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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

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Busless Systems and Slot-Card Solutions Vie for Mindshare

Volume 15 Number 1 January 2013

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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

10

Five Most Compute-Intensive Military Applications

CONTENTS January 2013

Volume 15

Number 1

SPECIAL FEATURE

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

Departments 6 Publisher’s Notebook Bracing for Cuts: Sequestration or Not

Five Most Compute-Intensive Military Applications

8

The Inside Track

10  Computing Enables Different Military Systems in Varying Ways

52

COTS Products

16  GPU Technology Eases Challenge of UAV EO/IR Processing Design

66 Editorial Reform Act Report Card

Jeff Child

Marc Couture, Mercury Systems

20  UAV Systems Face Safety-Critical Challenges Himalya Bansal and Shan Bhattacharya, LDRA

24  Small UAV Systems Push Bandwidth and Latency Envelopes Lee Foss, Advanced Micro Peripherals

TECH RECON Busless Modules vs. Slot Card Computing

28  Busless Systems Evolve to Challenge Slot Card Approaches Clarence Peckham

SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT

On The Cover: Embedded computing on the Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) provides autonomy dependable enough for it to follow a solider without the use of location-disclosing beacons. The vehicle can also operate by remote control, tele-operation or by manual control. The SMSS fills an urgent need to unburden a soldier’s load, which commonly exceeds 100 lbs. (Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

Rackmount Blade Servers Meet Defense Needs

36  Rackmount Servers Bulk Up for Diverse Military Uses Jeff Child

40  ATCA Virtualization Meets Military Recording/Playback Needs Steve Looby, SANBlaze Technology

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS VME SBCs for Tech Refresh

46  VME SBCs Secure Their Hold as Tech Refresh Kings Jeff Child

48

Coming in February See Page 64

VME SBCs for Tech Refresh Roundup Digital subscriptions available: cotsjournalonline.com


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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

Publisher PRESIDENT John Reardon, johnr@rtcgroup.com PUBLISHER Pete Yeatman, mail@yeatmangroup.com

Editorial EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jeff Child, jeffc@rtcgroup.com SENIOR EDITOR Clarence Peckham, clarencep@rtcgroup.com MANAGING EDITOR/ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Sandra Sillion, sandras@rtcgroup.com

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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, www.rtcgroup.com Editorial office Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief 20A Northwest Blvd., PMB#137, Nashua, NH 03063 Phone: (603) 429-8301

THE JOURNAL OF MILITARY ELECTRONICS & COMPUTING

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COTS Journal | January 2013

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Published by THE RTC GROUP Copyright 2013, 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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Publisher’s

NOTEBOOK Bracing for Cuts: Sequestration or Not

F

irst off, let me wish everyone a healthy and prosperous New Year. The DoD budget is starting to wreak havoc on the services as we know them. Overall numbers are getting smaller throughout all branches. Recently, the Air Force appears to be the worst hit as the age of aircraft grows and the numbers shrink. Right now, the Air Force has fewer planes than at any time since its founding in 1947. At that time there were some 12,300 planes in inventory. Today there are somewhere around 5,200—less than half. And of those remaining, the average age is 25 years, with some antiques such as the B52 and KC-135 rounding an easy 50 years old. Meanwhile, some of the active planes such as the F-15 have suffered a rash of problems and incidents due to age-related structural problems, and at least part of the fleet was grounded in 2007. And it doesn’t look like things are going to get any better soon. Between 2008 and 2012 the Air Force retired 700 more aircraft than it acquired. This year, the Administration’s budget calls for even more paring down of aircraft for 2013—retiring 300 planes and purchasing only 54. While the deterioration in the raw numbers is bad enough, even further damage to the existing infrastructure is at risk as deeper cuts are made. Over the past four years, seven aircraft production lines have been shuttered —including those for the F-22 (our most advanced fighter/attack aircraft) after only 183 aircraft were delivered; the C-17 transport; and a helicopter and a bomber line. Should they be needed again, the cost of bringing them back up to speed, and the time to acquire and train a workforce, would set schedules back several years. Estimates for re-opening the F-22 line alone are in the area of $17 billion. Undoubtedly more closures are on the way. While COTS Journal readers may not all be concerned with the larger picture of the military reductions—being primarily concerned with electronic and computer systems and subsystems—it is of some value to take the larger (50,000 foot) view. There are $500 billion in sequestration cuts scheduled to begin Jan 2—almost doubling the existing measures in the Budget Control Act. The cuts are part of the $1.2 trillion automatic reduction agreed to after failed budget cut negotiation. According to a study by George Mason University, this will translate to a loss of some 2.3 million direct and indirect jobs in the defense industry. Even if “sequestration” doesn’t happen as predicted, there will be severe cuts. The head of the Boeing Defense and Space unit predicted that only about 50% of the cuts would be enacted. Others, such as Honeywell, for example, said it is planning on at least 80% of the cuts to be enacted and fully expects it could be 6

COTS Journal | January 2013

more. Even so, the Pentagon has indicated that “additional cuts” won’t take effect until April. A bloodbath of this magnitude has to have reverberations throughout all companies serving the military and prime contractors. In the past, reductions in the number of new aircraft have had little impact on the existing suppliers of embeddedcomputer modules. That’s because embedded boards are used primarily in service upgrades, payloads for pilotless aircraft (UAVs), DSP for signal analysis and intelligence, man-portable communication and computer function, and other specialized hardware and software. That said, as this broad brush sweeps away large programs, it will also devastate many smaller projects. Then there will inevitably be other trickle-down effects and unanticipated consequences. Obviously, with fewer aircraft, there will be fewer upgrades. But, with a limited amount of dollars floating around, it won’t necessarily be spread around evenly or in the same proportions as it has in the past. The political system allows for interested congressional members to lobby for special projects happening in their states. Thus we may see, for example, a bunch more F-35 aircraft and fewer upgrades to computer and electronic systems. And often times, the squeaky wheel gets the lubrication. All that means we’re likely to see a recalibration of priorities. While I focused on the Air Force heavily in this editorial, using it as an example, similar cuts are going across the board. The Navy, for example, will be reducing its fleet to some 300 ships over the next few years. Because of the relatively long lead times—ship construction is often scheduled out some 10 years or more—the Navy’s shipbuilding cycle will likely continue on track with reduction happening farther in the future. Obviously the head count in all services will probably be lowered with the Army taking the worst beating. This means fewer “wearable” computers as well as other support equipment that has been a mainstay of the embedded-computer community. And so it goes. While the Pollyanna in me is on vacation this month, there is the obvious—or not-so to some—effect of a general deterioration and a major impact on the country’s technology development and manufacturing base. A speech made last November by Honorable Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force, sums up the budget issues and challenges facing today’s Air Force. Read it at www.cotsjournalonline.com/donley. Pete Yeatman, Publisher COTS Journal


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The

INSIDE TRACK Z Microsystems Servers Selected for MEADS Z Microsystems has partnered with MEADS International to provide its ZX series of rugged servers and workstations in support of the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). Under development by MBDA in Germany and Italy, and Lockheed Martin in the United States, MEADS (Figure 1) is a mobile air defense system designed to replace Patriot systems in the United States and Germany, and Nike Hercules systems in Italy. Z Microsystems worked closely with MEADS International’s participating companies to understand the specific application requirements, then executed design modifications for extreme duty use to allow its standard COTS ruggedized product to conform to these even more demanding requirements. As part of this effort, Z Microsystems performed extensive vibration testing and delivered a fully tested and validated product to meet an aggressive time schedule. The ZX series products are designed to meet MIL-STD-810G requirements for shock, vibration, humidity and high/low temperature. Each is compact and lightweight, saving rack space while delivering a flexible and high-performance solution for mission-ready applications. Enhanced military options such as EMI filtered power supplies with Mil-Circular connectors and locking security panel are also available. The ZX series also complies with the European CE marking for safety and environmental standards. Z Microsystems, San Diego, CA. (858) 831-7000. [www.zmicro.com].

Figure 1

MEADS (Figure 1) is a mobile air defense system designed to replace Patriot systems in the United States and Germany.

Army Orders More General Dynamics’ Two-Channel Manpack Radios The U.S. Army recently awarded General Dynamics C4 Systems an additional production order valued at approximately $306 million for 3,726 Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (HMS) AN/PRC-155 Manpack radios. The twochannel PRC-155 radios (Figure 2), along with vehicle integration kits and related accessories, are part of the Army’s Capability Set 13 networking and communications gear deploying with brigade combat teams next year. General Dynamics began production of these radios in anticipation of this new production order and started deliveries to the Army in November. The two-channel PRC-155 Manpack radio has also been certified by the National Secu8

COTS Journal | January 2013

General Dynamics C4 Systems Scottsdale, AZ. (480) 441-3033. [www.gdc4s.com].

Curtiss-Wright Controls to Supply Computer for PC-21 Trainer Aircraft

Figure 2

The two-channel Manpack radio provides line-of-sight and beyond-lineof-sight, high-bandwidth waveforms for on-the-move voice, sensor, data and position-location capabilities on soldiers or in vehicles. rity Agency to communicate classified voice and data at the Top Secret level and below. The certification makes the radio the only secure, two-channel networking radio to communicate data across the entire force structure between battalion headquarters and soldiers on foot and in vehicles. The Army

first purchased 100 AN/PRC-155 Manpack radios from General Dynamics in July 2011. The twochannel Manpack radio provides line-of-sight and beyondline-of-sight, high-bandwidth waveforms for on-the-move voice, sensor, data and positionlocation capabilities on soldiers or in vehicles.

Curtiss-Wright Controls has announced that it has received a follow-on contract from Pilatus Aircraft Ltd to provide a fully integrated open architecture-based mission computer subsystem for use in its PC-21 NextGen Trainer aircraft. Over the lifetime of this PC-21 program, the contract is valued over $11 million. Under the contract, Curtiss-Wright will provide Pilatus with its rugged MPMC-9350 processing subsystem. Shipments under the new contract began in October 2012, and are scheduled to continue through August 2014. The Curtiss-Wright MPMC9350 provides the PC-21 aircraft


INSIDE TRACK

with a mission computer that provides processing for pilot and co-pilot multifunction display symbology and mapping as well as radar simulation. The MPMC-9350 is a rugged integrated system solution that accommodates the highest power 3U VPX or CompactPCI cards in the embedded computing market within a 5-slot forced air enclosure. The MPMC-9350 is designed to meet the harsh environments of many military computing applications. Circuit cards installed in the system enclosure are isolated from external environmental conditions such as humidity, dust and sand. Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions Ashburn, VA. (703) 779-7800. [www.cwcdefense.com].

BAE Systems Taps Saft for Additional Ground Combat Vehicle Battery Systems BAE Systems has awarded Saft with $1.3 million in new funding for the continued development of a Lithium-ion (Li-ion) energy storage system for the U.S. Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) program. Saft, which is designing and building ultra-high-power cells for the vehicle’s hybrid electric drive

Figure 3

The GCV is a nine-man Infantry Carrier that can accommodate emerging technologies such as lightweight armor composites and electronics.

system, has already completed the demo battery system including hardware and software. The GCV is part of a growing list of military vehicle prototypes for which Saft has supplied advanced energy storage solutions (ESS). The new funding for the GCV project is an addition to the initial 2010 contract. The GCV is a nine-man Infantry Carrier that can protect against threats, move in urban and off-road terrain, and ac-

commodate emerging technologies such as lightweight armor composites and electronics (Figure 3). Comprised of ultrahigh-power, high-voltage VL 5U cells, the Li-ion ESS supports the GCV’s electric drive system when the vehicle is not running on gasoline, such as during silent watch missions. The ESS system employs green technologies, which improves vehicle fuel consumption and improves weight savings. Saft’s proposed ESS re-

duces the program cost and provides a highly reliable product by leveraging already developed subsystems and components from other qualified systems to use on the GCV program. Saft America Cockeysville, MD. (410) 771-3200. [www.saftbatteries.com].

Military Market Watch Strong Growth Expected for MEMS in Military and Aerospace The microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) market for pressure sensors in the high-value military and aerospace segments is expected to enjoy brisk double-digit growth this year, with plenty of room left for future expansion in a broad range of lucrative applications. Revenue for pressure sensors in both military and civil aerospace applications will reach $35.7 million by year-end, up 20 percent from $29.7 million last year, according to an IHS iSuppli MEMS Market Brief from information and analytics provider IHS (NYSE: IHS). By 2016, military- and aerospace-related MEMS takings will reach $45.5 million (Figure 4), equivalent to a healthy five-year compound annual growth rate of 9 percent. According to Richard Dixon, Ph.D., principal analyst for MEMS and sensors at IHS, MEMS pressure sensor revenue from both sectors is relatively small and cannot match the scale generated by the much bigger MEMS automotive or consumer segments. But Worldwide High-Value MEMS Pressure Sensor Forcast for Military & steady growth is assured Civil Aerospace (Millions of US Dollars) $50.0 for the next few years, especially because very few $40.0 other devices can withstand the sort of extreme $30.0 operating environment in $20.0 which the sensors are used. The military and aerospace $10.0 segments are part of the $0.0 so-called high-value MEMS 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 space that also includes medical electronics. Here, Figure 4 average selling prices for sensors and actuators By 2016, military- and aerospace-related MEMS takings will reach $45.5 million— are much higher than in equivalent to a healthy five-year compound annual growth rate of 9 percent. other comparable MEMS segments. Overall, the highvalue MEMS industry will be worth some $283.6 million this year. The MEMS military and aerospace segments are projected to thrive despite pressure from the ongoing global economic crisis and a constrained U.S. defense budget—both of which have led many military and civil aerospace programs to scale back, slow down or even terminate programs. The reasons for optimism are twofold. On the military front, the continued focus on long-range air and sea power—as well as on drones, surveillance and reconnaissance or smart weapons—will drive electronic content. The U.S. government’s plan to transition to a smaller and smarter force with future reductions affects only troops and personnel on the whole, and not weaponry systems. IHS iSuppli Market Research, El Segundo, CA. (310) 524-4007. [www.isuppli.com].

January 2013 | COTS Journal

9


SPECIAL FEATURE Five Most Compute-Intensive Military Applications

10

COTS Journal | January 2013


Computing Enables Different Military Systems in Varying Ways Packing in ever more electronics, military platform designs are squeezing as much functionality and capability as they can into smaller spaces. Five application areas exemplify the military’s most intensive use of today’s embedded computing solutions. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief

E

mbedded computing has become the central building block for many of today’s advanced military programs. That’s because more and more of system functionality is now implemented as software running on single board computers, rather than using hard wired electronic assemblies. Here we analyze five compute-intensive military applications and look at how the embedded computer form factors and technologies offered by today’s suppliers are meeting the needs of those system designs. As we researched the various programs and did an informal survey of suppliers and users, it became clear that there are actually quite a few compute-intensive military applications to choose from. Also, there are many aspects to computing complexity. In some applications pure “number crunching” processing is the main goal, while in others it’s January 2013 | COTS Journal

11


SPECIAL FEATURE

a matter of distributing control nodes throughout a military platform to meet its requirements. Ultimately, the list was sifted down to these five somewhat general areas:

SIGINT and Radar Systems for ISR Military Ground Robotics UAV Payload Systems Training and Simulation Systems Command and Control Systems

FPGA-Based VME and VPX Take Aim at ISR Demand for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities has driven a huge ramp-up in data collection capacity. Implementing the capability to process that data—in the form of radar captured video or images—presents major system design challenges for developers of military platforms. To ease those hurdles, makers of VME and VPX are offer a variety of solutions that address the particular needs of moving image-based data at high speed and processing it for the demanding real-time needs of the military. Thanks to its unique ability to remain backward compatible and facilitate technology refresh in military programs, VME enjoys a successful legacy in ISR applications. A new board with the latest and greatest FPGAs or processors can easily be dropped into a slot that could be decades old. VPX meanwhile has gained momentum in numerous ISR applications. In general VPX is not necessarily a direct replacement for VME. But in the realm of ISR it tends to be, because VPX is better suited for data-intensive applications where high throughput is the priority. FPGAs have become key enablers for waveform-intensive applications like sonar, radar, SIGINT and SDR. Faster FPGA-based DSP capabilities combined with an expanding array of IP cores and development tools for FPGAs are enabling new system architectures. Today FPGAs are now complete systems on a chip. The high-end lines of the major FPGA vendors even have general-pur12

COTS Journal | January 2013

Figure 1

Editor in Chief Jeff Child is briefed on the Lockheed Martin Squad Mission Support System. The system offers autonomy dependable enough for a vehicle to follow someone without the use of location-disclosing beacons. The vehicle can also operate by remote control, teleoperation or by manual control. pose CPU cores on them. And the military is hungry to use FPGAs to fill processing roles. Devices like the Xilinx Virtex-6 and -7 and the Altera Stratix IV and V are examples that have redefined an FPGA as a complete processing engine in its own right. Where board-level solutions such as VME and VPX impact the ISR platforms most is as signal processing engines primarily using FPGAs. Using those FPGAs, board-level subsystems are able to quickly acquire and process massive amounts of data in real time.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles Gain More Autonomous Capability In combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, military robots—or unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) as they’re more often called—have proven an incredibly valuable life-saving resource. And while UGV technology has nowhere near matched the level of maturity that UAVs have, they’ve come a long way over the past several years. The DoD has acquired and deployed thousands of UGVs and support equipment since operations in Iraq and Afghanistan began. The systems support a diverse range of operations in-

cluding maneuver, maneuver support and sustainment. Over 8,000 UGVs of various types have seen action in Iraq, and they have been deployed in more than 125,000 missions, including suspected object identification and route clearance, to locate and defuse improvised explosive devices (IEDs). During these counter-IED missions, Army, Navy and USMC explosive ordnance teams detected and defeated over 11,000 IEDs using UGVs. So far the largest unmanned vehicle ever deployed with U.S. ground forces is the Lockheed Martin Squad Mission Support System (Figure 1). It leverages robotic technologies for unmanned transport and logistical support for light, early entry and special operations forces. It solves capability gaps by lightening the soldier’s load and serving as a power management resource. Combining perception with extraordinary mobility allows vehicles to follow the warfighter across most terrain, guaranteeing the payload the robotic system is carrying will be available whenever and wherever the warfighter needs it. Few other robotic systems allow for autonomy dependable enough for a vehicle to follow someone


SPECIAL FEATURE

without the use of location-disclosing beacons. The vehicle can also operate by remote control, teleoperation or by manual control. SMSS received a U.S. Army contract in 2011 to deploy vehicles to Afghanistan, the first experiment of its kind with deployed troops, to see how autonomous robots can benefit the warfighter. It previously served in Army experiments as a self-sustaining, portable power solution, including soldier battery recharge and logistics support for infantry. By the end of 2011, the system’s dependable autonomous technology will have garnered six safety releases by the U.S. Army to work in close proximity around soldiers. SMSS continues to log hundreds of hours with Army users as the system matures and is prepared for deployment: The long-term vision of this system can accommodate armed variants, while improving its reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition capabilities within the concept of supervised autonomy. A squad-size manned or unmanned support vehicle is critical to today’s asymmetrical and urban battlefields.

UAV Payloads Get Improvements While defense budgets shrink, the segment of Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAVs) is seeing more investment than most others. All branches of the military are continuing to invest heavily in UAV platform development. Technology upgrades of existing UAV platforms and payloads are happening more as decision makers move toward improving already deployed UAVs while limiting development of new ones. Those trends are all relevant 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. In recent years, however, those are being replaced with more integrated boards sporting FPGAs. Meanwhile stand-alone function-specific box-level systems are in some cases replacing traditional slot-card implementations. This trend toward consolidation is impacting the radar, imaging processing and communications capabili-

Figure 2

The MQ-9 Block 1-UAV plus is a capability enhancement over the Block 1 configuration. 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. ties of large UAVs by allowing more functionality in the same space. Global Hawk’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 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. Meanwhile, the FY 2013 budget requests funding for three NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) systems. Based on the Block 40 version of the RQ-4B Global Hawk UAV, the systems will 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 Predator and Reaper UAVs— the next level UAV size down from the Global Hawk—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 year General Atomics Aeronautical Systems made 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 (Figure 2). 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 last fall, follow-on aircraft to the MQ-9 Block 1-plus configuration will be designated “MQ-9 Block 5.”

Training and Simulation Systems Come Full Circle At one time it required a large multiboard chassis’ worth of electronics to drive a military training and simulation system. January 2013 | COTS Journal

13


SPECIAL FEATURE

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.

Command Control Systems Embrace Display Advances

Figure 3

Command centers—both facility-based and mobile-based (shown)—are making use of advanced display systems that do an unprecedented level of real-time situational awareness and command control. The trend has come full circle to today where PCs and servers themselves have become the preferred platform for simulation and training software. Simultaneous 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. According to market research firm ASDReports, the value of the global military simulation and virtual training market in 2012 reached $9.03 billon. 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 14

COTS Journal | January 2013

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. 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

For military commanders to finally put their paper maps away and trust electronic displays for tactical and strategic information was not an overnight transition. But today they’ve made the leap with the acknowledgment that display subsystems that blend real-time video and sophisticated graphics are a vital mission requirement. In the past 12 months the trend has been toward not only supporting larger, higher res display technologies, but also seamlessly linking multiple large displays for ever more sophisticated command center capabilities. Leveraging cutting-edge graphics chips developed for the demanding gaming market, military graphics subsystems are now able to offer complex video and graphics functionality in highly integrated board-level solutions. Command and control systems have embraced these capabilities and now rank among the most demanding users of these advanced graphics technologies. Looking at the broader picture, the U.S. military is evolving its command and control into a grand scheme where every vehicle, every aircraft, every ship, every UAV and every soldier on the ground is able to quickly share data, voice and even video with almost any level of the DoD’s operation. A variety of technology areas are part of the overall puzzle to make that happen, but where the network meets the users is at the displays and the display subsystems that drive them. Command centers—both facility-based and mobilebased—along with UAV control stations are making use of advanced display systems that do an unprecedented level of real-time situational awareness and command control (Figure 3).


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SPECIAL FEATURE Five Most Compute-Intensive Military Applications

GPU Technology Eases Challenge of UAV EO/IR Processing Design The complexities of developing a UAV-based EO/IR embedded processing solution are many. Leveraging modular GPU technology helps smooth the way. Marc Couture, Director, Product Management Mercury Systems

16

COTS Journal | January 2013

80 70 Amount of data

Respondents

60 50 40

MultiINT

SWaP

New technologies

30 20 10

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s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) continue to chalk up impressive successes participating in numerous and varied missions around the world, there is significant pressure on UAV designers to deliver increasingly sophisticated systems within a compressed development schedule. According to a recent survey sponsored by Mercury Systems, this is a sentiment shared by representatives from major prime contractors when asked to name their biggest challenges in developing electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) systems (Figure 1). While working closely with prime contractors to deliver embedded EO/IR processing subsystems, Mercury faced the same program delivery challenges as indicated by our survey respondents. The primes asked for an embedded image-processing subsystem capable of meeting the stringent requirements associated with two capabilities: Handling copious amounts of raw sensor data, and processing that data to produce actionable intelligence. Part of the challenge was to provide a solution that would meet the current requirements of the application. The other part of the challenge was to deliver a solution that could scale with increasing sen-

Figure 1

“What are your biggest challenges in developing EO/IR systems?� These survey results are based on responses from all major primes. sor data and increased image-processing, all while fitting in a well-defined size, weight and power (SWaP) profile that for some reason either stays the same or decreases over time. Increasing sensor data here refers to rises in resolution, framesper-second and spectrum count.

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Yearly GPGPU Performance Increase

Performance Improvement Multiple

3

2

1

0 GPU Release Year

2009

2010

2011

2012

Fab Process (nm)

55

40

40

28

8 GB/s

8 GB/s

8 GB/s

16 GB/s

x16 PCIe Bandwidth

Figure 2

GPGPU peak theoretical performance improvement relative to a GPU released in 2009 with all GPUs consuming similar power levels.

Figure 3

GPU MXM modules on a Mercury 6U OpenVPX carrier card allow for rapid upgrades as new, higher performance GPU technology becomes available. developed to meet today’s requirements. Leveraging the electronic components developed to support the critical mass of the consumer electronics industry, the defense industry greatly benefits from rapid advances in several aspects of computing 18

COTS Journal | January 2013

technology. This includes chip architecture, such as multicore processing and semiconductor process technology. Figure 2 shows the evolution of GPU technology over the past four years. The latest generation going from a 40nm to a sub-30nm

process, for example, means more processing cores can be stuffed into a device with the same power envelope. Also leveraged are high-speed interconnects capable of transferring large amounts of data. The latest PCIe 3.0 doubles the bandwidth over the current PCIe 2.0, and plans for PCIe 4.0 were recently announced that doubles the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0. As process technologies shrink and standards bodies push the technology envelope, we witness an almost automatic performance increase while staying within the same power envelope. The push to 28nm process technology later this year is especially exciting as it promises to nearly double the performance of the current 40nm process technology. In other words, 28nm will deliver a huge step up in terms of Gflops/watt.

Distributing the Processing If a target application can be architected such that high-bandwidth data can be distributed across multiple cores for processing—such as the case with EO/IR applications—then GPUs can lend themselves well to such applications. With the application architected correctly to distribute the high-bandwidth data load across multiple processing cores, GPUs can offer more than a 10x performance boost over the latest generation CPUs while leveraging the familiar C/C++ development environment. For its part, Mercury has developed technologies suited for next-generation EO/IR subsystems. Specifically, these technologies accelerate development while providing a scalable solution so subsystems can take advantage of the latest GPU technology. The first is the use of GPU Mobile PCI Express Modules (MXM). A MXM is essentially a GPU chip and high-speed memory mounted on a PCB that connects to a laptop motherboard through a PCIe bus. An industry standard supported by both AMD and NVIDIA, these MXM modules provide a convenient way for laptop manufacturers such as Dell and HP to offer a range of laptops with different price, performance, power and battery life target—without having to redesign the CPU motherboard for each variant. The manufacturers simply plug in the appropriate MXM onto a common


SPECIAL FEATURE

EO/IR Image Processing Subsystem ROI 1 3.5K x 2K

1K x 1K

ROI 2 800 x 600

Resampel 720 x 480 NTSC Feed

...

1920 x 1080

Unpack

HDTV Feed

Image Warp

8K x 8K

Forensic Feed

Image Construction with Geometric Correction 8K x 8K

· Billions of pixels/sec · High GFLOPS for complex real-time image-processing · SWaP constrained Figure 4

Typical processing chain for an EO/IR imaging subsystem supported by the Imaging Toolkit. The Imaging Toolkit is scalable and upgradeable to the latest GPU technology, reducing development time and protecting IP investment. CPU motherboard design. Borrowing from this innovation, Mercury has designed a 6U OpenVPX GPU carrier card that supports two MXM modules from either AMD or NVIDIA (Figure 3).

Off-the-Shelf Module Since the MXM modules are available from AMD and NVIDIA, embedded board vendors don’t need to engineer these modules themselves. Therefore, when the latest GPU technology becomes available, Mercury is able to rapidly update the base carrier card by plugging in an MXM module. Moreover, the update can be accomplished without having to endure a long design cycle. This translates into delivering the highest performance per watt solution to programs with a path to upgradeability within months, not years. The second path to reducing development schedule and, hence, reducing program risk, is through the use of a software platform that the embedded EO/IR subsystem can be built upon. Both NVIDIA and AMD provide a C/ C++ software development platform, whether it is CUDA or OpenCL, so that applications can be written to exploit the power of GPUs. However, the APIs provided through CUDA or OpenCL are es-

sentially building blocks, or primitives, which the imaging application is built upon. A lot of low-level details must be managed to build the application, such as the management of sensor data to/from the host and the parsing of this data to the different processing cores within a GPU.

GPUs and FPGAs Together In cases where multiple GPUs are combined with FPGAs and host CPU processing, traffic needs to be managed to ensure proper load balancing. Additionally, higher-level libraries must be developed using lower-level math libraries. These are the foundations of the application that need to be addressed even before the target EO/IR application can be built. Often times though valuable engineering resources get spent on the system setup. That takes time away from focusing on the unique IP that differentiates the solution. Addressing that problem, Mercury makes an imaging toolkit. The toolkit is a library of image-processing functions optimized for GPUs built specifically for EO/IR applications. To be clear, these libraries do not provide the complete EO/ IR solution that is unique to the IP of each prime. Rather, this toolkit provides the low-level framework of data manage-

ment, load balancing and image-processing algorithms such as unpacking, warping and resampling typically found in EO/IR applications. Figure 4 illustrates a representative EO/ IR processing subsystem that can be developed using the imaging toolkit. The toolkit is tailored to meet the unique requirements for a given EO/IR subsystem while ensuring a scalable solution across multiple platforms that can later be upgraded to higher performance solutions in the future. Through a combination of modular GPU hardware using industry standard MXMs, and an Imaging Toolkit designed specifically for EO/IR applications, Mercury accelerates the development of highperformance EO/IR subsystems, reducing development schedules and subsequently reducing program risk for prime contractors. In addition, the use of industry standard hardware and software allows today’s solutions to scale and benefit from tomorrow’s technology advances, protecting investments in IP development for reuse in future UAV platforms. Mercury Systems Chelmsford, MA. (866) 627-6951. [www.mrcy.com]. January 2013 | COTS Journal

19


SPECIAL FEATURE Five Most Compute-Intensive Military Applications

UAV Systems Face SafetyCritical Challenges As UAV development continues to grow in volume and complexity, the importance of failure-free operation is front and center. By leveraging safety-critical standards and solutions, military system developers are more able to keep pace. Himalya Bansal, Technical Marketing Assistant Shan Bhattacharya, Field Application Engineer LDRA

U

AVs have a well-established role in military operations around the world for a variety of mission types, and evidence suggests that their use and the diversity of this use are likely to increase dramatically in the next few years. According to a recent U.S. News & World Report article, by 2015 there could be as many as 30,000 UAVs sharing the same airspace as the roughly 10 million commercial flights per year in the U.S. alone. This evolution in UAV use could present a significant challenge to the FAA’s stated mission: “to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.” Since there is no human pilot on board, when it comes to UAVs, the control software is chiefly responsible for maintaining their safety and security. In addition, the next decade of development for UAVs will see significant changes in the man-machine interface, which will include two-way voice controls for autonomous systems, smarter and more advanced displays, tactile feedback from the UAV to the operator and much more sophisticated controls. UAV developers will continue to focus on software for future product expansion and to add more functionality. A big part of the challenge then boils down to software quality, 20

COTS Journal | January 2013

DO-178 Software Integrity Levels Level

Failure Condition

Description

A

Catastrophic

Failure may cause a crash.

B

Hazardous

Failure has a large negative impact on safety or performance.

C

Major

Failure is significant, but has a lesser impact than a Hazardous failure.

D

Minor

Failure is noticeable, but has a lesser impact than a Major failure.

E

No Effect

Failure has no impact on safety & UAV operation.

Figure 1

DO-178 defines a range of software integrity levels (SILs), which must be examined and determined for each software component. which must be balanced with time-tomarket and development-cost reduction requirements.

Need for Safety and Security There have been a number of UAV accidents, most commonly related to software or human errors. While airplane pilots may be able to control a plane and land it safely in case of system failure, it is generally difficult to land a UAV safely when there is a technical or software failure. In order to avoid such accidents, UAV developers must apply more focus on the safety and reliability aspects of the softwaredevelopment process.

In addition to the safety and interoperability requirements is the increasing requirement for security that must be built into the code from the ground up. In recent months, a group of researchers at the Austin Radio Navigation Laboratories, led by Professor Todd Humphreys from the University of Texas, hacked a UAV in front of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The team spoofed a GPS receiver on board the drone using a technique that involves mimicking the actual signals sent to the global positioning device, and then eventually tricked their UAV target into following a new set of commands. As UAVs become more so-


SPECIAL FEATURE

Figure 2

DO-178 certification requires that developers be able to prove that requirements have been fulfilled. Tools such as the LDRA tool suite link highlevel requirements to source code and verification tasks. phisticated and their use more widespread, it is essential that they also become more secure.

Safety- and Security-Critical Standards The software that controls and monitors UAVs both on the ground and in the air must be verified to ensure device safety and reliability and should be developed to the same exacting standards as software for other aircraft types. UAVs fall under the DO178B/C guidelines. DO-178 “Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification” imposes strict dynamic coverage analysis requirements. The standard provides detailed guidelines for the production of all software for airborne systems and equipment, whether it is safety-critical or not. DO-178 also defines software integrity levels (SILs), which start from Level E and progress upward to Level A (Figure 1). DO-178B translates these software levels into software-specific objectives that must be satisfied during the development process. DO-178B recognizes that software safety and security must be addressed in a systematic way throughout the software development lifecycle, whether it is safety/mission-critical or not. It includes requirements traceability, software design, coding, validation and verification processes used to ensure correctness, control and confidence in the software. A robust software-verification process allows developers to detect and report 22

COTS Journal | January 2013

errors that may have been introduced during the software development processes, including software requirements, software design, software coding and software integration. Depending on the application, security-critical standards may also need to be met, such as compliance to CERT-C as well as Homeland Security’s CWE.

Tools Meet Complex Development Needs Requirements fulfillment and bugfree integration of collaborating systems are of paramount importance to the multipart development teams that are common with complex safety-, mission- and security-critical products. These teams require tools that automate code analysis and software testing. With increasing market pressure related to UAV development, improvements in time-to-market and development costs are also important. Development teams need a comprehensive set of competencies, from static and dynamic analysis to requirements traceability, unit testing and verification that are tailored to comprehensively address safety and security requirements. The LDRA tool suite, for instance, automates all stages of the development process, helping developers verify their software from requirements right through the model, code and tests, to verification. By focusing on the development process as well as accurate coding, LDRA helps developers ensure a sound process while iden-

tifying and eliminating errors early, and dramatically reducing platform risk and cost of development.

Rigorous Software Checks There are a number of kinds of rigorous checks that software development teams need to integrate into their process. Requirements Traceability: Tools such as the LDRA tool suite link system requirements to software requirements, from the software requirements to design requirements, and then to source code and the associated test cases. Tracing requirements proves that the final system does exactly what is specified by the initial requirements and confirms that there is no extra “dead” code and no missing features. It provides evidence that all system requirements have been fulfilled. Figure 2 illustrates how a Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) links the high-level requirement on the left, to the verification tasks and mapped source code on the right. Static Analysis: UAV developers can streamline their development if the tools they choose can verify their code for compliance to standards. Once the programming and certification rules are selected, static analysis checks the code, highlighting all violations of the coding standard on a line-by-line basis, identifying the exact cause of the error. The static analysis engine also determines and reports complexity metrics, which identify ways that the team can reduce


SPECIAL FEATURE

the inherent complexity and risk in the system (Figure 3). Dynamic Analysis: Static analysis by itself is useful but not sufficient. Developers must prove that the code works not just in simulation, but on the target system. In this analysis, the executing code is tested at all levels— single functions, a number of functions, a whole file or even several files and at a system level. During unit testing, any missing functions need to be stubbed and a harness created in order to run the tests. Manually creating stubs and harnesses, as well as downloading and executing tests on the target, can be tedious, but with the right unit-testing tool, all these tasks can be seamlessly automated. Structural Coverage Analysis: The problem with testing is ensuring that it is sufficient. Structural coverage analysis uses code coverage metrics to assess the degree to which the source code of a system has been executed during requirements-based testing. Through the use of these practices, developers can ensure that code has been implemented to address every system requirement and that the implemented code has been tested to completeness.

Cost Part of the Equation Even though software companies are allowed to manually perform static analysis, dynamic analysis and unit testing under the guidelines of DO178B/C, tool suites that automate the workload and reduce the likelihood of unnecessary human error may be applied to shorten the software-development lifecycle and reduce project costs. For example, IHI of Japan, who develops jet engines, reported that they achieved DO-178B Level A certification 14 times quicker using LDRA tools versus a manual coverage analysis technique. For most organizations that are developing safety- and security-critical applications, the cost of NOT implementing an effective verification workf low can far outweigh the investment in tools, process and training of their staff. With the availability of

Figure 3

During static analysis, complexity metrics assist in identifying areas that are inherently complex. This flow graph shows nodes that represent blocks of code and lines that represent the branch points between them. Such graphical representations are very useful for providing a quick overview of function complexity.

strong static- and dynamic-analysis tools, automation of verification and the ability to trace requirements easily throughout the software development workf low, organizations are able to significantly reduce their risk—and more importantly, the time and money spent using traditional painstaking manual verification. Creating solutions for safety-critical systems increasingly requires certifying software to appropriate standards. Automated tools such as the LDRA tool suite streamline the process, simplifying requirements traceability, structural coding coverage and adherence to coding standards while mitigating risk. Design teams can get their products to

market faster and more economically while guaranteeing that their customers will be satisfied and that the product will deliver reliable performance over the long haul. LDRA Monks Ferry, Wirral, UK. +0151 649 9300. [www.ldra.com].

January 2013 | COTS Journal

23


SPECIAL FEATURE Five Most Compute-Intensive Military Applications

Small UAV Systems Push Bandwidth and Latency Envelopes As they strive to manage multiple cameras, multiple frequency sensitivities, high definition cameras and multiple data streams, UAV system developers are wrestling with compression rates and latency challenges for their lightweight embedded designs. Lee Foss, Founder and CEO Advanced Micro Peripherals

I

f there is any area of technology where compute density is critical, it’s the area of Small UAVs. One area where costs are being dramatically curbed is through the use of far smaller UAV machines, such as the Raven, Dragon Eye, Shadow and Killer Bee (Figure 1). They carry mounted cameras collecting data and visual images in real time, both night and day, and send this data down to operators on the ground. These remote “eye in the sky” platforms are helping to provide unprecedented situational awareness information for an ever increasing range of real life applications. However, these lightweight devices inevitably face some of the most rigorous Size, payload Weight (mass) and Power restrictions—the so-called SWaP imperative. That means selecting the right embedded video electronics becomes a make or break decision, both in terms of operational capability and costs. Reducing costs and SWaP while delivering almost the same performance is the key to expanding the application areas in which UAVs become cost-effective. A key requirement for most UAVs—whether they are ground, aerial or underwater platforms—is the 24

COTS Journal | January 2013

Figure 1

Small UAVs like the RQ-11 Raven provide unprecedented situational awareness information for a widening range of real-life applications. Here, an Army sergeant launches a Raven in the early morning hours.


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need for comprehensive and efficient handling of visual information. In terms of technology, this means multiple cameras operating across a range of wavelength sensitivities, most commonly daylight and infrared cameras. There is indeed already a trend toward high definition (HD), especially for aerial platforms.

Capturing Rich HD Data

Figure 2

The HDAV2000 is a rugged PC/104 video module that can handle up to four standard definition cameras—usually visible and infrared—and HD at up to 1080p with impressive video latency of under 40ms.

Figure 3

When manually controlling a UAV, operators want to see the scene changes reflected very quickly at the control station to get an immediate sense of what is going on. This is why it’s important to continue to press down on video latency to be as low as possible.

26

COTS Journal | January 2013

These modern sensors increasingly have higher spatial resolutions (HD) and wider dynamic range (depth) to provide the best quality images. Recording and communicating the rich visual data set from the sensors on the UAV is often constrained by the available storage and communications link bandwidth. What this means in reality is a demand for high compression rates, ultra-low latency and the capability to use narrow bandwidths to deliver both multiple video streams as well as embedded meta-data such as GPS location, false horizon and attitude, air speed, altitude and so forth. One much sought-after capability is to be able to see night and day (infrared and visual wavelengths) and from multiple points of view so you can have two or three cameras pointing in different directions. The more cameras the better. The problem is that UAVs have the payload issue, so there’s a question of lightness and compactness because you don’t have a lot of space. Advanced Micro Peripherals for its part has leveraged its expertise in embedded video combined with experience of deploying thousands of industry proven PC/104 architecture solutions to provide rugged PC/104 video modules especially for that purpose. An example of these modules is the HDAV2000, which can concurrently handle up to four standard definition cameras—usually visible and infrared—and HD at up to 1080p with impressive video latency of under 40ms (Figure 2).

Constrained Bandwidth One of the issues is the problem of highly constrained data transfer band-


SPECIAL FEATURE

width in UAV applications. There’s tons of valuable data that a UAV has “seen” but that has to get recorded and sent down to the operations on the ground—all making the best use of limited bandwidth connection. The answer is data compression. This all happens in the PC/104 modules, so there is real-time video compression using H.264 standard. AMP offers a solution that provides the data as an IP stream on an Ethernet port, ready for UAVs onboard transmitter. For example, an SUAS DDL, which provides a small lightweight, wireless video link. It supports multiple compression rates. That’s important so that the UAV can be controlled using one bandwidth to send data to ground control while at the same time using higher resolution and bit rates for onplatform storage. Another trend is the increasing demands of low latency. UAVs tend to operate in two modes. One is autonomous mode where they will autonavigate to a location. Once there you can have manual control mode, and with that comes the need for a tighter visual control “closed loop” with shorter reaction times. Manual control can also be important for take-off, landing and emergency situations. For good manual control, low latency is very important because as the operator manipulates the remote cameras on the UAV, he would want to see the scene changes ref lected very quickly at the control station to get an immediate sense of what is going on (Figure 3). This is why it’s important to continue to press down on video latency—which now stands at below 40 milliseconds in the AMP solution. This not only applies to standard definition daylight and infrared sources, but also to the HD channels of AMP’s video modules. Just about every UAV will have a camera system mounted to take and record movies in real time and beam data to the remote control point. There are daytime and nighttime cameras and ideally you want both cameras in your UAV, extending the range and scope of visual

information. Increasingly, there is a trend toward HD and that is where lightweight and robust embedded video electronics have a key role to play in delivering multiple streams of data in real time and with ultra-low latency. Advanced Micro Peripherals New York, NY. (212) 951-7205. [www.ampltd.com].

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TECH RECON Busless Modules vs. Slot Card Computing

Busless Systems Evolve to Challenge Slot Card Approaches While traditional bus-oriented slot card systems remain a staple in the defense industry, the emergence of standard busless form factors is challenging that legacy. Coupled with the shift toward SFF solutions, the system design landscape is in a state of change. Clarence Peckham Senior Editor

A

s military system developers struggle to get the most out of today’s embedded computing technologies, the decision to leverage a slot card bus-based approach versus a busless design is more critical than ever. A central question along those lines is what is driving an increasing number of smaller form factor (SFF) systems being used in defense applications instead of the traditional ATR-sized systems? The world of embedded defense applications is changing. Once dominated by cPCI and VME-based 3U and 6U systems with 3 to 21 slots, there is now a shift to smaller systems. In some cases these smaller system needs are being implemented by 3U CompactPCI, VME or VPX-based systems, but in more and more instances small systems are being implemented using a busless approach. The busless approach can be defined as any implementation that does not use a traditional motherboard slot card configuration. Before the advent of VME or CompactPCI, the busless approach would have been a full custom system with a different system for each application—with all of the inherent support and upgrade issues that a full custom system entails. A busless system can now be implemented 28

COTS Journal | January 2013

using open standards that define processor-based mezzanines that can be used to develop the system. Some of the most popular ones are COM Express, Qseven, ETX and EPIC. With new standards being developed as well, there are several choices for developing a busless system.

VICTORY Addresses Vehicle Systems In a separate development that supports the use of SFF systems, the military is implementing a new architecture based on using a vehicle intranetwork to support communications between multiple systems in one vehicle. The Vehicular Integration for Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) / Electronic Warfare (EW) Interoperability architecture (VICTORY) is an effort to develop and validate a set of open standards for more efficient and cost-effective integration of C4ISR and related items of equipment on military vehicles. Figure 1 shows a typical system implementation using the VICTORY architecture to simplify the user interface and the system design. Once implemented, the new architecture provides a solution to the problem of adding C4ISR capabil-

ity and upgrading existing capabilities in vehicles without doing a total redesign. By using a highly networked and distributed architecture, such as VICTORY, smaller systems can be used that provide savings in size, weight and power (SWaP) as well as development and certification costs. The concept of considering a defense application to be a connection of different systems removes the need to focus the design on the individual electronics in each system. The program team can focus on the application requirements and only add new subsystems as required. It also will open up more aggressive bidding as more vendors will be able to develop systems that provide the sub-functions needed to implement the application. As an example, consider the need for a compute box that can provide both compute and graphics processors, operate at least 1 GHz, have 4 Gbytes of DRAM, 1 Gbit Ethernet interface, CAN bus, a 128 Gbyte Solid state drive and 28V power supply. This compute box can be used on multiple applications and could be implemented as a 3U or 6U system, but it could also be implemented with a COM Express module and a base card and made to fit into an enclosure about the size of a Rubik’s cube. It would meet all of the SWaP


TECH RECON

GPS Antenna

VITA 74 Rugged Smart Display

Time Synchronization Service

To Green Data Radio

Shared Shared Display & PU Display & PU

Time Synchronization Service

Network Switch

Green Router & Firewall

DAGR

Typical Tactical Vehicle Digital Backbone

Inertial Measurement Unit (3DOF)

Green Shared PU

Green Position, Heading, Orientation and Time Distribution Services Network Switch To Red Data Radio

Red Router & Firewall “Smart� Network Siwtch Router; Firewall Encryption

Red Shared PU DAGR

Red Position, Heading, Orientation and Time Distribution Services

Shared Processing Unit (SPU) GPS Inertial Measurement Unit CAN Bus/Serial IO

Figure 1

The Victory Architecture provides a network approach to vehicular systems. requirements and at the same time provide the required performance.

Defense System Applications Why not use a standard 3U or 6U slot card system? In a lot of cases it does make sense to use such a system. Figure 2 is a list of some of the typical applications. The range of applications is from handheld devices to large systems used for extensive data and imaging applications. Slot card based systems such as CompactPCI, PC/104, VME and ATCA as well as custom implementations have been used to implement solutions for all of these applications. In addition, environmental specifications have forced the utilization of cooling techniques such as conduction cooling, or in the most extreme cases, liquid cooling. In some applications size is critical. A small unmanned vehicle is going to be focused on size and weight, so a small sys30

COTS Journal | January 2013

tem is required. In other applications, the complexity of the application will require more and more computing power and there will not be room for large boxes. A networked distributed approach with smaller subsystems distributed around the vehicle is required for weight and thermal requirements. It is helpful to review some of the key defense system applications and typical system solutions that have been used. Slot card based systems have been implemented due to the advantage of quick integration and to the large number of commercially available card types, future upgradeability by changing cards and extensive use of open standards. Slot card based systems have minimized the use of custom systems in the defense applications.

Fabrics Drive Paradigm Shift Over the past five years there has been a paradigm shift in slot card systems,

which has opened up new opportunities for both large high-performance systems as well as SFF systems. This shift was caused by the switch from parallel busbased systems such as VME, CompactPCI and PC/104 to serial fabric-based systems such as ATCA and VPX. Serial fabricbased systems, such as those designed around PCIe or Serial Rapid I/O, provide a system with a much higher data throughput using a smaller number of interconnections. Combine a serial fabric-based system with 1 Gbit Ethernet connectivity, and the use of large systems with processor and I/O cards can be replaced with a networked environment consisting of processor modules connected via an Ethernet switch to as many I/O modules as required by the application. Technology is also driving the use of smaller systems. Normally 3U or 6U size cards are used to provide the necessary functions and performance required for


TECH RECON

each application as well as provide the thermal interface needed to maintain the system within the environmental specifications. With use of the latest semiconductor technology such as the Nvidia Tegra, Freescale QorIQ, AMD G series and Intel processor families, all of which provide high levels of integration within the silicon, smaller and lower power systems can be developed that will also have excellent performance. The level of integration has reached the point where dual or quad processer, integrated 2D and 3D GPU and multiple levels of I/O and PCIe, and 2-4 Gbytes of highperformance memory can be implemented on a COM Express module or even a credit card sized NANO-ETXexpress module defined in the new COM Express COM.0 Rev.2.1 specification. These processor cards, when mated with a base card, can be used for different system applications.

Small Form Factor System Implementation So how small is small? The size of a SFF system is dependent on the application. As an example, consider system implementations that are smaller than the traditional ½ ATR short chassis (124 mm x 318 mm x 270 mm). There are several open standards that can be used to implement a SFF system using a slot card architecture. The VME International Trade Association (VITA) standards group has been working on three different standards for SFF systems: VITA 73, VITA 74 and VITA75. VITA 73 is a specification that is based on the VPX electrical specification and defines board size stack up and pinouts. Designed to utilize GEN 2 PCIe as the interconnect method, VITA 73 provides for an eight-slot system to fit into a 114 mm x 102 mm x 152 mm space. The VITA 74 specification provides SFF modules and systems based on the VPX specification. There are two modules defined in the VITA 74 specification: one is a 19 mm module (19 mm x 75 mm x 89 mm) and the second is a 12.5 mm module (12.5 mm x 75 mm x 89 mm). The VITA 75 specification defines the parameters of a SFF system enclosure including size and connector configuration such that a system can be upgraded

Defense Applications and Different Open Standards Used Mobile (New Segment) · Wearable/Mobile Computing · Computer Display Units · UGV/UAV · Small Control/Mission Computing

Mission Computing (Traditional Market) · Control/Mission Computing · UGV/UAV · Avionics · Vetronics

High Performance (New Segment) · Ground Station · C4ISR · Data/Image Processing · Command Center · Information Assurance ATCA

COM Express VPX PC/104 VME cPCI Size, Weight and Performance Figure 2

Listed here is a spread of applications for defense and a typical system configuration used to implement the application.

Figure 3

This VITA 74 standards-based SFF conduction-cooled implementation contains up to four VITA 74 modules, two 19 mm and two 12.5 mm modules, as well as a storage module and 28-volt power supply. Also shown is the busless router/Ethernet switch implemented using an interchangeable NANO ETXexpress module and a common baseboard with I/O in a rugged enclosure.

January 2013 | COTS Journal

31


TECH RECON

ON I S S I M AL C I T I CR ICES DEV DC-DC Converters AC-DC Power Supplies

in the future with a form fit function replacement that will use the same space and cabling. No attempt is being made by the VITA 75 team to define what is in the enclosure. The design and configuration of the internal electronics is left up the developers. An example of a VITA 74 implementation, modules and system, is illustrated in Figure 3. This system implemented by Themis implements two 19 mm and 12.5 mm VITA 74 modules as well as a 28V DC power supply and solid state disc. Utilizing AMD, Intel or FPGA modules, the performance of the system is comparable to a physically much larger system. This is clearly a slot card system as each of the modules plugs into a backplane, but it is interesting to note that Themis elected to implement the processor modules utilizing a Nano ETXexpress mezzanine card and a common base board.

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COTS Journal | January 2013

11/29/12 4:17 PM

Where do busless systems come into the picture? There are two ways to implement a busless system. The first is a full custom approach. Typically the full custom approach implements all of the required system functions on one board. An example is the typical router used in a home or small business. Remove the cover on the router and there is only one board. For an application such as the home router, one that is manufactured in the thousands, this is a very cost-effective approach. But it does limit future upgrades to software only. The second method of implementing a busless system is to use open standards for small form factors and use a mezzanine/baseboard approach. Both COM Express and Qseven are examples of open standards that can be used to design a system. Both define the board size, mounting requirements, interface connector and signals on the interface connector. All of the busless systems are based on well-defined interface standards describing the interconnecting methods used to integrate systems. What busless systems do is eliminate the connectors and backplane requirements of a slot card based system. A good example of a busless system

implemented using an open standard is shown in Figure 3. Themis has developed a rugged Ethernet switch/router that is easy to reconfigure with different processing power and different I/O as required. If a simple Ethernet switch and layer 3 routing is the only requirement, the onboard ARM processor is all that is required. As more functionality is required—such as custom routing, gateway to MIL-STD-1553, CAN bus, firewall, or GPS timing—an additional processor can be added via the NANO ETXexpress module. Unlike the typical home router previously discussed, this implementation is software and hardware reconfigurable without the cost and physical overhead of a slot based system.

Serial Fabrics Take Over What the busless systems have in common with the latest slot card systems is the use of serial fabrics as a method of interfacing between functions. In the case of slot card systems, the serial fabrics are implemented on the backplane. And for busless systems, the serial fabric is implemented on the board or, in the case of the mezzanine/baseboard approach, on the board interconnects. In summary, there is a paradigm shift occurring in a lot of ground-based and avionics applications. The shift to a high content of different applications, such as C4ISR, has driven the need for intravehicle networks and the use of multiple subsystems instead of more centralized systems. The acquisition environment has also changed—there is less money for development and deployment. These requirements have driven the need for more compact systems, systems that can be reused on different programs as well as systems that have a lower cost to develop and to deploy. Although 3U, 6U and even 9U systems will continue to be utilized, the newer standards such as COM Express will help grow the SFF systems being built. Compared to standards such as VME, which took about ten years to really receive acceptance, standards such as COM Express are in their infancy and should continue to receive more acceptance in the future.


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SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Rackmount Blade Servers Meet Defense Needs

Rackmount Servers Bulk Up for Diverse Military Uses Now proven as having a solid place in military system applications, rackmount bladed systems are starting to displace alternative approaches that can’t offer the same compute density. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief

C

ompute density has become the mantra for many military systems. To meet such needs, a rackmount system architecture has lots of advantages. Blade server based computing solutions and other rackmount boards are rapidly finding a niche in a variety of military applications. Among these are SATCOM-On-the-Move systems and other vehicle-based systems. With complete server-level computers now easily available in a 1U blade, developers can pack a lot of computing in a convenient rack-based space along side an off-theshelf 1U network router and advanced communications boards. By using the 1U form factor, it’s easier to integrate together systems that include existing off-the-shelf IT-based 1U boards. These include units such as specialized encryption systems, precision timing boards or tried and true networking gear like Cisco routers (Figure 1). Rackmount systems of larger sizes such as 2U, 3U and 4U are also gaining acceptance in military systems where compute density is paramount. Unlike backplane-based architectures like VME or CompactPCI, rackmount systems are busless and typically use Ethernet or other cable-based technology to link boards with one an36

COTS Journal | January 2013

Figure 1

The 1U form factor is easy to integrate with an off-the-shelf IT-based 1U board. These include units such as specialized encryption systems, precision timing boards or tried and true networking gear like Cisco routers. other. Eliminating the backplane also significantly reduces overall system weight. This approach has become popular in military comms gear in vehicles where every pound of weight is precious. Exemplifying the compute density

aspect of rackmount systems, Chassis Plans last fall released their M5U2203 rugged rackmount GPU server. The M5U2203 (Figure 2) offers the highest performance of any platform currently offered, providing four x16 PCIe Gen


SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT 3.0 double-wide slots, dual Intel E5-2600 processors and up to 512 Gbytes of 1600 MHz RAM. The four double-wide x16 PCIe slots are Gen 3.0 with full bandwidth natively provided by the Intel C602 chipset and dual E5-2600 processors as compared to expansion chassis or single board computer solutions multiplexing limited PCIe lanes across multiple slots. This allows the GPU boards to communicate with system memory and processors at the highest possible speed. The doublewide slots accommodate any high-performance GPU processor such as the latest Tesla M2090 and K10.

Network Service Solutions Designed for network service applications, Win Enterprises meanwhile makes a 2U rackmount platform, the PL80460, which supports single Intel 32nm i3/i5/i7 (code name Sandy Bridge) and Intel E3-xx processors. This is a modular system that will support 4 GbE LAN in its standard configuration, or up to 28 GbE in copper or 24 GbE in fiber, depending on OEM requirements. The front panel has one USB 2.0 port, one RJ-45 console port and LED indicators that monitor power and storage activities. The platform supports four unbuffered and nonECC DDR3 1066/1333 MHz DIMM sockets with memory up to 32 Gbytes. Storage interfaces include two 3.5” SATA HDD and one CompactFlash. The PL-80460 also supports one PCI expansion slot. Networking is an area where rackmount servers shine. American Portwell offers a 1U rackmount network security appliance that supports Intel’s second generation Core i7/i5/i3 processor with Intel H61 PCH and DMI 5 GT/s chipset, and is scalable to Intel’s latest third generation Core i7/i5/i3 processor family. The new CAR3030 network security appliance also features dual-channel 1066/1333 MHz DDR3 memory modules up to 16 Gbytes, PCI-E x8 expansion (with up to two Generation 2.0 bypass segments), LGA-1155 socket, up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, optional dual 10G SFP+LAN module, 80 Plus power supply and six onboard Ethernet ports with two bypass segments. American Portwell’s new CAR-3030 network security appliance is capable of increasing LAN throughput by an average of 80 percent when compared with previous generation platforms. 38

COTS Journal | January 2013

Figure 2

The M5U2203 provides four x16 PCIe Gen 3.0 double-wide slots, dual Intel E5-2600 processors and up to 512 Gbytes of 1600 MHz RAM. The four double-wide x16 PCIe slots are Gen 3.0 with full bandwidth.

Versatile Multicore Systems Another Portwell offering is a highly functional and modular 2U rackmount communication appliance that offers a comprehensive solution for customers in the military network security, communications and infrastructure market. The modular design of the CAR-5020 from American Portwell utilizes the Intel Platform for Communications Infrastructure, formerly codenamed “Crystal Forest.” The platform features Intel QuickAssist Technology, supports dual processors up to 16 cores with CPU support for Level 3 Cache (up to 40 Mbytes), 16 DIMMs and DDR3 240-pin memory slots. Specifically, the CAR-5020 supports dual Intel Xeon processors E5-2600 series with up to 16 cores and 2 QPI links. The platform supports dual-channel DDR3 1333/1066 UDIMM/ RDIMM memory with maximum capacity up to 128 Gbytes. The three swappable NIC module card slots on the CAR-5020 appliance offer a wide range of choices to customers to accommodate Ethernet interfaces, for example, 4/8GbE copper or 2/4/8GbE fiber with 0/1/2 bypass segments; expandable with 2 ports 10GbE (RJ45/ SFP+) with or without bypass. In addition, there are four expansion slots—two PCI-E x8 Gen2 slots and two PCI-E x8 Gen1 slots to satisfy various customer demands. The CAR-5020 appliance implements both IPMI 2.0 and Power Management Bus I/O on board, providing robust remote monitoring and management capabilities.

Trenton Systems worked with a Tier 1 prime contractor to address the weight issue in the RC-135V/W airborne surveillance aircraft by coming up with a shallow depth chassis made out of lightweight aluminum. The most common 19” rackmount chassis used on the aircraft has a chassis depth of 45.72cm (18”) and a 5U chassis height. Some applications require a 4U chassis height with a resultant chassis depth of 58.42 cm or 23 inch (Trenton TRC4002), and a few mission stations require a compact 2U chassis design with one single board computer and a butterfly backplane (Trenton TRC2003).

Data Recording/ Data Capture The inherent scalability of rackmount systems lends itself to data recording and data capture applications—both key elements of deployed military systems and test gear for designing military systems. Along those lines, NextComputing last summer made a new addition to its Nucleus RM family of compact rackmount systems. The Nucleus RM Capture provides high-speed data recording, processing and I/O capabilities for developers of packet capture, data acquisition and network forensics solutions. The Nucleus RM Capture is a high-performance, rack-based storage system in a dense 3U chassis with several unique features not available in other products. NextComputing has engineered the Nucleus RM Capture to fulfill the needs of OEM solution providers and integrators looking for a powerful, reliable and customizable platform for their next highspeed data recording product. Using up to 20 enterprise-class SATA, SAS and Solid State Drives, the Nucleus RM Capture enables very high sustained write-to-disk rates for capturing network traffic at full 10 Gbit/s line rate or higher. And with the migration from 10G to 40G infrastructure, the Nucleus RM Capture allows for easy expansion of I/O and storage as data capture needs increase. Nucleus RM Capture features two 8-core Intel Xeon E5-2600 series processors and up to 512 Gbytes of DDR3 ECC memory. A 1300W 2+1 redundant power supply is provided with either AC 110/220V or 48 VDC input. The unit has a short-depth and 20-inch form factor in a 3U rack height with front-facing DVD or BluRay optical drive. The removable


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

Massive Blade-Computing Example Beyond the success of rackmount blade server computing in embedded applications, the technology is becoming a valuable building block for supercomput-

Figure 3

Extreme Engineering Solutions, under contract to Cray, developed and delivered a prototype next-generation data center blade consisting of 46 Intel Core i7 processor cards. ing architectures. With just that in mind, Extreme Engineering Solutions (X-ES), under contract to Cray, developed and delivered a prototype next-generation data center blade consisting of forty-six Intel Core i7 processor cards (Figure 4). Cray’s Custom Engineering group designed the system infrastructure that combines super-efficient power delivery, high-density packaging and innovative cooling technologies. With the design in place, Cray turned to X-ES to develop the blade hardware. The objective of this technology development initiative was to design a supercomputing architecture that dramatically lowers the total cost of ownership for data centers. This solution is intended to significantly reduce facility, power and hardware costs.

Extreme Engineering Solutions Middleton, WI. (608) 833-1155. [www.xes-inc.com].

American Portwell Fremont, CA. (877) 278-8899. [www.portwell.com].

WIN Enterprises North Andover, MA. (978) 688-2000. [www.win-ent.com].

NextComputing Nashua, NH. (603) 886-3874. [www.nextcomputing.com]. Pentek Upper Saddle River, NJ. (201) 818-5900. [www.pentek.com]. Trenton Systems Gainesville, GA. (770) 287-3100. [www.trentonsystems.com].

Chassis Plans San Diego, CA. (858) 571-4330. [www.chassis-plans.com]. January 2013 | COTS Journal

39


SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Rackmount Blade Servers Meet Defense Needs

ATCA Virtualization Meets Military Recording/Playback Needs The appetite for military data recording is only increasing. By combing the benefits of PCI Express blades and ATCA virtualization, system developers can create powerful solutions. Steve Looby, Director, Product Management SANBlaze Technology

R

eal-time data acquisition and recording is a key part of numerous military applications such as radars, radio, wireless or virtually any task that involves digitizing analog signals. Once digitized, data is sent to computers for real-time processing or archived to disks for post processing. Sometimes military system designers want to “play back” data through D-A converters, reproducing the original analog output signals at full bandwidth. When decomposing the functional building blocks of such applications, there’s a significant overlap in “wishlist” feature requirements. These include a need for recording/playback speeds from 500 to 2000 Mbytes/s, a preference for using COTS acquisition cards, modern OS development environments and moderately rugged operating environments (0 to 55°C temperature range). With that in mind, it’s useful to understand a technology called ATCA with virtualization and how it can be applied to standard PCI Express cards for application-specific I/O. This approach fulfills the technical requirements of many data acquisition applications, while also meeting DoD goals for Modular Open 40

COTS Journal | January 2013

Figure 1

The first box (right) contains a backplane with slots for ATCA compute and storage blades. The second box (left), manufactured by Magma, provides PCI Express expansion slots to accommodate application-specific I/O cards. Systems Approach (MOSA) designs that reduce R&D costs and accelerate timeto-market.

AdvancedTCA Technology ATCA is an open standards specification that defines a moderately rugged blade computing environment with literally hundreds of suppliers, 10 years in the making. ATCA blades aren’t anemic, struggling to fit enterprise class computing into spaces too small to accommodate the technology. Rather, these blades feature Intel’s newest 64-bit XEON CPUs, terabytes of storage, 10 Gbit Ethernet

networks and modern operating systems. System designers can construct custom platforms by combining multiple compute, network or storage blades to create scalable platforms with as few as two blades or groups of many dozens. ATCA was originally conceived to fulfill the computing needs of the U.S. and European telecommunications industry, replacing monolithic proprietary systems with reusable COTS products that enable faster development, easier technology refresh, and to foster a competitive supplier environment to keep costs down. ATCA plat-


SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT

Figure 2

This CPU slot saving space and power saving architecture uses one SANBlaze ATCA blade (ATCA2000), which combines a processor (4 CPUs), 16 Gbytes of memory and 3.8 Terabytes of RAID storage.

Figure 3

The networked storage architecture amortizes the disk cost across several applications, but maximum bandwidth is limited by 10 Gbit Ethernet connections.

forms offer redundancy, remote monitoring and consume less space, weight and power than an equivalent set of commercial desktops or rack servers. It is these same innate attributes that attracts DoD projects seeking acquisition reform, lower development costs, and 7+ year life cycles to satisfy the technology demands of 21st century netcentric warfare. The recording architectures discussed here can be built with the same two building blocks installed in a single 19-inch rack chassis. This “two-box” setup supports a variety of recording requirements and system architectures that share a common physical appearance. The first box contains a backplane with slots for ATCA compute and storage blades. The second box, manufactured by Magma, provides PCI Express expansion slots to accommodate 42

COTS Journal | January 2013

application-specific I/O cards. Cables are used to interconnect ATCA blade rear transition modules (RTM) with the Magma enclosures, bridging standard PCI Express cards with ATCA host blades (Figure 1). System architects select and combine blades in an arrangement that best fits their performance, scalability and cost goals. There are several system design considerations and trade-offs, which are discussed in the next sections.

Local Storage Architecture When an application collects sampled data (bit streams) from acquisition cards, it can be stored to local (private) disk pools, or to networked disk pools. In testing, local disk pools delivered the most bandwidth and were integrated with the CPU slot, saving space and power. An example of this archi-

tecture uses one SANBlaze ATCA blade (ATCA2000), which combines a processor (4 CPU), 16 Gbytes of memory and 3.8 Terabytes of RAID storage (Figure 2). The blade’s disk performance was measured by installing Linux and configuring a RAID0 volume with eight Intel SSD, Model 520. The RAID volume was then split into two logical volumes lva0 and lvb0.

Shared Storage Architecture Networked disk pools provide the ability to share storage capacity and bandwidth between several blades using 10 Gbit Ethernet connections. All applications can access the storage pool, but you control how much capacity they each get. With Networked storage you can amortize the disk cost across several applications, but maximum bandwidth is limited by 10 Gbit Ethernet connections—about 1,100 Mbytes/s. An example of this architecture appears in Figure 3. A single Magma box holds all acquisition cards, but electronically isolates expansion slots so each card is exposed to only one PCI Express computer master (root complex). The compute blades each contain two Intel “Westmere” processors (12 cores) and 192 Gbyte of memory. All of the compute blades connect to a single storage blade, sharing its capacity and bandwidth. The recording performance of this configuration was measured by installing Linux on each of the compute blades. These connected to the SANBlaze storage blade (ATCA2000) using iSCSI over switched Ethernet connections. The storage blade contained eight Intel SSD Model 520, configured in a RAID0, and then sub-divided into two targets.

ATCA and Virtualization ATCA combined with virtualization represents a strategic opportunity for consolidation and cost reductions at a system level. Data acquisition and recording may represent only one subsystem function of a larger project. With ATCA, a single computer blade with 12 CPU core can provide the same processing power as two or three computers de-


SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT

Figure 4

With virtualization packages from VMware, it’s possible to port these tasks to virtual machines (VM) with resources equal to the original VME source computers, but utilizing physically fewer ATCA blades.

signed five years ago. It becomes reasonable for embedded designers to consider hardware consolidation by running multiple tasks on a single ATCA blade. However, the system architect will need answers to some practical implementation questions. The first question is: How does someone map multiple standalone subsystems onto one physical computer platform? Solving this is fundamental to scaling applications that can fully utilize processor technology capabilities. The next question is: How does someone physically add many peripheral I/O functions into a single ATCA computer without designing form factor specific hardware? The ideal solution would accommodate high volume COTS PCI Express cards. And the last question is: As a single computer takes on more tasks, how can someone add tolerance and reliability? Virtualization addresses all of these concerns.

A VME Virtualization Example Consider for example, an existing rack containing six VME backplanes, dedicated to six monolithic tasks. With virtualization packages from VMware, it’s possible to port these tasks to vir-

tual machines (VM) with resources equal to the original VME source computers, but utilizing physically fewer ATCA blades (Figure 4). A VMware hypervisor called ESXi is loaded onto the raw ATCA blade(s). The hypervisor abstracts physical computer resources (CPU, memory, networking, etc.) and makes them available to a community of users. Using a simple GUI, users define their “dream machine” with processors, memory, storage, and install an OS like Linux or windows on the virtual machine. Once complete, users can interact with the virtual machine in the same fashion as a physical one. They can ping it, open remote shells and run applications. Virtual machines boot from a shared ATCA storage blade with up to 12 Tbyte of total storage; this storage pool uses RAID algorithms to boost performance and protect user data. Pooled storage also makes it easier to deliver “right sized” disks to each virtual machine and its application(s). Data recording is accomplished by installing data acquisition cards in a Magma PCI Express expansion box, and assigning their status to “pass-through” using the VMware GUI interface. In this

way, a VM can own the I/O card(s). By utilizing Magma expansion technology, users can utilize standard PCI Express cards and save the R&D costs of developing form factor specific solutions. Virtualization did not impact storage performance; measured bit stream recording and playback was equal to the non-virtualized shared storage results presented in the previous section.

Magma PCI Express Overview Magma develops and manufactures rackmount PCI Express Expansion Systems, which are central to SANBlaze data recorder architectures. The product extends PCI Express signals from multiple ATCA blades over a cable to a chassis containing multiple card slots and installed peripherals (see http://www.magma.com/expressbox16-smart). Magma expansion products incorporate PCI Express switch technology that interconnects up to 16 slots. Users can install PCI Express cards (end points) in these slots, noting that some slots are wired to support x16 traffic lanes, while others support only x8. Magma software can group slots into domains. Domains are managed by a January 2013 | COTS Journal

43


SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT

single ATCA computer called a “root complex.” Each ATCA server connection consumes one slot, and all the I/O cards assigned to the domain. In the topology example below, the Magma box is configured to present three domain trees, each with a single root, terminating at the ATCA blade. SANBlaze developed the ATCA2000 as a dual purpose product that operates either as an endpoint in an iSCSI storage

area network (SAN) or as a CPU with direct attach storage (DAS). If deployed in the latter configuration, users can install any OS that executes on its 64-bit Intel 4 core XEON processor. Examples include Windows, Linux or VMware. Other standard features include an Intel dual 10 Gbit Ethernet controller, a MegaRAID SAS controller from LSI and eight user-serviceable 2.5-inch SSDs. In a recorder application, the blade sus-

tained over 1600 Mbytes/s when recording bit streams and over 2200 Mbytes/s for playback. The ATCA7300 meanwhile was developed to tackle more processor-intensive applications. The dual processor design features 12 XEON cores, and up to 192 Gbytes of DDR3 memory, making it an ideal blade for virtualization. These blades run commercial OS including Windows, Linux and VMware. The SANBlaze ATS1936 features two separate 20-port Ethernet switches, one operating at 10 Gbit (fabric), and the other at 1 Gbit (base). Two switch blades provide a fully redundant “star” fabric that keeps connections available, even if one blade fails or is removed.

Applying Embedded Computing Numerous embedded applications use I/O acquisition cards, which create bit-streams of data that are processed by computers and often stored to disk. Often times, the target operating environment means commercial hardware cannot be used because it cannot meet requirements for operating temperature, mobility or ruggedness. To address these needs, designers turn to embedded computing products. ATCA is an embedded computing technology with over 300 suppliers. Today, customers can choose from a large selection of computer, storage and network blades, and interconnect them with 10 Gbit Ethernet fabrics. 10 Gbit Ethernet provides a ubiquitous, reliable, very fast and cost-effective method for moving data between computer and storage. Ethernet is also ideal for managing serial bit streams. The final challenge is adapting I/O acquisition functions to the ATCA form factor, ideally without designing new daughter cards or accessory modules. Magma PCI Expansion products can be used for this purpose. They enable system designers to connect standard PCI Express I/O cards with ATCA embedded computers with a cable. SANBlaze Technology Littleton, MA. 01460 (978) 679-1400. [www.sanblaze.com]. Untitled-7 1 COTS Journal | January 2013 44

1/7/13 3:58 PM


TECHNOLOGY FOCUS VME SBCs for Tech Refresh

VME SBCs Secure Their Hold as Tech Refresh Kings Because it’s uniquely suited for technology upgrades, VME is perfectly positioned to take advantage of current refresh efforts in today’s military. Whether alone, or side-by-side with VPX, VME’s future remains bright. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief

A

s the U.S. Military moves into a new phase of seriously curtailed budgets, the focus will move strongly toward strategies of upgrading existing platforms and refreshing their embedded computing technologies. The leading solution for such military technology upgrades for the past couple decades or more is the VME form factor. VME has a rich and successful legacy in military systems in part because of its unique ability to remain backward compatible and facilitate technology refresh in military programs. A new board with the latest and greatest processor, memory and I/O can easily be dropped into a slot that could be decades old. Therefore, vendors continue to roll out new VME boards that sport the newest processors and memory technology. Just in general, slot-card technology upgrade programs—including both VME and CompactPCI—have done healthy business, and those programs are expected to both expand and grow in coming years. All that said, many of these upgrade programs go unannounced. That’s partly because upgrade programs aren’t as “newsworthy” as new programs—and partly because VME board vendors are keen on keeping these opportunities for themselves. The list of high profile upgrade programs include the Abrams Tank Systems Enhancement Pack46

COTS Journal | January 2013

Figure 1

The advanced mission computer (AMC) for the E/A-18G Super Hornet aircraft is VMEbased and performs general purpose, input/output, video, voice and graphics processing. Shown here, a U.S. Navy Boeing EA-18G Growler of test and evaluation squadron VX-9 Vampires flies over California. age (SEP) upgrade, F-18 Advanced MultiPurpose Display program, Bradley Vehicle Electronics upgrade, B-52 mission computer upgrade, Aegis Guided Missile Destroyer Sonar upgrade, B-2 Bomber Radar Upgrade, Boeing B-1B Bomber Avionics Upgrade, and the C-130 cockpit upgrade. VME—or similar standards-based embedded computing—is used in almost all of these upgrade programs. Feeding the need for VME refresh computing, many vendors continue to produce new VME boards with refreshed technologies. Many of these are drop-in replacements completely backward compatible with previous generation versions on those SBCs. An example of VME’s ability to serve long deployment cycles is General Dynamics’ VME-based advanced mission computers (AMC) for the F/A-18E/F (Figure 1) and E/A-18G Super Hornet aircraft. For 11 years the unit has provided a reliable, open and cost-effective nerve center for the U.S. Navy’s Super Hornet. Its open architec-

ture approach lets customers upgrade with the latest capability without the expense of changing the aircraft or its support systems. The AMC performs general purpose, input/ output, video, voice and graphics processing, and it is designed to operate in extreme environmental conditions of today’s highperformance fighter aircraft. The computing in the AMC has been a series of PowerPC VME SBCs, upgraded from 400 MHz to 1 GHz PowerPCs over the years. Despite the strong position VPX is gaining, there’s been a misconception as to how VPX is positioned versus VME in the market. VME is used in applications that are event driven. These applications—controlling motors and actuators, moving gun turrets and missile launch-frames into position—are control system applications. With that in mind, VME is expected to remain the primary architecture in these platforms for many years to come. In contrast, VPX is better suited for data-intensive applications where high throughput is the priority.


Established platform parallel bus protocols like VMEbus and CompactPCI still have their place in today's and tomorrow's harsh environment, real-time/hard-deadline embedded sub-system applications...especially when these products are upgraded and maintained to keep pace with the newest, fastest processor and memory technologies. While there are some applications where high speed serial fabrics like VPX are ideal, there are others where VMEbus or CompactPCI still rule the roost. One company continues to actively invest in maintaining – and not obsolescing – their military and space embedded computing products with a proactive 12-year minimum COTS Lifecycle+™ Program. And one company continues to also invest in delivering the very best of the newest embedded COTS computing platforms with the new, serial fabric protocols.

And one company actively invests in technology insertion at the board level, creating backplane, pin-compatible products with the latest, next generation memory and processor technologies "on-board". And that same company still delivers their legacy bus products at full speed and full capability and full mil temp range (-55 to +85°C) with those latest technologies. The one company to do all that? Aitech. Check our website to learn more about our technology roadmaps and how they protect your investments. Aitech Defense Systems, Inc. 19756 Prairie Street Chatsworth, CA 91311 email: sales@rugged.com Toll Free: 888-Aitech8 - (888) 248-3248 Fax: (818) 407-1502 www.rugged.com


TECHNOLOGY FOCUS: VME SBCs for Tech Refresh VME SBC Boasts Low-Power Core2 Duo Processor One of the greatest advantages of VME is its ability to maintain backward compatibility while retaining ways to adapt to new computing elements as they evolve. Exemplifying this trend is Aitech Defense Systems’ C162, a high-performance 6U VME SBC (Single Board Computer) for embedded and harsh environment applications. The C162 is based on Intel’s Calpella (Arrandale + ECC) platform, dual-core processor and four threads (Intel Hyperthreading Technology) with large integrated on-chip L1, L2 caches and shared

L3 cache with a companion QM57 PCH I/O controller hub. The processor’s integrated 2D/3D graphics controller supports graphics and video processing and provides CRT and DVI output channels. The C162 integrates large onboard memory arrays to support processor and user application needs. Memory resources include up to 8 Gbytes of fast DDR3 Dual Channel SDRAM with ECC protection and a 32 Gbyte SSD SATA drive (based on NAND Flash media) for user/application-specific parameter storage. In addition to its high-performance processor architecture, the C162 provides a wide variety of I/O, including two Gigabit Ethernet, four USB 2.0 ports, two SATA II ports, four UART ports, up to eight general-purpose discrete I/O channels, and high-definition stereo audio I/O. To further expand its capabilities, the C162 is equipped with two industry-standard PMC/ XMC sites. The C162 is VME64x compliant, and supports VME advanced protocols such as 2eSST and 2eVME while maintaining full compliance with legacy VME operation. C162 mechanical and electrical design guarantee operation over the full range of rugged applications environments and is available both in industry standard conduction- or air-cooled form factors.

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

48

COTS Journal | January 2013

6U VME SBC Third Gen Intel Core Processors and Advanced Security A 6U VME processor board uses third generation Intel Core processors and brings unprecedented performance and power efficiency to the VME form factor while maintaining compatibility with the previous generation product and offering advanced security packages. The VP 91x/01x from Concurrent Technologies supports the dualcore and quad-core third generation Intel Core i7 processors and Mobile Intel QM77

Express chipset along with up to 16 Gbytes of ECC SDRAM. The third generation Intel Core processors offer enhanced graphic and processing capabilities when compared to previous architectures operating within the same power budget. In addition, the processor extends itself to support compute-intensive applications by providing support for OpenCL. Supporting two 100 MHz PCI-X PMC or two XMC x8 PCI Express sites, with expansion for two more PMC sites via an optional expansion carrier, the VP 91x/01x maintains compatibility with the VP 717/08x and VP 417/03x and offers an extensive array of rear I/O functions. VITA 31.1 Gigabit Ethernet on a VME64x backplane enables a tried and tested method of implementing a LAN-based multiprocessor architecture by leveraging readily available Ethernet hardware, TCP/IP software, clustering and other network management tools. The VP 91x/01x is available in three temperature grades: 0° to +55°C (N-Series), -25° to +70°C (E-Series), -40° to +85°C (K-Series); and two ruggedized grades: Ruggedized ConductionCooled -40° to +85°C (RC), Ruggedized AirCooled -40° to +75°C (RA).

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

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

existing SWaP-C-constrained systems based on older PowerPC or Power Architecture processors. The SVME/DMV-194 provides system integrators with a path for the cost-effective technology insertion upgrade of legacy VME systems. It also provides a high performanceto-cost ratio computing component for SWaPC-constrained new designs. Designed especially for demanding military systems that require maximum processing in extreme temperature conditions, the SVME/DMV-194 features typical power dissipation rated at 20-25W. The board features two 64-bit PMC/XMC sites and a large complement of I/O including Gigabit Ethernet, up to six serial ports, SATA, 1553 and USB 2.0 ports. To maximize compatibility with earlier SBCs, the SVME/ DMV-194 provides an equivalent complement of I/O to that featured in earlier generations of CWCEC PowerPC and Power Architecture SBCs. It also has optional pin-out modes for backplane compatibility. For example, the SVME/DMV-194 eases the upgrade of systems based on the legacy VME/DMV-179, SVME/ DMV-181, SVME/DMV-182 and SVME/ DMV-183 SBCs. The board is designed for harsh environment applications, both air- and conduction-cooled.

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


VME SBCs for Tech Refresh

Ruggedness, Low Power Combine on Core i7 VME SBC

SBC Blends Core i7 and High Bandwidth I/O

VME SBC Provides Versatile 2.16 GHz Core 2 Duo Solution

By using VME, system developers can refresh legacy VME-based systems with new VME boards that have the latest and greatest processor technology. An example CPU 71-13 from Dynatem, a Eurotech company, is a single slot, 6U VMEbus computer board based on the Intel Core i7 mobile processor. In combination with the Intel QM57 chipset, the Advme8035 offers high-performance processing capability and advanced graphics function.

The XVR15 Rugged Single Board Computer (SBC) from GE Intelligent Platforms features the high-performance, highly integrated 3rd Generation Core i7 processor platform from Intel. 3rd Generation Core i7 offers integrated graphics and memory controller plus dual and quad core processing up to 2.5 GHz all in one device. Coupled with the Mobile Intel QM77 Express Chipset, this provides an unmatched level of I/O bandwidth for both on-board and off-board functions. Features of the board include up to 15%

For a lot of military programs—the Navy in particular—reducing cost is a high priority. Often that means choosing an embedded computing solution that can be applied to multiple systems. Along just such lines, General Micro Systems provides the “Maritime” (VS275), a new VMEbus CPU that defies obsolescence by enabling seamless upgrades and complete flexibility with the addition of five different expansion modules. Maritime uses the GMS P70 “Nucleus”

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technologies your goal processor module, a module that supports (compute) and 50%and (3Dcompanies. graphics)Whether performance The Intel Core i7 mobile processor is capable into products, the latest datasheet from a generation company, speak directly either the ultra-low-power Core 2 Duo improvement over previous of running four threads simultaneously on itsis to research with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the solutions. It combines Advanced Vector dual core using Hyper-Threading Technology operating at 1.5 GHz or the Core 2 Duo at goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. Extensions (AVX) signal processing and and is therefore ideal for applications requiring 2.16 GHz with 4 Mbytes of L2 Cache and 667 Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, intelligent performance on-demand with Intel high performance. The direct-mounted DDR3MHz FSB. Custom configurations are made Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products Turbo Boost Technology. High bandwidth I/O 1066 main memory with ECC support you ensures possible through one PMC-X and/or 16-Lane are searching for. is provided by PCIe GEN 3 (8 GT/sec) and USB high reliability of the board. Two Gigabit XMC-compliant site with rear I/O and an www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected 3.0 (10x the bandwidth of 2.0) data transfer Ethernet ports, one USB port and one RS-232C optional workstation I/O module (second capability. Hyper-thread technology provides serial port are available on the front panel, VME Site). Other features include two Gbit two threads per core. along with one CFast card socket and two PMC/ Ethernet ports with TCP/IP offloading engine In addition to a comprehensive range of XMC slots on board. The CPU 71-13 supports and dedicated interrupt; ten USB 2.0 ports; four onboard I/O features, the XVR15 also offers VME64. Recognizing a slot automatically, it can serial ports with RS-232/422/485 options; two two onboard mezzanine expansion sites for operate as both a system controller board and PATA ports—one to the rear, one for onboard enhanced system both which offer a non-system controller board in a VMEbus. Get Connected HDD/SSD/CF; 16 individually programmable withflexibility, technology andofcompanies providing solutions now PMC and XMC capability. Memory resources More than one unit of Advme8035 can be buffered user I/O lines, and custom I/O Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research th up to 16 Gbytes of DDR3 SDRAM, 8 installed in a system in parallel depending datasheetinclude functions such as FireWire or octal SIO via from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connect Gbytes of Solid State Disk drive, optional SATA on the increase of processing load. The board a SAM-III Pricing for the standard in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require for whatever module. type of technology, hard drive, BIOS backup flash. supports an operating temperature of 0° toGet Connected Maritime will help you Flash connectand withBIOS the companies and productsversion you are of searching for. (VS275) starts at $3,200, in +60°C and of -40° to +85°C for the screening quantities of a single unit. www.cotsjournalonline.com/ge GE Intelligent Platforms version. Operating humidity is rated up to 95% General Micro Systems Charlottesville, VA. RH (no condensation).

(800) 368-2738. [defense.ge-ip.com].

Dynatem Mission Viejo, CA. (949) 855-3235. [www.dynatem.com].

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Rancho Cucamonga, CA. (909) 980-4863. [www.gms4sbc.com].

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January 2013 | COTS Journal

49


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

VME SBCs for Tech Refresh

VME SBC Sports Core2 Duo CPU and M96 GPU

Core i7 6U VME SBC Boasts Extended Service Lifecycle

6U VME Card Serves Up QorIQ Processor

Ideal for military tech refresh situations, the VME marketplace is seeing a wave of upgraded boards with the latest and greatest silicon. An example of this is Interface Concept with its new VME board based on the Intel Core2 Duo processor SL9380/SU9300 associated with the Intel 3100 chipset. The IC-DC2-VMEb, being VME64x-VITA31.1 compliant, is aimed at highly integrated applications like leading-edge computing, embedded network control, signal processing, etc. The large number of interfaces turns this IC-DC2-VMEb into an ideal open

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

MEN’s new A21 VMEbus single-board computer comes with the most up-to-date PowerPCs of the QorIQ series. The A21 is a cost-effective 6U PowerPC card with a fast VME64 interface and provides master and slave functionality, making it a perfect choice for multiprocessing in VMEbus systems. The single-core P1013 or the dual-core P1022 processor of the QorIQ family allows clock frequencies of up to 1.067 GHz and serial communication. At the front, 2 Gigabit

platform for a wide range of applications. The board boasts an AMD/ATI M96 Graphic Processor Unit (Radeon E4690- R700 core), which provides the IC-DC2-VMEb with the performance needed for demanding embedded graphics applications. The analog video interfaces offer STANAG B & C support, especially useful to airborne applications. While maintaining low power consumption and a wide temperature range, the IC-DC2VMEb benefits from a long life product cycle for high-reliability and safety-critical embedded applications.

via corresponding modules. This modular concept allows the Kontron VM6050 to be configured to the most varied applications. This modular COTS approach further minimizes implementation efforts and thus the time-tomarket. The Kontron 6U VME SBC VM6050 offers d onboard USB flash support for extremely secure and reliable performance and a system design without vulnerable storage media. Dedicated interfaces at the front include 2x Gigabit Ethernet and 1x USB 2.0 and 1x serial port (SR232/422/485). There are 2x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x SATA II, 2x USB 2.0, PCI Express x4, SRIO, nies providing solutions now Interface Concept GPIO and 32 I/Os for PMC 1 implemented on ion into products, companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest Briectechnologies de l’Odet,and France. the backplane via the PO plug (VITA 31.1). tion Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you +33 (0)2 98 57 30 30. In addition, Kontron’s latest VME board also you require for whatever type of technology, supports the double-edged source synchronous and products[www.interfaceconcept.com]. you are searching for. transfer (2eSST), which allows a data www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected throughput of up to 320 Mbytes via P1, along with the 64-bit VME bus (VME64x). P2 routes 64 I/Os from the FMC and PMC 2 slot and 32 I/ Os from the PMC 1 slot to the backplane.

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50

COTS Journal | January 2013

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

Ethernet channels and one RS-232 COM interface are provided. Further I/O functions such as USB 2.0, UART COM, a display interface and further interfaces are possible as customer options. The most prominent feature of the card, however, is the use of two XMC or PMC modules on the A21C version, or three M-Modules on its sister design A21B. By plugging in standard modules, the board becomes a semi-custom solution in a fast and easy way, using a broad offering of different I/O functions like graphics, additional Ethernet or process I/O. Apart from flash and FRAM, up to 2 Gbyte DDR3 DRAM with ECC are available as a main memory. A microSD and an mSATA slot provide mass storage capacity. The A21 is specified for an operating temperature of -40° to +85°C. All components are soldered to withstand shock and vibration and are prepared for conformal coating against humidity and dust.

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


VME SBCs for Tech Refresh

VME SBC Provides Multifunction Communication and I/O

VBC SBC Provides Quad-Core Xeon Processors

VME Card Is 1 GHz Drop-In Replacement for Predecessor

A 6U, VME Single Board Computer (SBC) combines multifunction and communications I/O options. The 64EP3 from North Atlantic Industries effectively eliminates the need for a separate SBC for I/O-intensive system applications. The processor provides real-time, intelligent sensor data acquisition and local data management operations such as analysis,

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

The longevity of VME in the military is partly thanks to technology updates to legacy slots. Feeding exactly such needs, Xembedded offers a drop-in replacement for the End of Life SBS VR7, but with much more processor power. The XVME-689-VR7 is a powerful, very low-power single slot 6U single board computer with the same VMEbus P1 and P2 pin outs as the VR7. The XVME-689-VR7 VMEbus processor integrates an Intel Celeron M processor running at 1.0 GHz with up to 512 Kbytes of level 2 cache and a PCI-to-VMEbus

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into products, technologies companies. algorithm manipulation and control of all XV2 VME SBC. Theand XV2 is basedWhether on the your goal interface. It is also available with 512 Mbytes the latest datasheet from a company, speak directly or 1 Gbyte ECC or Non-ECC DDR, 266/333 I/O functions. It also supports direct data is to research low-power Quad-Core Xeon L5518 processor with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the MHz SDRAM. The XVME-689-VR7 has VGA management and distribution between dual clocked at 1.73 GHz, and Intel’s 3420 chipset goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. Graphics out front panel or rear video support Gigabit Ethernet and communication interfaces used in high-performance Xeon servers. The Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, (pixel resolution up to 1600 x 1200 at 85 Hz). such as MIL-STD-1553, ARINC 429/575, RSL5518 memory controller supports ECC to Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products The EIDE Ultra-100 DMA controller supports 232/422/485 and CANBus. maintain the highest system integrity, and you are searching for. up to three EIDE devices, one PMC 32/64-bit The 64EP3 includes four module slots for provides the bandwidth necessary to support www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected 33/66 MHz site (IEEE P1386/P1386.1) with numerous mix-and-match configurations high-performance I/O. XV2 memory is front panel I/O bezel and user I/O on optional from a wide selection of multifunction I/O expandable to 24 Gbytes of DDR III memory. P0 rear connector. and communication modules. The available The XV2 base configuration includes 3 Additional options available on the XVMEI/O functions include A/D, D/A, Discrete/ Gbytes of DDR III memory, four Gigabit 689-VR7 are EIDE onboard 1.8-inch hard TTL/CMOS/Differential I/O, RTD, Synchro/ Ethernet ports, five SATA II ports, four SAS drive, CompactFlash carrier, two Serial Resolver/LVDT/RVDT Measurement and ports, eight USB 2.0 ports and two XMC/PMC ATA150 (SATA150) Simulation and Encoder/Counter. Available Get Connected slots. An onboard ES1000 and video controllerproviding withATI technology companies solutions now external devices and a floppy disk interface. SCSI can be added with communication functions include MILis provided with either front or rear panel VGA Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research th the use of a SCSI PMC board. PMC expansion STD-1553, ARINC 429/575, RS-232/422/485 datasheetdisplay access. Storage is provided through from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connect forwhatever two additional PMC sites is available and CANBus. The enhanced motherboard in touch with thethe useright of an onboard CompactFlash or with resource. Whichever level of service you require for type of technology, thesearching XVME-976/209. This XVME-689design, using multiple DSPs, enables higher an optional 2.5-inch SATA drive.and productsusing Get Connected will helponboard you connect with the companies you are for. VR7 processor module allows users to take processing power and dedicated control for The computer includes dual-Gigabit Ethernet www.cotsjournalonline.com/ge advantage of the low-power, multiprocessing each I/O module. The U3 Processor Module to support the modern highly networked capability of the VMEbus while using standard utilizes Freescale’s 1.25 GHz e500 core environments. off-the-shelf PC software, operating systems MPC8536 PowerPC processor, coupled with Themis Computer and VMEbus I/O modules. Wind River’s VxWorks 6.x BSP and NAI’s full Fremont, CA. complement of libraries; system integrators are Xembedded (510) 252-0870. given complete control over the development of Ann Arbor, MI. their I/O systems using a total NAI solution. [www.themis.com].

Products

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

Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected

(734) 975-0577. [www.xembedded.com].

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51


Products

COTS

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Video Display System Is Configured Specifically for 3x3 Walls

The U.S. military has made its transition from paper maps to video displays that combine Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected complex video and with images. Serving needs, RGBinSpectrum offers a new configuration Getdata, Connected companies andsuch products featured this section. of its MediaWall 4500 line of display wall processors. Designed for the popular 3x3 display www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected configuration found in many control rooms, the MediaWall 4500 3x3 includes all of the features of the MediaWall, including robust 24/7 operation with up to 30 graphic and video windows. The family of processors allows images to be displayed anywhere, any size, within or across screens, in correct aspect ratio or stretched to fit, in whole or zoomed to emphasize details. Input alternatives include RGB/DVI, HD/3G-SDI and analog video modules. An HDCP option allows the display of protected content. The MediaWall 4500 line of processors provides buyers with a system that can be sized according to requirements, resulting in an attractive price point. All MediaWall processors have a custom, high-performance architecture rather than a PC, with faster updates, more display flexibility, robustness and security. Real-time display of inputs is guaranteed under all conditions, without dropped frames.

RGB Spectrum, Alameda, CA. (510) 814-7000. [www.rgb.com].

Notebook Offers Improved Graphics and Fanless Rugged Design

CompactPCI PlusIO SBC Excels in Safety-Critical Operations

Rugged laptops serve an increasingly important role in military systems as a user interface or control system. Getac has upgraded its B300 rugged notebook computer with faster processors, improved graphics and increased storage. Getac offers a third generation 2.6 GHz Intel Core i5-3320M (MAX 3.3) or 2.9 GHz Core i7-3520M (MAX 3.6) processor to improve CPU performance by up to 67% and nearly double the graphic performance with a 91% gain over the previous generation. In addition, the B300 now comes standard with a 500 Gbyte hard drive and offers solid-state drive storage up to 256 Gbytes. The Getac B300 incorporates Getac’s industry-leading QuadraClear display technology. For military soldiers working in hostile areas, the B300 can also be configured with a filter-free night vision mode ensuring easy viewing without giving away your location. The B300 features the ultra-fast USB 3.0 and USB 3.0/eSata combo ports, both HDMI and VGA ports, a IEEE 1394a port, an Ethernet port and two legacy RS-232 serial ports. Additionally, the B300 offers built-in GPS, 4G LTE wireless Internet and a host of security features including a built-in fingerprint reader, Intel vPro Technology and TPM 1.2.

MEN Micro offers a new safe CompactPCI PlusIO SBC that integrates three Intel Atom E680T processors on one card. The F75P features two redundant CPUs with independent RAM and Flash memory for increased system safety as well as a third processor that controls the I/O interfaces. Independent supervisor units monitor the environmental conditions of the two control CPUs and put the system into a safe state if proper operational parameters are not met. The board offers both fail-silent and fail-safe architectures. Using two Intel Atom E680T processors, each with 512 Mbyte DDR2 RAM and operating at 1.6 GHz, the F75P combines the benefits of a redundant multiprocessing system with the ruggedness and flexibility of the CompactPCI PlusIO standard on a single card. The third Intel Atom E680T, featuring 1 Gbyte DDR2, controls the I/O, passing on the commands sent by the two control CPUs to the interfaces across an internal, FPGA-based Ethernet link. For even more system reliability, two F75P SBCs can be clustered. Standard front I/O includes one VGA interface, twoFast Ethernet and two USB, while the rear provides access to one PCI Express port, four USB, one SATA and two Fast Ethernet. Pricing for the F75P is $3,945.

Getac USA, Irvine, CA. (949) 681-2900. [us.getac.com].

MEN Micro, Abler, PA. (215) 542-9575. [www.menmicro.com].

Narrow 30W Switching Power Supplies Are ITE Certified TDK has announced the release of TDK-Lambda’s new ZWS10-30B Series of open-frame, 2-inch wide power supplies, with output power ratings of 10, 15 and 30W. The unit consumes less than 0.5W under no-load conditions (0.2W typical). They feature a narrow width of 2 inches and a low profile of 1 inch or less depending on the output rating. The 10W models are only 2.89 inches long, the 15W models are 3.44” long, and the 30W models are only 4.13 inches long. Operating from a universal 85 to 265 Vac input, these single output power supplies are available with a choice of output voltage, including of 3.3V, 5V, 12V, 15V, or 24 VDC. The supplies are available now and priced from $22.00 each in 50 piece lots.

TDK-Lambda Americas, San Diego, CA. (619) 628-2859. [www.us.tdk-lambda.com]. 52

COTS Journal | January 2013


COTS PRODUCTS Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected

PCI/104-Express Card Targets Video and Streaming Get Connected with companies and products featuredStorage in this section.

The Tiny-PPC837 communications controller from Advanced Micro Peripherals (AMP) is an www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected

industry standard PCI/104-Express form factor card offering both PCI Express and traditional 32-bit PCI interfaces. The Tiny-PPC837 has been expressly designed for demanding digital video storage and video streaming applications. Advanced features include fanless conduction-cooled operation, 2 Gbytes of high speed 400 MHz DDR memory, an integrated security encryption accelerator and dual integrated Gigabit Ethernet ports. The Tiny-PPC 387 is perfect for use in a host of extreme situations where robust communications can mean the difference between success and failure including AUV and robotic applications among many others.

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

PCIe/104 SBC Serves Up 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N2600 Dual Core CPU Reducing size, weight and power (SWaP) in military embedded systems has to start with embedded computing technology that’s in line with such goals. With that in mind, ADL Embedded Solutions offers the ADLN2000PC PCIe/104 SBC. The ADLN2000PC features the Intel Atom N2600 processor with integrated HD graphics engine and memory controller functions. The processor interfaces to the ICH9M-E, which is also used on the ADLD25PC, but provides the PCIe/104 I/O bandwidth necessary to enable performance-based rugged, portable or thermally constrained applications. The ADLN2000PC has an Intel rated Thermal Design Power (TDP) maximum of only 3.5W, yet has enhanced graphics including dual-channel video capability at full 1080P with full MPEG2 (VLD/iDCT/ MC) and HW decode/acceleration for MPEG4 (AVC/H.264). In addition to the wide range of rugged, extended temperature or harsh environment applications in which the ADLN2000PC can excel, it also supports a healthy set of features. The ADLN2000PC has two Gbit/s LAN ports and dual independent display capability with VGA, LVDS, DisplayPort and HDMI/DVI ports available. The ADLN2000PC also has two RS-232 COM ports, 2x SATA with RAID support, and 8x USB 2.0 are also supported on board, with an additional two SATA 3G and two USB 2.0 ports available on the down-stacking Type 2 PCIe/104 connector. The ADLN2000PC can optionally be expanded by adding the PCIe mini-card Socket, which includes the additional USB 2.0 ports and can be used for Wi-Fi, DDC-1553, CAN bus, Ethernet or other functions.

Laptop Provides 8-Core Intel XEON E5-2690, RAID 10 and 64 Gbyte of RAM The Eurocom Panther 4.0 is a supercomputer laptop that delivers 2D/3D capabilities. It offers three levels of functionality. The first is as a high-performance Quadro Workstation when equipped with NVIDIA Quadro K5000M graphics with 4 Gbytes of error correcting code DDR5 memory. The second is as an all in one server when equipped with an Intel Xeon E5-2687W, RAID 5 and running operating systems such as Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and VMware ESXi. The third configuration is as a high-performance workstation for CUDA development when equipped with dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M graphics or dual NVIDIA Quadro K5000M graphics.

Eurocom, Nepean, Ontario, Canada. (613) 224-6122. [www.eurocom.com].

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

XMC Card Delivers 8-Channels of MIL-STD-1553 Data Device Corp. has introduced the BU-67112 MIL-STD-1553 XMC card, designed to meet the data demands of mission-critical military aerospace applications. The card’s advanced I/O incorporates DDC’s Total-AceXtreme fully integrated MIL-STD-1553 component with unique low-power ASIC design. By combining protocol, transceivers and transformers all in one compact component, the Total-AceXtreme utilizes significantly less parts compared to other designs, enabling the card to deliver significant power savings and increased performance, along with a greater MTBF, and a high channel count. Because the card has fewer parts than similar solutions, it has higher MTBF and lower power. Its low power in turn enables a smaller power supply and easier cooling. The board’s high channel count saves XMC sites/sockets.

Data Device Corp., Bohemia, NY. (631) 567-5600. [www.ddc-web.com]. January 2013 | COTS Journal

53


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3U Mission Computer Embeds 3rd Gen Quad Corei7 and GPGPU Get Connected with 240-Core companies and products featured in this section.

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions (CWCDS) www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected has begun shipping an enhanced version of its MPMC-9335 Multi-Platform Mission Computer (MPMC). The MPMC-9335 is the latest member of Curtiss-Wright’s extensive family of fully integrated COTS highly rugged, fully integrated and qualified MPMC subsystems. With its latest generation quad-core Intel Corei7 single board computer (SBC) and 240-core NVIDIA Fermi GPGPU, the cost-effective, rugged MPMC-9335 is especially well suited for demanding compute intensive applications such as image, data and radar processing. The MPMC-9335 delivers the latest generation processing power through the combination of its CWCDS 3U VPX VPX3-1256 quad core Intel-based SBC and leading-edge 3U VPX VPX3-491 NVIDIA Fermi GPGPU-based compute engine, both of which are contained in a rugged enclosure that measures a compact 250 cubic inches. The MPMC-9335 is designed to meet the harsh environments of many military and aerospace computing applications. To ensure the highest level of performance, the MPMC-9335 has been designed to pass numerous environmental tests including Temperature, Altitude, Shock, Vibration, Fluid Susceptibility, Voltage Spikes, Electrostatic Discharge and more. Circuit cards installed in the sealed compact chassis are completely isolated from external environmental conditions such as humidity, dust and sand. The MPMC-9335 features a rugged enclosure designed to the meet military specifications including MIL-STD-810 for environmental conditions, MIL-STD-461 for EMI and DEF-STAN 61-5 for power. This rugged computing system is designed to fill multiple roles in air and land vehicles. Pricing for the MPMC-9335 starts around $36,000.

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

RAD-Hard DC/DC Voltage Regulators Target Space Systems

100 Watt DC/DC Converter Features 1/16 Brick Package

International Rectifier has introduced a series of high current, ultra-low dropout (ULDO) RAD-Hard hybrid linear voltage regulators available in Standard Microcircuit Drawings (SMD) for space applications including satellites and launch vehicles. The new Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), Land and Maritime certified voltage regulators are also included in IR’s Radiation Hardness Assurance (RHA) program certified by DLA Land and Maritime division (formerly DSCC) that guarantees the devices’ radiation performance down to the component level. The space level screened devices, designed for point-of-load and post DC/DC power conversion, offer a low dropout voltage of only 0.4V at full 3A load. They are available in two industry standard package styles, a 5-pin MO078AA and an 8-pins flat pack, each with multiple lead bend options. The new regulators feature a Silicon On Insulator (SOI) CMOS Regulator IC, latch-up and SEU immunity with LET of 84 MeV.cm2/mg, as well as outstanding TID rating of 300 Krad(Si) and ELDRS testing in excess of 100 Krad(Si) with negligible effect on regulation tolerance. In addition, the devices provide fast transient response, timed latch-off over-current protection and internal thermal protection, and on/off control via shutdown pin. Pricing starts from $964 each in mid-volume quantities. Flight models are available immediately.

Murata has announced the ULS series of Murata Power Solutions,100 watt fully regulated DC/DC converters designed for use in distributed or intermediate bus power architectures. Delivering up to 100W from an industry standard 1/16 brick package opens new design opportunities for power engineers needing to maximize power density where board space and efficiency are top priorities. The ULS series delivers efficiencies up to 92% on the 12Vout model and 91% on the 3.3 and 5 Vout models. Within the ULS series three single output models are available providing engineers with options including 3.3, 5, or 12 VDC outputs. The standard features include an input voltage range of 36-75V, meeting the insulation requirements of EN60950 up to 2,250 VDC, remote on/ off control, over temperature protection, over current protection and input under voltage protection. The output can be trimmed up or down by 10% in order to make up for load losses or to suit special application requirements. The modules include output voltage sense pins that maintain output regulation to within +/-0.2% across all input line and load conditions. The modules are offered in either thru-hole or SMT versions and are rated for operation from -40° to 85°C. With lead times from stock to 12 weeks, pricing at 1,000 pieces ranges from $23.00 to $25.00, depending on the model.

International Rectifier, El Segundo, CA. (310) 726-8000. [www.irf.com].

Murata Power Solutions, Mansfield, MA. (508) 339-3000. [www.murata-ps.com].

200 Volt Schottky Rectifier Family Adds Devices with 2 to 20 Amps Solid State Devices has announced additions to the 200-volt silicon Schottky rectifier product family. This product line delivers the highest voltage ratings in the industry for hermetically sealed silicon Schottky devices. The latest Schottky products in this family feature a forward current rating of 2 amps to 20 amps. The devices are offered in a variety of current, voltage and package configurations. In addition to their electrical advantages, all of these new Schottky rectifiers are available in hermetically sealed surface mount packages with extremely small footprints and low profiles. For example, the maximum dimensions for the SMD.22 are 0.157 (W) x 0.227 (L) x 0.075 (H) inches. These devices are also available to be screened at TX, TXV, or S level.

Solid State Devices, La Mirada, CA. (562) 404-4474. [www.ssdi-power.com]. 54

COTS Journal | January 2013


FPGA Processing Boards & Small Form Factor Boards Showcase Featuring the latest in FPGA Processing Boards & Small Form Factor Boards technologies

USB-104-HUB Rugged, industrialized, four-port USB hub Extended temperature operation (-40°C to +85°C) Supports bus powered and selfpowered modes Three power input connectors (power jack, screw terminals, or 3.5” drive Berg power connector) USB/104 form-factor for OEM embedded applications OEM version (board only) features PC/104 module size and mounting compatibility Includes micro-fit embedded USB header connectors

ACCES I/O Products, Inc. Phone: (858) 550-9559 Fax: (858) 550-7322

PC/104-Plus Watchdog Board

SNAP 12 Optical FPGA Card

Software selectable timeout from 4 µsec Watchdog open collector reset outputs Temperature measurement, monitor, and alarm Light sensor for enclosure security Fan status and speed control Extended temperature (-40°C to +85°C) PCI/104 power monitor / limit alarm interrupt Opto-isolated input to trigger reset General purpose opto-isolated input, two outputs Two general purpose 8-bit A/D inputs External fused 5V and 12V power

ACCES I/O Products, Inc. Phone: (858) 550-9559 Fax: (858) 550-7322

Kontron America Phone: (888) 294-4558 Fax: (858) 677-0898

E-mail: contactus@accesio.com Web: www.accesio.com

This input/output board provides fullduplex high-bandwidth transfers with a 8-lane Gen2 PCI Express interface and a 12-lane optical interface. Up to 5Gb/s per direction via PCI Express Optical channels provides up to 3.3Gb/s per direction 8GB of high-speed DDR3 SDRAM. Xilinx Virtex-6 based

Conduant Corporation E-mail: contactus@accesio.com Web: www.accesio.com

Phone: (303) 485-2721 x107 Fax: (303) 485-5104

E-mail: info@conduant.com Web: www.conduant.com

3U VPX Xilinx® Virtex®-5 FPGA Processor Board with FMC Site – VX3830

MIL-SPEC Approved Conductive Elastomer Compounds

VX3830 is a 3U FPGA Mezzanine Card (FMC) carrier board based on a Xilinx® Virtex®-5 FPGA. VX3830 is a member of Kontron’s VITA 46 VPX Ecosystem which facilitates the implementation of VPX through an integrated offering. 3U VPX Carrier Board for VITA 57 FPGA Mezzanine Cards (FMC) Increased I/O Flexibility and Scalable Development Solutions x4 or x1 PCI-Express Backplane Interface Standard Air- and Rugged Conduction-Cooled Versions

The Only MIL-SPEC Certified Manufacturer of All 12 Conductive Elastomer Compounds! All 12 MIL-DTL-83528D compounds QPL Certified by Defense Logistics Agency Extruded, Molded and Die-Cut Parts Silicone, Fluorosilicone and EPDM elastomers and Six Fillers Custom Formulations and Gaskets Available

E-mail: info@us.kontron.com Web: www.kontron.com

Leader Tech Phone: (813) 855-6921 Fax: (813) 855-3291

E-mail: sales@leadertechinc.com Web: www.leadertechinc.com


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10 Watt DC/DC Converters Offer -40° to +75°C Operation Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section.

The Minmax MKW10M Series is a 1-W, high performance converter with reinforced 4200 VAC www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected I/O-isolation. This compact industry standard 2”x1” shielded metal package is an ideal, economic solution for space-saving, performance-demanding applications. The MKW10M Series is approved to UL/CSA/EN/IEC60601-1 3rd Edition standards and is 2xMOOP rated. The MKW10M Series features 2:1 input ranges of 12 VDC, 24 VDC and 48 VDC and provides regulated single/dual outputs with comprehensive protection circuitry. High efficiency ratings, up to 82%, allow for an operating temperature range of -40° to +75°C. The MKW10M Series is priced at less than $29.00 for OEM quantities.

Minmax Power, Hudson, MA. (978) 567-9635. [www.minmaxpower.com].

1.8 GHz Dual Core Rugged Fanless PC Is Waterproof Military users put computers through a lot more demanding conditions than civilian users. Feeding that need, Stealth Computer has released a new fanless rugged waterproof PC model: WPC-525F, designed for environments where ordinary computers won’t survive. The new Stealth WPC-525F is a rugged computer that is water-tight, survives liquids, chemicals, dust and dirt intrusion and meets IP67/NEMA 6 environmental specifications. Designed without cooling fans, the internal CPU is passively cooled through the robust small form factor chassis design measuring only 10.15(W) x 6.22 (D) x 2.04 (H) inches or (258 x 158 x 52 mm) in size and providing noise free operation. The WPC-525F is powered by Intel’s D525 1.8 GHz Dual Core CPU for maximum performance and power efficiency and built utilizing SSD (Solid State Drives) that can withstand extreme temperatures, high vibration/shock/humidity, as well as high altitudes. The WPC-525F waterproof PC features power, video (VGA), 2x LAN (RJ45), serial (RS-232) and 4x USB 2.0 connections that are coupled through water-tight, locking bayonet style connectors typical of military designed hardware. The durable water-resistant PC operates from a wide range of DC input power (6-36 VDC) making it an ideal fit for mobile/marine, field and transportation based applications. Systems are fully compatible with Microsoft Windows 7/ XP, Linux, etc. and can be custom configured to meet the exact needs of the OEM or end user. The WPC-525F has integrated VESA mounting holes (75 mm/100 mm) providing for easy and secure mounting. Basic configurations of the waterproof PC start at $1,595.

2.5 GHz COFDM RF Power Amplifier DCH Provides 5W The TXM119 is a 1.7 to 5W (P1dB) PA module designed for COFDM Video link applications and general purpose use. The unit has 11 dB gain with 0.3 dB flatness across the band. Current draw is 750 mA at 1W COFDM output. High-speed switching and over / under / reverse voltage protection are standard. The unit’s dimensions are 3.75 x 1.9 x 0.49 inches. This class A GaAs module is designed for both military and commercial COFDM video link applications. It is capable of supporting any signal type and modulation format, including but not limited to 3-4G telecom, WLAN, OFDM, DVB and CW/AM/FM. The latest device technologies and design methods are employed to offer high power density, efficiency and linearity in a small, lightweight package.

DCH Systems, Orange, NJ. (973) 419-6499. [www.dchsys.com].

Stealth Computer, Woodbridge, Ontario, (905) 264-9000. [www.stealth.com].

GUI Development Board with Projected-Capacitive Touch A new tool makes it easy for designers to add the combination of multitouch projectedcapacitive interfaces and high-quality 16-bit color graphics to WQVGA displays in any application. Additionally, the PIC32 GUI Development Board from Microchip Technology using Microchip’s 32-bit PIC32 microcontroller can directly drive LCDs, eliminating the cost and complexity of an external graphics controller. Microchip’s onboard MTCH6301 is a turnkey projected-capacitive touch controller that simplifies the integration of popular multi-touch and gestures with greatly reduced design time and risk. The board enables bezel mounting and connections between LCD displays and most of the PIC32’s on-chip peripherals. The board is priced at $249.

Microchip Technology, Chandler, AZ. (888) 624-7435. [www.microchip.com]. 56

COTS Journal | January 2013


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Rugged Portable High-Bandwidth Signalfeatured Recorder Get RF/IF Connected with companies and products in this section.

A new RF/IF signal recording and playback system features recording and playback of IF signals up www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected to 700 MHz with signal bandwidths to 200 MHz. The Model RTR 2727 rugged portable recorder from Pentek can be configured with 500 MHz 12-bit A/Ds or 400 MHz 14-bit A/Ds and an 800 MHz 16-bit D/A. Pentek’s SystemFlow software allows turnkey operation through a graphical user interface (GUI), while the SystemFlow application programming interface (API) allows easy integration of the recording software into custom applications. At the heart of the recorder are the Pentek Cobalt Series Virtex-6 software radio boards featuring A/D and D/A converters, DDCs (digital downconverters), DUCs (digital upconverters) and FPGA IP. This architecture allows the system engineer to take full advantage of the latest technology in a turnkey solution. Optional GPS time and position stamping captures this critical signal information within the recording. The RTR 2727 has a portable, lightweight chassis with up to eight hot-swap solid state drives (SSDs), front panel USB ports and I/O connections on the side panel. Its extremely rugged, 100 percent aluminum alloy case is reinforced with shock absorbing rubber corners and an impact-resistant protective screen. Shock- and vibration-resistant solid-state drives (SSD) with combined capacity to 3.8 Terabytes make the RTR 2727 a reliable, portable field instrument. Available I/O includes audio and VGA video, RS-232/422/485 serial, multiple USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, eSATA and dual GbE connections. The built-in Windows 7 Professional workstation with an Intel Core i7 processor gives the user total flexibility in routing data to various drives, networks and I/O channels. Also, the user can install post-processing and analysis tools on the system itself to operate on the recorded data. The RTS 2727 starts at $39,995.

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

New Qseven Module Sports Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A9

PXI Express Card Does Uncompressed HDMI Video and Audio Capture

A low-power, high-performance embedded Qseven module with strong graphics capabilities is offered with three different processor versions and may be used for single-core, dual-core or even quad-core computing. The new Qseven module MSC Q7-IMX6 from MSC Embedded uses the Freescale i.MX6 processor, which contains an ARM Cortex-A9 RISC CPU with one, two or even four cores. The module provides two banks of DDR3 DRAMs supporting between 512 Mbytes and 4 Gbytes of memory. A 128 Mbyte NOR Flash device stores the boot loader while an optional NAND Flash memory (up to 8 Gbytes) can be used as a Flash Disk. The quad-core version will be priced around $180 in medium volumes.

A new PXI Express HDMI video and audio capture card enables integration of full single-card analog/digital video and digital audio input. The PXIe-HDV62A from Adlink Technology delivers superior quality high-definition video data from DVI or HDMI sources, provides analog video decoding, and comprehensively supports RGB, NTSC/PAL, S-video and YPbPr formats, with an integrated audio decoder for HDMI and S/PDIF capture. Adlink’s PXIeHDV62A further supports uncompressed full HD up to 1080p at 60 fps, 10-bit high-resolution ADC, and HDCP. High integration allows the PXIeHDV62A to easily manage a multitude of video and audio inputs, reducing total cost of ownership and installation. The PXIe-HDV62A supports LabView and Microsoft DirectShow, reducing engineering effort and accelerating time-to-market. The PXIeHDV62A is also equipped with Adlink’s ViewCreatorPro utility, enabling system testing and debugging with no software programming required. Full driver support is provided for Windows 7/XP. A recommended PXI Express platform includes the PXES-2590 all-hybrid 9-slot PXIe chassis and the PXIe-3975, a 3U PXIe controller with Intel Core i5-520E 2.4 GHz processor.

MSC Embedded, San Bruno, CA. (650) 616 4068. [www.mscembedded.com].

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

Interactive Panel PC Embeds Atom CPU and NM10 Chipset A new Panel PC is based on the Intel Atom dual-core processor D2550 1.86 GHz and the Intel NM10 chipset. The EUDA2 from American Portwell comes standard with a true flat projected capacitive multi-touch display. With its ultra-slim and lightweight aluminum tooling, it is rugged yet stylish. Its cable-less design, HDD tray and wide DC input range add to its flexibility and durability. The COM port and I/O board docking are selectable via BIOS. Furthermore, it is compliant with VESA mounting standards, which further testify to the universality of the EUDA2. The EUDA2 is compact, 50 mm thick and a 12.1- or 15-inch display. With its multi-touch and stylish industrial design combined with a painted and seamless assembly, the EUDA2 is capable of operating in a 0° to 50°C temperature range. It is resistant to vibrations up to 1G and shock up to 15G.

American Portwell, Fremont, CA. (510) 403-3399. [www.portwell.com]. 58

COTS Journal | January 2013


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Compact Chassis Mount Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected Supplies

AC-DC Power Ease Installation

Five new series of encapsulated AC-DC power supplies range from 5W to 25W. The VSK-T family from CUI is housed in a potted and encapsulated chassis mount package, providing a convenient mounting solution when a dedicated circuit board for the power system is either not feasible or is cost-prohibitive. The units are compact, measuring as small as 76 x 31.5 x 24 mm (2.99 x 1.24 x 0.94 in) in the 5W series. The package design also protects against environmental factors such as dust, moisture, and shock and vibration, making these AC-DC modules ideally suited for use in a range of low-power applications. The VSK-T family provides a universal input of 85 to 264 VAC and fully regulated DC outputs of 3.3, 5, 9, 12, 15, 24 and 48 VDC depending on the series. The modules reach efficiencies of up to 87% and carry UL/cUL and CE 60950-1 certifications. The VSK-T family is available immediately with prices starting at $8.90 (1000s).

CUI, Tualatin, OR. (503) 612-2300. [www.cui.com].

PCI Express Fabric Offers 5.6 Gbyte/s Data Throughput PLX and Kontron have announced an advanced deployment of PCI Express (PCIe) technology as a backplane interconnect. Built around PLX ExpressLane PCIe 3.0 (Gen3) switches, Kontron’s VX3042 and VX3044 Intel Core i7-based SBCs routinely achieve 5.6 Gbytes/s in data throughput between any boards in a VPX rack and leverage PLX’s PCIe Gen3 switching technology along with Kontron’s exclusive VXFabric software. In addition to having two 10 Gigabit Ethernet channels already featured on the boards, VXFabric implements TCP/IP over PCI Express as a second data plane for higher-performance embedded computing. This combination of features enables efficient system convergence, as all devices and subsystems offer native PCIe, which permits immediate use of an existing infrastructure, thereby lowering latency, cost and power. Kontron VXFabric provides the software between the PLX ExpressLane switch and the bottom of a standard TCP/IP stack, which allows the boards to use their existing TCP/IP-based application without having to be modified. PLX switches offer the ability to combine different data types in a single converged pathway. Data (compute, communication or storage) are created and consumed as PCIe on each of the slots in the rack, delivering efficiency both in hardware architectural and software usage. Kontron VXFabric software simplifies and accelerates application development and helps to extend application lifecycles as it enables migration to emerging hardware communication standards, such as 10G and 40G Ethernet. The software streamlines the task of inter-CPU communication in VPX system architectures. The VX3042 and VX3044 represent Kontron’s third generation of 3U OpenVPX SBCs, both using Intel Core i7 processors and featuring native support for 10GB Ethernet and PCIe Gen3. The boards are specifically designed to provide the proper combination of leading-edge performance in CPU computing power and I/O bandwidth.

Mini-ITX Motherboard Carries Third Gen Core Processors A Mini-ITX motherboard is optimized for the latest Intel technologies using the third Generation Intel Core i7 Mobile ECC processor and Intel QM77 Express Chipset. The X9SPV-M series boards from Supermicro are vPro compliant with 25W CPU i7-3555LE for X9SPV-M4 and 17W i7-3517UE for X9SPV-M43UE model. The X9SPV M series offer highspeed I/O via PCI Express 3.0 and USB 3.0, 3 digital output with Display Port, HDMI and DVI-I. The mini-PCIe with mSATA support can be used for an even smaller footprint with removal of the HDD cage and cabling and using a mSATA SSD drives. Quad LAN support provides more networking bandwidth for applications that utilize digital output and embedded graphics as a control device or a video streaming appliance. Intel HD Graphics 4000 provides applications three independent displays with great HD to HD transcode performance.

Supermicro, San Jose, CA. 408-503-8000. [www.supermicro.com].

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

Multicore MCU Family Doubles Real-Time USB Performance Three new USB-equipped multicore microcontroller products address the processing and interfacing needs of a broad range of embedded applications. The new products from Xmos are the U10-128; U12-128; and the U16-128, which provide 10, 12 and 16 logical cores respectively and deliver up to 1000 MIPS of deterministic parallel computing, along with 128 Kbytes of on chip RAM. The family takes advantage of the recently announced xSOFTip range of software-based peripherals and processing blocks. A wide range of audio DSP blocks are also available including filters, equalizers, stereo spatalization and mixers. The devices incorporate a High Speed USB 2.0 PHY and can support 480 Mbit/ data-rates and USB Audio Class 2. The XS1-U8-64 is available now, priced from $6.00 in volume.

XMOS, Bristol, UK. +44 117 927 6004. [www.xmos.com]. January 2013 | COTS Journal

59


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PCI/104-Express Frame Grabber Offers Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected Four Channels A new PCI/104-Express 4-channel frame grabber with audio capture simultaneously captures four channels of analog video and four channels of stereo audio. The Model 911 from Sensoray captures raw video frames from each channel at up to the full frame rate, resulting in an aggregate frame capture rate of up to 120 fps for NTSC and 100 fps for PAL. The high frame capture rate, through two x1 links of PCIe bus interface, makes it well suited for applications that require uncompromising capturing of multiple video sources in a compact form factor, such as remote video surveillance and traffic monitoring. Quantity 2-9 pricing is $581.

Sensoray, Tigard, OR. (503) 684-8005. [www.sensoray.com].

RF Connector Modules Meet New VITA 67 Standards The VITA 67.0, 67.1 and 67.2 standards, which define the RF connector modules for implementation within the OpenVPX architecture, have been ratified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). TE Connectivity’s (TE) RF connector modules, which meet these new standards, have been designed for high-reliability, high-density aerospace and defense applications that meet the vibration, environmental and corrosion resistance requirements of VITA 47. The new VITA 67 standards enhance the ability to add RF capabilities in VITA 46 VPX board-to-board connections. The modules provide a convenient and standardized microwave interface and also meet the needs of C4ISR applications such as ground base stations and communication systems, land and sea anti-ballistic signal processing, avionics and ground-based radar systems, and electronic countermeasures. The modular design allows application-specific configurations with high contact counts in VPX systems. The RF connector modules are compatible with VITA 65 OpenVPX specification, which defines standard profiles for various configurations at the chassis, backplane, slot and module levels. RF modules are available with standard 4 positions (VITA 67.1) or 8 positions (VITA 67.2) of high-frequency coaxial contacts for blind-mate daughtercard to backplane applications. The SMPM-based contacts are on a 0.240-inch centerline, and the module interface is designed to maintain excellent channel-to-channel isolation, over 100dB at 30 GHz. The jacks are designed with float on the daughtercard side to accommodate mating tolerances and confirm that the RF interface is bottomed through the full board-to-board tolerance range, maintaining a positive RF ground and supporting frequencies up to 40 GHz.

Software Enables Blending of RTOS and Windows Applications An updated release of INtime for Windows and the new INtime Distributed RTOS from TenAsys provide a new level of flexibility for embedded system developers in reducing system-level costs and adding scalability to PC-based embedded designs. With INtime Release 5, designers can now develop RTOS applications alongside Windows, or stand-alone RTOS applications with the same tools and familiar Microsoft Visual Studio integrated development environment. This gives users the flexibility to use and move INtime software code and applications across environments to INtime for Windows, addressing applications with advanced Windows-based humanmachine interfaces (HMIs) or INtime Distributed RTOS, ideal for running deeplyembedded applications.

TenAsys, Beaverton, OR. (503) 748-4720. [www.tenasys.com].

TE Connectivity, Berwyn, PA. (610) 893-9800. [www.te.com].

Fourth Generation ATCA Shelf Management Solution A new fourth generation Shelf Management Mezzanine (ShMM) product has been tested in customer shelves for many months and multiple customer-specific Shelf Manager boards are now in development. The ShMM700R module from Pigeon Point Systems is based on the 204-pin DDR3 SODIMM form factor. Release 3.0.0 of the Pigeon Point Shelf Manager supports the ShMM-700R, the ShMM-500R and the ShMM-1500R. With the ShMM-700R, the Shelf Manager runs on Pigeon Point Linux, which is based on the 2.6.34 revision of the Linux kernel. The ShMM-700R uses a Freescale i.MX287 ARM9-based main processor to execute Linux and the Shelf Manager application, plus a Microsemi SmartFusion A2F060 intelligent mixed signal FPGA for critical supplementary functions.

Pigeon Point Systems, Oceanside, CA. 760-757-2304. [www.pigeonpoint.com]. 60

COTS Journal | January 2013


COTS PRODUCTS Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected

Rugged Handheld DeviceandRuns 2.3 Get Connected with companies productsAndroid featured in this section. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected Operating System

Rugged IF Signal Recorder Suits Extreme Environments

ADLINK Technology has announced the IMX-2000, the first industrial mobile handheld device utilizing the Android 2.3 operating system. Combining high-performance RFID, barcode scanner and 3G/WLAN wireless transmission functions to satisfy diverse application requirements, the IMX-2000 can be applied in a wide range of applications. With an 800 MHz computation capacity, as well as superior resistance to impact, water and dust, the IMX-2000 has the capacity to enhance productivity and significantly reduce costs. The IMX-2000 adopts the Android 2.3 operating system to offer a qualified and user-friendly interface. With a 3.5� resistor-type touch panel, the IMX-2000 is well proven to be readable in sunlight for outdoor purposes. Equipped with a 5M pixel back camera, the IMX-2000 supports wireless broadband for real-time video communication and surveillance. Also, the memory is expandable via microSD supporting SDHC up to 32 Gbytes. Embedded with the rechargeable Lithium battery with 3900 mAh, the IMX-2000 can provide long-term operation. A charging cradle is also provided along with the IMX-2000 for added convenience.

The first of a new recorder family called Extreme Talon is an IF signal recording and playback system, suitable for military and aerospace applications, UAVs and other severe temperature, shock and vibration environments. The configurable, multi-channel Model RTX 2786 from Pentek features a compact, conduction-cooled halfATR chassis with up to 1.92 Terabytes of solid-state redundant array of independent disks (RAID) storage for sustained recording rates to 500 Mbytes/s. Pentek’s SystemFlow software allows turn-key operation through a graphical user interface, while the SystemFlow API allows for easy integration of the recording software into custom applications. The RTX 2786 digitizes and records multiple analog input channels using 200 MHz 16-bit ADCs. The system can capture up to 80 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth for IF signals ranging up to 700 MHz. Built-in digital downconverters allow signals to be translated to baseband. These signals can be reproduced at their original IF frequency using the optional 800 MHz 16-bit DAC with built-in digital upconversion. The recording system supports sustained recording rates to 500 Mbytes/s from up to four data channels. The RTX 2786 starts at $89,995.

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

meds1301_rtec_ad.indd 2

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

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COTS PRODUCTS Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected

1U Rackmount Platform Serves Up Dual Xeon Processors A new 1U rackmount platform based on Intel Sandy Bridge-EP Xeon processors was developed for maximum performance, scalability and functionality. In the PL-80430 from Win Enterprises, two Intel QuickPath Interconnects run up to 8.0 GT/s to support the unit’s two Intel Xeon LGA 2011 series Get companies and products featured in this section. processors. The two Xeon E5 series processors can support up Connected to eight coreswith each, plus 20 Mbyte cache and the latest PCIe 3.0 interface to provide 80 PCIewww.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected lanes. Each CPU socket supports 4 DDR3 channels with speeds up to 1600 MHz and a maximum capacity of up to 128 Gbytes of ECC memory. The Intel C604 chipset supports standard platform I/O and high-speed mass storage with two 2.5-inch SATA hard disks or solid state drives. The PL80430 platform can provide the OEM with different Ethernet port types.

WIN Enterprises, North Andover, MA. (978) 688-2000. [www.win-ent.com].

COM family with Freescale QorIQ Meets Compute-Intensive Needs COM Express modules offer a great solution for packing the highest density computing into upgradeable systems. A new family of COM Express-compliant Power Architecture processor modules features Freescale’s QorIQ 32-bit P2020 (COMe-cP2020) and the 64-bit P5020 (COMe-cP5020) processor. With its long-term availability of more than 10 years, fanless operation and support for the extended temperature range up to -40° to +70°C, the new modules are also designed to run in especially durable applications, even in harsh environments. The Kontron COMe-cP2020 in the COM Express compact (95 mm x 95 mm) form factor is based on the Freescale QorIQ P2020 dualcore power architecture with 1.2 GHz. The Kontron COMe-cP5020 in the COM Express basic (95 mm x 125 mm) form factor is based on the Freescale QorIQ P5020 dual-core power processor with 2.0 GHz. The board integrates up to 8 Gbytes of soldered DDR3 RAM at 1333 MHz and ECC. Two additional Mbytes of shared third level cache facilitate core-tocore communications to minimize accesses to main memory. Common features to both Computer-on-Modules are up to 2 Gbytes of NAND Flash as well as a socket for MicroSD cards on the module to offer reliable storage space for application data. Flexible interface support is guaranteed by 4 (COMe-cP2020) or 18 (COMe-bP5020) SERDES lanes, which can be configured according to applicationspecific needs in a whole range of different combinations for example as PCIe x4, sRIO x4 or Serial Gigabit Media Independent Interface (SGMII). The Kontron COMe-bP5020 also offers XAUI and SATA interfaces.

Kontron, Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [www.kontron.com]. Untitled-18 1 COTS Journal | January 2013 62

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www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected

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

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Company Page# Website

ACCES I/O Products, Inc....................62..................................www.accesio.com

North Atlantic Industries, Inc...............5.........................................www.naii.com

Aitech Defense Systems, Inc...............47.................................. www.rugged.com

One Stop Systems, Inc.....................21, 41................ www.onestopsystems.com

Ballard Technology, Inc.......................68............................www.ballardtech.com

Pentek, Inc...........................................67................................... www.pentek.com End of Article

Chassis Plans, LLC.............................27....................... www.chassis-plans.com

Pico Electronics, Inc...........................32..................... www.picoelectronics.com

Critical I/O...........................................15................................www.criticalio.com Get Connected with companies and products featured inCorp....................45...................www.databusproducts.com this section. Data Bus Products,

Real-Time & Embedded Get Connected Computing Conference.......................57......................................www.rtecc.com with companies mentioned in this article.

Embedded World Exhibition &

Red Rock Technologies, Inc.................4............................www.redrocktech.com

Conference 2013.................................63.......................www.embeddedworld.de

RTD Embedded Technologies, Inc.... 2, 34, 35.................................... www.rtd.com

Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc....25..................................www.xes-inc.com Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected FPGA Processing Boards & Small Form Factor Boards Showcase.................55

Get Connected companies mentioned in this article. SIE Computing Solutions, Inc..with ...........17. ....................................www.sie-cs.com

Intelligent Systems Source..............61, 65....www.intelligentsystemssource.com

Themis Computer................................44...................................www.themis.com

Mercury Systems, Inc..........................7.......................................www.mrcy.com

Trenton Systems, Inc...........................37..................... www.trentonsystems.com

Products

Index

www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected

www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected

www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected

SynQor................................................29...................................www.synqor.com

Microsoft Windows Embedded Evolve 2012.........................................33.....................www.evolve2012tour.com

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

Coming Next Month Special Feature: Boards and Systems for Video Processing: From Sensor to Shooter Video processing technology has moved front and center. Driving that is the trend toward every vehicle, every aircraft, every ship, every UAV and every soldier on the ground being able to quickly share video information with almost any level of the DoD’s operation. This section explores the display, GPU, board and box system technologies that are all a part of this push toward building out a Net-Centric military. Tech Recon: Changing Power Supply Trends for Board- and Box-Level Systems With the demand for more processing muscle ever present, there’s no avoiding the trend toward processors and other key components ramping up in wattage. And more power means more challenges dissipating heat. Rugged board- and box-level systems using VPX, CompactPCI and non-standard form factors are now available that address these problems themselves. Exotic techniques such as spray-cooling and liquid-cooling are all on the table as possible ways to attack the cooling challenge. Articles in this section touch on all these present-day and future cooling solutions. System Development: Anti-Tamper Issues and Security Solutions for Electronics Military systems that employ advanced electronics, new technologies and encrypted digital systems are always at risk of becoming perishable items. Reverse engineering exploitation of lost, captured and “misplaced” military systems threatens our national security and billions of dollars of R&D investment. This is a problem that has now moved front and center to the design process of military systems. This section explores the importance of “anti-tamper” circuitry and what military system designers need to do to keep pace with this challenging issue. Tech Focus: CompactPCI and CompactPCI Serial Boards The CompactPCI embedded form factor has achieved the maturity and broad product range that military system designers so crave. Now well into its second decade of existence, the 3U flavor of cPCI is particularly attractive to space/weightconstrained applications like avionics. The new serial version of cPCI adds new levels of bandwidth. This Tech Focus section updates readers on cPCI trends and provides a product album of representative 6U and 3U cPCI and cPCI Serial boards. 64

COTS Journal | January 2013


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. Today’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.

INTELLIGENTSYSTEMSSOURCE.COM


COTS

EDITORIAL Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

Reform Act Report Card

T

hanks to circumstances of scheduling, I’m writing this after the ominous January 1st, “Fiscal Cliff” deadline, granting me the benefit of knowing what happened. Of course, as it turned out nothing happened—or at least nothing that’s directly relevant to the defense industry. By dealing only with the tax cut portion of the issue and postponing the question of sequestration and managing the debt, it feels sort of like director Peter Jackson’s splitting of The Hobbit into three movies. And while (as a huge J.R.R. Tolkien nerd) I’m thrilled to be getting three Hobbit films, I’m not as happy about the continued uncertainty that our industry will be subjected to regarding how severe budget cuts will actually be. As the industry waits to find out whether the DoD budget cuts are “major” or “severe,” there is some comfort in a trend that we’ve often pointed to that’s positive for COTS Journal’s readers. That is that—even when overall budgets decline—the computing, communications and electronics portions of defense programs continue to be ripe with activity. That, along with a greater emphasis on tech upgrades, works in our favor as the DoD looks for designs and technology solutions that provide the most capabilities for the cost. With today’s fiscal pressures, and the threat of more to come, DoD officials have been wisely looking for ways to increase buying power by controlling cost and schedule overruns on weapon acquisition programs. Among these efforts in recent years has been the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009. Over the years there have been many similar efforts, with mixed success. These include the Packard Commission and the Goldwater-Nichols Act in the 1980s, and the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994. It takes time to know whether these types of reforms are achieving their intended effect. The GAO last month released a report studying the results of the 2009 Reform Act by looking at 11 weapons acquisition programs. According to the GAO report, the Reform Act along with other policy provisions have helped the DoD make inroads toward putting weapon acquisition programs on more solid footing. More attention has been given to requirements, costs, testing and reliability as early as Milestone A. The provisions of the act, when specifically focused on newer programs, are having a positive impact on the programs and the acquisition process. By increasing the amount of systems engineering knowledge that is brought to bear early, such programs are now more executable. The report’s research included a performance audit from January 2012 to December 2012. In order to determine the Reform Act’s impact on specific defense acquisition programs, the GAO chose as case studies, 11 weapon systems at various points in the development process 66

COTS Journal | January 2013

based on recommendations by Office of Secretary of Defense officials and GAO’s previous evaluations of these programs. Among these programs were the Ohio Class Submarine Replacement, the Ground Combat Vehicle, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, the Ship to Shore Connector and the KC-46 Tanker. As one interesting success example of the Reform Act, prior to starting development, an independent review team raised concerns about the Ground Combat Vehicle program’s many requirements and the risks associated with its 7-year schedule. As a result, the Army reduced the number of requirements by about 25 percent and prioritized them, giving contractors more flexibility in designing solutions. As another example, the developmental test and evaluation office—also resulting from the Reform Act—used test results to help the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program develop a more realistic reliability goal and a better approach to reach it. One very interesting success of the offices established as a result of the Reform Act was the ability to make trade-offs among cost, schedule and technical performance requirements. That allowed such programs as the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and Ground Combat Vehicle to attain a more realistic acquisition strategy. For its part, the JLTV program held several reviews prior to Milestone B to identify, modify, or eliminate requirements that were unachievable or unaffordable, thus establishing a more technically realistic program. By involving both the requirements and acquisition communities in the reviews, the Army was able to reduce the required capability to cut costs while ensuring that trade-off decisions would not impair the system’s ability to meet the warfighter’s operational needs. For example, the decision makers allowed the active suspension system, crew displays and integrated starter-generator to be tradable design features. That resulted in a 30 percent reduction in the average unit manufacturing cost from the initial target of $475,000 to $331,000, while at the same time reducing technical and weight risk. Another aspect covered by the Reform Act is an emphasis on the need for designing more reliable weapon systems. It charges the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Systems Engineering (DT&E) with the responsibility to ensure the systems engineering approach used by major acquisition programs includes a robust plan for improving reliability. Looking again at the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, the DT&E office helped this program develop a more realistic reliability growth plan prior to Milestone B. It recommended that the program eliminate the vehicle commonality assumption, add more test miles, and add another corrective action period to its test plan. Based on this input, the Army revised its plan by adding two vehicles and 40,000 more test miles to ensure reliability was adequately addressed for both variants.


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January 2013

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