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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing
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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing
Military Vehicle Computing and Comms
CONTENTS May 2013
SPECIAL FEATURE Military Vehicle Computing and Comms
10 Military Vehicle Modernization and Upgrade Efforts Strive for Efficiency Jeff Child
18 Military Vehicles Leverage the Blending of Computing and Comms
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 Close the Cyber Security Gap 8
The Inside Track
50 Editorial It’s about the People
Mike Southworth, Parvus
TECH RECON 10 Gbit Ethernet and PCIe Fabrics as Systen Solutions
24 Matching CPU and I/O Bandwidth Drives Next-Gen Radar and Sonar Vincent Chuffart, Kontron
SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT SSDs, Memory Modules and Storage Architectures
32 Virtualization and I/O Acceleration Fuel ATCA Success Steve Looby, SANBlaze Technology
TECHNOLOGY FOCUS FPGA Processing Boards
36 Board-Level FPGA Solutions Feed Signal Processing Needs Jeff Child
FPGA Processing Boards Roundup
Digital subscriptions available: cotsjournalonline.com
Coming in June See Page 48 On The Cover: The Abrams main battle tank is undergoing an effort called Engineering Change Proposal 1 (ECP1) that will reengineer internal systems to reduce size, weight and power requirements, creating capacity for more upgrades in the future and evolving to a Line Replaceable Module (LRM)-based architecture. Shown here, U.S. Marines travel through Helmand province, Afghanistan, in an M1A1 Abrams tank. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Brian A. Lautenslager/Released)
The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing
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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 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.
COTS Journal | May 2013
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NOTEBOOK Close the Cyber Security Gap
oo many of us—including those in government—are sticking their heads in the sand when it comes to cyber security and cyber warfare. Almost thirty years ago, reality started to hit home that government-funded development of electronics was no longer leading the way; commercial development was. Our perceived enemies would be able to develop better electronics than our military using standard components purchased in stores—although possibly less durable than what the mil-spec industry could provide. An unwanted but necessary shift was made to enable our military to utilize the more leading-edge commercial technologies. Today we find ourselves in a similar situation when it comes to cyberspace and the use of remotely manned vehicles. The easiest item to get off the table is the domestic use of remotely manned vehicles. We already have laws governing the use of deadly force within the United States by local, state and federal officials. Remotely manned vehicles are just another weapon. Our federal government can now read the brand off a cigarette package from a satellite—and can probably do even better as technology advances. State and local law enforcement use planes and helicopters with high-powered optics. Meanwhile we have laws against Peeping Toms as well as public nuisance for civilians. Internationally it’s a different story, but we already have policies in place for the elimination of persons to be considered terrorists and a threat to the U.S. or its people. Again remotely manned vehicles are only a tool. If we have an issue with this policy, it needs to include guns, knives, poison, bombs and so on. Yes, all operations have the probability of collateral damage. But again, this is a general discussion. One of the things we covet almost as much as our personal security is our free and easy use of cyberspace. As individuals we communicate, research, document and even annoy people with our personal electronic devices. Commerce completely depends on cyberspace and moves faster than Moore’s Law to eliminate the number of personnel needed and increase cyberspace dependence. This massive dependence now includes the military in order to move the vast amount of information and communication bandwidth that it is now handling. The Chinese water torture doesn’t seem like it would work, but it does: one drop of water hitting the forehead every second or two for long periods of time. This comes from a culture that has time and can slowly work to achieve its goals. China’s military buildup is not for a planned military confrontation with the United States; it is mostly to enable it to intimidate less formidable and less technology-dependant adversaries. China’s plan for the U.S. is to gain greater control economically and to disrupt or disable our dependence on communication and cyberspace to achieve its interests and goals. It has tested an ability to disrupt 6
COTS Journal | May 2013
satellites and made numerous test attacks (through hackers) on commercial enterprises. Right now these attacks are meant to temper opinions and operations that China does not like. Management of companies that have been attacked must at a minimum subconsciously weigh the decision on some of its policies. Up until 2004, the DoD required that Information Assurance (IA) experts had not only book training but also hands-on training— call it an apprenticeship or journeyman training. However, in 2004 the DoD issued Directive 8570 mandating that IAs receive specific certifications from outside contractors without any hands-on training. Lower costs and probably some happy contractors were the result. Cyber security and warfare are a bit of a cat and mouse game where experience and working with mentors is absolutely key. We need to do more than what some tax return mills do to educate their tax advisors. Rather than having endless meetings on cyber defense and warfare, our legal pundits and Congress should consider the urgency of the problem, and that this is not an academic exercise that can endure years of endless debate. Yes, we need to consider the big issue of third-party consequences when repelling a cyber attack or initiating a counterattack. It is crazy to stall and restrict research into cyber defense and warfare until it can be assured that any such effort will not cause an interruption to Jane Doe’s individual iPhone. We need to bolster up the U.S. Army’s Cyber Command, at the expense of politicians’ protected programs. With tight controls, we need to hire high-quality private contractors to develop cyber defense and even develop counter attacks. Industry now has more better trained and experienced personnel to put on these programs than the military. As the DoD and Congress move forward in developing a military budget—around what has to be a new military vision—the focus has to be on the world’s shifting threats and how to employ the best the U.S. has to offer in preparation. The one thing that has always been our strength has been our ability to develop whatever’s necessary, quickly and efficiently. Just like 30 years ago, we need to do that now—not only with product but also with training. It is imperative that military personnel attend conferences to not only learn about policy, technology and products; but also to exchange information among fellow individuals doing the same thing.
Pete Yeatman, Publisher COTS Journal
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INSIDE TRACK Navy Awards Lockheed Martin Contract to Upgrade SEWIP The U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $57 million contract to upgrade the fleet’s electronic warfare defenses against anti-ship missile threats. Under this low-rate production contract for Block 2 of the Navy’s Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP), Lockheed Martin will upgrade the AN/SLQ-32(V)2 system found on all U.S. aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers and other warships with key capabilities to determine if the electronic sensors of potential foes are stalking the ship (Figure 1). The system is the first sensor to be fully compliant with the Navy’s Product Line Architecture strategy, which facilitates the rapid introduction of new technology into the fleet. By using commercial-off-the-shelf components, it provides additional cost savings and ease of maintenance for sailors. Block 2 is the latest in an evolutionary succession of improvement “blocks” the Navy is pursuing for its shipboard electronic warfare system, which will incrementally add new defensive technologies and functional capabilities. The Navy competitively awarded Lockheed Martin a contract in 2009 to develop SEWIP Block 2, and the company recently completed successful integration and test activities for two engineering development models. Figure 1
Lockheed Martin Bethesda, MD. (301) 897-6000. [www.lockheedmartin.com].
Block 2 of the Navy’s SEWIP initiative upgrades the AN/SLQ32(V)2 system found on all U.S. aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers and other warships with key capabilities to determine if the electronic sensors of potential foes are stalking the ship.
X-48C Blended Wing Body Aircraft Completes Flight Testing The Boeing X-48C research aircraft flew for the 30th and final time April 9, marking the successful completion of an eight-month flight-test program to explore and further validate the aerodynamic characteristics of the Blended Wing Body design concept. All 30 flights were conducted at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. The X-48C typically flew for approximately 30 minutes on most flights, reaching speeds of up to 140 miles per hour and attaining an altitude of about 10,000 feet. X-48C flight testing began Aug. 7, 2012. The X-48C is a scale model of a heavy-lift, subsonic vehicle that forgoes the conventional tube-and-wing airplane design in favor of a triangular tailless aircraft that effectively merges 8
COTS Journal | May 2013
Dryden between 2007 and 2010. Boeing and NASA will continue to develop Blended Wing Body technology, with the aspiration of developing a larger-scale, transonic BWB demonstrator in the future. Figure 2
The X-48C is a scale model of a heavy-lift, subsonic vehicle that forgoes the conventional tubeand-wing airplane design in favor of a triangular tailless aircraft that effectively merges the vehicle’s wing and body. the vehicle’s wing and body (Figure 2). Boeing believes the concept could be developed in the next 15 to 20 years for military applications such as aerial refueling and cargo missions. The X-48C is a modified version of the X-48B aircraft, which flew 92 times at NASA
Boeing Integrated Defense Systems St. Louis, MO. (314) 232-0232. [www.boeing.com].
U.S. Air Force Selects Cambium Networks for Theater Deployable Comms The U.S. Air Force has selected Cambium Network’s point-to-point (PTP) 45600 High Capacity Line-of-Sight (HCLOS) radio for its Theater Deployable Communications (TDC PMO) program of record. Supported by General Dynamics, TDC PMO will replace its
legacy Radio Frequency Module (RFM) backhaul radio with Cambium’s theater-proven, agency-vetted PTP 45600 HCLOS radio to provide reliable and secure voice, video and data functions for both deployable warfighters and first response missions anywhere in the world. The TDC PMO is an essential communications network that enables Air Force units to transmit information rapidly and securely via wireless, satellite or wireline systems. A central goal of the TDC program is to provide the latest COTS technologies in cases that can be rapidly deployed anywhere in the world and tailored to meet specific military contingencies while reducing airlift and manpower requirements. The PTP 45600 is the only commercially available broadband wireless Fixed Network Element (F-NE) solution certified on the U.S. Department of Defense DISA
Cambium Networks Rolling Meadows, IL +1-888-863-5250. [www.cambiumnetworks.com].
Northrop Grumman Taps Curtiss-Wright Controls for GCV Network Curtiss-Wright Controls has announced the receipt of a contract from Northrop Grumman to provide open architecture mission computer and network switch subsystems for use in the U.S. Army’s new Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The initial value of the contract is $2.5 million. The contract has a total potential value in excess of $250 million over the lifetime of the production phase of the program, which is expected to begin in 2018. Under the terms of the contract, shipments began in the first quarter of 2012 and are scheduled to continue throughout the remainder of this year. The BAE SystemsNorthrop Grumman team is one of two industry teams working under technology development
Artist’s rendering of the BAE Systems-Northrop Grumman team’s version of the Ground Combat Vehicle.
hicles. The company’s low-cost, rugged network switch provides a network for communications between the mission computer and other devices within the vehicle. Curtiss-Wright utilized its component packaging and thermal dissipation expertise to fully ruggedize its products for optimal performance.
contracts for the GCV program (Figure 3). Curtiss-Wright’s mission computer utilizes four single board computers in a rugged chassis. The chassis is able to cool in excess of 250 watts of heat without the use of fans, liquid cooling, or conditioned base plate, making this an ideal thermal solution for ground ve-
Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions Ashburn, VA. (703) 779-7800. [www.cwcdefense.com].
Military Market Watch Worldwide Naval Vessels Market Stable and Valued at $28.9 Billion The global naval vessels and surface combatants market is estimated to be valued at US$28.9 billion in 2013, according to a new report by ASD Media. The market consists of corvettes, frigates, destroyers, amphibious ships and aircraft carriers, and is expected to witness a marginal increase during the forecast period, primarily due to the modernization initiatives planned in the Asia Pacific and North American region. The market is expected to increase at a CAGR of 0.2% during the forecast period, to reach US $29.3 billion by 2023. Destroyers are expected to account for the majority of the global naval and surface combatants market, followed by corvettes, frigates Global Naval Vessels and Surface Combatants Market (US$ Billion), 2013–2023 and aircraft carriers. Dur35 ing the forecast period, cu30 mulative global expenditure on naval vessels and surface 25 combatants is expected to reach US $300.7 billion 20 (Figure 4). 30.8 15 28.9 29.3 27.6 Despite its high fiscal 26.1 25.5 26.6 24.5 26.0 27.1 28.2 deficit, North America is 10 expected to account for the 5 largest share of the naval vessels and surface combat0 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 ants market during the forecast period, with a share Figure 4 of 35%. Strong economic growth, territorial disputes, During the forecast period, cumulative global expenditure on naval vessels and domestic unrest and modsurface combatants is expected to reach US $300.7 billion. ernization programs will create a significant demand for naval vessels and surface combatants in Asia, making it the second most attractive market, with a share of 27.4% during the forecast period. Europe has borne the main brunt of the economic crisis, with countries currently facing deep fiscal deficits, which is expected to result in a decline in the market during the forecast period. This has forced European countries to postpone long-term modernization plans and focus on urgent operational requirements. However, Russia is expected to be the only country in the European market that is set to register a positive CAGR, driven by the wide-ranging military reform program initiated in 2008. South American countries are also expected to modernize their naval fleets over the forecast period, with countries such as Brazil, Chile, Venezuela and Colombia locked in an arms race to establish military supremacy in the region. US$ Billion
UC-APL (i.e., JITC approved) and is considered the primary wireless transport solution for many theater-deployed situational awareness programs.
ASD Media, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. +31 (0)20 486 1286. [www.asdreports.com].
May 2013 | COTS Journal
SPECIAL FEATURE Military Vehicle Computing and Comms
COTS Journal | May 2013
Military Vehicle Modernization and Upgrade Efforts Strive for Efficiency Moving forward more carefully and frugally, the DoD’s military vehicle modernization and upgrade efforts continue to include lots of electronics, computing and communications technology. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief
he DoD and U.S. Army continue to rethink and revamp their plans for next-gen vehicle requirements, and that will necessitate rethinking previously planned electronics. Onboard communications and control electronics are still expected to multiply in sophistication for both next-generation and Current Force fighting vehicles. In this new era of tightly constrained budgets, it’s clear that tech upgrades of existing vehicles will be the dominant activity in this space. With sequestration looming and the scope of continuing budget resolution undecided, the DoD only just rolled out its 2014 budget request in early April. And this year, more than ever, whether that budget plan will look anything like a final approved budget is an open question. With all that in mind, the DoD continues to modernize its ground force capabilities to ensure the United States remains a dominant force capable of operating in all environments across the full spectrum of conflict. The Army and Marine Corps provide each soldier and Marine with the best equipment available to succeed in both today’s and tomorrow’s operations. The 2014 budget request calls for ongoing modernization and upgrades of select Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAPs). That means the Stryker vehicles, Abrams tank, BradMay 2013 | COTS Journal
FY 2014 Ground Programs – Base: $8.4 Billion
Combat Vehicles, $1.6 Heavy Tactical Vehicles, $0.1 Light Tactical Vehicles, $0.3
Medium Tactical Vehicles, $0.2 Support Equipment, $5.3 Figure 1
($ in Billions) Numbers may not add due to rounding
Shown here is a breakdown of how the Ground Programs portion of the DoD’s FY 2014 budget allocates its funds.
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The baseline M1A2 SEP tank modernization includes a commander’s independent thermal weapons station, position navigation equipment, improved fire control system and an improved AGT1500 turbine engine. ley Fighting Vehicle and Paladin 155 mm Howitzer are all undergoing modernization. Long-term ground force development is focused on the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) and the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV). These Pre-MDAPs will deliver shore- and sea-based infan-
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try to the battlefield in vehicles designed for future operational environments. Meanwhile tightly related programs like the Armyâ€™s WIN-T program continue forward. Figure 1 shows a breakdown of how the Ground Programs portion of the DoDâ€™s FY 2014 budget allocates its funds.
GCV on a Shifting Path Forward While definitely a priority for the Army going forward, much caution has characterized the shifting plans for the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV). The first increment GCV will replace Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) in Armored Brigade Combat Teams. The GCV IFV will deploy a full squad of soldiers and operate across a wide range of combat scenarios. The FY 2014 plan is to transitions the GCV to the Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase in the third quarter. The selected contractor will procure hardware and long-lead material for system prototypes. At AUSA Winter in February, Army officials shared details of how they are eval-
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This WIN-T Increment 2 Tactical Communications Node was used during the IOT&E at White Sands Missile Range in May of last year.
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uating requirements for GCV. The Army learned a great deal during an analysis of alternatives (AoA) exercise conducted on a variety of mostly foreign-made infantry carriers at Fort Bliss, Texas, over last spring and summer. Army officials said the Israeli Namer, for example, was simply too heavy to be seriously considered by the U.S. Army. It was never designed to be expeditionary, since the Israelis optimized it to operate in places they can drive to, such as the Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip.
The Namer vehicle taught the team about crew compartment protection and force protection, which Kmiecik says has helped inform the GCV program. Meanwhile, the CV90 infantry carrier was optimized for the European plains. Yet the team learned a lot about digital architecture from studying the vehicle. As of now, the Army is planning on a gun “larger than 25 mm, most likely a 30 mm” for the GCV, according to Kmiecik. That would allow
the crew to eliminate dismounted and other small threats with fewer rounds. This would save weight because the vehicle would carry fewer rounds. In January, the technology development (TD) phase of the program was extended by six months in anticipation of the fiscal challenges over the next four or five years. Moving the program’s schedule back by six months now shifts the final production decision to an expected timeframe of fiscal 2019.
JLTV Program Moves toward Development
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The other major new start vehicle is the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), which is a joint program currently in development for the Army and Marine Corps. Currently in technology development, the FY 2014 budget request calls to continue engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) efforts, Performance testing, Reliability & Maintainability (RAM) testing and Limited User testing, analysis and reports in preparations for Milestone C. Last summer Lockheed Martin received a $65 million contract from the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps to continue developing the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) through the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase. The Lockheed Martin team optimized a JLTV model already proven in government testing to create its EMD design. The production-enhanced JLTV maintains the proven force protection, mobility, transportability and reliability of the earlier Technology Demonstration (TD) model, while significantly reducing weight and cost. The team’s JLTV design reflects improvements from more than 160,000 combined testing miles. Formed in 2005, the Lockheed Martin-led JLTV team includes tactical wheeled vehicles expertise at BAE Systems in Sealy, Texas, which is an industry leader in advanced armor solutions and high volume assembly. Variants with companion trailers include the utility carrier and shelter (JLTV-UTL), a two-seat prime mover with an open bed; and the general-purpose vehicle (JLTV-GP), which is a fourseater that will carry troops, ammunition and small supplies.
Upgrades and Refreshes The dominant activity of military vehicle investments in the near team will be on the technology upgrade and refresh of existing vehicles. Although the Bradley will eventually be replaced, the need to fill the gap with Current Force vehicles is significant. Last fall, BAE Systems received a $306 million contract modification to upgrade 353 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. This production contract is in addition to $340 million in funding the company has received to purchase upgrade materials for the Bradley program, bringing the full contract total to $646 million. The upgraded Bradleys will be provided to the Minnesota and Pennsylvania National Guard units. The company will also provide upgraded vehicles for Combined Armed Battalions to the Kansas, South Carolina and Ohio National Guard units. As the systems integrator, BAE Systems will upgrade Bradley Operation Desert Storm M2A2, M3A2 and M7 Bradley Fire Support Team vehicles to Operation Desert Storm Situational Awareness (ODS-SA) configurations. The Bradley ODS-SA upgrade integrates the latest digitized electronics, providing soldiers with optimal situational awareness, network connectivity and enhanced communication hardware. Its proven durability and commonality of design reduces the logistics burden while enhancing battlefield performance to meet a variety of mission requirements in close-combat, urban scenarios and open-combat situations. The contract was awarded by the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command with final delivery expected in April 2014.
work interoperability, the Vehicle Health Management System (VHMS), loader tray modification to improve safety, and the Commanderâ€™s Remote Operating Weapon Station (CROWS). Last fall the U.S. Army TACOM Contracting Command awarded General Dynamics Land Systems an eight-year, $395 million contract for research, development and testing in preparation for the Abrams main battle tank Engineering Change Proposal 1 (ECP1) production. The contract
has an initial value of $80 million over 12 months. There is no tank production work associated with this award. The Abrams ECP1 program is an engineering-development effort focused on integrating a group of system improvements into a single upgrade program for the M1A2 SEPv2 baseline tank (Figure 2). The objective of this research and development effort is to prepare the Abrams tank to accept additional Army-directed requirements in the future without impact-
Modernizing the Abrams Tank Although it first entered service in 1980, the M1A2 Abrams remains the Armyâ€™s main battle tank. An ongoing series of upgrade efforts have served it well over the decades. The FY 2014 budget request supports modifications and upgrades needed to maintain the armor facility at a sustainable level and minimize loss of skilled labor. It also procures numerous approved modifications to fielded M1A2 Abrams tanks, including the Data Distribution Unit (DDU) to enable netUntitled-1 1
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ing current vehicle performance. The Army plans to begin low rate initial production of tanks with ECP1 upgrades in 2017. ECP1 will reengineer internal systems to reduce size, weight and power requirements, creating capacity for additional upgrades in the future. The effort will include miniaturization of electronics; evolving to a Line Replaceable Module (LRM)-based electronics architecture; and increasing electrical capacity through improved power generation, distribution and management.
WIN-T Gets Kit Upgrades Tightly linked to vehicles is the C4ISR side of today’s modernization efforts. At the heart of this is the Warfighter Information Network–Tactical (WIN-T). WIN-T is the Army’s onthe-move, high-speed, high-capability backbone communications network, linking warfighters in the battlefield with the Global Information Grid (GIG). This network is intended to provide command, control, communi-
cations, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) support capabilities. The WIN-T program consists of four increments. Increment 1 (Inc 1) provides “networking at the halt” by upgrading the Joint Network Node (JNN) satellite capability to access the Ka-band defense Wideband Global Satellite (WGS). Increment 2 (Inc 2) provides initial networking on-the-move to the battlefield. Increment 3 (Inc 3) provides full networking on-the-move via air tier. Increment 4 (Inc 4) provides protected satellite communications onthe-move. The FY 2014 budget request for the WIN-T program funds the upgrade of 81 units with modification kits. The upgrade enables the units to communicate efficiently with units that will be fielded with WIN-T Increment 2 capability (Figure 3). It supports Increment 2 Full Rate Production decision for 4 Brigade Combat Teams and 1 Division; and continues fielding and support for previously procured low rate initial production equipment; and integration of 179 modification kits for the AN/TRC190 shelters. It procures and fields Tactical NetOps Management Systems to 48 units, along with program management support for Single Shelter Switch (SSS), High Capability Line of Sight, Battlefield Video-Teleconferencing Center and Troposcatter Communications. BAE Systems McLean, VA. (703) 847-5820. [www.baesystems.com]. General Dynamics C4 Systems Scottsdale, AZ (480) 441-3033. [www.gdc4s.com]. General Dynamics Land Systems Sterling Heights, MI. (586) 825-4000. [www.gdls.com]. Lockheed Martin Bethesda, MD. (301) 897-6000. [www.lockheedmartin.com].
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SPECIAL FEATURE Military Vehicle Computing and Comms
Military Vehicles Leverage the Blending of Computing and Comms Thanks to ever increasing semiconductor integration, more subsystems functionality can be squeezed into a compact system than ever. Military vehicles are taking advantage by combining modular systems. Mike Southworth, Director of Marketing Parvus
s a consequence to the Budget Control Act passed by Congress in 2011, the Department of Defense is currently enduring another round of steep budget cuts with no apparent end in sight. Despite current budget woes, the DoD continues to demand more performance and improved functionality from rugged computers and communications subsystems to fulfill its mission requirements. Modern state-of-the-art equipment offers the DoD more than legacy products—one subsystem can now integrate the capabilities of multiple boxes. One way the DoD achieves savings is by purchasing rugged commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) computing subsystems versus the custom MIL-spec alternatives of yesteryear. Open architecture, pre-integrated products featuring modularity (mix and match functionality) are most attractive to the DoD since they do not require significant engineering expertise for customization or integration.
Scalable and Flexible Over the past few years, rugged system architectures have become more scalable and flexible to adapt to the military’s varying demands. Engineers are designing more and more modular sub18
COTS Journal | May 2013
Two Function Option
Computer + Router
Router + Switch
Switch + Computer
Three Function Option
Computer + Router + Switch
Military programs have begun to request subsystems that combine network processing, Ethernet LAN switching and IP traffic routing into a single box. systems that can support I/O expansion and extend the life and usability of a system—a must for budget-conscious DoD programs. Further, military programs have begun to request subsystems that combine network processing, Ethernet LAN
switching and IP traffic routing into a single box (Figure 1). Depending on the project, this may be motivated by various factors, including Size, Weight & Power (SWaP) constraints or objectives to simplify systems integration. Some programs may want to reduce the number of power
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Designers must take into account the electrical topography of the individual components and consider how modules will integrate and communicate with each other. Each will have data and power lines and should connect to the outside world via rugged, military standard connectors. A stackable board architecture such as PCIe104 and a scalable internal connector breakout scheme are ideal in providing an interconnection between the varied modules. Reliable mating edge connectors and semi-rigid PCB flex cables can eliminate traditional “rats nest” wiring harnesses and allow the device to efficiently flow power and I/O signals through the system.
Instead of an emphasis on new vehicle designs, there’s a growing appetite to get more out of vehicle electronics of existing platforms. As a result, the modular subsystem approach is being taken further and further to meet DoD needs and expanding capabilities for military vehicles. supplies or cables on board a vehicle, while others seek a solution with flexible mechanical installation options. The U.S. Army’s VICTORY initiative is an excellent example of this trend, as ground vehicle architects aim to trim unnecessary fat and yet leverage modern computing and networking architectures. As a result of this growing appetite to get more out of vehicle electronics, the modular subsystem approach is being taken further and further to meet DoD needs and expanding capabilities for military vehicles (Figure 2). Combining computing and communications functions, however, goes beyond throwing two boxes into one bigger box—innovative designs must expertly handle increased thermal management and power demands, while consolidating multiple functions into one box and limiting SWaP. 20
COTS Journal | May 2013
Challenges of a Combined Subsystem Some box designers have tackled the “everything and a kitchen sink” request by simply putting computing and networking boxes together in a bigger enclosure. However, this solution may not fare well for SWaP, or vibration and thermal management. Nor does it help with power or cable management since the individual subsystems would still require separate power input cables. There are several challenges that rugged systems integrators must address when designing a combined subsystem, including a scalable electrical topography, heat dissipation, power management, electromagnetic interference (EMI), environmental protection, and shock and vibration considerations.
As electromagnetic interference is also a concern, some parts of the system may need to be electrically isolated. To create an electrically sound design akin to a Faraday Cage and avoid electrical signals that may cause problems, designers may have to adhere some components with materials that are thermally conductive but electrically isolating. Special hardware may also be used to fasten parts down without being electrically attached. Heat is a challenge as more and more electronics are aggregated into one box. Commercial heat pipes may not work adequately in a combined subsystem meant for military use since they are affected by gravity, vibration and extreme acceleration. Since designers have to account for stacking up several mechanical parts (Figure 3), the chassis must be designed to allow for tolerance stackup and dissipate heat very well, preferably with passive cooling devices within the system to transfer heat out of the case efficiently and reliably. Thermal solutions such as flexible thermal links in the mechanical assembly using materials that conduct heat extremely well allow designers to dissipate heat in stacked subsystems.
Material Solutions Advanced materials such as annealed pyrolytic graphite are also becoming key in thermal management, as they can be several times more conductive than copper. Combining parts and functionality
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can eliminate thermal interfaces and reduce thermal resistance. A well-designed enclosure can radiate the heat out to accommodate some interesting combinations of computing functionality without needing forced air or liquid cooling to keep temperatures at bay. When subsystems are combined, there must be enough power to support each component. Rather than having multiple DC/DC power converters
kluged together, the power supply for the primary single board computer module can be designed with sufficiently spare power output to also feed the other subsystem components through the PCI bus, PCI Express bus, or auxiliary power connections. Lastly and key for any military project, is shock and vibration robustness. When designing a combined system, eliminating weak components
Multifunction systems require innovative design and thermal management.
and connections and minimizing stress on boards will make the system more robust and versatile for installation. Mounting holes can be placed to allow for vertical or horizontal mounting, and board-to-board I/O signal connections can be used as a more reliable solution than ribbon cables that can have potential for chafing or coming loose.
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Military customers today are looking for an elegant solution that carefully considers how best to mechanically and electrically integrate multiple functions into a single functional appliance without sacrificing SWaP or performance. When engineers take modularity into account from initial concept, this objective can be met successfully. Salt Lake City-based Parvus Corp. has designed many modular-type systems. Recently it rolled out the DuraMAR 5915 mobile router and the DuraCOR 8040 mission computer, which can be combined into a single solution to provide computer/router/switch and other I/O requirements in a single appliance (Figure 4). Both the underlying computer and the router technologies are based on rugged stackable PC/104 architecture, and both utilize a common fully sealed yet passively cooled enclosure that is thermally optimized to dissipate heat and minimize failure, even in extreme environments. Each standalone system leverages similar design best practices and goes through rigorous MIL-STD-810G environmental and MIL-STD-461F qualification test-
Combined Subsystems As technology evolves, more powerful processors can be used in combination subsystems. Thermal management will likely remain a significant challenge. To date, Parvus has successfully leveraged advanced thermal management techniques to deploy multicore Intel Core i7 processors to operate in wide, extended temperatures. A combined system can go anywhere—on a vehicle, unmanned or
manned aircraft, or ship. Video processing and IP networking are in great demand for situational awareness reasons, and combined systems can help military programs do this while achieving a smaller footprint. Parvus Salt Lake City, UT. (801) 483-1533. [www.parvus.com].
MILITARY Ň INDUSTRIAL Ň COMMERCIAL Figure 4
Innovative subsystems can combine mobile routing and computing into a single platform. ing to minimize risk when mixing and matching functional segments into a single housing. There are several obvious advantages of this combined computing and routing approach. The first is versatility, as a uniform and simplified mechanical approach enables scalability on military platforms. Specific functions can be combined to meet mission requirements. Further, installation is simpler for subsystems similar to these Parvus products, as they may be mounted horizontally or vertically. Instead of needing a cabinet with shock mounts, customers can bolt the box anywhere they can find a place for it. Further, a single power connection and robust power supply in a multifunction device makes the unit simpler to install and integrate into system of system solutions. Designing a combined computing and routing subsystem requires extra power to account for the high-performance processor, router, high-density Ethernet Switch, and any additional customer-specific I/O payloads. Having a sufficiently high output supply capable of delivering the needed voltages to internal electronics and protecting them with inline EMI filtering and power conditioning, enables such appliances to operate in a wide range of extreme environments.
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TECH RECON 10 Gbit Ethernet and PCIe Fabrics as System Solutions
Matching CPU and I/O Bandwidth Drives Next-Gen Radar and Sonar Today’s advanced military systems have more than just a huge appetite for processing. They also need I/O bandwidth sufficient to feed today’s ever increasing processor speeds. Vincent Chuffart, Product Marketing Team Manager Kontron
ilitary computing requirements continue to evolve upward in a wider range of rugged end-use applications. Thanks to dramatic growth in the type and number of sensors and automated systems collecting and sharing data, military embedded designers must match CPU and I/O performance, assuring that high-performance data processing is not blocked by I/O limitations. At the same time, Network Integration Evaluation (NIE), part of the military’s Agile Acquisition Process, is driving an important change in how military technology is deployed— shifting resources from research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) to the procurement of mature network capability that can be quickly deployed (Figure 1). Systems using mainstream technologies such as TCP/IP, PCI Express (PCIe) and Intel CPUs have a greater opportunity in transforming the military into a network-centric force, as well as a greater responsibility to perform at the highest levels. In turn, I/O performance advantages are resulting from combining VPX and Generation 3 Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe 3.0), equivalent to exchanging the data of one DVD per second between boards. This powerful option evolves military design well 24
COTS Journal | May 2013
The Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) process is driving changes in how military technology is deployed. Shown here, soldiers participate in previous Network Integration Evaluation, 13.1, last November. past the decades of parallel bus architectures that seriously limited I/O performance—promising to drive significant performance improvements in small form factor systems highly suitable for rugged, mobile deployment.
Beyond Gigabit Ethernet Over the past decade of military design, Gigabit Ethernet has demonstrated its mettle, evolving to improve backplane intra-communication bandwidth. Per
the VITA31 standard, the 70 Mbyte/s exchanges on VME backplanes have been replaced by 120 Mbyte/s exchanges. InfiniBand and RIO may have been offered as alternatives to provide greater bandwidth, but these specialized market technologies will not stand the test of time like TCP/IP and PCIe thanks to development costs and the inability to offer the long lifetime performance of Ethernet. Reliance on several different hardware and software solutions for high-speed serial link point-to point connections between boards has exacerbated the issue, contributing to a lack of market traction, which has further hindered adoption and long-term viability. PCIe, on the other hand, exists in all modern CPU and bridge chipsets. Budget and power are not affected since PCIe uses an efficient link; other technologies require additional silicon. PCIe native is everywhere—from modern computer architectures such as those found in tablets and smartphones that incorporate first generation PCIe, to large servers utilizing PCIe 3.0’s wide data path applications.
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ing military design requirements. VPXbased HPEC platforms provide massive processing power for compute-intensive systems, integrating multiple high-performance COTS products to meet immense throughput and processing requirements in space-constrained systems handling more than a teraflop of data. Based on their ability to carry multigigahertz signals, standards-based VPX connectors and backplanes are enabling
systems that no longer share bandwidth between boards. These systems allow high-speed socket-based communication between blades by using multiple switched fabric interconnects within the VPX backplane—leveraging PCIe 3.0 to create an architecture that is realizing a tenfold increase in I/O bandwidth between computing boards. Applications currently deployed may only see marginal improvement since they
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Designed as a complete system, the Kontron HPEC PoC currently integrates the Kontron VX3044 3U VPX SBC, the Kontron VX3905 VPX PCIe Switch and the Kontron VX3910 high-end L2/L3 Ethernet switch. had been designed with this I/O limitation in mind. Now, however, thanks to the new level of hardware performance that can be achieved, the next-generation of HPEC applications are able to take advantage of experimental algorithms that were previously only supported by enormous IT servers or as a theoretical prototype system from a research lab. Further, because the military is implementing more agile procurement initiatives, it is expected that there will be fierce competition between competitors. This new process pits multiple vendor designs against each other in the field to directly test them for accuracy, range, or immunity to bad signal condition, prior to making a committed vendor selection decision.
Why PCIe 3.0? PCIe 3.0 enables low-overhead, lowlatency data transfers—linking highbandwidth I/Os to a processor unit and also functioning as a native communication link between computing devices in a multiprocessor environment. Scalable, simultaneous, bi-directional transfers use from one to 32 lanes of differentialpair interconnects. Lanes are grouped to achieve high transfer rates, similar to graphics adapters, with up to 32 Gbytes/s of bi-directional bandwidth possible on an x16 connector. Emulation of network environments can send data between two points without host-chip routing due
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to both host-directed and peer-to-peer transfers. PCIe’s performance as a native data bus in all modern processor chipsets ensures an essential benefit to military design—a broad PCIe-based software ecosystem with well-developed support for peripheral interconnects. These reasons coupled with broad market adoption are fueling PCIe 3.0 as a leading serial link technology for VPX. Consider the significant level of data flowing in a next-generation radar or sonar application—PCIe 3.0 incorporates separate signal sets to receive and transmit data, eliminating data bottlenecks resulting from high-performance, real-time data processing. Military applications such as targeting and surveillance systems for UAVs, or broadband electronic warfare monitoring and jamming systems are poised for significant performance advances enabled by the burst of I/O bandwidth and processing power from the combined VPX and PCIe 3.0 architecture. However, specific development skills are required to achieve PCIe 3.0’s deployments over the full temperature range for rugged mil/aero applications. With expertise in higher speeds, fewer PCIe lanes are required to deliver the same bandwidth, enabling greater performance in smaller, 3U deployments. For instance, 16x first-generation PCIe requires four times as many lanes on a backplane to deliver the same bandwidth as 4x PCIe 3.0.
Proof of Concept HPEC proof-of-concept (PoC) systems are delivering up to ten times the I/O data bandwidth previously achieved in computing platforms for military systems. For example, the Kontron HPEC PoC, co-developed with Intel, demonstrates restoration of matched I/O and CPU performance ratios in a small, air-cooled or conduction-cooled platform. Based on 3rd generation Intel Core processors and the 3U VPX platform, the Kontron HPEC PoC is intended to help developers dramatically streamline the process from design to field deployment of next-generation radar and sonar applications; this addresses the tremendous jump in processing power and data I/O bandwidth anticipated for these high-performance applications.
Delivering higher speeds in a smaller size, the Kontron HPEC PoC (Figure 2) is a rugged, conduction-cooled 3U VPXbased system that features 24 lanes of PCIe centralized backplane interconnect at up to gen3 speed. The system incorporates Kontron’s VXFabric software to implement the TCP/IP protocol over the PCIe infrastructure—boosting transmission bandwidth to better than 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) speeds and delivering up to 4.2 Gbytes/s in data throughput between VPX boards in a rack. VXFabric software helps reduce development costs by simplifying and speeding application development of inter-CPU communication in VPX system architectures while also enabling migration to emerging hardware communication solutions in the embedded domain, such as 10G and 40G Ethernet. The PoC system readily taps into high-speed PCIe 3.0 bandwidth for data transfers by selecting a different IP address to connect to the other boards. Software coding is unaffected, and applications are shielded from the low-level yet complex details of the current generation of PCIe silicon management.
APIs Speed Development VXFabric uses the socket API used for standard communication protocols such as TCP/IP or UDP/IP. This in turn eases application development times for systems using PCIe 3.0 for IP-based transport. Multiple CPU boards and processing cores provide the system architecture, using a PCIe 3.0 switch to interconnect through PCIe via the VPX backplane. Through VXFabric, any military application based on TCP/IP will run unmodified on this platform, effectively addressing the U.S. military’s smart procurement initiatives that put into place more rapid and agile purchasing processes. VXFabric is equivalent to an Ethernet network infrastructure, meaning VPX and PCIe 3.0 are not visible to end-user applications. Instead, the application sees its usual TCP/IP sockets, like any typical Internet- or cloud-based deployment. Because existing applications require no modification, military applications can more easily evolve to greater image or video processing performance, sensor data processing,
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or more rugged deployments in a range of battlefield scenarios. These high-performance military applications can be deployed using up to 6U OpenVPX solutions with greater than 10 Gbit/s board-to-board connectivity including integration of nextgeneration processor architectures.
Tech Refresh Migration Path Switch-based fabrics enable seamless and dynamic implementation of all routes to and from boards; this creates connections
that ideally match bandwidth and application data flow, and enables a cost-effective bridge between Gigabit Ethernet on the backplane and the next data plane generation of 10G and 40G Ethernet. As a result, OEMs and designers meet two essential requirements for mil/aero markets—optimizing total cost of ownership and establishing a future tech refresh migration path. These compact VPXbased systems feature rugged capabilities and low power consumption, and can readily access low latency, 10G and 40G performance.
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The RES-mini Ruggedized Server ^sǣÞ¶Řs_ ¯Ÿǋ _sŎŘ_ÞŘ¶ sŘɚÞǋŸŘŎsŘǼĶ OŸŘ_ÞǼÞŸŘǣ ɠÌsǋs ǢÞʊsʰ ɟsÞ¶ÌǼʰ Ř_ ƻŸɠsǋ ʹǢɟƻʺ ŸƼǼÞŎÞʊǼÞŸŘ Þǣ ǣsɚsǋsĶɴ ĶÞŎÞǼs_ʰ ǼÌs ǊrǢ˚ŎÞŘÞ OŸŎEÞŘsǣ ǼÌs ǋŸEȖǣǼ _sǣÞ¶Ř Ÿ¯ǼÌsǊrǢǣsǋɚsǋ¯ŎÞĶɴɠǼÌǼÌsĶǼsǣǼrˤˠ˥˟˟Ř_ˡ˥˟˟ÝŘǼsĶɭsŸŘƼǋŸOsǣǣŸǋǣɠÞǼÌ ¯ŸȖǋʰ ǣÞɮʰ Ÿǋ sÞ¶ÌǼ OŸǋsǣʳ ^sǣÞ¶Řs_ ǼŸ Es ¯ȖĶĶɴ OŸŎƼǼÞEĶs ɠÞǼÌ OȖǋǋsŘǼ ɚÞǋǼȖĶÞʊǼÞŸŘ ǼsOÌŘŸĶŸ¶Þsǣ ÞŘOĶȖ_ÞŘ¶ əōɟǋs˖ Ř_ NÞǼǋÞɮ˖ ɭsŘǢsǋɚsǋ˖ʰ ǼÌs ǊrǢ˚ŎÞŘÞ EǋÞŘ¶ǣ ŘsɮǼ ¶sŘsǋǼÞŸŘ ǼsOÌŘŸĶŸ¶ɴ ǼŸ ŎÞǣǣÞŸŘ˚OǋÞǼÞOĶ ŎÞĶÞǼǋɴʰ OŸŎŎsǋOÞĶʰ Ř_ ÞŘ_ȖǣǼǋÞĶ applications.
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Image-intensive targeting and surveillance applications, real-time video processing for situational awareness, next generation radar or sonar, or 3D mission simulation for field training— these and other critical applications are increasing in relevance and sophistication, keeping military design focus on data processing and sharing among military forces. “Networking the soldier” continues to be of supreme importance, especially as the military faces fiscal challenges and resulting changes in procurement policies.
Protocol Choices OEMs are facing the challenge to select a simple, albeit fast, low-latency communications protocol. By combining VPX with PCIe 3.0, they are accessing an entirely new and unparalleled class of applications, capitalizing on high-performance data processing platforms. Multigigahertz signals give VPX connectors and backplanes the capability of one or more dedicated 10 Gigabit connections via Ethernet or PCIe. The full data plane bandwidth is no longer shared between boards, and the rugged VPX platform makes the most of PCIe 3.0’s high-speed connections in harsh environments. VXFabric links this disruptive technology to currently deployed applications that exchange data via Gigabit Ethernet. With the VPX and PCIe 3.0 architecture, essential high-performance applications can perform well in a small space while steering clear of proprietary technologies. This protects software investments over long-term military deployments, allowing TCP/IP applications to run unchanged on proven, ruggedized VPX platforms. HPEC proof-of-concept systems are validating these performance characteristics, delivering up to ten times the I/O data bandwidth previously achieved in computing platforms for military systems. Military designers are in turn looking to HPEC applications, relying on proven VPX and PCIe 3.0 to enable a new range of image-intensive, small form factor applications. Kontron Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [www.kontron.com].
SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT SSDs, Memory Modules and Storage Architectures
Virtualization and I/O Acceleration Fuel ATCA Success Military system designers are attracted to ATCA for its ability to squeeze massive amounts of compute, storage and network elements into a single platform. SSD and flash placement strategies can improve storage performance even more. Steve Looby, Director, Product Management SANBlaze Technology
Test 1: Server Flash
10Gb Switch Blade
LSI Test 2: Storage Flash
Storage Blade 12 TB, iSCSI
COTS Journal | May 2013
Compute Blade 12 Core XEON
hough created for telecom initially, ATCA has won itself a strong niche in the military market. One of ATCAâ€™s primary attractions is its ability to squeeze generous amounts of enterprise class compute, storage and network elements into ultra portable platforms with superior SWaP (space, weight and power) characteristics. In a very small space, you get a 10 Gbit dual star network connecting hundreds of CPUs with 10-20 Terabytes of storage. This achievement in physical packaging efficiency creates some unique challenges, especially with storage. While a handful of disks can provide impressive multi-Terabyte capacity pools, they struggle to deliver sufficient I/O to satisfy a hundred CPUs in a virtualized environment. To shed a light on these trends, itâ€™s useful to examine two I/O acceleration strategies that each promise to multiply platform efficiency by improving performance of an existing storage device. The two methods tackle the problem differently. The first method works by embedding a flash cache within the server (Fusion-io), while the second adds a flash cache in the storage blade (LSI Cachecade) (Figure 1).
ATCA Backplane DualStar 10GbE
Two I/O acceleration strategies multiply platform efficiency by improving performance of an existing storage device. The Fusion-io method works by embedding a flash cache within the server, while the LSI Cachecade method adds a flash cache in the storage blade.
Baseline Configuration The baseline configuration used in this study was an ATCA platform configured with multicore CPUs, spinning HDD and VMware ESXi 5.0 hypervisor. Such platforms are popular in Mil/Aero
applications such as mobile tactical operations centers (MTOC), radar signal and packet processing and digital collaboration technologies (VoIP, email, chat, office productivity). For these tests, the specific un-cached configu-
ration consisted of one storage blade, one compute blade and one networking blade. The iSCSI storage contained 11 disks configured in a single 9 Terabytes RAID6 LUN. The hypervisor was loaded on a 12 core Intel XEON class compute blade (96 Gbyte DDR3). A 10 Gbit Ethernet blade was used to connect ESXi host with iSCSI storage volumes. This virtualization platform configuration was used to establish baseline performance, which is then compared with results achieved using the two f lashbased I/O acceleration upgrades. Storage I/O Acceleration: This type of acceleration adds a f lash cache into the storage appliance and buffers I/O f lowing to and from HDD disk pools. As VMs are launched and used, they trigger storage I/O requests, which are cached real-time into NAND f lash. One big advantage of this approach is that existing data pools remain where they are, but “hot” data is also available in the faster f lash. This approach creates a self-regulating tiering policy that requires no user involvement. As f lash data grows stale it is eventually purged, but it’s still available on the existing rotating disk pool. In the benchmark testing, the cache was implemented on the iSCSI storage blade using LSI’s Cachecade I/O acceleration product and off-theshelf SSD. LSI licenses Cachecade with their SAS RAID disk controllers, and it is fully transparent to hypervisors and guest OS. Best practice Cachecade deployments use RAID1 (mirrored) configurations, which makes it appropriate for both read and write data. LSI supports a cache up to 0.5 Terabytes and the choice of using SSD built with MLC, eMLC or SLC f lash; this approach gives users the ability to prioritize performance needs and have better control over solution pricing. Server I/O Acceleration: This type of acceleration is installed on each individual server running ESXi hypervisor, benefiting guest VMs that execute there. Typically, these solutions offer Terabyte sized NAND f lash pools attached to a server’s PCI Express port. The f lash pools can operate as either a
Virtual Desk Tops Real Users
Thin Client Smart Phone iPad/PDA
ATCA Chassis and Blades
In a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), users are assigned an IP address and a login for a virtual workstation, which is accessed via thin/zero clients, PDAs or even smartphones. Clone/Deploy 50 Linked Clones LSI Cachecade 10.2
Boot 50 Linked Clones
20.0 40.0 60.0 Minutes (lower is better)
5.0 10.0 15.0 Minutes (lower is better)
View Planner Latency Test LSI Cachecade
Baseline 0.58 0.57
Baseline -Failed- no score
1 1.5 Seconds (lower is better), PASS requires <1.5
A 50-desktop test was used to compare the configurations using a linked-clone VDI deployment method. Linked clones do not have persistence, and this greatly simplifies VDI administration. To be judged as a good user experience, the configuration must achieve a latency test score of 1.5 seconds or less. standalone local storage entity, or “inline” to accelerate an external storage device. In-line operation is typically more complex, requiring special drivers and effort to integrate with the host OS.
Standalone operation provides a private local storage entity separate from the external storage. Logically, it is presented to VMware like a direct attach storage (DAS) May 2013 | COTS Journal
device, but without the overhead associated with traditional block devices (SAS/SATA). VM storage (datastores) must be relocated to run from these devices, requiring careful coordination and configuration with main storage. A standalone architecture can be ideal for certain applications such as VDI using linked clones. Running VMs from the local f lash cache reduces the need to fetch iSCSI disk data, and vastly reduces application latency. In the bench-
Untitled-1 1 COTS Journal | May 2013 34
mark testing, the compute blade was upgraded with a Fusion-io server acceleration card, model ioDrive2 Duo. The standard form factor Fusion-io card was attached to the compute blade using a PCI-Expansion chassis and x8 Gen2 cable.
Test Method A Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) was chosen to measure performance of the competing I/O acceleration
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methods because of its ability to create realistic I/O workloads. Many private, public and government organizations are actively considering VDI as a new workplace deployment model, potentially replacing disparate pools of laptops and workstations. With VDI, users are instead assigned an IP address and a login for a virtual workstation, which is accessed via thin/zero clients, PDAs or even smartphones (Figure 2). Virtual workstations are preloaded with a standard OS and users will find it contains their office productivity applications such as word processors, spreadsheet and web browser tools. The administrator creates it only once, but can deploy it many times simply by cloning the original. This model can greatly simplify the IT support burden and make it much easier to patch existing installations or rollout new releases. Standardization also helps to eliminate unlicensed or rogue applications (piracy) and minimize viruses. VDI “goodness” is determined with View Planner, a tool that measures the number of virtual desktops that can simultaneous exist while keeping application latency under a fixed threshold. VMware describes View Planner as “a tool designed to simulate a large-scale deployment of virtualized desktop systems.” The tool is distributed as a VM and loaded somewhere on your network. For testing, you’re asked to create a single “golden desktop” VM consisting of Windows7 and typical desktop productivity applications that include Microsoft Office 2010 professional, Adobe Acrobat reader and web browsers. This golden VM is loaded on the ATCA blades under test. Finally after a bit of DHCP configuration, View Planner is used to orchestrate the test. The tool creates clones of the golden desktop and executes a large batch of user actions to simulate typical application workload activity. Over several hours each desktop instance checks email, visits web sites, opens and edits documents. The test is repeated a minimum of five times, and application latency is logged for each user. When all iterations have completed, results are averaged together to produce a baseline “latency rating” for 50 active users.
Examining the Results A modest 50-desktop test was used to compare the configurations using a linked-clone VDI deployment method. Linked clones do not have persistence, and this greatly simplifies VDI administration. For simplicity, only three metrics are presented with the results shown in Figure 3. To be judged as a good user experience, the configuration must achieve a latency test score of 1.5 seconds or less. ATCA platforms can consume up to 50% less space, weight and power (SWaP) and survive harsher environmental conditions (55°C) than an equivalent set of commercial desktops or rack servers. When paired with virtualization technology, users get added redundancy, load balancing and often improved CPU utilizations from their ATCA computing platforms. The problem is that virtualization can raise utilization so high that it exceeds the I/O capability of storage solutions using traditional hard disks. This is where I/O acceleration technology can help.
tween blades, and requires a separate apparatus to physically connect with each ATCA server. Despite this, users may still consider the Fusion-io-type solution more f lexible because performance gains can be achieved regardless of the main storage technology or topology. It might cost more to install the cache in each ESXi server blade, but Fusionio works equally well with direct attach, SAN or NAS storage devices. The
main and perhaps mortal challenge for Fusion-io was a form factor mismatch with ATCA. Fusion-io works great, but users might be wise to at least consider one of the many I/O accelerator solutions offered as RTM that are native to ATCA. SANBlaze Technology Littleton, MA. (978) 679-1400. [www.sanblaze.com].
Advantages to Both In summary, both I/O acceleration strategies provide benefits to ATCA platforms and are arguably a “must have” when running in a virtualized environment. Both improved VDI performance, but achieved success through different placement strategies. With LSI Cachecade integrated on the 11 Terabytes iSCSI storage blade, its performance matched Fusion-io latency scores at much less incremental cost. However, its maximum f lash capacity is limited to 0.5 Terabytes, whereas Fusion-io can be purchased in up to 1 Terabyte configurations. Fusion-io is installed on each server, which highlights its main architectural difference. This placement and proximity to the CPU makes it very fast, and it did show a clear performance advantage on certain administrator tasks (cloning/booting), which are performed every few months. However, in this model it’s being treated like a separate direct attach storage device, and as such offers no RAID protection, no way to share capacity beUntitled-1 1
5/3/13 May 2013 | COTS Journal
TECHNOLOGY FOCUS FPGA Processing Boards
Board-Level FPGA Solutions Feed Signal Processing Needs A variety of military applications have a huge appetite for FPGA processing. Board vendors are meeting those demands by embedding the latest and greatest FPGA chips with a system architecture that supports them. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief
oard-level FPGA computing solutions have grown to become key enablers for waveform-intensive applications like sonar, radar, SIGINT and SDR. Signal processing capabilities of FPGAs continue to climb, feeding the insatiable appetite such systems have for more digital signal processing muscle. The requirements for such systems continue to call for ever more data collection capacity. The ability, for example, to process that data—in the form of radar captured video or images— presents major system design challenges for developers of military platforms. Makers of VME, VPX, XMC and FMC products are easing these challenges with 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 military applications. 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 complete systems on a chip. The high-end lines of the major FPGA vendors even have general-purpose 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 re36
COTS Journal | May 2013
A Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) is fired during a pre-action aim calibration test aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82). defined an FPGA as a complete processing engine in its own right. Using those FPGAs, board-level subsystems are able to quickly acquire and process massive amounts of data in real time. At the same time, FPGAs are enabling a new class of I/O board solution that enables users to customize their I/O as well as do I/O-specific processing functions. The following product roundup shows a representative sample of FPGA processing boards on a variety of embedded form factors. Meanwhile, the newest generation of commercial ADCs, combined with larger, more powerful FPGAs and the new open standard FMC, can now significantly improve these systems through the direct digital conversion of the analog signal, eliminating the need for an intermediary down conversion stage. Shipboard Electronic Warfare (EW) is an example application where there’s
a matter of milliseconds in which a ship’s countermeasure system can sense an oncoming missile threat. It’s critical to improve the speed and resolution at which embedded signal intelligence systems can take incoming analog sensor data and digitally convert it so that it can be processed in a useful way. An example system along those lines is Raytheon’s Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (Figure 1). Last year the U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon Company a contract totaling $57.8 million to overhaul and upgrade nine Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems, and manufacture two SeaRAM anti-ship missile defense systems. The agreement also includes the purchase of 20 radar upgrade kits. Phalanx is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar and 20 mm gun system that automatically acquires, tracks and destroys enemy threats that have penetrated all other ship defense systems.
TECHNOLOGY FOCUS: FPGA Processing Boards Roundup Virtex-7 Boards in XMC and VPX Form Factors
XMC Links Virtex-6 FPGA to PCIe, SRIO and Gbit Ethernet
OpenVPX Board Sports Three FPGAs and PowerPC CPU
Two highly configurable modules feature advanced digital signal processing (DSP) capabilities and multiple I/O options and are available from 4DSP in both 3U VPX and XMC from factors. The FM780 is XMC (VITA 42.3) compliant with a PCI Express Gen 2 interconnect while the VP780 is 3U VPX form factor (VITA 46) compliant. Both modules provide an FMC (FPGA Mezzanine Card, VITA 57) site and two 4DSP Board Level Application Scalable Technology (BLAST) locations that are closely coupled to the onboard Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA and 2 Gbytes of DDR3 SDRAM.
Acromag’s XMC-6VLX mezzanine modules feature a configurable Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA enhanced with multiple high-speed memory buffers, I/O and numerous high-bandwidth serial interfaces. The FPGA provides rapid processing and is closely coupled to the serial interconnects to prevent data transfer bottlenecks. 10Gbit Ethernet, PCI Express, Serial RapidIO and Xilinx Aurora implementations are supported. Optional front-panel I/O adds dual SFP ports for Fibre Channel or copper Gbit Ethernet and a
Defense applications such as radar, SIGINT, software radio, image processing and encryption all have something in common: they all have a big appetite for FPGA-based processing. Serving those needs, Annapolis Micro Systems offers its WILDSTAR 6 OpenVPX Card, with up to three Xilinx Virtex 6 FPGAs and one MACC 460Ex PowerPC. The FPGAs can be XC6VLX240T, LX365T, LX550T, SX315T, or SX475T versions of the Virtex 6. The board provides up to 3.1 Gbytes of DDR2
The Virtex-7 FPGA device available on board is user-programmable and can implement high-end signal processing algorithms. Based on customer requirements, front-panel I/O modules may be added to enable the FM780 or VP780 to perform data acquisition and waveform generation, high-speed communication, image processing and implement various types of complex DSP applications. In addition to 2 Gbytes of onboard DDR3 SDRAM, the FM780 and VP780 have a variety of memory options such as NAND Flash, QDRII SRAM+ and extra DDR3 SDRAM through BLAST modules. Optionally, the user-configurable BLAST mounting sites may be populated with JPEG2000 CODECs or even a customer’s specific logic devices or circuit designs. Both the FM780 and VP780 are available as conduction-cooled modules. Applications including software defined radios (SDRs), RADAR/SONAR imaging, satellite communication systems, event processing, RADAR/radio jamming, JPEG2000 video image processing, baseband communication transceivers, multichannel digital receivers, FFT processing, and analog/digital signal processing can benefit from the performance of the Virtex-7 and the I/O flexibility of the FMC site. The VP780 and FM780 are an excellent choice for highperformance applications that require large band signal digitization or generation through the use of accelerated frequency-domain algorithms.
VHDCR connector for expanded I/O signal access. Typical uses include simulation, communications, signal intelligence and image processing. Build options include the choice of a Xilinx XC6LX240T or XC6LX365T FPGA device and additional front-panel I/O connectors. Base models are ready for use in air-cooled or conduction-cooled systems. The front I/O option adds two 2.5 Gbit/s SFP connectors and a 36-pin VHDCR connector for JTAG, USB and 22 SelectIO. SelectIO signals are Virtex-6 FPGA I/O pins that support single-ended I/O (LVCMOS, HSTL, SSTL) and differential I/O standards (LVDS, HT, LVPECL, BLVDS, HSTL, SSTL). All models are available with extended temperature range parts suitable for -40° to 85°C operation. The rear I/O supports 8-lane high-speed serial interfaces on both the P15 and P16 XMC ports for PCI Express, Serial RapidIO, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, or Xilinx Aurora implementation. P16 also has 34 SelectIO channels and two global clock pairs direct to the FPGA. The P4 port adds another 60 SelectIO and two more global clock pairs. Available in a variety of configurations, models start at $8,250 with upgradeable logic, I/O and operating temperature capabilities.
DRAM, 3.1 Gbytes of DDR3 DRAM or 192 Mbytes of DDRII+ or QDRII SRAM in 5 or 6 memory banks for the computational FPGA on board. Meanwhile, up to a board total of 4 Gbytes DDR2 DRAM, 4 Gbytes DDR3 DRAM or 256 Mbytes DDRII+ or QDRII SRAM is arranged in four memory banks for each of two IO FPGAs on board. The host AMCC 460EX PowerPC has clock speeds up to 1 GHz and 512 Mbytes of its own dedicated DRAM. Flash on board consists of 64 Mbyte NOR flash in addition to 4 Gbytes of NAND flash to store FPGA images and for application data. A 4X PCI Express Gen 1 link connects the PowerPC and PCI controller. Host software includes Linux, VxWorks APIs and device drivers. A full CoreFire Board Support Package provides fast and easy application development. Open VHDL Models including Source Code is available for hardware interfaces and chip scope access. An Open VHDL IP package supports communication interfaces. Application software can access current, voltage and temperature monitoring sensors via API software interface. The board accepts standard Annapolis WILDSTAR 4 / 5 / 6 Family I/O modules. The card has an integrated heat sink and full IPMI chassis management support.
4DSP Austin, TX. (800) 816-1751. [www.4dsp.com]. 38
COTS Journal | May 2013
Acromag Wixom, MI. (248) 295-0310. [www.acromag.com].
Annapolis Micro Systems Inc Annapolis, MD. (410) 841-2514. [www.annapmicro.com].
FPGA Processing Boards Roundup
6U OpenVPX Card Has Stratix V FPGAs and Anemone Coprocessors BittWare offers a 6U VPX board powered by Altera’s 28-nm Stratix V FPGAs. The S5-6U-VPX (S56X) is a rugged VITA 65 6U VPX card providing a configurable 48-port multi-gigabit transceiver interface supporting a
variety of protocols, including Serial RapidIO, PCI Express and 10GigE, and two VITA 57 FMC sites for enhancing the board’s I/O and processing capabilities. When combined with the optional BittWare Anemone floating point coprocessors, the board packs a powerful punch for those applications requiring flexible FPGA processing in a rugged form factor. By leveraging the Stratix V GS FPGA’s floating point DSP blocks, which deliver up to one TeraFLOP of computing performance, combined with the FPGA’s low-power, multi-gigabit transceivers and a high-density, high-performance architecture, BittWare’s S56X board delivers a rugged and completely flexible signal processing solution capable of driving innovative new capabilities in military applications. The board also sports an 800 MHz ARM Cortex-A8 control processor and two Anemone floating point coprocessors (optional). I/O includes 48 multi-gigabit transceivers along with GigE, SerDes, LVDS and RS-232 links. Up to 8 Gbytes of onboard DDR3 memory are included also.
BittWare Concord, NH. (603) 226-0404. [www.bittware.com].
ADC/DAC 6U VPX Module Targets Electronic Warfare Applications
3U VPX Virtex-6 FPGA Processing VITA 57 FMC Front-End
Applications like electronic warfare have a huge appetite for low-latency, high-ADC/ DAC performance combined with the highest available I/O bandwidth. With that in mind, Curtiss-Wright Controls has introduced the CHAMP-WB (“WideBand”), the Industry’s first Xilinx Virtex\-7 OpenVPX COTS DSP Engine designed for sense-and-response applications that require high bandwidth and minimal latency. In addition, CurtissWright is also introducing its first module for the CHAMP-WB, the TADF-4300, featuring
VPX and FMC are two of the fastest growing new embedded computer form factors, and the military has their eye on both. Hitting both of those trends, Elma Electronic offers the TIC-FEP-VPX3b, an FPGA-based 3U VPX front-end processing board that provides an FMC site coupled to a large capacity Virtex-6 FPGA for extremely flexible I/O. Designed for digital signal processing (DSP), the versatile TIC-FEP-VPX3b is ideal for applications such as radar, sonar, electronic warfare, imaging
Tektronix Component Solutions’ 12.5 Gsample/s ADC and DAC technologies. Combined, these two modules form the CHAMP-WB-DRFM and provide the highest bandwidth/highest resolution platform for wideband Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) processing available in the embedded defense and aerospace market, delivering an unprecedented 12.5 Gsamples/s 8-bit ADC and 12.5 Gsample/s 10-bit DAC performance from a single 6U slot. Based on Tektronix’s silicon germanium (SiGe)-based data converters, the TADF-4300, when coupled with the CHAMPWB’s onboard Virtex7 FPGA and high-speed wideband interfaces, enables designers to develop powerful embedded DRFM solutions with 3x the performance of existing CMOS-based offerings. The board’s data plane connects directly to the FPGA with support for Gen2 Serial RapidIO (SRIO) data plane fabric. Alternate fabrics can also be supported with different FPGA cores. A Gen3 PCI Express (PCIe) switch connected to the board’s expansion plane enables a single host card, such as Curtiss-Wright’s VPX6-1957 or CHAMP-AV8, to control multiple CHAMP-WB cards without utilizing data-plane bandwidth. Memory support on the CHAMP-WB includes two 64-bit, 4 Gbyte DDR3L memory banks that provide up to 8 Gbytes of on-card data capture or pattern generation capability.
and communications. The new board offers highperformance logic, increased SerDes-based I/O, and powerful DSP slice resources that help meet higher bandwidth and performance demands, while utilizing up to 25% less power. Supported by low-power and high-speed GTX transceivers at rates up to 6.5 Gbits/s, the board enables the application of interfaces used in today’s embedded systems. Onboard PCIe Gen 1 and Gen 2 protocols, via a hard IP block and Ethernet MAC blocks, allow PCIe x4 and GbE interfaces to be implemented from the FPGA to form data and control planes respectively. Built to the VPX specifications, the TIC-FEP-VPX3b includes four 4-lane fabric ports on the P1, connected by GTX transceivers to the main FPGA. Featuring an onboard Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA, the board comes with two banks of 40-bit 1.25 Gbyte DDR3 memory with transfer rates of 7.5 Gbits/s and a Spartan-6 control node, used to load logic images into the main FPGA. The Spartan-6 control node enables “on the fly” bitstream management for dynamic FPGA configuration. Other resources include zero bus turnaround (ZBT) SRAM with a throughput of 400 Mbyte/s for expedited read/write processing. The board comes in three environmental grades: standard, rugged and conduction-cooled. Pricing for the TIC-FEP-VPX3b depends on the choice of Xilinx FPGAs and environmental grade. The board is currently shipping.
Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions Ashburn, VA. (703) 779-7800. [www.cwcdefense.com].
Elma Electronic Systems Fremont, CA. (510) 656-3400. [www.elma.com]. May 2013 | COTS Journal
FPGA Processing Boards Roundup
Embedded FPGA Development System Uses AXI4 Protocol
Upgraded Video Compression XMC Enhances Military Decisions
FPGA PMC/XMC Module Blends Digitizing and Processing
A Xilinx Virtex-6-based XMC module supports pluggable daughter cards for customizable I/O. In conjunction with the XPedite2300, introduced by Extreme Engineering solutions, is an embedded FPGA development environment based on the AXI4 interface protocol, the XPedite2300 FPGA Development Kit (FDK). The FDK simplifies the development of high-performance, real-time, streaming data applications that run on the XPedite2300 FPGA board. The FDK includes IP blocks, example FPGA designs, and software to control and communicate with FPGAs. All of the IP blocks included in the FDK interface to
GE Intelligent Platforms has announced an enhanced version of the ICS-8580 rugged high definition video compression XMC module. Designed in response to the growing use of video in a broad range of defense applications, it allows very high quality moving images to be captured, transmitted and stored at very high speed with very low latency and with minimal consumption of precious bandwidth or disk space. As such, it can make a significant
Innovative Integration has announced its X6- 250M, a PMC/XMC I/O module that integrates digitizing with signal processing. The module has a powerful Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA signal processing core and high-performance PCI Express/PCI host interface. Applications include software-defined radio, radar receivers and multi-channel data recorders. The card has eight simultaneously sampling A/D channels that sample at rates up to 310 Msamples/s (14-bit). The A/Ds have matched input delays and response. The A/D are supported by a
ploration your goal k directly age, the source. ology, d products
the industry-standard AXI4 interconnect. Xilinx contribution to superior decision making and supports the AXI4 interface standard in the improved troop safety. Virtex-6 to facilitate plug-and-play FPGA design The ICS-8580 can capture video inputs with the goal of shortening time-to-market for and archive or stream them over Ethernet, customers. managing multiple streams and performing The AXI4 interface standard finally brings capture, manipulation, conversion, true reuse to the FPGA industry. Customers compression, storage, decompression and d can easily integrate FPGA logic based on the video display. At the heart of the ICS-8580 AXI4 interconnect from X-ES, Xilinx and lies a combination of a versatile FPGA device other third parties without having to make any coupled with powerful dual DSP signal modifications, making it much easier to create processors, providing unparalleled compute working FPGA designs. The use of the AXI4 power for video applications. The FPGA enables interface standard has made reuse of IP blocks video switching, format conversions, scaling, simple and straightforward for developers. blending and other processing functions while nies providing solutions now The XPedite2300 is a conduction-cooled the dual DSP processors enable multichannel ion into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest XMC module well suited to data streaming video compression and decompression for over tion Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you applications that require real-time signal 100x reduction in bandwidth with minimal you require for whatever type of technology, such as impact on video quality. It can handle up to two and productsprocessing, you are searching for.video surveillance, signals intelligence and infrared threat detection. channels of full HD (1080p30) or UXGA (1,600 www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected It supports the Virtex-6 LX130T, LX195T, x 1,200 at 30 frames/s) video, or up to four LX240T, LX365T, SX315T and SX475T FPGAs. channels of standard definition video. There are initially two daughter cards that can GE Intelligent Platforms be mounted on the module: a 10-bit, dual, 1.5 Charlottesville, VA. GSPS (or single 3.0 GSPS) A/D daughter card (800) 368-2738. and a 14-bit, dual, 2.5 GSPS D/A daughter card.
Extreme Engineering Solutions Middleton, WI. (608) 833-1155. [www.xes-inc.com].
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COTS Journal | May 2013
programmable sample clock PLL and triggering that support multi-card synchronization for large scale systems. A Xilinx Virtex-6 SX315T (LX240T and SX475T options) with four banks of 1 Gbyte DRAM provides a very high-performance DSP core with over 2000 MACs (SX315T). The close integration of the analog I/O, memory and host interface with the FPGA enables real-time signal processing at extremely high rates. The X6-250M has both XMC and PCI interfaces, supporting PCI Express or older PCI systems. The PCI Express interface provides up to 3.2 Gbyte/s sustained transfers rates through an x8 PCIe Gen2 interface. System expansion is supported using secondary PCI Express or Aurora port used as a private data channel or second system bus. The X6-250M power consumption is 23W for typical operation. The module may be conduction-cooled using VITA20 standard and a heat spreading plate. Ruggedization levels for wide-temperature operation are from -40째 to +85째C (conformal coating) and 0.1 g2/Hz vibration.
Innovative Integration Simi Valley, CA. (805) 578-4260. [www.innovative-dsp.com].
FPGA Processing Boards Roundup
Virtex-6 FPGA Processing Engine Rides OpenVPX The SCFE-V6-OVPX from Mercury Systems provides high-performance processing for applications requiring extreme FPGA processing power, such as EW, ELINT, SIGINT, RADAR, Commercial Wireless and Deep Packet Inspection. Using top-end FPGAs available from market leader Xilinx, the SCFE-V6-OVPX solves the toughest signal processing problems
FPGA Accelerator Card Serves Up Interfacing with Network and Storage I/O
Digital Down Converter Targets Wideband Radar and SDR Applications
FPGA acceleration has moved beyond the benchmarking phase and is increasingly gaining acceptance for large scale computing systems. Nallatech has announced availability of the 395 FPGA accelerator card for data-intensive network and coprocessing applications. The 395 FPGA accelerator card provides a powerful I/O and compute platform suitable for a range of applications including signals intelligence, network security and algorithm acceleration.
A very high-speed data acquisition XMC is capable of digitizing one 12-bit channel at 3.6 GHz, or two channels at 1.8 GHz, and comes preconfigured with a programmable one- or two-channel digital down converter (DDC) loaded into the onboard Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA. The new Model 71641 member of the Cobalt family from Pentek is suitable for wideband
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The four SFP+ network interfaces of the technologies and companies. Whether your goal radar and software defined radio (SDR) in a cost-effective form factor. Processing power into products, 395 enable applications thata require real-time is to research the latest datasheet from company, speak directly applications. Within the Virtex-6 FPGA is a is provided by three Xilinx Virtex-6 LX240Ts dataEngineer, processing, filtering and inspection of the powerful Pentek-designed DDC IP core. The with an Application or jump to a company's technical page, or SX315Ts VITA 57 FPGA Mezzanine Card network traffic. 395 alsowith supports core supports single and dual channel modes, goal of Get Connected is to putThe you in touch the rightthe resource. (FMC) mezzanine sites, and OpenVPX (VITA Software Development for accepting data samples from the analog to Whichever level Altera of service you require for whatever Kit type(SDK) of technology, 65) Rear Transition Modules (RTMs) provide OpenCL, allowswith users to combine Get Connected will helpwhich you connect the companies andthe products digital (A/D) converter at the full 3.6 GHz rate diverse sensor and I/O entry points, both OpenCL programming model with Altera’s in single-channel mode or 1.8 GHz in twoyou are searching for. analog and digital. When incorporated with the massively parallel FPGA architecture for highchannel operation. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected Mercury Ensemble multi-computing OpenVPX performance, energy-efficient computing. This Each DDC has an independent 32-bit modules, the SCFE-V6-OVPX represents combination enables dramatic acceleration tuning frequency programmable from DC to an essential building block in powerful of compute-intensive applications while ƒs, where ƒs is the A/D sampling frequency. heterogeneous subsystems that can be tailored reducing power consumption and total cost of In single-channel mode, DDC decimation to specific applications and platforms. ownership. An 8-lane PCI Express 3.0 interface can be programmed to 8x, 16x or 32x. In Memory on board includes DDR-III SDRAM provides high-bandwidth communications to dual-channel mode, both channels share the in six banks of 512 Mbytes (128M x 32 at 800 Get Connected with Four technology and companies solutions now rate, programmable to 4x, the host platform. SFP+ ports support providing same decimation MHz) that interfaces at half-duplex bandwidth 1GbE, 10GbE, 10Gresource SONET various OTUinto products, 8x ortechnologies 16x. The decimating filter for each Get Connected is a new forand further exploration and companies. Whether yourDDC goal is to research th (unidirectional) of 3.2 Gbytes/s and full-duplex Four banks of DDR3 set oftechnical user-supplied datasheetstandards. from a company, speak directly withSDRAM an Application Engineer,accepts or jumpatounique a company's page, the16-bit goal of Get Connect bandwidth (bidirectional) 1.6 Gbytes/s. Alsoin touch with the right Whichever levelcoupled of servicetoyou require for whatever type of 80% technology, provide up resource. to 16 Gbytes directly the coefficients. The default filters deliver an included is QDR-II SRAM in three banks of 18Connected Get help youTwo connect withof theQDR-II companies and productsoutput you arebandwidth searching for.of 0.8*ƒs/N, where N is the Stratixwill V FPGA. banks SRAM Mbyte (4M x 36 at 500 MHz) with full-duplex offer random memory access. decimation setting. In single-channel mode, www.cotsjournalonline.com/ge bandwidth of 4.5 Gbytes/s. The board supports the maximum output bandwidth is 360 MHz. Nallatech air-cooled temperature range of 0° to 40°C in Rejection of adjacent-band components within operating mode an -40° to +85°C in storage. Camarillo, CA. the 80% output bandwidth is better than 100
Mercury Systems Chelmsford, MA. (978) 967-1401. [www.mrcy.com].
(805) 383-8997. [www.nallatech.com].
Products Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected
dB. The Model 71641 starts at $23,695. Pricing varies depending on the options chosen.
Pentek Upper Saddle River, NJ. (201) 818-5900. [www.pentek.com].
End of Article Get Connected
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May 2013 | COTS Journal
FPGA Processing Boards Roundup
VXS/VME Board Provides HighSpeed 12-Bit ADCs and DACs VXS continues to provide a â€œhere and nowâ€? solution for high-speed VME-based military embedded computing. Feeding that need, TEK Microsystems has announced the latest member of our QuiXilica product family. The new Gemini-V6 supports either one 12-bit analogto-digital converter (ADC) input channel at 3.6 Gsamples/s (GSPS) or three input channels at 1.8 GSPS, combined with a 12-bit DAC output channel operating at up to 4.0 GSPS.
Turn & Burn with TEâ€™s New MULTIGIG RT 2-R Connector Quad-Redundant Contact System ~AdVVTSBdaeXePQX[Xchr 7XVW[TeT[bW^RZP]S eXQaPcX^]QTh^]SE8C0#& ~;XVWcfTXVWcWXVWb_TTS R^]]TRc^abhbcT\ ~|?X][Tbb}8]cTaUPRTcTbcTS c^ \PcX]V d]\PcX]VRhR[Tb ~1PRZfPaSR^\_PcXQX[Xch c^E8C0#%R^]]TRc^a bhbcT\
TEK Microsystems Chelmsford, MA. (978) 244-9200. [www.tekmicro.com].
ÂŠ2013 Tyco Electronics Corporation, All Rights Reserved. MULTIGIG RT, TE Connectivity and the TE connectivity (logo) are trademarks of the TE Connectivity Ltd. family of companies.
COTS Journal | May 2013
Gemini-V6 is based on the National Semiconductor ADC12D1800RF device, which supports either a pair of channels in noninterleaved mode or a single channel using 2:1 interleaved sampling. Gemini-V6 contains two ADC devices, supporting a total of either three channels plus trigger at 1.8 GSPS or one channel plus trigger at 3.6 GSPS, plus a separate 12-bit DAC output channel based on the Euvis M653D that operates at up to 4.0 GSPS. The Gemini-V6 contains two front-end FPGA devices, one attached to the ADCs and one to the DAC. The front-end FPGAs can be configured with LX240, SX315, or SX475 devices, providing both the highest FPGA processing density available in any 6U form factor today as well as the only VME / VXS platform supporting Virtex-6 FPGAs. The two front-end FPGAs are supplemented with a â€œbackendâ€? FPGA that can be used for additional processing or for backplane or front panel communications. The Gemini-V6 includes six banks of DDR3 memory with total capacity of 5 Gbytes and aggregate throughput of 32 Gbytes/s, supporting a wide range of signal processing algorithms with deep memory buffering of the entire signal acquisition stream.
4/15/13 9:40 AM
PMC Module Serves Up HighDensity User-Programmable FPGA PMC is still going strong as a versatile and proven mezzanine technology. Tews Technologies announced the TPMC632, a PMC module providing a user-configurable XC6SLX45T-2 or XC6SLX100T-2 Spartan-6 FPGA. Designed for industrial, COTS and transportation applications, where specialized I/O or long-term availability is required, the TPMC632 provides a number of advantages including a customizable interface for
unique customer applications and an FPGAbased design for long-term product lifecycle management. Three different module versions are available. The TPMC632-10 provides 64 ESDprotected TTL lines and the TPMC632-11 offers 32 differential I/O lines using EIA 422 / EIA 485 compatible, ESD-protected line transceivers. The TPMC632-12 provides a mix of 32 TTL and 16 differential I/O lines. The integrated Spartan-6â€™s PCIe Endpoint Block is connected to a PCIe-to-PCI Bridge, which is routed to the PMC PCI Interface. The FPGA is connected to a 128 Mbyte, 16-bit wide DDR3 SDRAM. The SDRAM interface uses a hardwired internal Memory Controller Block of the Spartan-6.
TEWS Technologies Reno, NV. (775) 850-5380. [www.tews.com].
End of Article
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In the article "Power Supplies Evolve to Meet Needs of Boards and Systems" in February COTSGet Journal, we mistakenly omitted the following UPS Connected with companies mentioned in this article. product from Acumentrics. We apologize for the oversight. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected
Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section.
www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected Rugged-UPS Meets Demands of Harsh Environments
Designed for worldwide deployment in harsh physical and electrical environments, Acumentrics’ Rugged-UPS ACG3000 offers clean AC or DC power to protect communications and surveillance equipment from shutdowns or data loss. The ACG3000 produces 3000VA/2400W of nominal 115 VAC output from an input range of 80 VAC to 265 VAC / 47 Hz to 440Hz. This wide voltage and frequency tolerance enables users to power-up with field generators in any international power standard to provide seamless active power-factor correction and clean, reliable AC power. This true on-line, double conversion uninterruptible power supply continually creates a pure sine wave AC output from a DC bus, protecting sensitive equipment from surges, spikes, brownouts, blackouts and noise. Additionally, DC output options are available. The unique Flo-thru heatsink design provides maximum cooling while sealing components from the damaging effects of water, airborne particles, and other contaminants in the operating environment. Lithium-Ion or low-maintenance, valve-regulated lead acid batteries are enclosed in a user replaceable battery pack for rapid, hot-swap field replacement. With a rated operating temperature range of -18° to +50°C (0° - 122°F), the ACG3000 is the product of choice for high power in extreme environments. It also meets accepted military standards for electromagnetic interference (MIL-STD 461-F), shock (MIL-S-901-D) and vibration (MIL-STD-810-G).
Acumentrics, Westwood, MA. (781) 461-8251. [www.acumentrics.com].
75 Watt Compact DC/DC Converter Sports Digital Interface
Military Comms Converters Offer Flexible Configuration
Calex has announced two new models that have been added to the Calex 75 Watt WDE Series. Both housed in an industry standard 1/8 brick package (2.45” x 1.05” x 0.55”H), the 24S5.15WDE features a wide 9 to 36 VDC input range with a 5 volt output at 15 amps. The 24S12.6WDE features the same 9 to 36 VDC input range and provides a 12 volt output at 6 amps. Both models are fully regulated and isolated input to output. The 24S5.15WDE and 24S12.6WDE expand the Calex WDE offering, which previously consisted of 24, 28 and 48 volt ouput models with either a 9 to 36 VDC or 18 to 75 VDC input range. In addition to the basic 1/8 brick analog functions, all WDE models feature a PMBus interface to allow monitoring, datalogging and remote customization of the DC/DC converters. An evaluation board is available from Calex for bench testing, communication and configuration. These features make the unit an ideal solution for critical applications where monitoring and/or datalogging can assist in system evaluation, monitoring and troubleshooting. All WDE models are housed in a fully encapsulated cast case making them ideal for still air environments. The operating temperature range of the WDE is -55 to +100 degrees C.
InTalTech has introduced a new concept of mil-spec communication converters. The unique U2 mechanical concept is an easy to install module designed to meet the harshest environmental conditions for airborne, naval and ground applications. Each of our U2 products is a modular Lego-style unit providing easy plug’n’play installation and eventually creates endless possibilities to combine various U2 modules into one rugged structure. For instance, a combination of 10U2 units in a line creates a 19” module. Our military-grade Ethernet switch can be directly installed on virtually any surface. From now on, the technical support engineer in the field/command headquarters does not have to look for a converter with an exact quantity of slots. Instead the engineer can just create one with InTalTech’s products. The technical support officer can even create a rugged structure of various converters that he/she needs—whether it be a USB hub combined with Ethernet switch or USB to Serial converter combined with USB to Gigabit Ethernet The MILCOMM line of converters uses commercial connectors that enable the broadest compatibility with various devices. Furthermore, commercial female connectors substantially reduce the cost of installation.
Calex, Concord, CA. (925) 687-4411. [www.calex.com].
InTalTech, Ness Ziona, Israel. (+972) 8-9400002. [www.intaltech.com].
PCI Express Card Does 8-Channel Video Capture Advanced Micro Peripherals has announced the launch of the AVC8000nano, providing 8 channel video capture on a mini PCI express card. Rugged, reliable and completely dependable, the AVC8000nano is the ideal solution for high pressure, demanding or extreme environments, including UAV-based video capture, real-time situational awareness, law enforcement, crime scene recording and asset or traffic monitoring. The AVC8000nano is ideal for capturing up to eight concurrent analog video inputs and delivers pin sharp imagery time after time. Captured video can be scaled, cropped and positioned effortlessly, thanks to AVC8000nano’s intuitive software controls. In addition, captured video can be streamed continuously to system memory for immediate processing or local display or to disc storage.
Advanced Micro Peripherals, Cambridge, UK. +44 (0) 1353 659 500. [www.ampltd.com]. 44
COTS Journal | May 2013
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TRACE32 Capabilities Proven in Mixed Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected ARM/MicroBlaze System The TRACE32 debuggers from Lauterbach were used successfully in the development of a cutting-edge FPGA design based on a ZYNQ 7000 chip. The design utilizes two ARM Cortex-A9 hard cores and 24 x MicroBlaze soft cores. These are used to implement systems that are dynamically reconfigurable to provide better performance in applications that are computing intensive and context sensitive. With its latest release, TRACE32 has introduced full support for debugging asymmetric multicore systems with multiple ARM and MicroBlaze cores. The target hardware is accessed via a single debug interface while the host machine runs multiple GUIs for controlling the debug session. Also, TRACE32 supports the latest version of the MicroBlaze core, which as of February 2013 is version 8.40.b.
Lauterbach, Hรถhenkirchen-Siegertsbrunn, Germany. +49 8102 9876-0. [www.lauterbach.com].
Line of AMC Products Serve Signal Processing I/O Needs
Many new defense programs are evaluating AMCs because of the small form factor packages and chassis. The built-in support for the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) and the existing infrastructure of modules, systems and software provide a reliable computing platform strategy for many applications. AMCs keep the performance level high while keeping systems cost down. Pentek has launched the 56xxx family of Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC) products giving customers instant access to the extensive line of signal processing products in the Pentek catalog. Pentek is leveraging their modular product architectures to bring a large array of options to market in a very short time. The Pentek 56xxx products fill a major I/O product gap in the AMC ecosystem by offering 15 different modules. The AMC products are derived from the Pentek Cobalt product family based on Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGAs with PCI Express Gen 2 system interfaces, and the Pentek Onyx product family using Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGAs with PCI Express Gen 3 interfaces. I/O functionality in the 56xxx family includes analog-to-digital, digital-to-analog, multiband-digital receivers, upconverters and transceivers. Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC) is the PICMG specification that defines the small form factor modules. AMC modules can be used directly in a MicroTCA chassis creating a powerful data acquisition and processing system in a small footprint. The AMC modules are designed for commercial air-cooled operating environments. Software support packages are available for Linux and Windows operating systems. For systems that require custom functions, IP can be developed using the Pentek GateFlow FPGA Design Kit, extending or even replacing the factory-installed functions. The AMC pricing starts at $11,595 for the Model 56620.
Electronic Control Provides Variable Output Capabilities LCR Electronics has announced their EC1032 electronic controls. In conjunction with an available potentiometer assembly, the EC1032 is an inexpensive, simple and flexible way to incorporate a new feature into applications including fluid pumps, fans, small appliances, lighting, heating, equipment cooling, humidity control and exhaust ventilators. Using a phase cut technique, the EC1032 can be used on any single phase power input up to and including 240 VAC at 12A. At about the size of a match box, the EC1032 can be placed in any small space with available air flow such as a handle cavity or alongside a motor. OEMs will find this product useful for adjustment of motor speed, light intensity, heat output, water flow, or air pressure. The EC1032 can provide just the right amount of output for a large range of products and end-user needs.
LCR Electronics, Norristown, PA. (610) 278-0840. [www.lcr-inc.com].
Pentek, Upper Saddle River, NJ. (201) 818-5900. [www.pentek.com].
USB Signal Generators Fill Popular Bands Vaunix Technology, a manufacturer of Lab Brick USB powered test equipment, has announced the addition of eight new models to their LMS Series of Signal Generators. The additions are in response to customer demand for defined frequency bands through 4 GHz, specifically 70-450 MHz, 250-1500 MHz, 600-3200 MHz and 1000-4000 MHz. The Lab Brick LMS series of USB-compatible, synthesized signal generators features low noise, fast 100-microsecond switching time, and fine 100 Hz frequency resolution, requiring no additional DC supply voltage. Advanced features include phase-continuous linear-frequency sweeping; selectable internal/external 10 MHz reference; optional pulse modulation; ability for GUI software to track and control several connected signal generators, simplifying multiple-signal test setups; and device storage of settings in internal memory, allowing it to power up in a specific instrument state. All devices offer robust aluminum construction.
Vaunix Technology, Haverhill, MA. (978) 662-7839. [www.vaunix.com]. May 2013 | COTS Journal
VERY COOL PRODUCTS
introducing Rugged, Deployable, Mission Oriented Data Storage
Expansion Enclosure Provides Easy Thunderbolt or PCIe Connectivity Drive Magazine Based High Performance Multi-Protocol RAID System
t4PMJE4UBUFPS)BSE%JTL%SJWFT in only 2U of panel height t5XP2VJDLMZ3FNPWBCMF4UPSBHF.BHB[JOF each containing up to 12 HDDs or SSDs each t'BVMU5PMFSBOU )PU4XBQ$PNQPOFOUT - no single point of failure t4VTUBJOFE3FBEBOE8SJUF%BUB5SBOTGFS3BUFT - of over 5000 MB/sec and 3000 MB/sec respectively t.*-45%( .*-45%&$FSUJĂśFE
One Stop Systems has introduced the nanoCUBE expansion enclosure with Thunderbolt or PCIe expansion. The nanoCUBE supports a single PCIe x8 Gen3 short card, allowing you to add greater functionality to your laptop or workstation. This lightweight appliance is the ideal companion to a PC or Workstation when you want to add a special I/O card today that you donâ€™t have room for in your system and that you can easily disconnect later. For example, adding a video editing card to The nanoCUBE creates a portable video editing appliance. Light weight and whisper quiet, itâ€™s ideal to accompany a laptop to field locations that may be noise-sensitive environments. The nanoCUBE with Thunderbolt expansion lists for $450 and is available immediately. The nanoCUBE with PCIe x8 expansion lists for $625 and is also available immediately.
One Stop Systems, Escondido, CA. (877) 438-2724. [www.onestopsystems.com]. AS9100 Rev C/ISO 9001: 2008 CertiďŹ ed
w w w.phenxint.com h i 714-283-4800
2/28/13 9:53 AM
PCIe dual digitizer
FPGA Accelerator Card Serves Up Interfacing with Network and Storage I/O
FPGA acceleration has moved beyond the benchmarking phase and is increasingly gaining acceptance for large scale computing systems. Nallatech has announced availability of the 395 FPGA accelerator card for data-intensive network and co-processing applications. The 395 FPGA accelerator card provides a powerful I/O and compute platform suitable for a range of applications including signals intelligence, network security and algorithm acceleration.
Custom FPGA-based DSP design, development, integration services available
DRX16 board includes:
v Xilinx Virtex 6 240T FPGA v Dual 16-bit A/D - 10 to 130 Msps with 300 MHz input bandwidth v 10 MHz timebase with timestamping capability
DSP services include: v :LGHEDQGVRIWZDUHGHoQHGUDGLR v Real-time signal acquisition and analysis / test and measurement v Adaptive signal processing v +LJKVSHHGoOWHULQJ
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COTS Journal | May 2013
4/24/13 9:40 AM
The four SFP+ network interfaces of the 395 enable applications that require real-time data processing, filtering and inspection of network traffic. The 395 also supports the Altera Software Development Kit (SDK) for OpenCL, which allows users to combine the OpenCL programming model with Alteraâ€™s massively parallel FPGA architecture for highperformance, energy-efficient computing. This combination enables dramatic acceleration of compute-intensive applications while reducing power consumption and total cost of ownership. An 8-lane PCI Express 3.0 interface provides high-bandwidth communications to the host platform. Four SFP+ ports support 1GbE, 10GbE, 10G SONET and various OTU standards. Four banks of DDR3 SDRAM provide up to 16 Gbytes directly coupled to the Stratix V FPGA. Two banks of QDR-II SRAM offer random memory access.
Nallatech, Camarillo, CA. (805) 383-8997. [www.nallatech.com].
Qseven Starter Kit Is Based on AMD Embedded G-Series APU
MSC Embedded has announced the availability of a new Qseven Starter Kit based on MSC’s Qseven modules featuring the AMD Embedded G-Series APU (Accelerated Processing Units). The MSC Q7-SK-A50M-EP4 Starter Kit consists of MSC’s 3.5” Qseven baseboard Q7-MB-EP4 with suitable heatspreader and heatsink and an integrated power supply with cable kit. The kit comes with a ready-to-run Linux installation in Flash Disk to enable an out-of-the-box functional experience. Optionally, a TFT kit can be ordered that provides for a 12.1” LCD panel with XGA resolution (1024 x 768), the appropriate cable kit for operation off the Qseven baseboard and full implementation in the Qseven module’s Graphics BIOS. The AMD Embedded G-Series APUs combine a low-power CPU and a discrete-level GPU in a single processor chip. The Computer-on-Module MSC Q7-A50M offers up to 4 Gbytes of DRAM, four PCI Express x1 lanes, two high-speed SATA-II interfaces, eight USB 2.0 host ports, LPC, High-Definition Audio (HDA) and a Gbit Ethernet interface. Optionally, a Flash Disk up to 32 Gbyte soldered on the module may be used as system boot device. The MSC Q7-SK-A50M Starter Kit for Qseven modules with the AMD Embedded G-Series APUs is available immediately at a net price of $260.
MSC Embedded, San Bruno, CA. (650) 616-4068. [www.mscembedded.com].
Portable Enclosures Provide Easy Assembly and Rich Features OKW has completed the development of its unique CARRYTEC range of portable enclosures by adding new larger size “L” models to the existing size “M” and “S” versions. The CARRYTEC series is designed for portable electronics equipment and is available with optional docking stations for charging and data transfer when the equipment is not being carried. The new size L models have external dimensions of 13.70” x 11.92” x 4.60” and are offered in two standard materials: ABS (UL 94 HB) in off-white for indoor use, and fiberglass reinforced polyamide (PA GV) in lava gray for tougher outdoor use. An IP 54 sealing kit is also available as an accessory. CARRYTEC enclosures are very easy to assemble. The top, bottom and handle grip moldings are assembled by five security screws (Torx T10). Prices for size L start at $103.
OKW Enclosures, Bridgeville, PA. (412) 220-9244. [www.okwenclosures.com].
3/26/13 12:42 PM May 2013 | COTS Journal 47
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.
www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected Company Page# Website
Company Page# Website
One Stop Systems, Inc........................37................... www.onestopsystems.com
AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems 2013.....49.............................. www.auvsishow.org
Ballard Technology, Inc.......................26............................www.ballardtech.com
Products Chassis Plans, LLC.............................23....................... www.chassis-plans.com
End of Article Phoenix International..........................46................................www.phenxint.com
Pico Electronics, Inc...........................29..................... www.picoelectronics.com
Data Bus Products Corp......................34...................www.databusproducts.com Get Connected with companies and products in this .section. Data Devicefeatured Corporation. ....................4.................................www.ddc-web.com
RTD Embedded Technologies, Inc.......2.......................................... www.rtd.com Get Connected withSystems, companiesInc.........................12..................................www.sealeve.com mentioned in this article. Sealevel
SIE Computing Solutions, Inc.............22....................................www.sie-cs.com
Equipto Electronics Corp....................27........................... www.equiptoelec.com
Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc.....51..................................www.xes-inc.com
TE Connectivity...................................42...........................................www.te.com Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.
Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. FEI-Elcom Tech, Inc............................13........................www.fei-elcomtech.com
GAIA Converter...................................35...................... www.gaia-converter.com
Galleon Embedded Computing............5............................... www.galleonec.com
Trenton Systems, Inc...........................43..................... www.trentonsystems.com
GE Intelligent Platforms, Inc................7...................................... www.ge-ip.com
VME, VXS and OpenVPX SBCs &
Getac, Inc............................................19..................................... www.getac.com
Solid-State Disk Drives Product Gallery............................................................28
Z Microsystems, Inc............................14...................................www.zmicro.com
Pentek, Inc...........................................52................................... www.pentek.com
Mercury Systems, Inc.........................21......................................www.mrcy.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: I/O System Options: 1553, Ethernet and More Tried and true I/O schemes such as MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC 429 remain popular for pure control applications, but they’re bandwidth-limited by today’s standards. A slew of multipurpose communications protocols provide options to suit emerging needs, and Ethernet is a top contender among them. Articles in this section compare today’s crop of I/O schemes relevant to avionics and other military users. Tech Recon: Harnessing Laser Technologies for Military Use Laser technology isn’t a new kid on the block in terms of applications for the military. In particular, laser sighting and targeting have been maturating and used in the field for years. But now it’s starting to find uses in new platforms. Smart munitions like the Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) have a laser variant that lets it attack land moving targets when designated by an airborne or ground laser. Research is also underway to use lasers as direct attack weapons. The Navy for its part has talked about deploying a solid-state laser prototype weapon aboard a ship in fiscal year 2014. This section examines the state of military laser technology along with the embedded computing solutions needed to support it. System Development: Displays and Panel PCs for Net-Centric Systems There’s been a major upward trend in the military toward systems that require sophisticated graphical user interfaces. Often in the form of displays and panel PCs, this is where the warfighter gets the complex situational awareness data— maps, video, images and text—interfaced directly to military weapons platforms on networks. This section explores the technology trends and capabilities of these mission-critical products. Tech Focus: PC/104 and PC/104 Family Boards PC/104 has become entrenched as a popular military form factor thanks to its compact size and inherent ruggedness. Sweetening the deal, a number of special enclosure techniques are used to outfit PC/104 for extremely harsh environments. This Tech Focus section updates readers on these trends, along with a look at the new PC/104 follow-ons: EPIC, PCI-104, PCI/104-Express and PCIe/104. Also provided is a product album of representative boards. 48
COTS Journal | May 2013
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EDITORIAL Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief
It’s about the People
s a technology magazine our focus and our mission is on “things”—chips, boards, computers, systems, software, enclosures and so on—along with the technologies, trends and techniques that move and shake those objects. And the design of embedded computer systems into advanced weapons systems is what we’re all about. That said, at the end of the day I’m just as aware as anyone that it is people who are the heart of any effort or organization. That’s true for our military too of course. Technology is a huge force multiplier, but it’s our warfighting men and women who serve and sacrifice that forever earn our deepest gratitude and deserve our material and emotional support. On perhaps the opposite spectrum, our government is also a people-run organization. And I’m not saying that its handling of fiscal matters over the past several months is much to be proud of. Because of the uncertainty of whether or not a deal to avoid sequestration would happen, the DoD’s 2014 budget proposal was delayed and was only released early last month—instead of the usual February timeframe. And politics being what they are in these times, the proposed budget is probably certain to translate into reality more than any budget proposal in recent years. All that said, the 2014 DoD budget request is the best guide available as to where the thinking is going forward. The DoD’s stated goals for the budget are to (1) Act as good stewards of the public funds; (2) Implement and deepen program alignment to the new defense strategy; (3) Create a force that is ready across a spectrum of missions; and (4) Keep people central to its plans. On the fiscal side of things, the FY 2014 budget builds on the DoD’s ongoing process of building in more efficiency. According to a summary of the DoD budget request, that agenda generated $150 billion in efficiencies in the five-year plan submitted with the FY 2012 budget and another $60 billion in efficiencies in the five-year plan submitted with the FY 2013 budget. The savings for 2014 is estimated at approximately $34 billion across the five years of its Future Years Defense Plan. To permit infrastructure consolidation, the budget requests a round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) in 2015. In order to maintain balance and readiness, the budget also includes savings associated with a number of weapons program terminations and restructuring totally $9.9 billion in savings. Military medical and construction plans have also been restructured to garner savings. Most relevant to COTS Journal, the FY 2014 budget request supports investments in technology needed 50
COTS Journal | May 2013
to meet future threats and to maintain a competitive edge. Funding will support continued development of three variants of the F-35 ($8.4 billion), new ship construction ($10.9 billion), missile defenses ($9.2 billion), and continued development of a new penetrating bomber ($379 million). On the list of other critical investments are cyberspace operations ($4.7 billion), space capabilities ($10.1 billion), and new technology in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets ($2.5 billion). In response to threats from North Korea and Iran, the department is enhancing defense of the homeland against ballistic missiles by taking steps to increase the number of Ground Based Interceptors and upgrade the missile field at Fort Greely, Alaska. While the budget request includes support for establishing a new readiness posture for the post-Afghanistan period, the effects of sequestration could impede those goals. According to the budget summary, sequestration cuts in FY 2013—combined with issues related to funding of wartime operations—will force the Military services to shut down training for some units, which will seriously harm readiness. Unless sequestration is replaced soon, the degraded readiness in FY 2013 may leave the military unable to meet its readiness goals for FY 2014 according to the budget summary. Despite the unfortunate political forces that are skewing the options for the DoD’s budget plans, it’s encouraging that a “People Are Central” theme is among the priorities of the proposal. This is vital to bolstering the All-Volunteer Force that makes the U.S. military depends on. Supporting that goal, the FY 2014 budget includes a 4.2 percent average rate increase in Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to $21 billion, and a 3.4 percent increase in Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) to $5 billion. The FY 2014 budget also contains $49.4 billion to fully fund the Military Health System and to continue providing highquality care to military personnel on active duty, their dependents and retirees. The DoD’s budget request also seeks $8.5 billion in family support. That translates as DoD schools, commissaries, counseling, child care and other programs. According to the budget summary, DoD plans also continue to invest in programs such as assistance to help veterans transition to civilian life, wounded warrior care, suicide prevention, and sexual assault prevention and response. All politics aside, in my view, this focus on putting people first and supporting those who serve and sacrifice is always the right thing to do.
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