now each interface is multiplexing a potentially large number of connections belonging to different applications, with varying degrees of criticality, timing constraints and throughput requirements. Safety-critical certification of high-performance networks has not yet been achieved. On the other hand, breaking down the complexity goes in

the right direction. Segregation and failure isolation are inherent in the concept, and redundancy can be added where needed. A distributed safety net of overlapping functions, with heterogeneous technology, can provide a reliable fall-back mechanism for the most critical functions. For its part, Creative Electronic Systems (CES) is partnering with Themis to enable the use of the VITA-74 standard for avionic applications. The VIP-7412 is a video I/O and processing board in VITA-74 format, based on the DaVinci media processor, providing multiple video input and output channels as well as powerful video processing capabilities. The VRP-7456 is a processor board in the same format, based on a low-power Freescale P2 processor.

Smaller Solutions An even smaller single-board control unit is proposed by CES, providing

custom analog and discrete I/O capability with multiple digital interfaces in a very small volume. It has sufficient computing power for the real-time control loop, basic digital signal processing to interpret its precise analog inputs, and enough output current capability to drive solenoids and servo motors directly. CES is also developing a COTS system in a 3U VPX form factor, addressing primarily video and signal processing applications. These small systems complement the existing wide portfolio of rugged computing solutions offered by CES, including several VME-based mission computers and larger 6U VPX video distribution and processing engines. CES - Creative Electronic Systems Geneva, Switzerland. +41.22.884.51.00. [].

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SPECIAL FEATURE Box-Level Systems in UAV Payload Designs

Achieving Network Security with Common Criteria As military systems become more networked and linked, security is becoming a system design issue. Standards like Common Criteria help ensure subsystems are as secure as possible. Gene Keeling, Director, Global Certification Team Cisco Systems


oday’s government and industry leaders overwhelmingly identify cyber security and information assurance as one of their top computing and networking concerns. Cyber threats are presented by both individuals and nation-sponsored groups with motivations spanning espionage, “hacktivism” (the disruption or invasion of systems for activist purposes), and the stealing of trade secrets. New issues are also arising around the security of the supply chain, with counterfeit and tampering incidents eroding user confidence. Organizations that suffer such attacks may lose control of confidential information, face millions of dollars in fines or business losses, and become a weak link in the national critical infrastructure. Achieving a secure infrastructure is even more complex with today’s mobility, collaboration and cloud services added to the mix. These new capabilities offer many operational efficiencies and reduce costs, but they also introduce additional risk to the network. In response, nations are increasingly cooperating to evolve a global standard to assure a base level of security for networking products. Known as the Common Criteria, this international program is critical to ensuring that organizations get the equipment they need, the 34

COTS Journal | October 2012

What Common Criteria Standard Does √

Improves availability of evaluated, security-enhanced computing products

Contributes to higher levels of citizen confidence in network security

Improves the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the evaluation and certification process

Allows vendors to focus their resources on a common set of requirements to improve the security of products overall

Increases the breadth of certified products and technologies available to IT administrators

Figure 1

Common Criteria is critical to ensuring that organizations get the equipment they need and that it is as secure as claimed. Endorsement of this uniform set of global IT security standards has several benefits as shown here. equipment performs as advertised, and it is as secure as claimed. Endorsement of this uniform set of global IT security standards has several benefits as listed in Figure 1.

Defining the Standard The Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation is an international standard (ISO/IEC 15408) that provides a framework within which participating organizations can specify functional and assurance requirements, vendors can implement and make claims

about product attributes, and testing laboratories can evaluate products to determine whether they meet those claims. Common Criteria assures that the process of specification, implementation and evaluation of a product has been conducted in a rigorous and standardized manner. Under the Common Criteria, classes of products are evaluated against the security functional and assurance requirements of Protection Profiles (PPs). All test labs must be in compliance with ISO 17025, the standard used to measure the competence of

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Security Inversion Inflection Point Time and Innovation Matter

Risk associated with delayed deployment of technology

Agenc y Spec Comm

Countr on Crit


y Spec



Risk associated with vs. Risk associated with no evaluation delaying deployment

Effect of product evaluation on risk

eria Time

Any unique certification requirements increase cost, time-to-market, and risk Figure 2

Product security has to evolve to support new technologies. By relying on security standards, requirements can be rapidly developed to challenges as they occur. testing and calibration laboratories. Such a process allows organizations to feel more confident in the security of critical information, and allows them to reduce risk within the network without increasing costs. Currently, 26 nations participate in the Common Criteria program. Evaluation and testing is performed by independent third-party labs, with certificates of compliance issued by 15 certificate-issuing nations. So far, more than 2,000 certifications have been issued for IT products.

tackers. National agencies are also by nature wary of sharing too much information with otherwise trusted business and technology partners. However, overriding need has continued to drive the Common Criteria program forward, and indeed is leading to discussions on how to extend its effectiveness. By creating a faster, more effective, and more repeatable evaluation process, a new and broader set of evaluated products can be developed to address new and emerging threats.

Worldwide Community

Beyond the Public Sector

Through Common Criteria, participating nations gain access to a worldwide community of technical experts who can identify and address threats as a group, rather than each nation attempting to deal with each problem on its own. Solutions to threat vectors become scalable and repeatable, reducing the overall threat and cost at the same time. A few nations are still trying to pursue custom security standards, but this only limits the amount of technology available to them while diminishing the quality of goods. With finite resources for both vendors and consumers, it makes every kind of sense to use a mutually recognized standardsbased approach to security certification. Some governments are still learning how to manage the adoption process to keep costs down and timelines to meet the high-speed adaptations of cyber at-

Note that the benefits of Common Criteria are not limited to government customers. The Common Criteria certification provides a level of quality assurance for any technology procurement team, giving those professionals a consistent, stringent and independently verified set of evaluation requirements for their IT investment. Although Common Criteria certification does not ensure that a product is absolutely free of security vulnerabilities, it does provide a higher level of objective assurance that the product performs as documented, and that the vendor will support the product to remediate flaws when and if they are discovered. The Common Criteria program also provides purchasing organizations with a wealth of information that helps to enable higher security in their deployment of evaluated products. First, technology


COTS Journal | October 2012

decision makers can compare their requirements against the Common Criteriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s consistent standards to determine the level of security they require. They can also more easily determine whether particular products meet their security requirements. And finally, they can use Common Criteria certification reports about evaluated security features to judge the relative security of competing computer and networking products. As a result, Common Criteria evaluations are increasingly used as a purchasing benchmark, providing a common set of requirements that can be used to assess products to meet both local and global security needs. Vendors can describe their products in terms of which evaluations their products have passed. Similarly, consumers can identify and communicate their security needs to vendors based on the Common Criteria. For example, networking industry leader Cisco is finding that individual customers may not specifically mandate Common Criteria in their products, but they do require demonstrated secure development practices, with requests for reports, audits and showcases. Cisco, which operates the industryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most stringent compliance program, already meets a variety of government product certification requirements, offering an end-to-end, fully compliant network architecture. Increasingly, certifications such as Common Criteria offer a common framework within which network administrators can identify the security capabilities required to meet their needs.

The Future of Common Criteria Until recently, Common Criteria has been focused on the evaluation of security products. However, the truth of the matter is that if organizations do not also secure the complete network, systems will still not be fully secure. Significant progress has been made over the last 12-18 months to expand evaluation criteria to address product security across a broader set of network components. In addition, Common Criteria has the potential to cover supply chain security and management procedures. Clearly, product security must continue to evolve to support new technologies such as unified communications, video conferencing, mobility and cloud.


Each of these new technologies brings different challenges to the table. No single nation can identify the direction of the next security requirement—threats can change from nominal to critical in days or even hours. However, by relying on the broader public/private technical communities, security requirements can be more rapidly developed to meet evolving needs and respond to challenges as they occur (Figure 2).

Common Criteria in the Supply Chain The other critical area of evolution for Common Criteria is in the supply chain. Global supply chains have opened the door to attacks at every stage, including fulfillment, distribution, sustainment and disposal. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce (2010), 39 percent of companies and organizations encountered counterfeit electronics just from 2005 to 2008, with the number of encounters increasing from year to year. The problem continues to recur: For example, a U.S. Department of Defense investigation in 2011 showed that no fewer than 93 separate suppliers to the DoD had provided suspect parts on at least one occasion, and some up to more than 10 times. Along with meeting international standards, vendors need to ensure the security of the supply chain by combining traditional management practices with auditable, verifiable system security requirements. By combining a basic set of best practices into a single approach, nations participating in Common Criteria would be able to leverage consistent safeguards to greatly diminish the risks of the supply chain. This is not a new idea. It is already being implemented by the Smart Card community, where Common Criteria is being used as a basis to assure consistent development and manufacturing processes.

Buying Certified Common Criteria is increasingly recognized for its relevance to every aspect of the network, especially in environments that can be identified as critical infrastructure. It’s also key for environments in which governments impose strict regulatory requirements to assure security and mitigate risk. This includes every-

thing from air traffic control and metro systems to electric utilities, which must comply with standards such as NERC CIP in the U.S. Meanwhile, service providers have found that Common Criteria compliance allows them to reduce risk without increasing costs. The Common Criteria provides a baseline to greatly improve overall security of the network without additional cost to the customer. Vendors increasingly leverage this standard across their product port-

folios, knowing that many customers now rely on this established security framework. With a choice of network security products available, there seems to be no reason why any organization, government or business, should not choose to buy products that are Common Criteria certified. Cisco Systems San Jose, CA. (408) 526-4000. [].

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TECH RECON FPGA VPX and VXS Boards in Radar and SIGINT

FPGA OpenVPX Technology Feeds ISR and SIGINT Needs Military signal processing systems continue to expand the amount of data they collect. To keep pace, systems developers need to make use of FPGAs combined with board designs that make maximum use of data flow. Tom Roberts, Solutions Marketing Manager Mercury Computer Systems


ontinuously evolving ISR and SIGINT systems are delivering comprehensive and detailed volumes of information to our defense forces. New sensors, including advanced antennas and wide-area EO/IR cameras, are extending the data collection capabilities of these ISR and SIGINT systems by orders of magnitude. Managing the expanded streams of sensor data derived from these systems requires a parallel improvement in existing embedded sensor processing subsystems.

FPGAs and Sensor Processing Advances in FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) technology are helping sensor processing subsystems keep pace with the growing volume of unrelenting data streams. Because FPGAs, with few exceptions, are very efficient at certain types of operations, they are often used in combination with general purpose processors and/or general purpose graphics processing units (GPGPUs) to maximize efficiency throughout processing. FPGAs, in conjunction with ADCs, are key to transforming analog input from some part of the spectrum into a digital bitstream and then processing that bitstream into useful information. These functions require a high-performance 38

COTS Journal | October 2012

and often wideband—GHz ADC—capability combined with time and frequency domain receiver processing resident in the FPGA. In the recent past, system designers often used function specific integrated circuit devices, such as the Graychip 4016 DDC, but FPGAs now deliver superior processing power as well as the flexibility inherent in a programmable device. To generalize, the sensor processing operations performed by FPGAs often fall into a few common categories. For signal intelligence there are digital down conversion for narrowband extraction in the time domain, and data reduction and tuning via FFT binning in the frequency domain. For radar applications there are pulse compression and equalization. Finally, for EO/IR applications, FPGAs are very efficient at image compression.

Digital Down Conversion Digital down conversion is a technique that takes a band-limited high sample rate digitized signal, mixes the signal to a lower frequency, and reduces the sample rate while retaining all the information in the band of interest. In this way, digital down conversion enables a very high fidelity narrowband extraction out of a larger spectral window, all in the digital domain. The main advantage of

using an FPGA to implement the digital down conversion is the speed, as the large array of configurable logic blocks within the FPGA can be used to perform processing in a highly parallelized fashion. In addition to speed, FPGAs also provide developers with a great deal of flexibility for digital down conversion. For example, if the filter characteristics used within a down conversion are not quite right, new filter coefficients can easily be reconfigured within the FPGA. Data reduction and tuning also lends itself to the inherent parallelism that FPGAs provide, and benefits in the same way from the programmable flexibility. As is the case with the digital filters that are critical components of the DDC function, the popular Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) benefits greatly by dedicated DSP logic within FPGAs to perform frequency binning. The Virtex-6 FPGA from Xilinx, for instance, incorporates the DSP48E1 logic slice, which is comprised of a 25x18 two’s complement multiplier/accumulator, central to filtering and the FFT algorithm itself.

Three Consecutive Operations Pulse compression for radar signals typically involves three consecutive operations—an FFT, followed by a complex


Figure 1

UAVs like the Predator are large enough to support 6U subsystems. But many new UAVs are smaller and more suited to smaller 3U subsystems. multiply, and then an inverse FFT. All three lend themselves to implementation on an FPGA. Equalization is applied to signals when there is an array of antennas, each segment of the array driving a unique channel of input to the sensor processing system. For EO/IR applications the data stream from the sensor to the FPGA is already in digital form. The data streams and image sizes generated by the current generation of sensors can be overwhelming to data management and storage, making efficient image compression essential to practical use of the new sensors. A common algorithm for image compression is Discrete Cosine Transform, or DCT. Once again, this is an operation FPGAs perform well. 40

COTS Journal | October 2012

Configuring FPGAs for Deployment While the low-level processing operations performed by FPGAs are similar across various applications and systems, the huge variety of sensor types, I/O protocols and platform constraints require that FPGAs be configured in many different ways. The data stream from an antenna still may be in analog form when it arrives at an FPGA module. In this situation an optimized design will have the ADC components closely connected to the FPGAs with high bandwidth links. Sometimes the ADC function is closer to the antenna and the input to the FPGA module is in digital form. In other cases, such as an EO/IR application, the data stream is already digitized so the design must connect the sen-

sor directly to the FPGAs. Platform size is also an important variable. Applications based on a large platform, such as a naval vessel or a manned aircraft, can be supported with relatively large, and immensely powerful, 6U sensor processing subsystems. Some Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in the Predator/Reaper class (Figure 1) are also large enough to support 6U subsystems. However, most of the new UASs are physically smaller and more suited to smaller 3U subsystems. Within the context of both 6U and 3U subsystems there are several ways that FPGAs can be configured in relation to other subsystem components.

Many Ways to Implement In looking at the various options, this discussion will focus on solutions


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Figure 2

The DCM-V6-XMC Module implements Dual Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGAs and provides a DAC and a choice of ADCs: the DAC is single channel, at up to 2.5 GHz, while the ADC is either a single channel 12-bit at up to 3.6 GSPS or a dual channel 12-bit at up to 1.6 GSPS.

Figure 3

The SCFE-V6-OVPX is an OpenVPX card that employs three Xilinx Virtex-6 LX240T or SX315T FPGAs and can be configured with two FMC (VITA 57) mezzanine connectors.

implemented in compliance with the OpenVPX standard. There are, of course, many ways to implement FPGA-based solutions outside of OpenVPX. However, this standard, offering interoperability, high bandwidth and ruggedization options, has become widely adopted within the defense electronics industry. Here are some common ways to configure FPGA-based solutions: 44

COTS Journal | October 2012

FPGAs on XMCs supported by an OpenVPX carrier card: This configuration provides a high level of flexibility, as subsystems can be upgraded over time with new technology on new XMCs. (XMC stands for Switched Mezzanine Card.) Often the XMC is designed as a stand-alone digital receiver, with onboard ADCs and/ or DACs connected directly to the FPGA, so upgrades can exploit new ADCs, DACs

and FPGAs. Because carrier cards have little in the way of heat-generating components, cooling this type of configuration is not a huge challenge. However, the downside of this configuration approach is that the overall subsystem will be physically larger, as each slot has only one or two FPGAs (depending on the number of XMCs), and any other processing components must occupy other slots. FPGAs on XMCs supported by an OpenVPX baseboard with other processors: This configuration also provides upgrade flexibility for new XMC-based technology, but with improved processing density. For example, an OpenVPX 3U module with an onboard general purpose processor and an FPGA XMC digital receiver can handle multiple signal processing steps in one physically small slot. The challenge is cooling; now there are two main heat-generating components, with the added complication of getting heat off an XMC. An XMC, physically sitting on top of a baseboard, can inhibit air flow, making that type of cooling more difficult. It is possible to design conductioncooled solutions using XMCs, but heat transfer is bounded by an upper ceiling defined by the physical characteristics of an XMC. FPGAs directly on a baseboard in combination with other processors: The advantages of this approach are a high level of processing density, with multiple signal processing steps in one slot, and processing efficiency, as a board can be laid out with multiple high-speed data links between the FPGA and other processors. While there are two or more heatgenerating components, the cooling is not complicated by the extra dimensions of an XMC. The downside is the loss of flexibility provided by an XMC; the processing ratio between the FPGA and other processors is fixed with any alterations or upgrades requiring a completely new board layout. Multiple FPGAs on a baseboard: This approach puts significant processing density in one slot, though it does assume that other types of processors will occupy other slots. Flexibility in upgrading FPGA technology is sacrificed, but it is possible to provide ADC and DAC upgrade f lexibility by using FMCs (FPGA Mezzanine Cards) for


OpenVPX, XMCs and FPGAs

those components. It is also possible to use FMCs for direct digital input via copper or fiber connections. FMCs are physically shorter than XMCs, so they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t cover as many components on the baseboard; this makes air cooling much more efficient. Another big advantage is that FMCs have far more data connectivity bandwidth than XMCs, which is important for configurations using the new generation of Gsampleper-second ADCs.

Serving the needs of FPGA processing applications, there are a number of examples of new modules that implement advanced FPGAs. One example is the Echotek Series DCM-V6-XMC Module (Figure 2) from Mercury Computer Systems. It implements a flexible FPGAbased architecture in an XMC form factor, combining the latest in wideband high-performance ADCs with a highspeed, high-resolution DAC, both work-


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Untitled-9 1 COTS Journal | October 2012 46

ing in conjunction with powerful Xilinx Virtex-6 technology. This ultra-high-speed digital transceiver provides a DAC and a choice of ADCs; the DAC is single channel, at up to 2.5 GHz, while the ADC is either a single channel 12-bit at up to 3.6 GSPS or a dual channel 12-bit at up to 1.6 GSPS. Dual Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGAs assist with the signal processing and data movement functions, while the EchoCore FPGA Development Kit (FDK) streamlines the development of FPGA-based applications. Rugged versions are available for deployment in harsh environments. Meanwhile OpenVPX is an ideal architecture for FPGA-based computing solutions. An example is the Echotek Series SCFE-V6-OVPX (Figure 3) Virtex-6 FPGA Processing Engine from Mercury Computer Systems. It provides high-performance processing for applications requiring extreme FPGA processing power. The SCFE-V6-OVPX employs three Xilinx Virtex-6 LX240T or SX315T FPGAs and can be configured with two FMC (VITA 57) mezzanine connectors, expanding the boardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to support a variety of I/O interfaces. The module can be configured with Echotek Series digitizer FMCs, which enable ADC and DAC conversion with industry-leading signal integrity as measured by SNR, SFDR, ENOB and SINAD. It can also be configured with two IOMQSFP-FMC Optical Interface FPGA Mezzanine Cards (FMCs), for a total of 16 full-duplex physical fiber connections.

4/9/12 10:05:38 AM

As the volume of detailed information from ISR and SIGINT systems continues to grow exponentially, products based on industry standards and that embrace open architectures are essential. Fortunately for designers today, FPGA sensor processing modules are available in a variety of OpenVPX module types and configurations. These give system designers the flexibility to choose the style that best meets the requirements and constraints of each specific mission. Mercury Computer Systems Chelmsford, MA. (978) 967-1401. [].

TECH RECON FPGA VPX and VXS Boards in Radar and SIGINT

Throughput and FPGA Processing Drive Mezzanine Choices Mezzanines are a tried and true technology for modular functionality in boardlevel systems. Now, support for high data rates and FPGA processing leads todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mezzanine requirements. Rodger Hosking, Vice President Pentek


pen architecture embedded systems for military/aerospace applications have always relied on mezzanine or daughter cards to provide f lexibility and modularity, because they are very effective in handling the extreme breadth of I/O functions required. Thanks to widespread adoption of industry standards defining these mezzanine products, carrier boards are able to accept mezzanine boards from a wide range of vendors, each specializing in niche technologies and interfaces. Today, three popular mezzanine standards dominate the embedded market: PMC (PCI Mezzanine Card), XMC (Switched Mezzanine Card) and FMC (FPGA Mezzanine Card). These mezzanines support all popular industry architectures including VME, VXS, VPX, AMC, CompactPCI and CompactPCI Serial for both 3U and 6U form factors, and across a range of cooling techniques and ruggedization levels, especially important for Mil/ Aero electronics. Each of these three mezzanine standards presents a unique set of advantages and disadvantages discussed here. 48

COTS Journal | October 2012

Mezzanine Module Standards Defined under the IEEE 1386.1 standard over 15 years ago, PMC uses the mechanical dimensions of the CMC (Common Mezzanine Card) from IEEE 1386 with the addition of up to four 64pin connectors to implement a 32- or 64-bit PCI bus as well as user I/O. Two connectors, P11 and P12, handle a 32-bit PCI bus, expandable to 64 bits with the addition of the P13 connector. Operating at PCI bus clock speeds of 33 or 66 MHz, the 32-bit interface delivers a peak transfer rate of 132 or 264 Mbytes/s, respectively, and twice that for a 64-bit interface. A later extension called PCI-X boosts the clock rate to 100 or 133 MHz for a peak transfer rate of 800 or 1000 Mbytes/s for 64-bit implementations. The optional P14 connector supports 64 bits of user-defined I/O. As interconnect technology for mass-market PCs began shifting away from parallel PCI buses toward the faster PCIe (PCI Express) gigabit serial links, the need for a similar migration for mezzanine modules became apparent. XMC modules are defined under VITA 42 as the switched fabric extension of the PMC module. It requires either one or two

multi-pin connectors called the primary (P15) and secondary (P16) XMC connectors shown in Figure 1. Each connector can handle eight bidirectional serial lanes, using a differential pair of pins for each direction. The VITA 42.3 subspecification defines pin assignments for PCIe, while VITA 42.2 covers SRIO (Serial RapidIO). Typically, each XMC connector is used as a single x8 logical link or as two x4 links, although other configurations are also defined. Data transfer rates for XMC modules depend on the gigabit serial protocol and number of lanes per logical link. Figure 2 shows the peak rates for different configurations and protocols, which compare favorably with peak PMC rates.

FMCs on the Rise FMC modules are defined in the VITA 57 specification and are intended as I/O modules for FPGAs. They depart from the CMC form factor, with less than half the real estate, as shown to scale in Figure 1. Two different connectors are supported: a low-density connector with 160 contacts and a highdensity connector with 400 contacts.


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Figure 1

Single PMC, XMC and FMC module outline dimensions and connectors (drawn to scale, for comparison). Total Lanes

Duplex Mode

PCIe 1.0

SRIO 1.0

SRIO 2.0 PCIe 2.0

SRIO 2.0

PCIe 3.0






Clock (GHz) Peak Data Transfer Rates (Gbytes/s)


Half Full

1.0 2.0

1.25 2.5

2.0 4.0

2.5 5.0

4.0 8.0


Half Full

2.0 4.0

2.5 5.0

4.0 8.0

5.0 10.0

8.0 16.0


Half Full

4.0 8.0

5.0 10.0

8.0 16.0

10.0 20.0

16.0 32.0

Figure 2

Peak data transfer rates for various XMC serial link configurations and protocols. Connector pins are generically defined for power, data, control and status with specific implementation depending on the design. FMC modules rely upon the carrier board FPGA to provide the necessary interfaces to the FMC components. These can be single-ended or differential parallel data buses, gigabit serial links, clocks and control signals for initialization, timing, triggering, gating and synchronization. For data, the high-density FMC connector provides 50

COTS Journal | October 2012

80 differential pairs or 160 single-ended lines. It also features 10 high-speed gigabit serial lanes, with differential pairs for each direction. It should be noted that all three of these mezzanines are also available in double width versions, fully defined in the specifications. This provides additional real estate for more components. However, the vast majority of mezzanines available in the marketplace today are single width designs. Lastly, all three specifications have complete

specifications for rugged and conduction-cooled versions of the products so they can be deployed in extreme Mil/ Aero environments.

Data Transfer Capabilities Regarding the data transfer rates, PMC and XMC modules are well determined by the interface standard installed. Nevertheless, these rates are often affected by the carrier board in several ways. A shared PCI bus supporting other traffic will effectively block all transfers to a PMC until it is granted use of the bus. For example, this problem occurs on dual PMC SBCs (single board computers) where the two PMCs often share the same local PCI bus. Also, when PMCs are installed on simple 3U CompactPCI carriers, the common PCI backplane must be shared across all boards installed in the card cage. Lastly, a carrier card or adapter that presents a lower speed PCI bus to the PMC module will force the module to operate its interface at that lower speed. XMCs have an inherent data rate advantage over PMCs because they use fast

TECH RECON gigabit serial links. Even the slowest x4 PCIe 1.0 interface still matches the fastest PCI-X 64-bit bus at 133 MHz. However, a major system level implication for the gigabit serial interfaces is that they are

dedicated point-to-point links and are not subject to the sharing penalty of parallel buses. Figure 2 shows the peak data transfer rates for PCIe and SRIO for different width gigabit serial links.


200 MHz 16-bit A/D 200 MHz 16-bit A/D


200 MHz 16-bit A/D


200 MHz 16-bit A/D

Clock Trigger






200 MHz 16-bit A/D


200 MHz 16-bit A/D


3U OpenVPX FPGA FMC Carrier

200 MHz 16-bit A/D

200 MHz 16-bit A/D


XMC Conn




x8 PCIe

XMC Conn

FMC Module CH A RF In

x8 PCIe

x8 PCIe


FMC Conn


FMC Conn

OpenVPX Backplane


3U OpenVPX XMC Carrier OpenVPX Backplane

XMC Module

Ultimately, any system will have CPU and memory bandwidth limitations, but new multicore processors and chip sets feature more than 40 PCIe Gen3 lanes, each handling 1 Gbyte/s, and four DDR3



Figure 3

Simplified block diagrams comparing XMC and FMC 4-channel A/D software radio modules for 3U OpenVPX.

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TECH RECON PCI bus of the PMC module will draw less power than a PCIe link. Of course, the extra power required for PCIe delivers tremendous benefits in both speed and connectivity.

Software and FPGA Development Issues

Figure 4

The Onyx Model 71760 is an XMC featuring Virtex-7 FPGA technology in a 4-channel 200 MHz 16-bit A/D software radio module. It has dual XMC connectors, each capable of supporting 8 lanes of gigabit serial links. memory banks, each delivering transfer rates of 12.8 Gbytes/s. In these systems, a dedicated x8 PCIe link between the XMC and the system supports a respectable transfer rate of 8 Gbytes/s. Unlike PMCs and XMCs, FMCs do not use industry standard interfaces like PCI or PCIe. Instead, each FMC has a unique set of control lines and data paths, each one differing in signal levels, quantity, bit widths and speed. At a 1 GHz data clock rate, the 80 differential data lines can deliver 10 Gbytes/s. At a 5 GHz serial clock rate, the 10 gigabit serial lanes can deliver 5 Gbytes/s. In fact, specification design goals for FMCs are actually twice these rates.

Real Estate and Power Considerations FMC modules are less than half the size of PMCs and XMCs, and less real estate means less freedom to strategically place components for shielding, isolation and heat dissipation. For example, A/D converters are extremely sensitive to spurious signal pickup from power supplies, voltage planes and adjacent copper traces. Often, the required power supply lines must be re-regulated and filtered locally on the same board as the A/D converters for best results, rather than on the carrier board. Arranging this circuitry on a small FMC module can be challenging. Even though XMC modules have more components, they can often be rearranged more easily because of the larger board size. 52

COTS Journal | October 2012

FMCs require the FPGA to reside on the carrier board, while FPGA-based XMC modules include the FPGA on the mezzanine board. Schematically, the overall circuitry between the front end and the system bus may be nearly identical, but the physical partitioning occurs at two different points. To illustrate this, Figure 3 shows two different implementations of a 4-channel A/D conver ter software radio module for 3U OpenVPX, highly suitable for Mil/Aero applications. Notice that both block diagrams feature the same A/D converters and FPGAs, and provide the same x8 PCIe interface to the OpenVPX backplane. The XMC implementation on top uses the XMC connector between the FPGA and the backplane, while the FMC implementation below uses the FMC connector between the A/Ds and the FPGA. Because most of the power is consumed by the FPGA, comparing power dissipation between FMC and XMC modules will strongly favor the FMC. However, since the same resources are used in both block diagrams, the overall 3U module power dissipation is nearly identical. In a comparison between PMC and XMC or FMC modules, there is one additional factor. Gigabit serial interfaces implemented in FPGAs typically consume more power than parallel bus interfaces. So when considering PMC products versus XMC/FMC products for a 4-channel A/D converter module, the

Each FMC presents a unique electrical interface that must be connected to an FPGA configured precisely to handle that specific device. This may be a reasonable solution if the FMC module and the FMC carrier are both supplied by the same vendor, and the FPGA on the carrier is preconfigured by the vendor for the specific FMC module installed. For 6U carriers with two or three FMC sites, the FPGAs must be configured to match the specific combination of each of the FMC modules installed at each site. This FMC-to-FPGA dependency creates a potentially large number of combinations resulting in configuration management and customer support issues. It may mean longer delivery times for first time combinations, and higher costs. Also, the vendor may not offer an FMC carrier for the desired form factor or system architecture required. When a customer purchases an FMC module from one vendor and an FMC carrier from a different vendor, additional challenges arise. Someone must develop custom FPGA configuration code for the carrier to support the FMC module. Perhaps the FMC vendor will agree to develop code for a third-party carrier. Perhaps the carrier vendor will develop code for a third-party FMC module.

FMC Challenges Failing either of these strategies, the customer must configure the FPGA himself, or hire a consultant to do the job. In this case, both the FMC module and the FMC carrier are third-party products with two different technical support resources. If something doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t work, it can be difficult to resolve problems in an efficient and effective way. And, if either the FMC module vendor or the FMC carrier vendor should revise his product, it may affect the interoperability of the two boards. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of FMCs is the development of software

TECH RECON drivers and board support libraries covering the myriad combinations of modules and carriers. Unless this is supplied from a single vendor who also supplies the FMC module and carrier, the same support and development issues discussed above for FPGA development may arise. In contrast, PMCs and XMCs use industry standard system interfaces, typically PCI and PCIe, with a strong trending toward PCIe. Nearly all recent embedded systems take advantage of the widely adopted PCIe standard for interconnecting system elements. This includes VXS, VPX, AMC and CompactPCI, as well as high-performance PC platforms using PCIe cards installed in motherboard expansion slots. Since PCIe is the system interface on most XMCs, they can be installed directly or with simple mechanical adaptors into all of these system architectures. Most importantly, these adapters can be obtained from a variety of vendors since they are simply re-directing the PCIe bus, thus eliminating the need for anyone to develop custom FPGA code for new combinations. Device drivers and application software developed for popular embedded operating systems simply work, regardless of the architecture. This is due to the inherent connectivity of PCIe through bridges, switches, extender cables and expansion chassis regardless of the form factor of the boards, modules and backplanes. All of these factors greatly reduce dependency on the XMC vendor and problems resolving multi-vendor responsibility. XMCs take advantage of an industry standard system interface, eliminate the need for custom FPGA development, easily support a wide range of system architectures, and come with complete software drivers and board support libraries. This can result in dramatic savings in systems integration and software development costs so important to Mil/Aero program budgets and schedules.

An XMC Example Figure 4 shows an XMC module featuring the latest Virtex-7 FPGA technology in a 4-channel 200 MHz 16-bit A/D software radio module. It is equipped with dual XMC connectors, each ca-





1 Gbyte/s

32 Gbyte/s

30 Gbyte/s


16 lanes

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By Design



None Custom IP

Board Size

110 cm2

110 cm2

53 cm2

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Requires Custom FPGA Design







Max Data I/O Rate Full Duplex I/O Interface System Interface Standards

Software Drivers Multi-vendor carrier/module Interoperability

System Integration Time Figure 5

Feature comparisons of PMC, XMC and FMC mezzanine modules. pable of supporting 8 lanes of gigabit serial links. The standard product features an x8 PCIe Gen 2.0 interface, optionally available with Gen 3.0 to boost system transfer rates to 8 Gbytes/s. Notice the cutouts along the sides of the product to accommodate surrounding metal structures for conduction cooling, making the product ideal for both lab and deployed military systems like unmanned vehicles. The product is also available in PCIe, CompactPCI, VPX and AMC form factors through adapters, and is supported with ReadyFlow Board Support Libraries for Windows, Linux and VxWorks. Customers wishing to add custom IP for signal processing or special algorithms can choose the GateFlow FPGA Design Kit containing full VHDL source code and the complete FPGA project. However, many customers take advantage of the rich collection of factory installed FPGA functions addressing communications and radar applications, saving the need for custom FPGA development.

Weighing the Pros and Cons Figure 5 summarizes the points comparing PMC, XMC and FMC mod-

ules. Military and aerospace system integrators must weigh the pros and cons of each, remembering that all three are available in rugged versions suitable for deployment in severe environments. If lowest power is the driving factor, PMCs may still be the right choice, especially if interface speed is not critical. With hundreds of vendors and thousands of products, PMCs offer the greatest variety of specialized I/O solutions. FMC modules can be quite effective as long as the same vendor supplies both the mezzanine module and the carrier with tested and installed FPGA configuration code. Otherwise, XMC modules offer excellent solutions for embedded systems due to the proliferation of links, carriers, backplanes and adaptors all based on PCIe. This eliminates the need for a custom FPGA development effort for each new application, minimizes product support issues, and speeds development cycles. Pentek Upper Saddle River, NJ. (201) 818-5900. []. October 2012 | COTS Journal


TECH RECON FPGA VPX and VXS Boards in Radar and SIGINT

Where SWaP Meets Stronger and Faster in OpenVPX Systems For OpenVPX and other system architectures, keeping size, weight and power low is an exercise in careful trade-offs, and balanced design. Justin Moll, Vice President, US Market Development Pixus Technologies


here’s no doubt that today’s military electronics design requirements are headed in a particular direction—and it’s all the more vivid when it comes to the design of ruggedized enclosures. Our industry has adopted the acronym SWaP (Size, Weight and Power), and along with high performance (Faster) and ruggedness (Stronger), they are the key factors for mil/aero embedded designs. The art of balancing these elements is at the core of enclosure design for many mil/aero, industrial and commercial applications. Let us quickly examine the elements of SWaP in reverse order: Power: Circuit boards continue to become more densely populated, and with each added component the power requirements increase. Within a chassis, a board slot that a few years ago might have had just a 20W power requirement, may now have a 100 or even 200W power requirement. Weight: Not only a concern for avionics applications, as more ground applications have become mobile and compact, weight is now a concern for nearly all applications. Size: In some cases a derivative of the weight element, but as the electronics have become more compact and new 54

COTS Journal | October 2012

Figure 1

Thermal analysis showing the dissipation of heat in a conduction-cooled chassis. It also indicates hot spots, which may be reviewed for implementation of adjustments and/or advanced cooling methods. standards have been developed for these smaller form factors, the enclosures must also be reduced in size. Those three elements must all be considered together during the design of a rugged enclosure system, and more

specifically a conduction-cooled enclosure. There are various types of conduction-cooled enclosures; we will address specifically one with natural convection. Conduction cooling refers to the heat generated by the PCB components that

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Figure 2

Example of a ½ ATR Short with rear-loading, dip-brazed, SWaP chassis, designed for manufacturability. is conducted directly to a heatframe or heatsink, which is secured within the cold wall slots with a wedgelock-type card guide (providing both a heat transfer path and clamping force for resistance to shock and vibration).

Size, Weight, Power Trade-Offs The cold wall may or may not be the outermost panel of the enclosure, but it should have direct contact to the outside of the chassis. The heat, upon arrival to the outermost walls of the enclosure, is then removed from the system by natural convection to the outside environment. The outer walls of the enclosure will typically have heatsink fins either machined or extruded into the structure. This will increase the surface area that is exposed to the cooler and possibly temperaturecontrolled outside environment. At times, even the top and rear covers have heatsink fins. If hot spots arise outside of the specifications of the application, the enclosure designer has some options to resolve the issue. Figure 1 shows a thermal model of the conduction-cooled chassis dissipating the heat from the source. With increases in power, it would be natural to increase 56

COTS Journal | October 2012

the size of enclosure to expand the available surface area for heatsinks, however that does not provide a reduction in size or weight. There are other tricks of the trade to resolve the extra heat, such as adding chassis thickness to areas that don’t increase the envelope of the enclosure, implementing a fan to supplement the heat draw—in applications where this is feasible—or by using liquid-flowthrough cooling in the sidewalls.

New Architectures for SWaP, Performance Thus far, we’ve focused on how the enclosure can address SWaP. However, there are new twists on existing embedded computing architectures that address weight concerns while boosting performance. One of the more interesting advancements for OpenVPX is VITA 66 for optical signals over VPX (ANSI-VITA 66.0 - Optical Interconnect on VPX, 2011). It utilizes three main optical connections: MT ferrule (VITA 66.1), ARINC 801 (VITA 66.2) and expanded beam insert (VITA 66.3). The MT ferrule is of particular interest because it’s based on an established technology, which reduces the risk and allows a wide range of ferrule configura-

tions to be used, allowing versatility and future scalability to higher speeds. The advantages of VITA 66 can be significant for mil/aero systems. VITA 66 is particularly well suited for radar, SIGINT, electronic warfare and other processingintensive applications. It offers higher bandwidth, longer transmission distances, EMI resistance and lower weight. A low weight is one of the primary concerns for mil/aero applications. The optical connections in VITA 66 provide a lower weight solution than the electricalbased solutions. One area of key concern in electronics warfare is the susceptibility to EMI. Optical signals are inherently immune to EMI and RFI, alleviating concerns of noise/interference. The performance is also impressive for VITA 66, utilizing optical signals for much of the data and OpenVPX’s high-speed architecture for other control, utility, discreet data, management and expansion planes, as well as I/O implementation options.

Common Sizes, Increasing Constraints Recent trends have shown that the 3U board form factor is becoming more popular, in comparison to a 6U layout. This allows for a greater amount of cards to be installed within a same size enclosure or to utilize a smaller enclosure footprint. With architectures like OpenVPX, engineers can offer higher performance in the compact size. For example, a ½ ATR Short can properly house five slots of 0.8-inch pitch 6U boards (inserted lengthwise); by comparison this same ½ ATR Short enclosure can comfortably hold ten or more slots of 0.8-inch pitch 3U boards (inserted across width-wise) such as VME, VME64X and cPCI. Similarly, designs for Open VPX with 1.0 inch slot pitch can hold either four 6U boards or up to eight 3U boards. OpenVPX allows for both 0.8” and 1.0” slot pitch, with the 1.0 inch slot pitch being much more common. This is especially true since conduction cooling is facilitated in that pitch size, allowing for the wedgelocks to be mounted on the bottom side of the board, which promotes a more direct thermal path between the Side 1 PCB components and the coldwall, as the thermal resistance of the wedgelock is removed from the path.

TECH RECON Although the three elements of a SWaP design are critical, there may also be a fourth to consider: cost, which might be better stated with the phrase “designed for manufacturability.” Pairing this fourth element with SWaP and the higher performance and ruggedness of today’s architectures will allow for a smart design that will build upon the platform of similar designs. Other “design for manufacturability” factors include the material of the enclosure and the cutting tool, which will be used to machine the piece parts. The selection of the cutting tool will drive the fin spacing, depth of cut and allowable radius for inside corners. These factors contribute to machine time, cost, etc. Another consideration is how the enclosure will be sealed, commonly using the methods of “dip brazed” or “glued and screwed.” Dip braze allows for a more permanent seal that will have a greater conductivity through the joints. This helps achieve the “Stronger” part of “Lighter, Stronger, Faster.” See Figure 2 for an example of a conduction-cooled enclosure in a compact ½ ATR Short size. Using a glued and screwed approach is less expensive and can also greatly reduce lead-time; however, this may come with some sacrifice in performance.

Achieving Density in Rackmount Applications SWaP is an important consideration even in rackmount applications, whether the enclosure is designed to rugged MIL shock/vibration specifications or benign environments. Typically, the 3U size boards for OpenVPX would be mounted vertically in a 19” rackmount chassis. The chassis height would likely need to be about 5U, if a front-to-rear cooling configuration was used. Often there are just 5-6 slots with a wealth of unused space. 3U OpenVPX backplanes beyond 9-10 slots are pretty rare—and it gets challenging to solve thermal and power issues with too many slots—let alone any backplane routing/thickness issues. That said, mounting six 3U boards horizontally in the chassis can be achieved in a 2U high chassis, or 3U to 4U if MIL rugged—depending on levels and requirements. In a shock-mounted cabinet, the light, rugged 2U enclosure utilizing screwed card guides and reinforced com-

Figure 3

This type of horizontal-mount configuration allows up to six slots of 3U VPX boards in a 2U chassis height for prototyping or benign environment applications. ponents can handle shock in the 15-20G range. MIL rugged versions in the 3U-4U size can meet MIL-STD-810F levels for shock/vibration. Scalability is also possible with more 2U chassis added. Plus, this six-slot size hits the sweet spot for OpenVPX systems, allowing enough boards for the critical data processing and other functions such as tuning, digitizing, outof-band communication, graphics/video and so on. Even a development system for OpenVPX can be costly. This is especially true when the development system is a one-size-fits-all for the high-power VPX boards. But, a lot of prototyping and testing can be done just as well while significantly more cost-effectively. Utilizing a standard 2U horizontalmount 19” rackmount/desktop chassis, minor modifications can be introduced to allow for 6U or even 3U OpenVPX or VPX-REDI boards. Figure 3 shows a horizontal mount VPX system with a backplane for 3U boards mounted sideby-side in a 2U high chassis. Depending on the power requirements of the system, adjustments in fans, PSUs and airflow can be optimized to handle VPX boards. The cover of the chassis is easily removed for access.

Power Trade-Offs and Cooling Not all of the very high power VPX boards—ones requiring additional cooling—can be used in this type of horizontal configuration. But not all applications require those types of boards. Plus, many of the XMC digitizers and similar units can be low wattage. Power can be configured to use more dedicated 12V current for the fans, while providing enough 12V,

3.3 and 5V for the VPX boards. There comes a point, however, when if the wattage/heat levels are too high, alternative methods should be considered. The larger fans also start to increase the costs when you get too ambitious in cooling in this type of horizontal configuration. Thus, like any application, a fine balance should be achieved. The backplane of this VPX Development system can also be more cost-effective. A very straightforward design would be to simply have power and ground. To add a little more functionality, the VPX backplane can also have a simple ring topology for the data plane (typically fat pipes), and optionally a thin pipe to the control plane. It should be noted that front-to-rear cooling may be a requirement in some of the mil/aero applications, so a sideto-side arrangement in a horizontalmount chassis would not be ideal. It is possible to incorporate a heat exchanger to solve this problem, but that would add more rack height or restrict I/O. So, such a solution would be suitable in very niche applications.

The Right Balance Balancing the increased power requirements with the goal of reducing size and weight while considering cost, will continue to be a challenge. As an alternative to a conduction-cooled by natural convection design, one may consider advanced cooling methods. Ceramicbased or other advanced materials are another option for cooling and reduction of weight, but all of these methods come with an associated cost that must be considered based on a specific application. There are emerging solutions for architectures such as OpenVPX that improve performance, while reducing SWaP. Whether it’s a finely tuned approach to balancing cooling and power in a horizontal-mount chassis, or utilizing optical interconnects over OpenVPX, these types of solutions help engineers with more choices to resolve some of their primary embedded subsystem challenges. Pixus Technologies Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. (519) 885-5775. []. October 2012 | COTS Journal


SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Training and Simulation Technology

Training and Simulation Systems Leverage PC Processing As computing systems get smaller and more powerful, military training and simulation systems can do more in the same footprint. This has increased simulation as a valuable cost-effective supplement to live firearms training. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


one now are the days when it took a large multiboard chassis’ worth of electronics to drive a military training and simulation system. In the past several years, the trend has come full circle to where PCs and servers themselves have become the preferred platform for simulation and training software. Thanks to advanced commercial graphics silicon targeted for PCs and game boxes, military graphics subsystem integrators are able to blend a wealth of graphical and video features into mezzanine form factors like PMC and XMC. Concurrent with those trends, there’s also the influence of gaming software technologies on military simulation system development. Today the PC gaming and game box market provides an outstanding view of what can be done in terms of simulator realism. As a result, many components and technologies that comprise those advanced consumer games are becoming available for defense industry military simulation software vendors to build upon.

Still a Growing Segment A market research report from ASDReports published this summer de58

COTS Journal | October 2012

termined that the value of the global military simulation and virtual training market in 2012 will reach $9.03 billon. The report also said that technological developments in emerging submarkets have acted to spur extensive growth within a diverse range of simulation and training areas. These advances have led many major nations to purchase military simulation technology, viewing it as an essential component in their military capabilities. The report further predicted that the COTS phenomenon will lead to increased growth in the number of providers of military simulation products. The military simulation market has increasingly demanded greater realism in its simulated environments, which is expected to provide opportunities for smaller firms to remain competitive against companies with a major market presence. North America is expected to account for the largest share of the total global military simulators and virtual training programs market with a 62.3% share over the forecast period (Figure 1). As severe cost-cutting hits the DoD budget, training and simulation is no less immune than other segments of

the military. One area, once on the rise, has now started to evaporate: embedded training. Embedded training is where training systems are made portable enough to be included in with fielded platforms or worn by the soldiers themselves. On the other hand, there’s a myriad of ways that sophisticated training systems—such as fire range simulators—are helping to reduce costs of a training warfighters. While there’s no substitute for live-fire training, the adopting of laser-based training ranges allows warfighters an order of magnitude more opportunity to practice without expending ammo. Live-fire training facilities and field training have many other costs as well. And while, again, there’s no notion of replacing live-fire training, the goal is to supplement it with increasingly sophisticated simulator programs.

Long Range Firearms Simulation An example of overcoming the “practice versus cost trade-off ” is a technology from Laser Shot, a maker of firearms simulator systems and livefire training facilities. One of their major products, the Long Range Precision

Rapid Control Prototyping


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For Testing Aircraft Subsystems, Honda Depends on dSPACE The revolutionary HondaJet aircraft represents the new standard in light jet performance, quality and comfort – including the highest speed and greatest fuel economy in its class. To get HondaJet ready to fl y into the new era, Honda Aircraft Company, Inc. will model its designs on dSPACE simulators for automated integration testing. dSPACE simulators enable aircraft designers to combine theory with reality by testing real aircraft subsystems against high-fidelity models of flight dynamics, engines and real-time engineering. dSPACE provides the highest level of performance available for commercial hardware-in-the-loop simulation – the kind of performance demanded by HondaJet engineers. dSPACE – to get you ready for take-off.


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North America is expected to remain by far the largest share of the total global military simulators and virtual training programs market with a 62.3% share over period shown. Shooting Simulator (LRPSS) (Figure 2), enables highly accurate engagements of realistic, long-range moving or static targets in a simulated environment. This solves an issue with training long range snipers. The types of rounds snipers need for extreme range firing are very expensive—costing $1 to $4 per round. The LRPSS gives users the freedom to practice constantly without using live rounds. Through the combination of a Tactical Weapons Simulator, VBS2 and state-of-the-art in-scope simulation, LRPSS enables the designated marksman, sharp shooter or sniper to accurately and effectively engage human avatars or other targets. The LRPSS in-scope simulation system attaches to any field or simulated training weapon. The LRPSS allows engagement of realistic long-range and static and moving targets. It’s also useful for a variety of training situations including spotter training, range estimation, target description/recognition exercises, rules of engagement training and even close air support. According to Laser Shot, the system is 60

COTS Journal | October 2012

the only firearms simulator available on the market to train precision shooting skills at targets greater than 300 meters. They estimate such simulation technology can save thousands of dollars in equipment, personnel and consumables. Other benefits include a drastic time reduction compared to live-fire training as well as the ability to train in complex, dynamic environments.

Compact Firearms Simulators With powerful computing now available in very small systems, there’s been an emergence of portable firearms training systems. An example is the FATS M7 from Meggitt Training Systems. The FATS M7 (Figure 3) military training simulator effectively supports collective and judgmental training needs of military, paramilitary and security personnel. The one-screen configuration includes both marksmanship training and video training modes to provide a multi-tiered training program. Marksmanship training ranges from basic to advanced, and judgmental training enhances the un-

derstanding of shoot/don’t shoot situations and the corresponding decision making process. The system has a caster mounted case for ease of movement with four carrying handles for ease of lifting. Housed in a durable, mil-spec, portable case, this self-contained simulator is ready for use as is, or installed as a ceiling mounted unit. The FATS M7 can be controlled via a wireless touch screen tablet PC. Its user friendly graphical interface allows for intuitive operation and reduces instructor training time. The system supports wireless BlueFire, tethered and Dvorak weapons. Simplified lanes authoring courseware allows instructors to author their own marksmanship training course, while the integrated video authoring capability supports customer creation of video training scenarios and branches. The FATS M7 system is capable of supporting training of multiple soldiers simultaneously, using up to eight system controlled weapons during judgmental video training, thus allowing them to engage in collective team train-

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The Long Range Precision Shooting Simulator (LRPSS) provides highly accurate engagements of realistic, long-range moving or static targets in a simulated environment. This allows a marksman, sharp shooter or sniper to accurately and effectively engage human avatars or other targets. ing. During individual marksmanship training, the system emulates a rangetype training environment where each soldier may shoot a different exercise, and in accordance with range safety/ spacing guidelines, the system can support training of up to four soldiers simultaneously. The authoring tools of the FATS M7 allow training instructors to continuously adapt courseware to meet ever changing training needs. Embedded authoring tools are provided for instructor creation of new marksmanship training courses. FATS M7 also includes a built-in Video Authoring Station that supports customer creation of new video scenarios.

Complete Environment Solutions Another trend in training and simulation technology is to move toward complete environment systems. For its part, Cubic Defense Systems last month showcased its mission-ready live, virtual and constructive training technologies at the Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition. The centerpiece of Cubic’s exhibit was a 360-degree immersive dome solution, the Joint Fires Integrated Training Environment (JFITE). The JFITE leverages Cubic’s Universal Immersive Training System (UITS), also known as 62

COTS Journal | October 2012

the “Dome,” as well as PC-based solutions from SDS International and Nova Technologies. The UITS Dome provides 360 degrees of coverage with trouble-free handling and easy set up. SDS International offers PC-based reconfigurable simulators, high-fidelity PC-based Image Generators (IGs) and associated geospecific, photo-realistic databases, and world-class 3D models. Nova Technologies provides an integrated component set, based upon the principles of scalability, modularity, interoperability and configurability, to be constructed to support Joint Fires training. At the show, Cubic also highlighted its Mission Rehearsal Planning System (MRPS), a, deployable planning and rehearsal training tool allowing units, leaders and teams to operate and train for any real-world mission fully immersed in an integrated Live, Virtual and Constructive (LVC) operational environment. It provides a joint planning workstation that is the only known system employing a powerful low overhead constructive simulation coupled with “touch screen” immersive technologies. MRPS also features computers and gaming engines with selected mission planning tools to virtually plan, prepare, rehearse and execute any mission anywhere.

Figure 3

The FATS M7 system is capable of supporting training of multiple soldiers simultaneously, using up to eight system controlled weapons during judgmental video training.

Cubic Defense Systems San Diego, CA. (858) 277-6780. []. Laser Shot Stafford, TX. (281) 240-1122. []. Meggitt Training Systems Suwanee, GA. (678) 288-1090. [].

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS Rugged Stand-Alone Box Systems

Rugged Box Systems Take a More Application-Focused Turn Moving beyond the model of generic box-level systems, vendors are outfitting their product lines with a variety of features and functionalities oriented to end-application needs. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


o longer just a niche or specialty segment of the embedded computing industry, the rugged box system category of technology has become a staple on par with the single board computer. These systems can take a variety of forms. They are broadly defined as a set of embedded computing and I/O boards put together and delivered as a working system to provide a certain function, but are intended to be used in a military customer’s larger system. Some of these are function specific, whereas others are more generic computing/networking platforms. A key driver of these systems is a desire to feed the military’s need for complete systems that are at a high TRL (Technology Readiness Level). The rise of complete box-level systems reflects the degree to which prime contractors are increasing their reliance on technology supplier companies like embedded computing vendors. Often they want integration expertise and a level of software development as part of those integration efforts. Part of that trend is fueled by the need for primes to contain their costs—especially in this era of tight budget constraints. Those constraints are felt more acutely now than ever as more and more programs are structured as fixed-price rather than cost-plus. 64

COTS Journal | October 2012

Figure 1

At the AUVSI 2012, Editor-in-Chief Jeff Child talks with TE Connectivity about their Future Unleashed demonstration box. The system’s high-speed interconnects include industry-standard VPX VITA 46 backplane connectors, VITA 66 fiber optic modules and VITA 67 multi-position RF modules. The shift in DoD procurement policies in recent years is another driver pushing forward the demand for rugged box systems. Specifically, the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act passed in 2009 demands more demonstration of new technologies. Driven by the desire to avoid banking programs on immature technologies, the policy also pushes for demonstrations earlier in the program development phase. That means that technologies used also have to show higher technology readiness levels (TRLs) than previously required. All of that has helped fuel demand for prepackaged and prequalified subsystems as primes find themselves without the time or the DoD funding to develop a prototype subsystem themselves. As TRL becomes a more significant part of military requirements, suppliers are crafting solutions with that specifically in mind.

As box-level systems evolve, vendors are putting thought into making them easy to upgrade so they can and add new standards and board subsystems as they emerge. Figure 1 shows a product called the Future Unleashed demonstration box from TE Connectivity, which takes such an approach. The box is divided into front panel input/output, power distribution and backplane sections. The input/ output panel features the latest in highspeed digital, fiber optic, RF connectivity in nanominiature and microminiature, rectangular and circular configurations. Its card cage area features a wide variety of board-level interconnects and a selection of signal-level relays. The high-speed interconnects include industry-standard VPX VITA 46 backplane connectors, VITA 66 fiber optic modules and VITA 67 multi-position RF modules.

Harness improved processing and SWaP efficiency in the free-air-cooled Aitech NightHawk RCU™ Rugged Computing Unit – without sacrificing durability or versatility. The Remote Interface/Data Concentrator capabilities of this PC-based embedded unit are ideal for demanding applications in defense, aerospace, and rugged industrial environments, such as CBM, GPS, and RFID monitoring in manned or unmanned vehicles.

Take rugged to greater extremes... with an environmentally sealed, extruded aluminum housing and innovative convection/ radiation cooling design that dissipates more than 22 W at +55°C. With MIL-DTL 38999 connectors, the sealed NightHawk protects against windblown fine dust and sand particles, while numerous EMI/RFI features meet MIL-STD 461 emission and susceptibility limits, all in a shock-, vibration-, and corrosion-resistant design for harsh mechanical, climatic, chemical and electrical environments.

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flexibility to configure the NightHawk RCU™ into the control unit you need it to be. Contact us today for detailed power and I/O specifications. Aitech Defense Systems, Inc. 19756 Prairie Street Chatsworth, CA 91311 email: Toll Free: 888-Aitech8 - (888) 248-3248 Fax: (818) 407-1502

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS: Rugged Box Systems Roundup Rugged Box PC with Modular I/O Serves Cost-Sensitive Apps

Rugged Box System Supports TRL 9 Level of Tech Readiness

Rugged Box Marries 1553 and PowerPC

The stand-alone rugged box trend has hit all levels of product types. A new I/O server industrial PC is targeted at reducing costs as an alternative to PC/104 or CompactPCI embedded computers. Field I/O signals in the IOS-7200 Industrial PC from Acromag are interfaced through an internal carrier card with related plug-in I/O modules. Working together, the rugged, fanless box computer and conduction-cooled I/O modules provide a truly integrated system for many measurement

Aitech Defense Systems offers the highly integrated, compact RediBuilt rugged COTS computer that boots and executes your realtime operating system right out of the box. This flexible computer can accommodate either Intel or Freescale processors as well as a CompactPCI or OpenVPX backplane in a condensed package measuring less than 0.22 ft3, comparable in volume to a 1/4 ATR Short enclosure. Designed to TRL 9 (Technical Readiness

The trend toward complete box-level systems has broadened to include some offerings that target specific needs like avionics. Along those lines, Ballard Technology, a wholly owned subsidiary of Astronics, offers its Avionics BusBox 3000 (AB3000) systems. The AB3000 is small, lightweight and loaded with capabilities for easy integration into today’s modern aircraft, UAVs and ground mobile platforms. With an efficient Intel E680T processor, MIL-

and control projects. A low-cost Geode CPU processes the I/O signal data and manages numerous interface connections for peripherals and networking. Inserting a mix of up to four mezzanine IOS modules on the slide-out carrier card enables A/D, D/A, discrete monitoring/ control, counter/timer, serial communication and FPGA computing functions. A Windows development package provides API development software and Win32 DLL drivers, plus examples for C, Visual Basic, .Net and LabView environments. The Linux software includes a library of I/O function routines to speed code development. Both packages include demonstration programs with C source code to test and exercise the I/O module operation. An I/O Server with four IOS modules operates reliably across wide temperature ranges between -40° to 75°C (-40° to 167°F) with 0-90% relative humidity, noncondensing. Acceptable storage temperatures range from -40° to 85°C (-40° to 185°F). Power usage depends on the I/O modules used, but is typically about 30 watts. A Model IOS-7200 I/O Server PC starts at $1,695.

Level) as defined by the DoD, NASA and other government agencies, RediBuilt eliminates all NRE (non-recurring engineering) and customization costs. It is a highly capable, fully functioning embedded computing subsystem proven through successful operation, complete with built-in, real-world I/O and HD (high definition) graphics and video capabilities. Equipped with standard, circular MILDTL-38999 I/O connectors on the front panel and a two-slot 3U CompactPCI or OpenVPX backplane, RediBuilt provides all system interconnections, internal power distribution and filtering circuitry pre-assembled in the unit. The computer’s integrated functionality, combined with its lightweight, rugged aluminum enclosure, makes the RediBuilt ideal for demanding applications where SWaP is important, as found extensively in military and airborne computing environments. The unit measures 202 mm (W) x 260 mm (D) x 126 mm (H) and weighs less than 13 lbs complete.

STD-1553 and ARINC 429/708/717 interfaces, Ethernet, USB, video, audio and PMC expansion, this rugged, conduction-cooled COTS device is ready to take on all of your toughest computing and interface problems. Avionics databus protocols are not an addon with the AB3000. Choose the model that includes one or multiple protocols built right in to meet the unique needs of your application. Powerful interface circuitry manages protocol functions so the AB3000’s processor is free to concentrate on your software application. Avionics interface support includes MILSTD-1553, ARINC 429/575, ARINC 708/453 and ARINC 717/573. Other interfaces supported include RS-232/422/485, Ethernet (10/100), USB 2.0 Host (High Speed), CANbus, Discrete I/O and PMC Expansion.

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


COTS Journal | October 2012

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

Ballard Technology Everett, WA. (425) 339-0281. [].


Mission Computer Family Supports ARINC-429 MILSTD-1553

Rugged Multi-Platform Mission System Targets Vetronics and Avionics

The benefits of pre-qualifying box-level systems are many. Today’s military system developer can’t afford the cost or the time to create their own demo system. It helps to start with a working box-level solution right off the bat. With that in mind, CES’s Mission and Tactical Computers, implementing various processing and control functions, are available

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 MPMC9105 VMC (Versatile Mission Computer) is an ultra compact, volume optimized

Rugged System Provides Router Function with Cisco IOS Extreme Engineering Solutions (X-ES) offers a pair of embedded products that were the first to host Cisco’s IOS IP routing software. This approach lets the large majority of IT professionals that are trained on Cisco IOS deploy compatible rugged hardware to an already deployed system with no training time or expense. The first is the XPedite5205 ESR, a PMC embedded router module hosting Cisco IOS. The second is the SFFR (shown), a box-level packaged router hosting Cisco IOS. At less than 72 cubic inches and 3.5 pounds,

Ad Index Get Connected with technology and companies providing solutions now Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration

system designed forand space, weightWhether and power for the most demanding applications. These into products, technologies companies. your goal the SFFR is the smallest available ruggedized (SWaP)-constrained and avionics systems are already installed and qualified foris to research the latest datasheetvetronics from a company, speak directly router running Cisco IOS. This rugged router, applications. ruggedtechnical subsystem is the flight on a variety of platforms, including withUAVs, an Application Engineer, or This jump highly to a company's page, available in either natural convection-cooled especiallyiswell suited platforms requiring manned fixed and rotary wing aircrafts. goal of Get Connected to put you infor touch with the right resource. or conduction-cooled enclosures, can be added general processing with deep and diverse I/O CES is currently developing its new range Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, to almost any available surface of a vehicle requirements of 3U VPX and VITA-74 SFF mission systems, Get Connected will help you including connect withvideo. the companies and products or aircraft or deployed in the harshest of Packaged in an environmentally sealed complementing the existing portfolio of you6U are searching for. environments. enclosure, this low-profile (W: 278 mm x D: 230 VPX, VME and CPCI systems. Built top Both products incorporate Cisco Mobile mm x H: 85 mm) and lightweight (6.5 Kg fully of the CES portfolio of COTS processing Ready Net capabilities to provide highly secure configured with two XMC mezzanine modules and I/O modules, these systems provide a data, voice and video communications to and four SSDs) mission computer is designed scalable solution for all in-flight processing stationary and mobile network nodes across to meet challenging thermal management and requirements, including safety-critical control, both wired and wireless links. When combined intensive processing and I/O requirements as well as high-bandwidth video and signal with UHF, VHF, Wi-Fi and other radio ranging from low power systems to highprocessing with high-capacity storage. All CES platforms, thenow combination can create mobile, with technology and companies providing solutions performance computing solutions. mission and tactical systems are optimized forGet Connected wireless ad hoc without requiring The MPMC-9105 VMCfor is further designed to meetinto products, technologies networks, safety and performance within the constraintsGet Connected is a new resource exploration and companies. Whether your goal is to research th connection to central infrastructure. Both harsh environments of demanding defenseEngineer,a or of the environment, including space, weight datasheetthe from a company, speak directly with an Application jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connect also offer onboard hardware acceleration and in touch with right resource. Whichever level of service whatever type of technology, andthe aerospace computing applications in ayou require for and power. These systems are available in both encryption GetorConnected will help you connect including with the companies you are searching for. along with integrated multitude of conditions extremeand productshardware ATR and ARINC-600 enclosures, air-cooled threat control using Cisco IOS Firewall, Cisco temperatures, shock, vibration and EMI. To sealed conduction-cooled, with optional heat IOS Zone-based Firewall, Cisco IOS Intrusion ensure the highest level of performance, the exchangers and internal air circulation. Prevention System (IPS) and Cisco IOS Content MPMC-9105 VMC meets or surpasses the One of these solutions (shown) is the CES Filtering. MIL-STD-810F Test Method Standard for sealed conduction-cooled Mission Computer Environmental Engineering Considerations that is based on a general-purpose PowerPC Extreme Engineering Solutions and Laboratory Tests, and for EMI as per processor board. It provides a video output, Middleton, WI. MIL-STD-461 Requirements for the Control of two Ethernet connections, as well as several (608) 833-1155. EMI Characteristics of Subsystems. Pricing for avionic interfaces, including discrete inputs []. the MPMC-9105 starts at less than $10,000 in and outputs, serial lines, ARINC-429 ports and quantity. redundant MIL-1553 interfaces, with empty slots for potential growth.


Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions CES - Creative Electronic Systems Ashburn, VA. Geneva, Switzerland. (703) 779-7800. Get Connected with companies and +41.22.884.51.00. []. products featured in this section. [].

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Rugged Platform Aids FACE Application Development

Rugged Box Server Functions as Six-Way Secure Virtual Machine

Prequalified OpenVPX Platform Is Application Ready

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the FACEREF1 Software Reference Platform designed to allow organizations developing FACE-compliant applications to take advantage of a COTS solution that is pre-configured, prevalidated 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

Demands for high compute density, secure trusted computing and multiprocessing all rank high on the list of today’s top military system requirements. Exemplifying all those trends at once, General Micro Systems (GMS) has introduced the “Zeus” (SCZ91X), a “super-server” that blends high computing performance with security of data and operations in a “Trusted Computing Platform.” The Zeus replaces dedicated processing systems or single-level servers—through a Hypervisor or Virtual Machine Manager—and can

The advantage of pre-qualified rugged computer systems is that they smooth the way for the rapid deployment of a broad range of military and avionics applications. With that in mind, Kontron’s ApexVX system is based on Kontron’s leading-edge 3U OpenVPX computing technology and smart software including VXFabric, VXControl and PBIT system test solution. It integrates all components required for the early evaluation phase up to long term deployment. The Kontron ApexVX comes in a fully sealed ½ ATR style chassis (5” w x 6” h x 13” d) suitable for harsh environments with scalable thermal solutions. This enables OEMs to directly

concurrently run numerous, fully independent a technologically appropriate open FACE operating systems (guests). reference architecture, standards and business At the heart of the system is an Intel model that will ensure interoperability, Westmere-EP processor, the most powerful increase portability, promote innovation and Xeon 5600 processor. The Zeus is based on six competition, bring advanced capabilities to the physical CPU cores, with hyperthreading for warfighter faster and lower implementation a total of 12 cores. Each core operates at up to costs. GE is working closely with Wind River d 2.4 GHz, with the ability to run in TurboBoost Systems and Presagis to ensure that the two mode up to 2.67 GHz. Each guest, as well as companies’ software roadmaps for FACEthe core, is assured uninterrupted operation compliant operating system, OpenGL and HMI through the integration of the Westmere-EP tools, work “out of the box” on the FACEREF1 with its fully integrated memory controller and hardware platform. massive high-speed memory. The Zeus boasts GE’s FACEREF1 Software Reference up to 96 Gbytes of RAM organized in three Platform is a complete, rugged subsystem that nies providing solutions now banks. Each RAM bank consists of two DDR-3 features GE’s SBC312 single board computer ion into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest DIMM arrays with Error Correcting Code and PMCCG1 graphics PMC. The SBC312 is tion Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you (ECC). The ECC RAM supports up to 1333 based on Freescale’s Power Architecture P4080 you require for whatever type of technology, Mega Transfers per Second (MTS) to/from the yet has the power envelope of and products8-core you areprocessor searching for. CPU. previous dual core systems, while the PMCCG1 Accommodating the widest array of ultrafeatures the high performance/low power S3 high-speed I/O devices, the Zeus comprises 2300E GPU (graphics processing unit). The a host CPU I/O and six Virtual Machine I/O interface between the CPU and GPU is via a (VMIO) sites, several of which are available as 4-lane PCI Express to PCI-X bridge, allowing standards. Two removable 2.5” SSD drives are high-bandwidth connectivity between the two supported on the host side, as well as one PMC/ processors. XMC site and one mSATA drive for a local GE Intelligent Platforms boot device. The Zeus (SCZ91X) is available in Charlottesville, VA. quantity starting at $24,000.

deploy their development system, battle ready, to field trials and gain a critical time-to-market advantage. Kontron supports customers in optimizing the configuration of a comprehensive portfolio of proven and tested 3U conductioncooled OpenVPX building blocks. The multi-mission, rugged computer system ApexVX comes with a pre-configured Linux distribution and can host most Linux-based applications without code change. Packed in a ½ ATR style 3U chassis, the ApexVX integrates an OpenVPX backplane with four payload slots and one switch slot. A sample multi-purpose configuration integrates two conductioncooled VX3030 SBCs, the Virtex5 FMC carrier VX3830 and the PCI Express and Ethernet hybrid switch VX3905. VXFabric offers hardware assisted TCP/IP on PCIe for data flow applications to implement efficient inter-board communication at ultra high speed. VXControl uses the onboard controllers interfaced through the standard System Management Bus (SMB) of the VPX backplane for sophisticated Out of Band Health Management. The system can be ordered as a pre-qualified system compliant to relevant MIL and AERO standards such as MIL-STD810 E for shock, vibration, humidity and salt fog, and MIL-STD461-E for EMC/RFI. First samples of the new ApexVX system are available now.

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

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(800) 368-2738. [].

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COTS Journal | October 2012

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

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


Rugged Box System Provides Manpack-Sized Computing Platform The stand-alone rugged box trend has pervaded all corners of the military embedded computing space. Many product lines have even moved on to second-generation, smaller spin-off versions. An example along those lines is Mercury Computer Systems’ new, rugged, manpack-sized system. Enhancing the Ensemble 1000 Series family of computing systems, the 2-slot PowerBlock 15 has a convection-cooled or cold-plate mountable

design, suitable for deployment on small platforms operating in harsh environments. Approximately the size of an external hard drive, the portable system can be configured with any of the processing, I/O, or storage modules currently used in the 6-slot PowerBlock 50 chassis. Ensemble 1000 Series systems, using either the PowerBlock 15 or the PowerBlock 50 chassis, are scalable and optimized for real-time applications. A point-to-point PCI Express connection delivers high-throughput, non-blocking, serial connectivity between processing and I/O nodes. External I/O can be customized to accommodate virtually any type of digital or analog I/O. Processing options include the Intel x86 architecture (LDS1100) Intel Core i7-620LE (Arrandale) dual-core processor at 2.0 GHz. Memory includes 2 Gbytes of DDR3-1066 ECC SDRAM, 4 Mbytes of BIOS flash and 4 Gbytes NAND flash for Linux file system. Available FPGA Modules include an FPGA Altera Stratix-IV GX230 FPGA card. Available External I/O includes Gigabit Ethernet and RS-232/485, USB Graphics DVI display interface, FPGA Gigabit Ethernet, RS-232/485, 22x LVDS pairs, 8x LVTTL and well as custom engineered modules.

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

Rugged Box-Level System Offers Low Power Solution

Mission Computer Embedded Sandy/Ivy Bridge Core i7

Octagon Systems has announced the Fleet CORE M, a rugged computer that excels in demanding applications requiring more robust I/O connectors. The total integrated thermal design provides fanless operation over a -30° to 70°C temperature range. The Fleet CORE M incorporates the field-proven Octagon Hedgehog power supply technology providing superior protection for noisy and unstable mobile applications. The unit is ideally suited for size-, weight- and power-constrained

The DuraCOR\ 80-40 is a rugged Commercial-off the Shelf (COTS) tactical mission computer subsystem based on the highperformance Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors with a high-speed, stackable PCI Express bus (PCIe/104) architecture for I/O card expansion. Optimally designed for size, weight and ower (SWaP)-sensitive mobile, airborne, ground, manned or unmanned vehicle applications, the DuraCOR 80-40 combines powerful graphics and multicore processing with ultra-reliable mechanical robustness and modular I/O expansion for

applications. The standard I/O includes Ethernet, USB, COM and DVI-D, with resolutions to 1920 x 1440 and four inputs and two outputs of digital I/O. The processor is a 1.1 GHz Intel ATOM. Memory includes 1 Gbyte industrial temperature grade DDR2 DRAM. Typical dissipation is under 10W and transient compliance exceeds SAE J1113-11 and ISO7637-2-2004. Vibration exceeds MIL-STD-214A while shock exceeds MIL-STD-202G. Operating temperature is 30° to 70°C and storage temperature is -40° to 85°C.

extreme environmental and EMI performance per MIL-STD-810G (thermal, shock, vibration, dust, water, humidity) and MIL-STD-461F. The DuraCOR 80-40 features modular interlocking chassis segments with preinstalled MIL-DTL-38999 connectors and an internal power/control bus to ease the integration of application-specific PCIe/104 or PCI/104-Express I/O cards and meet highspeed mission payload I/O requirements. Standard I/O includes 2x Gigabit Ethernet, 6x USB, 2x RS-232, 16-bit GPIO, dual display outputs (Analog, DVI), stereo audio, PS2 and a stackable PCIe/104 bus. The unit mounts either horizontally or vertically and supports factory integration of the Cisco IOS-managed DuraMAR 5915 router and/or application I/O into a single appliance combination of computer + router + switch + application I/O. The DuraCOR 80-40 is completely sealed (IP67), requires no active cooling, includes a military-grade power supply supporting aircraft (MIL-STD-704F) and ground vehicle (MIL-STD-1275D) voltages, and features a hinged panel on the rear with two slots for removable 2.5” SATA Solid State Disks (SSD). Parvus application engineering services are available to support semi-customized configurations, including mechanical changes and pre-integrated PCIe/104 I/O cards.

Octagon Systems Westminster, CO. (303) 430-1500. [].

Parvus Salt Lake City, UT. (801) 483-1533. []. October 2012 | COTS Journal



Field-Deployed Ruggedized Computers Boast Advanced Graphics Graphics and video display/capture have become critical technologies in many of today’s advanced programs. Serving such needs, Quantum3D has announced two new additions to its award-winning Thermite family of embedded computers: the Thermite XVG 4000 and the Thermite TL 2000. The new Thermite XVG 4000 offers state-of the art processing and performance, and the Thermite TL 2000 breaks mobility and power efficiency barriers to meet the computing and operation

needs of demanding military and aerospace environments. The Thermite XVG 4000 offers state-ofthe-art graphics and processing technology for applications ranging from real-time sensor signal processing to situational awareness. The Thermite XVG 4000 is the most powerful fanless, graphics-based, rugged computer available, and features a modular design that allows the system to be optimized to meet specific project requirements, including tailoring of the CPU, GPU, video processing, networking, I/O and storage features, using commercial-off-the-shelf modules. Its processor is an Intel Core i7-610E 2.53 GHz with Turbo Boost to 3.2 GHz (Dual Core) and other CPU options, with up to 8 Gbytes of system memory. Graphics include a CUDA-capable NVIDIA FX880M for midrange workstation performance, or NVIDIA FX2800M for high-end performance. The Thermite TL 2000 rounds out Quantum3D’s line of rugged Thermite family computers as the lightest and smallest embedded system. The Thermite TL 2000 offers lower power consumption for a range of markets, including man-wearable applications, robotics, real-time signal processing applications like GPS and radar, as well as embedded sensor signal processing applications such as LIDAR/LADAR.

Quantum3D San Jose, CA. (408) 361-9999. []. 70

COTS Journal | October 2012

ATCA Platform Targets Command and Control Apps

PC/104-Based Box Systems Boast High Reliability

ATCA has secured a solid niche in the military market, particularly for applications that stress high-performance communications and networking. RadiSys has announced the Promentum C2 Server, the industry’s first preintegrated, portable ATCA platform designed to provide the performance and features required for rugged, ground mobile applications in the Mil/Aero industry. The C2 Server leverages LCR Electronics’ ruggedized ATCA chassis and Astute Networks’ Edge Storage Blades in a rapidly deployable, higher performance platform with

Driven by the desire for a more complete system, stand-alone, ruggedized systems have become a go-to for military system developers who need solid, turnkey solutions. RTD Embedded Technologies makes box-level PC/104-based systems qualified for demanding applications like military vehicles. RTD’s rugged HighRel line of systems is built using frames milled from solid aluminum blocks to exacting specifications ensuring that the

more than 30 percent weight decrease and lower power consumption than current rackmount servers. RadiSys’ C2 Server provides integrated computing, switching and storage in one easyto-manage platform that scales to meet most environmental and performance challenges presented to the Mil/Aero market. The C2 Server has been designed to meet the demanding environment requirements of MIL-STD-810 and can quickly be deployed and serviced in the field. The computing modules are certified with VMware ESXi, which allows the use of multiple operating systems for consolidation of application, and the use of VSphere to provide cost-effective fault tolerance for critical applications. This pre-integrated RadiSys platform is based on best-of-breed technologies from three trusted industry experts and allows Mil/Aero contractors to focus primarily on their value-add of software and services, while reducing time-to-market. The pre-integrated C2 Server consists of a Ruggedized 6U 6-slot AC LCR Chassis, two RadiSys Promentum ATCA-2210 10 Gigabit Ethernet Switch and Control Modules with optional COM Express module that can support platform management functions, up to four RadiSys Promentum ATCA-4500 series single board computers (SBCs) and Astute Networks’ Caspian R1100 Edge Storage Blades.

solution is rugged and reliable. Frames for thermally sensitive components have internally milled heat sinks and embedded heat pipes to move heat to the outside walls of the enclosure, allowing operation from -40° to +85°C without the use of active cooling. Optional shock-mount bases withstand specific shock and vibration specifications. RTD’s IDAN box-level product consists of any RTD PC/104, PC/104-Plus, or PCI-104 board mounted in its own frame and wired to the standard PC connectors on that frame, thus eliminating the need for module-tomodule wiring inside the case. This solution maintains PC/104’s modularity and lets system designers configure a system as rapidly as one would configure a stack of boards. The product line is also available in a watertight version, HiDANplus, with environmental sealing and EMI suppression O-rings coupled with MIL I/O connectors. HiDANplus does inter-module communications via a custom wiring harness that is enhanced by an internal 100-pin stackable signal raceway.

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

RTD Embedded Technologies State College, PA. (814) 234-8087. [].

Why Should Researching SBCs Be More Difficult Than Car Shopping? INTELLIGENTSYSTEMSSOURCE.COM IS A COMPARISON TOOL FOR DESIGN ENGINEERS LOOKING FOR CUSTOM AND OFF-THE- SHELF SBCS AND SYSTEM MODULES. Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s systems combine an array of very complex elements from multiple manufactures. To assist in these complex architectures, ISS has built a simple tool that will source products from an array of companies for a side by side comparison and provide purchase support.




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PC/104 DC/DC Supplies Provide Complete Power Management

Getcosts Connected companies mentioned in this article. Energy concerns are not just a private sector matter. The DoD is intent on reducing its energy wherever itwith can. WinSystems has introduced and highly integrated, supply modules for remote Get Connected with PC/104 companies andPC/104-Plus products featured in this section. “green energy” applications requiring renewable power sources. The PS394 series of DC/DC supplies support two inputs from solar panels, wind turbines, or other DC sources. Also included is a controller for battery charging and uninterruptable power supply (UPS) operation. These products are designed for applications not able to run off the standard AC power grid. They require only convection cooling and do not require a fan or heat sink while operating from -40° to +85°C. The PS394 series modules provide a complete power management solution for embedded computers by directly powering the device from one of the dual DC inputs as well as providing smart battery charging and switching to battery power when the input voltage(s) drop below operational levels. The battery charging controls support 6V or 12V batteries including Lead Acid, Li-Ion/Polymer, LiFePO and SLA chemistries. The UPS feature provides a fast switchover that is free of oscillations between the two external sources and battery. Multiple options are available for setting charge times, float voltages and charge current monitoring. The charger also has built-in state-of-charge (SOC), bad battery detection, preconditioning and end-of-charge (EOC) features as well as an optional thermistor to monitor the battery’s temperature. The power supplies are available in three standard configurations with custom engineered solutions also available. Each of the 90 x 96 mm board options accept voltages from the dual 9 to 32 volt DC input sources and automatically selects and converts the highest one to the output voltage(s). Single quantity price for the PPM-PS394-533 is $249. The PCM-PS394-500 is $229 and the ISM-PS394-533 is $209. WinSystems, Arlington, TX. (817) 274-7553. [].

Fiber I/O Card Offers 16 Channels in Single 6U OpenVPX Slot Fiber optics is positioned to be the next key technology for embedded computer interfacing. Mercury Computer Systems announced a groundbreaking 6U OpenVPX fiber I/O module: the Echotek Series SCFE-V6-4QSFP-OVPX. This module is the only one to combine 16 channels of high-speed fiber with three of the most powerful Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA processors available today. With a maximum data transfer capacity of 80 Gbit/s, the module is well suited to support the highbandwidth digitized I/O created by various commercial and defense applications including the current generation of advanced ISR sensors. Each of the 16 channels of fiber supports a full duplex data rate of up to 5 Gbit/s, while the three FPGAs enable onboard preprocessing of data streams for maximum application efficiency. The fiber channels are supported on two Optical Interface FPGA Mezzanine Cards (FMCs); each FMC has two 4x QSFP connections supporting eight channels of 2.5 Gbit/s sFPDP or two channels of 10 GigE. The FPGAs can be configured with a range of IP, enabling signal processing algorithms and protocol implementations. A serial RapidIO backplane connection provides highspeed communication with other subsystem modules.

Mercury Computer Systems, Chelmsford, MA. (978) 967-1401. [].

SATA SSDs Boast Capacities up to 256 Gbytes With more and more functionality going into software, storage technologies like SSDs are now critical subsystems in today’s military systems. Virtium has introduced its new line of StorFly solid-state storage products. The Virtium StorFly SSD portfolio includes 1.8- and 2.5-inch SATA, Slim SATA, mSATA and CFast form factors that are specifically designed for embedded systems that have unique capacity and workload requirements. Eliminating the need for costly product qualifications, StorFly SSDs deliver stable configurations and are engineered for the long-life needs of military systems. Virtium’s new StorFly SSDs also provide the ruggedness and flexibility today’s embedded systems demand by offering extended temperature operation, low power at peak performance and wide range of capacity points. StorFly gives system developers a truly embedded SSD, which eliminates the design trade-offs required when using SSDs designed for client or enterprise workloads. StorFly hits the sweet spot compared to low-end client SSDs where performance and reliability may vary. Enterprise SSDs, on the other hand, are engineered to handle thousands of virtual users and are therefore overkill for most embedded applications. Virtium’s low-power StorFly 1.8- and 2.5-inch SATA, Slim SATA, mSATA and CFast products are available now in capacities ranging from 8 to 256 Gbytes.

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

CompactPCI SBC Features 3rd Gen Intel Core i7 Processor Extreme Engineering Solution has introduced the XCalibur4402, a 6U CompactPCI Single Board Computer (SBC) supporting the 3rd generation Intel Core i7 processor. Available in conduction- or air-cooled versions, the XCalibur4402 uses the processor’s dual- or quad-core technology with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology and Intel QM67 Express chipset. Processor configurations supported range from the dual-core i5-2655LE: 2.2 GHz with 4 Mbyte cache to a quad-core i7-3612QE: 2.1 GHz with 6 Mbyte cache. Memory includes up to 16 Gbytes of DDR31600 ECC SDRAM in two channels and up to 128 Gbytes of NAND flash and 32 Mbytes of NOR flash. Rear panel I/O is comprised of Gigabit Ethernet ports, USB 2.0 ports, SATA 3.0 Gbit/s ports, graphics ports and optional RS-232/485 serial port. Two PrPMC/XMC sites are on board and the card complies with PICMG 2.0, 2.1, 2.3, 2.9, and 2.16.

Extreme Engineering Solutions, Middleton WI. (608) 833-1155. []. 72

COTS Journal | October 2012

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

Transient Current Suppressors High Data Rate Signal Lines Get Connected with companies and productsAid featured in this section.

Bourns has introduced a line of transient current suppressor (TCS) devices

that provide ultra-fast and highly reliable circuit protection to very high data rate signal lines such as those used in Gigabit Ethernet (GbE). Designated the Bourns TCS DL-Series, these ultra-fast reacting devices negligibly affect the signal performance of high-speed communication ports unlike typical high capacitance protectors. The devices are high-speed, bidirectional, low resistance, automatically resettable, compact current limiting devices that protect circuits from overcurrent surges. Protecting within nanoseconds, the devices are capable of significantly reducing latency common in most circuit protection designs. The Bourns TCS DL-Series (dual devices) are available now. As a pricing reference, a 2.3 Ohm dual TCSTM (TCS-DL004-250-WH) is priced at $0.42 each in 1000 piece quantities.

Bourns, Riverside, CA. (951) 781-5500. [].

270V DC/DC Full-Brick Converters Deliver 800W More electronics in military systems mean ever stronger appetites for power. Feeding that need, SynQor has increased the maximum rated power level of its 270Vin MCOTS line of full-brick DC/ DC converters by raising the lower end of the input voltage range over which they can operate. The new MCOTS-270H line of full-brick converters can deliver 800W of output power while operating over a continuous input voltage range of 240V to 425V and a transient input voltage range of 240V to 475V. The 240V lower limit complies with the requirements for all of the Steady-State conditions specified in MIL-STD-704(A-F), and the higher limits comply with all of the Steady-State and the over-voltage Surge requirements. These MCOTS-270H converters are particularly useful for high power systems that do not need to operate through a Starting Voltage Transient, or that simply have power sources that are more tightly regulated than specified in MIL-STD-704(A-F). The MCOTS-270H full-brick DC/DC converters are designed to provide isolated DC power for electronics such as power amplifiers, jammers and systems requiring high powered bus voltages. These converters use SynQor’s synchronous rectifierbased technology to achieve extremely high efficiencies, up to 92% at 800W. The optional built-in current sharing feature allows for easy paralleling of modules for applications requiring more power or module redundancy with limited external components. Switching frequency is constant to provide predictable EMI performance, and the converters can be paired with SynQor MCOTS EMI filters to meet most requirements of MILSTD-461. The MCOTS-270H converters are offered encased for exceptional performance in harsh environments and can provide full output power at case temperatures between -55° and 100°C. The full-brick converter features include: remote on/off control, very wide +10% to -50% output voltage trim range, remote output voltage sense, input under-voltage lockout, output overvoltage protection, active back bias limiting, thermal shutdown, output current limit, short circuit protection and optional current share. The MCOTS-270H series is designed for 4250V DC and 100M ohm input-to-output isolation, is 5/6 RoHS compliant, and has a calculated MTBF in excess of 1.2M hours at 70°C (MIL-217).

Long Life Support Provided for Pentium M-based SBCs ADL Embedded Solutions has announced long-term perspectives for 855 chipsetbased SBC products following the Intel discontinuance of its 855GME chipset family. These well-established SBCs are extremely important for military applications because they are the last platforms that support the 16-bit ISA bus with DMA. ADL Embedded Solutions has two solutions on the market that use the 855 chipset: the ADL855PC PC/104Plus board and the 3.5-inch ADL855HD board. These SBCs are based on Intel Pentium M processors with clock rates of up to 1.8 GHz. The ADL855PC (shown) is based on the Pentium M / Celeron M processors offering clock rates up to 1.8 GHz. The Intel 855GME chipset (GMCH) supports a 400 MHz FSB with integrated Intel Graphics controller “Extreme Graphics 2.” It can drive either a CRT or LVDS LCD. The memory is added via an SODIMM200 socket and can accept up to 1 Gbyte of DDR333 SDRAM. The ADL855PC power management incorporates ACPI/APM functions.

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

SynQor, Boxborough, MA. (978) 849-0600. [].

PCI Express Control Card Features FPGA and Digital I/O The MESA 7I76 card set is a FPGA-based 5-axis step/dir control system. Five axes of hardware step generators allow step rates up to 8 MHz. Step and direction outputs are differential for noise immunity. Analog spindle control and spindle encoder inputs (TTL or differential) are also provided. 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 7I76 set with PCI host adapter is $144 in 100s. Its price with PCIe host adapter is $158 in 100s.

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


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

Gbit Ethernet Backbone System Implements VICTORYwith Standard Get Connected companies and products featured in this section.

Some of the most exciting development areas of today’ military vehicle upgrades are the wealth of sophisticated communications and information display devices installed on board. Connecting, networking and powering all those subsystems is a tricky prospect however. Attacking those challenges, Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions (CWCDS) has announced an innovative new solution for quickly and costeffectively adding a rugged VICTORY-compliant networking backbone to new and legacy military ground vehicles. The new Digital Beachhead system combines a 16-port Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch with a high-performance, power-efficient Vehicle Management Computer. In addition to dramatically simplifying and lowering the cost of modernizing a combat vehicle with a modern digital network and VICTORY-compliant architecture, Digital Beachhead also features a complete vehicle management computer system. By installing a single Digital Beachhead unit, it is now possible to quickly integrate a modern vehicle control system into a ground vehicle that previously had no embedded onboard electronics. Digital Beachhead’s ARM processor-based system computer runs the vehicle’s health management (HUMS/CBM+) software and monitors the vehicle’s primary systems. Digital Beachhead comes pre-installed with Curtiss-Wright Control’s Vehicle Management Framework (VMF) software. Vehicle Management Framework provides high-level logical access to common vehicle interfaces (CANbus, analog and digital I/O, camera, audio, and so on). It has interfaces with HUMS logistic services, such as CBM+/CLOE and DDS. The system includes an event-driven framework for vetronics control and status. A local user interface is provided via VGA/DVI and USB keyboard/mouse. With an extremely small footprint(10” x 7” x 3”), combined with less than 4 lb weight, the unit offers a low power, natural convection design. Power consumption is 30W max with less than 20W typical. It supports MIL-STD-1275-compliant 28 VDC power with optional Nuclear Event Detector (NED) and meets MIL-STD-810 and MIL-STD-461 environmental qualifications. Pricing for Digital Beachhead starts at less than $5,000 in quantity. Availability is Q4 2012.

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

PCI Express Mini Carrier Card Marries SIMs and CompactPCI

NIST Certification Achieved for AES Encrypted SSD

MEN Micro has released the F223, a robust PCI Express (PCIe) Mini Card carrier board that features two PCIe Mini Card slots as standard with USB and PCI Express connections as well as two SIM card slots. Expandable to 18 SIM slots, each PCIe Mini Card incorporates two or three redundant SMA antenna connectors on the front panel to guarantee the most stable connection over different frequency ranges. For applications with frequent location or rate-related network changes, MEN Micro’s AE64 adapter board enables each of the two PCIe Mini Cards to control up to eight additional SIM cards, so that a maximum of 18 SIM cards can be accommodated on a single carrier board. Additionally, when equipped with a USB-SIM emulator, the board can control SIM cards on a central server. This is especially useful in railway applications, where SIM card data residing on a remote server can be transferred to a system in a moving train, which then uses the corresponding network for a short time to update system information. The F223 is designed for -40° to +85°C operating temperature using qualified components and conformally coated for use in harsh and mobile environments. Pricing for the F223 is $514.

Microsemi has announced it has achieved National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) certification for the advanced encryption standard (AES) algorithm on its ultra-secure TRRUST-Stor solid state drive designed for critical data storage. TRRUST-Stor is one of the few solid state drives on the market that has hardware-implemented AES encryption with a 256-bit key using the XTS block cipher mode. Together with additional security features that include sanitization protocols, Microsemi’s proprietary Armor processor and TRRUST-Purge technology that renders data forensically unrecoverable in less than 30 milliseconds (ms), the TRRUST-Stor drive may be the most secure SSD on the market. The TRRUST-Stor solid state drive family provides up to 512 Gbytes of non-volatile removable media. These SSDs are designed for outstanding reliability, performance and security in applications requiring high data security and rugged environments. The drives are also available with ruggedized SATA connectors. All design and manufacturing for the TRRUST-Stor is done in the U.S. in Microsemi’s trusted facility.

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

Microsemi, Aliso Viejo, CA. (949) 380-6100. [].

PXI Express Digitizer Does Simultaneous 8-channel 100 MS/s at 14-Bits ADLINK Technology has announced the release of its new PXI Express (PXIe) digitizer. The PXIe-9848 is an 8-channel, 14-bit, 100 MS/s digitizer delivering both high-accuracy measurement results and high-dynamic performance. With a PXI Express bus interface and ample onboard acquisition memory up to 512 Mbytes, the PXIe9848 can easily manage simultaneous 8-channel data streaming. High-density and high-speed digitizer features ideally position the PXIe-9848 for applications such as LIDAR, radar signal acquisition and power supply unit (PSU) testing applications. The PXIe-9848 provides a flexible set of input ranges from ±0.2V to ±2V; software selectable 50Ω or 1 MΩ input impedance, a wide variety of triggering options and tight synchronization capability, all maximizing convenience of use.

ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. []. 74

COTS Journal | October 2012

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

1000W Power with Supplies Minute Battery Backup Get Connected companies Feature and products 10 featured in this section.

Technology Dynamics has announces the new TD-RSP-1URK line of single output 1000 watt

high-reliability, rugged, battery back-up power supplies. Ideal for rugged ground mobile COTS applications, voltages include 12, 24 and 48 volt outputs with output power to 1000W and battery back-up for 10 minutes. Pictured is the 28 volt 35 amp model with onboard batteries. Features include compact size, light weight (1.75” x 19” x 13.5”) rack mount format. Input voltage is 90 to 264 VAC at 50/60 Hz. Operating temperature ranges from 0 to 55°C. The devices are OV/OL/OT protected and have a heavily ruggedized enclosure. Additional EMI filtering to meet MIL-STD-461 is available.

Technology Dynamics, Bergenfield, NJ. (201) 385-0500. [].

FPGA PMC/XMC Module Blends Digitizing and Processing Innovative Integration has announced its X6- 250M, a PMC/XMC I/O module that integrates digitizing with signal processing. The module has a powerful Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA signal processing core and high-performance PCI Express/PCI host interface. Applications include software-defined radio, radar receivers and multi-channel data recorders. The card has eight simultaneously sampling A/D channels that sample at rates up to 310 Msamples/s (14-bit). The A/D have matched input delays and response. The A/D are supported by a programmable sample clock PLL and triggering that support multi-card synchronization for large scale systems. A Xilinx Virtex-6 SX315T (LX240T and SX475T options) with 4 banks of 1 Gbyte DRAM provide a very high-performance DSP core with over 2000 MACs (SX315T). The close integration of the analog I/O, memory and host interface with the FPGA enables realtime signal processing at extremely high rates. The X6-250M has both XMC and PCI interfaces, supporting PCI Express or older PCI systems. The PCI Express interface provides up to 3.2 Gbyte/s sustained transfers rates through an x8 PCIe Gen2 interface. System expansion is supported using secondary PCI Express or Aurora port used as a private data channel or second system bus. The X6-250M power consumption is 23W for typical operation. The module may be conduction-cooled using VITA20 standard and a heat spreading plate. Ruggedization levels for wide-temperature operation are from -40° to +85°C (conformal coating) and 0.1 g2/Hz vibration. The FPGA logic can be fully customized using VHDL, Matlab and the Frame Work Logic tool set. The Matlab Board Support Package (BSP) supports real-time hardware-in-the-loop development using the graphical block diagram Simulink environment with Xilinx System Generator. IP cores for many wireless and DSP functions such as DDC, PSK/FSK demod, OFDM receiver, correlators and large FFT are available.

Two-Way Power Divider Handles up to 250W Narda Microwave-East has introduced Model 2372A-2, a high-power, 2-way power divider that operates from 500 MHz to 2.5 GHz, handles up to 250W CW input power (2 kW peak power), and is well suited for both commercial and military applications. Model 2372A-2 has insertion loss of less than 0.6 dB, amplitude balance of +/0.25 dB or less, phase balance of +/-5 deg., isolation of at least 13 dB from 500 to 700 MHz, and 18 dB from 700 MHz to 2.5 GHz, and VSWR of less than 1.5:1. It employs Type-N female connectors and measures 3.5 in. x 2.5 in. x 1 in. Model 2372A-2 power divider is available from Narda for immediate delivery.

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

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

Power Supplies Serve Up 10 kV/20 kV 100W Fast Polarity Switching ITT Exelis has announced the availability of the Alpha IV Series of high-performance, 100W highvoltage 19-inch rack mounting power supplies. Available in 10 kV and 20 kV output voltage models, the Alpha IV Series is specifically designed for applications where remote switchable polarity is required. These versatile high voltage power supplies employ solid state switching techniques allowing for fast polarity reversal while maintaining excellent line and load regulation. Designed to operate from a standard AC supply (90V to 264V), these supplies provide an accurately controlled high voltage output. The use of high-stability components within the feedback system ensures a low temperature coefficient of less than 10 ppm/degree C. The output voltage may be controlled from 50V to maximum (10kV or 20kV) of either polarity by means of front panel controls, analog signals or USB interface. More information can be found at www.

ITT Exelis, McLean, VA. (703) 790-6300. []. October 2012 | COTS Journal


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

Quad 1.25 GHz D/A Module Beamforming Software Radio GetTargets Connected with companies andand products featured in this section.

Demand for fast D/A conversion is on the rise, particularly in applications such as beamforming and military software radio. Along such lines, Pentek has released its highest-performing D/A converter module for RF and IF waveform playback, the Cobalt Model 71671. The module delivers four independent analog outputs each through its own digital upconverter and 16-bit D/A with sampling rates to 1.25 GHz. An onboard Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA contains factory-installed intellectual property (IP) that provides turnkey waveform generation for output signal bandwidths from less than 1 kHz up to 250 MHz with an extended interpolation range from 2x to 1,048,576x. Users can also customize the module’s operation by implementing their own IP in the FPGA. The Model 71671 uses two DAC3484 D/A converters from Texas Instruments, each providing two digital upconverters (DUCs) and 16-bit D/A channels that can translate a quadrature (I+Q) baseband signal to a user-selectable IF (intermediate frequency) center for transmitting. Complementary synchronizer products can deliver clock and timing signals to multiple 71671 modules for synchronizing, triggering and gating functions. The Model 71671 complies with the VITA 42.0 XMC interface specification, providing two gigabit serial connectors. The primary XMC connector supports x4 or x8 PCIe Gen 2 with multiple DMA controllers for efficient transfers to and from the module. The secondary connector supports two 4x or one 8x link with bit rates up to 3.125 GHz to support user-installed gigabit serial protocols such as Aurora, Serial RapidIO, or a secondary PCIe interface. An additional I/O option provides 20 low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) differential pairs to the FPGA through the PMC P14 connector. The Model 71671 is available in several form factors, including XMC, VPX, cPCI and PCIe. Options are available for FPGA version and speed, I/O connections and memory. The Model 71671 Four-Channel 1.25 GHz D/A with DUC and Extended Interpolation XMC starts at $12,995 USD.

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

LynxSecure Support for Curtiss-Wright VPX3-1256 SBC

Hi-Rel COTS DC/DC Converters Add Triple Output

LynuxWorks has announced LynxSecure support of the CurtissWright Controls Defense Solutions’ VPX3-1256 3U VPX Intel Core i7 Single Board Computer. Curtiss-Wright also plans, in the near future, to announce support for LynxSecure on its Intel Core i7 3rd generation processor-based VPX3-1257 single board computer. LynxSecure is a separation kernel and embedded hypervisor that provides a secure environment in which multiple guest operating systems and their applications can execute at the same time, in their own virtual partitions, without compromising security, reliability or data integrity. Curtiss-Wright’s VPX3-1256 combines an advanced Intel embedded processor, the Intel Core i7 2nd generation quad-core processor, with the high-bandwidth, small form factor advantages of 3U Open VPX board architecture to deliver a high-performance virtualization platform for advanced military embedded systems. The multicore and virtualization support that LynxSecure offers with these next-generation, ruggedized, single board computers with quad-core processors helps maximize the performance and security of applications running on a wide selection of virtualized guest OSs, and allows them to take full advantage of the OpenVPX board architecture.

VPT has announced the availability of a new triple output DC/DC converter uniquely designed to power electronics in military vehicles, ships, weapons and other rugged systems. Delivering up to 30W, the new VPT30-2800T DC/DC converter meets several military standards and features three outputs, enabling engineers to power multiple loads from a single, small, cost-saving module. The VPT30 offers three independent and isolated outputs with a power capability of up to 15W each supporting multiple loads from one module. Built-in compliances reduce the component count and cost in power systems for armored vehicles, for example, where space is at a premium yet military standards are imperative. The triple outputs plus the included compliances make the VPT30-2800T a very cost-effective solution for demanding applications. The VPT30-2800T is currently available in four standard configurations: 3.3V/12V/12V, 3.3V/15V/15V, 5V/12V/12V and 5V/15V/15V. Other configurations are available upon request. Modules are in stock now with pricing beginning at $225.00 in OEM quantities. The VPT30-2800T is part of the VPT Series, VPT’s complete line of highreliability, COTS DC/DC converters offering power outputs from 5 to 200W.

LynuxWorks, San Jose, CA. (408) 979-3900. [].

VPT, Blacksburg, VA. (425) 353-3010. [].

150W AC/DC Power Supply Features Compact Size The Power Partners PPWA150B Series of AC/DC power supplies provide up to 150W of output power in a compact 2” x 4” footprint, achieving a power density of 18.75W/in3. They are RoHS compliant, meet EN60950-1 and FCC Class B emissions limits, and are approved to UL, CSA and European safety standards. The PPWA150B Series feature active power factor correction and operate from a universal 90-264 VAC input. Single output voltages range from 12 VDC to 48 VDC. Mechanical offerings are a choice of a U-channel or open frame style. This Series features 3000 VAC input-output isolation. Comprehensive protection circuitry, including overvoltage and short circuit protection, is inherent in the design. These highly efficient supplies have an MTBF of more than 100,000 hours at full load. Units are economically priced at less than $44.00 in OEM quantity.

Power Partners, Hudson, MA. (978) 567-9600. []. 76

COTS Journal | October 2012



2.7 kW Standard Power Converter Is Liquid Cooled TDI Power has announced the introduction of its 2.7 kW liquid cooled converter. The 2700W environmentally sealed power module is designed for use in electric or hybrid vehicles. It provides an isolated interface between a 400 VDC bus and a traditional 12V electrical system. The LiquaCore heart of the system has an outstanding history. Electromagnetic and environmental qualification tests have shown that integrated LiquaCore solutions meet an array of vehicle requirements. Features include IP67 and IP6k9k environmental protection and galvanic isolation input and output. Input voltage range is 180-450 VDC while output voltage range is 10 to 15 VDC. With a high efficiency of up to 94%, the unit boasts a CAN bus interface and bulkhead mounting.

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

Isolated 1W DC/DC Converter Offers Tight Load Regulation Murata Power Solutions has announced the MEE1 series, a 1-watt single output PCB mounted DC/DC converter designed for a broad range of industrial, automation and instrumentation applications that require an isolated low-power distributed supply. These highly efficient converters, up to 86% efficient, are available in a variety of models accommodating the popular nominal input voltages of 3.3, 5, 12, 15, or 24 VDC and with output voltages of 3.3, 5, 9, 12 or 15 VDC. Isolation is 1 kVDC. The series can operate at full output power across a wide range of temperatures from -40° to +85°C making it suitable for use in most operating environments. OEM pricing is $4 USD, with a lead-time stock to 8 weeks.

Join the growing number of programs that use LCR Electronics’ ATCA Chassis in the field for mission-critical computing. To learn more about LCR and our products, contact us today.

9 South Forest Avenue Norristown, PA 19401 (800) 527-4362 sales email:

Murata Power Solutions, Mansfield, MA. (508) 339-3000. []. Untitled-1 1

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10/10/12 2:46 PM


Solid or Spin... we go both ways

In-Circuit Debugging Probe Aims at ARM Applications

Ruggedized VPX Driv Drive v e Storage S torage Module Whatever your drive mount criteria criteria, everyone knows the reputation reputation, value and endurance of Phoenix products. The new VP1-250X, compatible with both solid state or rotating drives, has direct point-to-point connectivity or uses the PCI Express interface with the on-board SATA controller. It is available in conduction cooled , conduction with REDI covers (VITA 48) and air cooled (shown) configurations.

We Put the State of Art to Work


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9/7/12 9:54 AM

VME USB3 Carrier with Removable Drive Modules

Size, Weight and Powerâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;or SWaPâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;in popular military parlanceâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;is among the top design directions of todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s military platform designs. With that in mind, IAR Systems has announced that I-jet, the new highperforming in-circuit debugging probe, is now available for immediate delivery. Thanks to its advanced features and high performance, I-jet gives new possibilities for very fast, and stable, debugging. It is seamlessly integrated into the highperforming C/C++ compiler and debugger tool suite IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM. I-jet provides an exceptionally fast debugging platform, with download speeds of up to 1 Mbyte per second, JTAG and Serial Wire Debug (SWD) clocking at up to 32 MHz, and Serial Wire Output (SWO) frequencies of up to 60 MHz. I-jet is also capable of delivering power to the target board and measuring target power consumption with a high degree of accuracy. It is fully plug-and-play and offers user-friendly features such as automatic core recognition and direct download into the flash memory of most popular microcontrollers. No power supply is needed since I-jet is entirely powered by USB. The new debug probe supports microcontrollers based on ARM7TM, ARM9TM, ARM11TM, ARM Cortex-M, ARM Cortex-R4 and ARM Cortex-A5/A8/A9 cores. The Serial Wire Viewer (SWV) is supported using the UART and Manchester encoding modes. Embedded Trace Buffer (ETB) and JTAG adaptive clocking are supported and all JTAG signals can be monitored. This is the first product launch in IAR Systemsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; investment in an extended technology platform responding to the increased needs for advanced and efficient debugging in the embedded industry. This premiere launch will be followed by others in a new product portfolio of in-circuit debugging probes, targeted for simplified, seamless and more flexible development workflows. The entire portfolio will be delivered with access to IAR Systemsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; renowned global support and product maintenance. The fact that the products are developed in-house in tight coordination with IAR Embedded Workbench ensures complete integration. I-jet is available for purchase through IAR Systemsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; offices, distributors and e-shop, and is priced at EUR 250 / $299 U.S.

IAR Systems, Uppsala, Sweden. +46 18 16 78 00. [].

Modular Instrument Handles High Voltage Measurements i

Removable storage for VME systems


Fast USB3 transfer rates. Compatible with USB2


Drive modules rated for 100,000 mating cycles


Drive modules use COTs 2.5â&#x20AC;? SATA drives


SATA interface option also available

RedRockTechnologies,Inc. 480Ͳ483Ͳ3777


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9/4/12 4:15 PM

Data Translation has announced the release of the DT8824-HV Ethernet module, extending ultra-accurate, high-stability measurements to high voltage ranges. The DT8824-HV features a standard full scale range of Âą600V, with input gains of 1, 8, 16 and 32 to provide effective ranges of: Âą600V, Âą75V, Âą37.5V and Âą18.75V. The DT8824-HV provides Âą1000V galvanic isolation channel-to-channel on all analog input signals and to the host computer to protect signal integrity. This technology, ISO-Channel, guarantees that all signals are protected from environmental and system noise.

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

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— Integrity Shielding and Signal System Challenge Rugged

VME and OpenVP X Team Up for


Volume V olum ume 14 4 Num Number mberr 5 May 2 2012

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4 April 2012 Volume 14 Number An RTC Group Publication

Publication Publicat

—Hybrid Solutions

Mil Batteries and Adapt to Changi Power Supplies ng Needs





ADVERTISERS INDEX Company Page# Website

Company Page# Website

ACCES I/O Products, Inc................

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

Acromag....................................... 15, 17..........................

North Atlantic Industries, Inc.......... 33.....................................

Aitech Defense Systems, Inc...........

One Stop Systems, Inc....................

Avionics Interface Technologies......

Pentek, Inc...................................... 4, 5...............................

Aydin Displays, Inc........................... 6......................

Phoenix International...................... 78.............................

Ballard Technology, Inc................... 37.........................

Pico Electronics, Inc........................

Chassis Plans, LLC.........................

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference................... 81...................................

CM Computer.................................. 84....................... COTS Journal MILCOM2012 Embedded Pavilion....................... 61, 79............

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

Critical I/O....................................... 41.............................

Schroff............................................. 32...................................

Displays and Display Subsystems & Backplane and Enclosures Gallery..... 55............................................................

SynQor............................................ 45................................

dSPACE, Inc....................................

Triple E Corporation........................

Elma Electronic................................. 9....................................


Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc..... 83...............................

VPT, Inc............................................ 7.................................

Red Rock Technologies, Inc............ 78........................

Trenton Systems, Inc.......................

Galleon Embedded Computing....... GE Intelligent Systems.................... 19..............................


Innovative Integration...................... 39................... Intelligent Systems Source..............



A seasoned embedded technology professional?

LCR Electronics, Inc........................

Experienced in the industrial and military procurement process?

Mercury Computer Systems, Inc...... 29...................................... Microsoft Widows Embedded Evolve 2012..................................... 35.................. MILCOM2012.................................. MPL AG............................................ 6.........................................


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

Coming Next Month Special Feature: New I/O and Format Standards for Box-Level Systems Rugged box pre-integrated systems have become a staple in today’s military embedded computing market. But there’s been little or no standardization on the format or I/O configurations between vendors of these products. This section looks at the VITA standards attempting to fill this void. Tech Recon: Power Conversion for High Performance Computing Selecting power supplies and power conversion electronics rank as make or break technical choices in embedded military computer systems. With more and more computing stuffed into smaller spaces, power has direct implications on the size, cooling and mobility of a board or box-level system. Articles in this section examine technology trends affecting DC/DC converters, power supply module bricks and slot-card power supplies (VME, VPX, cPCI and others). System Development: Soldier and Vehicle Mounted Comms and Networking Advances in the software defined radio market continue to overlap nicely with the DoD’s software radio efforts. For the DoD’s Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program, many of the technology pieces are coming together with its organizational problems now in the past. Meanwhile, WIN-T—the Army’s on-the-move, high-speed, high-capability backbone communications network— is moving forward to become the network for reliable, secure and seamless video, data, imagery and voice services for the warfighters. Tech Focus: ATCA Blades and Systems Although designed originally for the telecommunications market, ATCA has slowly and quietly gained numerous project wins for UAV ground control and a variety of comms-oriented military systems. This Tech Focus section explores the latest ATCA system solutions available and what in particular about them is attractive to military system developers. This section will also update readers on ATCA technology and provide a product album of representative products. 80

COTS Journal | October 2012





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EDITORIAL Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

Rough Road for Ground Vehicles


ver the past couple years, the ground vehicle segment of the U.S. defense industry has experienced considerably more turmoil than other segments. Ever since the plug was pulled on the Future Combat Systems program, the DoD and U.S. Army have gone round after round alerting and revamping their plans for next-gen vehicle requirements—and with those came rethinking plans for vehicle electronics. The good news for the embedded computing industry has been that onboard communications and control electronics are still expected to multiply in sophistication for both next-gen and Current Force fighting vehicles. And while new designs have been a waiting game, tech upgrades of existing vehicles remain a healthy business. The military vehicle market is a vivid example of how our segment of the defense market—embedded computing and electronics— can thrive when overall defense budgets are tightening. All that said, the coming years are looking fairly lean overall for ground vehicles—and for “new start” ground vehicle designs. The DoD has earmarked a budget of $2.61 billion for GCVs, with the Army accounting for $2.18 billion of the total allocation. A new report from Frost & Sullivan called “Analysis of the DoD Ground Combat Vehicle Market” says that the GCV market generated revenues of over $3.67 billion in 2011, and estimates that revenues will decrease to $3.19 billion by 2017. The cuts could get severe if sequestration goes into full effect. “Mandated budget cuts, reductions in ground troops and the shift in military strategy to the Asia Pacific region will force armed services to make tough decisions on the type of programs they need to cut, reduce, maintain or increase,” said Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst Michael Blades. “If sequestration occurs, all GCV modernization programs are likely to be terminated.” Blades also remarked that next-generation platforms are also likely to be based on existing commercial or government vehicles, with upgrades preferred over building vehicles from the ground up. Even though electronics upgrades are still expected to remain a healthy business, there’s the potential ripple effects to the slowdown of military vehicle construction overall. A GAO report last month—specifically focused on wheeled tactical vehicles—reports that the U.S. industrial base for those types of vehicles is in jeopardy as budget cuts move forward. DoD procurements for two types of tactical wheeled vehicles (TWV)— for example, the High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) and the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV)—increased more than fivefold from 2002 to 2006 in terms of vehicles built. The U.S. TWV industrial base—includ82

COTS Journal | October 2012

ing vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers of major subsystems and parts—increased production to keep pace. Now that industry faces a period of uncertainty as requirements for these vehicles decrease with the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and the planned drawdown in Afghanistan, along with declines in the DoD’s budget. Making up for reductions in DoD purchases by increasing sales to foreign governments is an option, but an increasingly unlikely one. Sales of U.S.-manufactured TWVs to foreign governments may be affected by multiple interrelated factors. According to U.S. manufacturers, sales of used Army TWVs to foreign governments could affect their ability to sell new vehicles. Complicating matters further, there are mixed views on how the U.S. arms transfer control regimes may affect foreign governments’ decisions to purchase U.S. vehicles. According to the GAO report, U.S. manufacturers and foreign officials expressed concerns with processing times and U.S. end-use restrictions— although foreign officials also said that such concerns have not been a determining factor when purchasing TWVs that meet their requirements. Despite the potentially stark picture for military ground vehicles in the years ahead, it’s clear that the U.S. Army has taken steps to make sure it gets the most for its money. Part of that effort is an approach it calls its Agile Process. The Army Agile Process involves blending programs of record with promising emerging technologies and, in some cases, commercial off-theshelf products. The focus has been described as managing programs according to cost-saving “should cost” goals. This strategy has already been used in new procurement programs, such as the Ground Combat Vehicle, or GCV, and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, known as JLTV. In the case of the JLTV, the Army added another twist by synchronizing requirements with the Marine Corps and shortening the Engineering Manufacturing and Design, or EMD phase. The result was an improved capability and substantial cost savings for the program, according to Army officials. Although hindsight is 20/20—as the saying goes—the world of military vehicle design and manufacturing now seems light years away from the days of the huge, expensive—and arguably wasteful—programs like Future Combat Systems. And while things perhaps have moved too far in the opposite direction, most agree that today’s more practical and cost-conscious thinking is a positive evolution. Either way, success will be judged based on whether our warfighters get the ground vehicles they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.

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COTS Journal  

October 2012

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