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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing


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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing


I/O System Options: 1553, Ethernet and More

CONTENTS June 2013

Volume 15

Number 6

SPECIAL FEATURE I/O System Options: 1553, Ethernet and More

10  Ethernet and 1553 Share a Long Path of System I/O Legacy Clarence Peckham

20  Mil Spec Point-to-Point Interfaces Work to Live alongside Ethernet Denes Molnar and Don Anderson, Sabtech Industries


Departments 6 Publisher’s Notebook Best Year Ever?... Maybe for Some 8

The Inside Track


COTS Products

50 Editorial Economics of Spectrum Allocation

Coming in July See Page 48

Military Vehicle Computing and Comms Part 2

24  VICTORY Standard Eliminates Costly Vehicle Redundancies David Jedynak, Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions

SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Displays and Panel PCs for Net-Centric Systems

30  Displays and Panel PCs Help Connect the Networked Military Jeff Child

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS PC/104 and PC/104-Family Boards

36  PC/104 Nurtures a Niche Where Legacy and Performance Collide Jeff Child


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.

PC/104 and PC/104-Family Boards Roundup

Digital subscriptions available:

On The Cover: The AC-130U Gunship is designed to avoid any single point of failure for mission-critical systems. It has a fully integrated 1553 computer architecture that speeds up troubleshooting and enables a way to track component performance throughout the system’s life cycle. The Spooky (U-model) is the third generation of C-130 gunships. The AC-130U employs a synthetic aperture strike radar for long-range and adverse weather target detection and identification. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter/Released)



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COTS Journal HOME OFFICE The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Phone: (949) 226-2000 Fax: (949) 226-2050, Editorial office Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief 20A Northwest Blvd., PMB#137, Nashua, NH 03063 Phone: (603) 429-8301 Published by THE RTC GROUP Copyright 2013, The RTC Group. Printed in the United States. All rights reserved. All related graphics are trademarks of The RTC Group. All other brand and product names are the property of their holders.


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NOTEBOOK Best Year Ever?…Maybe for Some


ometimes we can get caught up in trying to view things on too large a scale. We tend to see the Military Budget as a forest, and the forest has been hit by the sequestration blight. What we need to do is take a closer look at our industry under that forest canopy. For the last six weeks I’ve been calling dozens of companies and users of our industry’s products, trying to get an actual feel of what is going on. The Administration sent Congress a proposed 2014 Defense Budget of $526.6 billion before a $52 billion deduction for sequestration, leaving a net of $474.6 billion. Secretary of Defense Hagel acknowledged that there will be significant adverse effects on 2014 military programs such as: energy conservation, civilian employees, training, equipment and facility maintenance, contract efficiencies, deployments, training and so on. And now the politics start on how to deal with the forest. And—to extend the tree metaphor—do you cut F-35s? Plant more M1s? Trim the branches off other platforms? Down here under the forest canopy, in the military industrial electronics market, things are far from gloomy. In fact, there are many quietly doing very well. Getting someone to talk to you, even off the record, in a company under $100 million is easier than with the larger companies with tight control over media contact. With that in mind, it’s necessary to extrapolate what’s happening higher up the food chain from the people that will talk to you. Things are different from the ’90s, when primes bought and sold one another or traded divisions from different military technology segments with each other. Today there really aren’t many opportunities to repeat that process in this downturn. However, they are taking a page from history and consolidating their internal focus on their strengths, and slowly allowing areas to dissipate if they are cost heavy and return limited. Primes are focusing instead on the unique talent and expertise they provide to existing programs and their target military market segment. Expanding on entrenched programs has a greater probability of success than new, large “blue sky” programs that have a limited probability of receiving funding. Also evaporating is the primes’ funding of the internal teams and organizations necessary to develop the smaller electronic elements. More on that later. Control of the deliverable and platform integration are now at the center of every prime’s focus. The black cloud of sequestration has restricted military program managers to focusing on smaller purchases for existing programs or funding-limited but essential improvements. Even taking into account seasonal movement for orders and RFPs, many suppliers are noting a significant increase in both. And some com6

COTS Journal | June 2013

panies are even stating that this will be a record year. You only need to look at the stock markets to see that sequestration has not had a major effect on large prime’s stock value. That tells you that they prepared early on for sequestration and mil budget reductions. Whether large or small, officially everyone seems to be keeping their mouths shut about how well the industry is or isn’t doing. Those that are not doing as well as they would like don’t want to scare off potential opportunities, and those that are doing really well don’t want to let their competition know. Recently there has been moaning coming out of the DoD that the technology gap between our military and those that would do us harm has been rapidly narrowing. They would like to see private industry become more involved in developing technology and products to keep our military in a leadership position. The catch to all of this is that the government doesn’t really want to tell anyone what if any brass ring will be at the end of any involvement. The government will only go so far as to make vague “road maps” that have no guaranteed funding or direction that companies can base their corporate future on. It’s also not in the position to offer much if any IR&D funding as well as saying that overall funding for all new programs will decline. It’s hard to believe that private companies are not falling all over themselves to privately fund research programs that they can give the government for consideration if it eventually chooses to go in that direction and fund a program. Our industry needs to keep doing what it has been doing for over 20 years. That is to take standard commercial technology and modify it to suit either a range of military programs or specific programs that have a reasonable prospect of success. At almost every level companies are expected to put “skin in the game.” The key here is how much and with whom. Pick your programs and partners carefully; and remember, like with the stock market, going for something that may have the potential of a high return will be high risk. After cutting through all the hype that people provide when talking about their company, almost two-thirds of the companies I spoke with are doing better than they expected or very well during the current downturn. Not a single one of those companies stated that they went “all in” on high risk programs.

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INSIDE TRACK Mercury Systems Supplies Signal Processing Subsystems for U.S. Navy Aegis BMD Program Mercury Systems confirmed it had received $6.9 million in followon orders from Lockheed Martin for high-performance signal processing subsystems as part of the U.S. Navy’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) upgrade program (Figure 1). The orders were booked in the company’s fiscal 2013 third quarter and are expected to be shipped within its fiscal 2013 fourth quarter. Current Aegis BMD hardware includes the SM-3 Block-1a missile and other improvements to the Aegis Weapons System. Future development of the Aegis BMD system includes Launch on Remote capability, upgraded SM-3 avionics and hardware, and an upgraded Aegis Weapon System. In 2012 Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense was merged with Aegis Open Architecture and delivers the benefits of both platforms.

Figure 1

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

Last month Lockheed Martin’s second-generation Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system achieved its fourth intercept. During the test, U.S. Navy sailors aboard USS Lake Erie (CG-70) used the Aegis BMD Weapon System.

PICMG Enhances CompactPCI Express Specification PICMG has announced a new revision and upgrade to the CompactPCI Express specification, Revision 2. The new revision to the CompactPCI Express specification adds 5 gigabits per second transfer rate and 8 gigabits per second transfer rate PCI Express operation. This provides up to four times the bandwidth while maintaining full backward compatibility with previous CompactPCI and CompactPCI Express products. Also, this specification goes to great lengths to define how a product’s PCI Express signaling is validated to ensure interoperability. The revision of CompactPCI Express, like the first release of the specification, focuses on interoperability at both the interface


COTS Journal | June 2013

and product level but with the additional benefit of dramatically increasing performance. This will allow rapid adoption in instrumentation and control applications where performance and interoperability are critical. The PXI standard, which currently builds on top of CompactPCI and CompactPCI Express, will see immediate benefit from this new revision. Founded in 1994 as the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group, PICMG is a consortium of over 250 companies that collaboratively develop open specifications for highperformance telecommunications, military and industrial computing applications. PICMG Wakefield, MA. (781) 246-9318. [].

RGB Spectrum’s Recorders Support THAAD Program Over the past few years, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has been conducting flight tests on the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system’s intercept and destroy capability. To analyze the missile system’s performance and effectiveness, the MDA uses RGB Spectrum’s state-of-the-art DGy recording systems. THAAD is a U. S. Army missile defense system that destroys short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles while in flight using a hit-to-kill approach (Figure 2). A THAAD missile carries no warhead but relies on the kinetic energy of the impact to eliminate its target. THAAD is part of the U.S.’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) The RGB Spectrum DGy systems use advanced JPEG2000 compression to deliver visu-

Figure 2

To analyze the THAAD system’s performance and effectiveness, the MDA uses RGB Spectrum’s DGy recording systems. ally lossless recording with the ability to reproduce intricate details. DGy codecs offer the unique advantage of recording every frame and the entire visible color gamut to preserve the THAAD system’s complex symbologies for post-test analysis. During low-endo-atmospheric live-fire missile tests, the DGy systems record test parameters, including telemetry measure-


ments, missile trajectory and intercept data, radar and other test variables. The recordings are then replayed in post-test reviews to analyze the performance, capabilities and efficacy of the missile system. RGB Spectrum Alameda, CA. (510) 814-7000. [].

B-52 Bomber Gets Major Communications Upgrade Boeing is providing an upgraded communications system for U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers so aircrews can send and receive information via satellite links, allowing crews to change mission plans and retarget weapons in f light and better interact with aircraft and ground forces. To date, mission information has been uploaded to a B-52 only before a f light, not during. The upgrade, one of the largest improvements to the venerable bomber f leet, will therefore significantly improve B-52 effectiveness and f lexibility (Figure 3).

The upgrade will be done through a new $76 million Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) contract that covers low rate initial production of the first CONECT kits, along with spare parts and maintenance and service at Tinker Air Force Base, OK. System installation will begin during the latter part of 2014. Other improvements will include a state-of-the-art computing network with workstations at each crew position and an integrated digital interphone with increased capacity; it will enable crew members to talk to one another on headsets with noise-canceling technology. Boeing Integrated Defense Systems St. Louis, MO. (314) 232-0232. [].

Navy Taps CurtissWright for Gear in Integrated Topside Program Curtiss-Wright Controls announced that it has received a contract from Northrop Grumman to provide an integrated embedded Digital Radio

Frequency Memory (DRFM) system for use in the U.S. Navy’s InTop (Integrated Topside) program. Under the contract, Curtiss-Wright Controls will supply rugged COTS single board computers and other embedded modules to Northrop Grumman. The initial contract is valued in excess of $1 million. The projected value of future contracts is estimated to be in excess of $50 million. Shipments of units, which commenced in the second quarter of 2012, are scheduled to continue through the second quarter of 2013. Curtiss-Wright’s DRFM technology, which integrates seamlessly with Northrop Grumman’s system architecture, is based on modules including the Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions business group’s VPX6-185, VPX6-1957, VPX6215, XMC-FPGA05D, FusionXF, RS485-MOD2, Champ-DRFM and CHAMP-AV8 products. InTop combines Electronic Warfare (EW), Radar, Information Operations (IO) and Communications capabilities. Its integrated, multifunctional, multibeam topside aperture construct features a modular, open radio frequency (RF) architecture; software-defined functionality; and synchronization and optimization of RF functions for electromagnetic interference (EMI) mitigation. Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions Ashburn, VA. (703) 779-7800. [].

Northrop Grumman Demos SABR Fifth Gen Fighter Radar Capabilities Figure 3

The latest upgrade is one of the largest improvements to the B-52 bomber fleet and it will significantly improve B-52 effectiveness and flexibility.

Northrop Grumman’ Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) designed for the F-16 fighter aircraft recently demonstrated

its autonomous, all-environment precision targeting capability, which will enhance the aircraft’s mission capabilities (Figure 4). The capability, known as Auto Target Cueing (ATC), uses highdefinition synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images to locate and prioritize targets of interest and display them to the pilot. The active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar architecture allows it to carry out this function while performing other tasks at the same time. SABR is designed to be an

Figure 4

Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) is a multifunction AESA radar designed specifically for F-16 retrofit. affordable, multifunction AESA radar designed specifically for F-16 retrofit. SABR provides longer detection and tracking ranges, high-resolution SAR maps for all-environment precision targeting, interleaved mode operations for greater situational awareness and greater reliability. Northrop Grumman has nearly four decades of F-16 radar development and integration experience, and has delivered more than 6,000 fire control radars to U.S. and international air forces. The company also supplies the AESA fire control radars for the F-16 Block 60, F-22 and F-35 aircraft. Northrop Grumman Los Angeles, CA. (310) 553-6262. [].

June 2013 | COTS Journal


SPECIAL FEATURE I/O System Options: 1553, Ethernet and More


COTS Journal | June 2013

Ethernet and 1553 Share a Long Path of System I/O Legacy MIL-STD-1553B and Ethernet have a long history of usage as data buses for many applications. After forty years, where do they stand as solutions for military applications? Clarence Peckham Senior Editor


he year 1973 was a good year for data bus introductions. In early 1973 MIL-STD-1553 was introduced by the United States Air Force as a data bus for the F-16 Falcon fighter aircraft. Later that year Dr. Robert Metcalfe of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) introduced the first Ethernet implementation that was defined as a method of connecting computers into a network.

Figure 1

The Fire Scout unmanned platform is an example of a modern design that utilizes Ethernet and MIL-STD-1553 as part of the system implementation. June 2013 | COTS Journal



Evolution of 1553 and Ethernet Since its inception in 1973 and in subsequent revisions during the ensuing years, MIL-STD-1553 has evolved into the predominant, internationally accepted networking standard for the integration of military platforms. Today, the standard has expanded beyond its traditional domain of U.S. Air Force and Navy aircraft to encompass applications for combat vehicles, ships, satellites, missiles and the International Space Station Program, as well as

advanced commercial avionic applications. Once considered primarily a military data bus standard, MIL-STD-1553 has caught the attention of commercial aircraft manufacturers who seek to capitalize upon the standard’s inherent reliability, robustness, maturity and superior EMI performance. MIL-STD-1553B, which superseded the earlier 1975 specification MIL-STD1553A, was published in 1978. The basic difference between the 1553A and 1553B revisions is that in the latter, the options are


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The GBX410 3U VPX Switch is available in air-cooled and conduction-cooled versions. Its 16 ports can be expanded to 24 using the 10 Gbit/s port. defined rather than being left for the user to define as required. It was found that when the standard did not define an item, there was no coordination in its use. The primary goal of the 1553B update was to provide flexibility without creating new designs for each new user. This was accomplished by specifying the electrical interfaces explicitly so that electrical compatibility between designs by different manufacturers could be assured. Only seven change notices to the standard have been published since 1978, which makes MIL-STD-1553B a very stable specification. The MIL-STD-1553 standard is now maintained by both the U.S. DoD and the Aerospace branch of the Society of Automotive Engineers. Ethernet, on the other hand, was developed at Xerox PARC between 1973 and 1974. It was inspired by ALOHAnet, which Robert Metcalfe had studied as part of his PhD dissertation. The idea was first documented in a memo that Metcalfe wrote on May 22, 1973, where he named it after the disproven luminiferous ether as an “omnipresent, completely passive medium for the propagation of electromagnetic waves.� Metcalfe left Xerox in June 1979 to form 3Com. He convinced Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Intel and Xerox to work together to promote Ethernet as a standard. The so-called “DIX� standard, for “Digital/ Intel/Xerox� specified 10 Mbit/s Ethernet with 48-bit destination and source addresses and a global 16-bit EtherType type field. It was published on September 30, 1980 as “The Ethernet, A Local Area Network: Data Link Layer and Physical Layer Specifications�. Version 2 was published in November 1982 and defines what has become known as

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Convergence of Ethernet and ARINC 429 - AFDX Many commercial aircraft use the ARINC 429 standard buses. This standard was developed in 1977 and is widely used today, as it has proven to be highly reliable in safety-critical applications. This data bus topology can be found on a variety of aircraft from Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier CSeries, including the Airbus A330, A340, A380, Boeing B737, B747, B757, B767 and the upcoming A350, Bombardier CSeries CS100 and CS300. To read this complete sidebar, go to this article on

Figure 3

The Alta Data Technology Enet-1553 appliance does conversion of MILSTD-1553 messages into Ethernet packets in a small package. Ethernet II. Formal standardization efforts proceeded at the same time. Ethernet initially competed with two largely proprietary systems, Token Ring and Token Bus. Because Ethernet was able to adapt to market realities and shift to inexpensive and ubiquitous twisted pair wiring, these proprietary protocols soon found themselves competing in a market inundated by Ethernet products, and by the end of the 1980s Ethernet was clearly the dominant network technology. Since then Ethernet technology has evolved to meet new bandwidth and market requirements. In addition to computers, Ethernet is now used to interconnect appliances and other personal devices. It is used in industrial applications and is quickly replacing legacy data transmission systems in the world’s telecommunications networks. From a humble start in 1973 with a data rate of 2.94 Mbit/s, Ethernet has reached the point where 40 Gbits/s is now the upper data rate.

Standards Converge MIL-STD-1553 was developed originally for aviation applications, but as time progressed the standard has been accepted for all types of military applications including land vehicles. In addition, MIL-STD-1553 interfaces are being used on both civilian aviation platforms as well as industrial applications. Any application that needs reliable, deterministic and redundant data communications at a Untitled-5 1 COTS Journal | June 2013 14

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pedestrian 1 Mbit/s rate is a candidate for a MIL-STD-1553 solution. Ethernet, a network developed to interconnect multiple computers together and to common resources such as printers and storage, has migrated to applications in industrial as well as military applications. Ethernet—with its superior performance—is well suited for image and signal processing applications where large amounts of data must be shared with multiple consumers.

Now both Ethernet and 1553 are being used in many common platforms. An example is the Fire Scout UAV shown in Figure 1. There have also been several attempts to utilize newer bus technologies such as Firewire (IEEE 1394) and FibreChannel. However none have been successful in major programs.

Appliances, Aggregators or Data Converters? Ethernet usage ranges from simple interface cards, switches and the lat-

Figure 4

The RAR15 XMC interface card provides not only MIL-STD-1553 but also ARINC 429 and discrete I/O. The card can replace three cards in some applications. est crop of products—Ethernet Data Converters. An example of the current switch technology for COTS applications is shown in Figure 2. “The GE GBX410 VPX 3U was released in late 2011 and is currently used on several COTS applications,” says Richard Spiesman, product manager at GE Intelligent Platforms. With sixteen ports of 10/100/1000 BaseT ports plus two 10 Gbit/s ports for expansion, the GBX410 provides plenty of performance for any COTS applications. “The challenge for system architects is to fully utilize the bandwidth initiatives such as VICTORY, which are defining application interfaces that will utilize the bandwidth,” said Spiesman. Since there are multiple MIL-STD -1553 buses and Ethernet on a platform, it only makes sense that converter boxes that would transport MIL-STD-1553 messages over Ethernet would emerge. An example from Alta Data Technology is shown in Figure 3. This small box, no bigger than some MIL STD 1553 bus couplers, can be used to send and receive MIL-STD-1553 data over Ethernet. “The challenge is to fit the MILSTD-1553 4-12uS command-response protocol into an Ethernet packet network,” says Richard Wade, CTO of Alta DT. “A solution that eliminates one layer of process delays is to embed a real-time, thin-server directly in the 1553 FPGA protocol engine to replace the traditional PCI host interface. At Alta Data Technologies, we recently released this design in the eNet-1553 appliance,” said Wade. The eNet-1553 uses the thin-server IP/ UDP protocol engine as the “backplane”

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interface and can provide memory packet accesses at nearly the same rate as PCI backplanes. This thin-server approach bypasses at least one layer of IP stack and PCI backplane translations saving half of the total round trip transmission time.

MIL-STD-1553 Keeps on Going As one of the oldest and most stable standards, MIL-STD-1553 has evolved with technology. Current 1553 interface boards utilize everything from custom

ASIC solutions to FPGA designs that can be modified to provide the required features. Figure 4 is an example of one of the latest designs that combines MIL-STD-1553 with more features “The RAR15-XMC provides up to four channels of 1553 plus ten receive and eight transmit channels of ARINC 429 and 0-12 discrete I/O signals on an XMC card,” said Benton Daniels, Avionics business unit leader at GE Intelligent platforms. “As system designers are looking at upgrading existing platforms or

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developing new platforms, they are looking for better SWAP solutions and reduction in card count.” The Eurobus A350 is an example of the crossover of MIL-STD-1553 from military to commercial applications. Due to its proven reliability and deterministic operation, MIL-STD-1553 is being used to implement flight controls in the A350. By implementing remote input output (RIU) boxes with a MIL-STD-1553 interface, the amount of wire can be reduced and reliability improved.

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Since current military platforms have a long life, with both the F-16 and B-52 still flying, and many subsystems have MIL-STD-1553 interfaces, the future of MIL-STD-1553 is pretty much assured. Since Ethernet is being used extensively in telecom applications, which is driving 40G technology, the same can be said for Ethernet. Whether COTS applications embrace 10G or 40G Ethernet technology remains to be seen, but the solutions available for the system designer will continue to evolve. Using FPGA SoC technologies from Xilinx or Altera, it is possible today to have a dual ARM A9 processor with MILSTD-1553, ARINC 429 and 10/100/1000 Base T Ethernet on a single chip solution. Whether such a solution will be available soon remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: neither bus standard is going to be replaced anytime in the near future. Alta Data Technologies Goleta, CA. (505) 994-3111. [].

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Untitled-3 1 COTS Journal | June 2013 18

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2/20/13 4:34 PM

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SPECIAL FEATURE I/O System Options: 1553, Ethernet and More

Mil Spec Point-to-Point Interfaces Work to Live alongside Ethernet Legacy point-to-point military interface technologies are getting harder to accommodate. Conversion strategies help keep pace in the Packet-Switched Ethernet era. Denes Molnar, Engineering Manager Don Anderson, Director Sabtech Industries


he point-to-point interfaces used to communicate between legacy systems used in many of the major military systems deployed today have become increasingly unsupportable. Engineers and maintenance crews who have designed and maintained these systems, some of which were developed back in the 1960s, have moved on creating a lack of training or tribal knowledge that has not been passed on to the current generation. This problem is becoming worse as military budgets are shrinking and legacy systems and ships are being used well beyond expected life. As modern COTS systems are being deployed into fleets around the world, they often have requirements to communicate with existing legacy systems. Modern systems often use copper or fiber-based Ethernet to communicate over networks, which are inherently incompatible with the legacy point-topoint interfaces.

NTDS Complex and Broad As an example, consider MIL-STD1397C, which is a standard that describes a point-to-point interface called Navy Tactical Data System (NTDS). This interface is used to communicate between 20

COTS Journal | June 2013

IEEE 802.3 Standard Frame Preamble 7 bytes

Start of Frame 1 byte

Destination Address 6 bytes

Source Address 6 bytes

Data 46 - 1500 bytes

Type 2 bytes

Frame Check Sequence 4 bytes

NTDS Type E Control Frame Sync 1 bit

Data Ready 1 bit

Command Ready 1 bit

ID 1 bit

NTDS Type E Information Frame Sync 1 bit

Type 1 bit

Information 32 bits

Parity (Optional) 1 bit

Figure 1

For serial types, there are two types of frames, one for controlling when and what type of information is transmitted. The other frame handles the actual transmission of information.

different computers and also with their peripherals throughout a ship. The definition of this interface is very complex with both parallel types (A, B, C & H) and serial types (D & E) defined. The types vary in voltage levels, transmission rate and capabilities. All of the NTDS types share certain characteristics though, one of them being that two different word types are defined:

command and data. There is also no defined limitation of the amount of information that can be received, since the transmitter can send information as long as the receiver indicates it is ready to accept it. Another is synchronous communication such that when the transmitter has information to send, it cannot do so until the receiver has indicated that it is ready to receive it.


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In order to support this style of communication, for parallel types, certain dedicated handshake lines are used to indicate the receiver is ready to accept information and for acknowledgement of receipt of that information. For serial types, there are two types of frames, one for controlling when and what type of information is transmitted, and another for actual transmission of information (Figure 1).

tem. These solutions are generally still currently available for many current hardware architectures, but this may not be desirable because many COTS systems designers strive for or are mandated for the system to be equipped with only open architecture communication interfaces such as Ethernet. This may also require the system to be modified once again when the legacy system on the other end is replaced.

NTDS and Ethernet Differences

Independent Converter Approach

NTDS differs from Ethernet since it is by nature asynchronous such that it does not wait for the receiving system to request information before it is sent. It is also electrically different in transmission method, has a defined bit order, built-in addressing, a bounded packet size and CRC. In an Ethernet packet switched networking system, it is possible to communicate over a single cable with protocols such as TCP and UDP, utilizing cost-effective

In order to avoid issues inherent with the first two strategies, another strategy is to use a completely independent converter box. This box is usually located near the legacy system and is specifically designed to convert from the legacy interface to Ethernet as a stopgap measure to essentially add an Ethernet interface without modification to the original legacy system. As with any Ethernet-based device, an added benefit of a converter

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A converter box would contain a combination of hardware and software that is able to convert the Ethernet traffic into the legacy format and back. switches to communicate with many other devices and applications. Because of the differences in lowlevel communication methods and strategies, the two different interfaces are by their very nature incompatible. Therefore, to allow for a modern COTS system to communicate with a legacy-based system, one strategy is to modify the original legacy system. Unfortunately, this may be out of the question since many systems do not allow for any native expansion or are proprietary in nature such that it is difficult to obtain the original engineering documentation on the system in order to effectively accomplish this. A second strategy is to add a legacy interface card to the modern COTS sys22

COTS Journal | June 2013

such as this is that the converter may be configured to allow multiple receivers on the network to obtain the information or share the converter. The converter box may also be equipped with additional Ethernet interfaces in order to easily add redundant capability to the system where none was present before. This type of converter can also be used in situations where the new system is required to obtain data from existing legacy systems without replacing either of them. In this case, the converter can be equipped with a tap version of the legacy interface where any information passed across the interface can be passed on to interested systems on the network.

Managing Ethernet Traffic The converter box would contain a combination of hardware and software that is able to convert the Ethernet traffic into the legacy format and back. It usually contains some type of programmable device such as an FPGA to handle the real time handshaking requirements of the legacy protocol. This is especially useful because there are cases where the legacy equipment does not conform entirely to the original legacy specification and minor modifications are required in order to be able to communicate properly. In this case, changes can be made to work with the system without changing any hardware components. It may also allow for code modifications to be run on the converter that may, for example, handle messages that require real-time response or just ignore or handle messages that are not vital or necessary to pass on (Figure 2). Eventually, the other side of the legacy system will be replaced and at that time the converter box is removed from the system entirely. One instance where this would not be possible are cases where Ethernet cabling is not available between the two devices and therefore another converter box could be added to the other side—essentially bridging the Ethernet network across the legacy interface cabling. Because Ethernet only defines the lowest level of transmission, additional protocol layers are used to add more and more capabilities. Legacy interfaces also define one additional protocol layer that uses the lower level interface for transmission. These higher-level legacy protocols are usually very system specific and are unique to the legacy equipment of which they communicate. To allow for this layering, one can create a low-level software interface and routines to mimic the behavior and characteristics of the original low-level interface across the Ethernet interface to the converter. This low-level interface can then be reused across multiple different systems. In designing the low-level interface though, it is normally not feasible, efficient, or desirable to transmit the lowest level handshake states or control frames across the network. Instead, one can de-


sign the software to transmit single words or messages across as Ethernet packets. An upper level software layer can then be created upon it that is specific to each individual protocol that takes into account the unique timing, message types and error conditions and is able to act upon them in an appropriate way.

that can seamlessly connect two existing legacy systems over Ethernet. These same techniques and methods can be applied to other legacy interfaces such as Airborne Tactical Data Systems (ATDS) and 1553. Although these have different characteristics, the conversion

to Ethernet-based interfaces can be accomplished in a similar fashion. Sabtech Industries Yorba Linda, CA. (714) 692-3800. [].

Accommodating Legacy There are times when it makes sense to use legacy software to reduce cost of development. In other cases an existing system requires that the legacy interface be removed and replaced with Ethernet. In both cases an additional software module can be written in order to redirect legacy calls from the legacy driver or equipment and redirect them across the Ethernet-based network using the low-level software interface. This must be well thought out in certain cases since at the time some of these legacy systems were created, many of the original devices were mapped directly into memory and this has to be dealt with carefully if the original legacy software is to remain unchanged. A remaining challenge then becomes how to communicate with the converter in a generic way such that when the converter is removed, it still is possible to easily communicate with the future replacement system. One possible method of doing this is to create a software service or component that can be used in place of the converter box that is able to be installed on the replacement equipment after the legacy equipment is removed allowing for seamless transition to the new system without changing the first system that was modified.

Example Solution An example of this type of converter and associated software package is the Sabtech PowerNet (Figure 3). This COTS converter contains both the hardware and software that are necessary to perform the translation with an FPGA that handles the real-time handshaking. User code can be uploaded to the converter and a translation module is available in order to redirect certain code destined for a legacy device to Ethernet. A bridge module is also available

Figure 3

The PowerNet NTDS / Ethernet converter contains both the hardware and software that are necessary to perform the translation with an FPGA that handles the real-time handshaking.

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9:46 AM


TECH RECON Military Vehicle Computing and Comms Part 2

VICTORY Standard Eliminates Costly Vehicle Redundancies Providing an open standard for physical and logical interfaces between system and C4ISR/EW components, the VICTORY standard is quashing the inefficient legacy of stovepipe military vehicle electronics. David Jedynak, Manager, Advanced Solutions Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions


he Vehicle Integration for C4ISR/ EW Interoperability (VICTORY) initiative has as its main goal the reduction of SWAP-C on ground vehicles. VICTORY takes aim at the current issues such as redundant functionality, networking and interoperability by defining an approach for commonality through Gigabit Ethernet networking, standard connectors and well-defined electrical interfaces. The effort, jointly undertaken by a combination of participants from government, industry and academia, was begun in May 2010 with a first goal of defining a deployable 1.0 specification the following summer. Having met that goal, progress has continued apace. The spec is now at 1.4 and continuing to evolve, and we are now beginning to see VICTORY requirements called out in a number of acquisition programs. The initiative is developing a framework for integrating electronic mission equipment including C4ISR and Electronic Warfare (EW) systems on ground platforms. The framework includes an architecture, a standard specification and reference designs. The architecture includes definitions of common terminology, systems, components and interfaces. The specification provides technical specifications 24

COTS Journal | June 2013






“Bolt On” Mission Equipment Integration


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VICTORY Data Bus enables interoperability across C4ISR/EW and platform systems

Figure 1

Today’s ground vehicles typically have separate user interfaces, displays and hardware. The goal of VICTORY is to place the vehicle’s C4ISR/EW systems onto a standard Ethernet databus to enable them to communicate with each other in a modern networked fashion. for the systems, components and interfaces identified in the architecture.

Data Bus-Centric Approach The VICTORY technical approach includes a “data bus-centric” design, sharable hardware components, open standard physical and logical interfaces and a shared set of data bus services. It also supports shared hardware and software information assurance (IA) components. The shared hardware components

enable the deployment of software additions without adding additional hardware. The standard physical and logical interfaces enable system and C4ISR/EW components to communicate with each other. The shared hardware and software IA components allow systems integrators to build security designs to protect and control access to information. Through the definition of standard databus and standard interfaces that reside on the “edge” of deployable equip-


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Digital Beachhead is designed as an integrated VICTORY backbone solution that features GbE switching and routing, along with VICTORY data bus, and management and shared services. ment and subsystems, the VICTORY initiative promises to help resolve U.S. Army vehicle system integration challenges. Today, ground vehicles typically carry disparate “stovepiped” systems that are unable to communicate with each other to automate and coordinate responses or share data. Imagine if on your desk you had to use an older PC for word processing, another more modern computer for your spreadsheet, and a third little appliance to access your email. And on top of that you needed three different phones depending on who you were calling. That is today’s environment in military ground vehicles on which systems are essentially siloed and unable to interoperate.

Combining Interface Functionality The various systems found on today’s ground vehicles typically have separate user interfaces, displays and hardware. For example, if the vehicle has three different systems that require GPS, there will frequently be three individual and redundant GPS receivers present, adding to SWAP-C pressure in the vehicle. The goal and promised benefit of VICTORY is that it places the vehicle’s C4ISR/EW systems onto a standard Ethernet databus to enable them to communicate with each other in a modern networked fashion (Figure 1).

Once networked via standardized interfaces, the vehicle’s hardware can share data such as time and position information. In one example of how VICTORY can improve mission efficacy, consider a vehicle’s acoustic shot detection system application. The vehicle has a battle command application that can show the location of adversaries and allies. There is also a remote weapon station with its own system with its own interface, and displays where the detected shot came from.

Slow Manual Operations Today, a user in the ground vehicle will have to physically turn from one system to the other to manually type and enter the data from the threat detection system into their battle command system to login the contact information. Another system operator will then have to access that data for use on the remote weapon station, which has its own separate interface, so that the vehicle’s weapons can be turned toward the location of the detected threat. VICTORY makes it possible for all of the data to be shared automatically. The acoustic shot detection system would publish its message as a standard VICTORY-compliant message with a timestamp and accuracy data. That report then gets instantly published over the


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databus. The VICTORY-compliant battle command software receives the data and displays it on the map system while the remote weapon station, which has received a VICTORY management message, prompts its “slew-to-cue” mode to immediately point its weapon at the threat. With VICTORY, all of this activity happens automatically over the databus because all of these systems are joined on the network.

Curtiss-Wright’s Digital Beachhead is the industry’s first low-cost rugged COTS solution designed specifically to bring the benefits of VICTORY including digital networking and advanced processing services to today’s ground combat vehicles. Digital Beachhead is designed as an integrated VICTORY backbone solution that features GbE switching and routing, along with VICTORY data bus, and management and shared services

(such as shared GPS data), to quickly and easily integrate the VICTORY architecture into any vehicle. The low-cost unit also integrates a powerful Vehicle Management computer with the HUMS/ CBM+ system health services that vehicle system designers have been demanding for both new and legacy vehicles, and provides everything needed to implement the VICTORY databus onto the vehicle (Figure 2).

Management Computer Solution In addition to dramatically simplifying and lowering the cost of modernizing a combat vehicle with a modern digital network and VICTORY-compliant architecture, Digital Beachhead also features a complete vehicle management computer system. A single Digital Beachhead unit makes it possible to quickly integrate a modern vehicle control system into a ground vehicle that previously had no embedded onboard electronics. Digital Beachhead’s system computer runs the vehicle’s health management (HUMS/CBM+) software as well as monitors the vehicle’s primary systems. Digital Beachhead comes preinstalled with Curtiss-Wright Control’s Vehicle Management Framework (VMF) software that significantly eases the process of defining vehicle operations for use by the CBM+ and other in-system vehicle management services. The VICTORY initiative is helping to create a revolution in subsystem design for performance-hungry but space-constrained ground vehicles. It makes it possible to eliminate redundant GPS units, video displays, keyboards etc., because data and assets previously stovepiped will be shared over the common digital network. VICTORY also helps ease interoperability across ground vehicle platforms. As VICTORY helps make ground combat vehicles more network-centric, the result will be greater real-time exploitation of shared data, mitigated SWaP constraints and significantly reduced costs. Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions Ashburn, VA. (703) 779-7800. []. Untitled-4 1 COTS Journal | June 2013 28

3/28/13 1:32 PM

SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Displays and Panel PCs for Net-Centric Systems

Displays and Panel PCs Help Connect the Networked Military With net-centric operations and situational awareness at the top of military requirements, vendors of rugged displays and panel PCs are enabling sophisticated video and graphics everywhere. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


espite the ever tightening military budgets affecting today’s ongoing programs, the move to more advanced display technologies continues to be strong. There are two main reasons for that. On the one hand there’s a fundamental shift in technology network-centric operations. Meanwhile, there’s an acknowledgement that a reduced military will need to increase its situational awareness capabilities, and that sharing and display of information feeds into that trend. Often in the form of large 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. On the panel PC side, there’s a growing base of product solutions—some designed for industrial use—that provide military system integrators a complete PC embedded within a flat panel. These can be simply connected to a keyboard or used as touchpad panels if that feature is available. Leveraging cutting-edge graphics chips developed for the demanding gaming market, military graphics subsystems are now able to offer complex video and graphics functionality in highly inte30

COTS Journal | June 2013

Figure 1

Editor-in-Chief Jeff Child talks to a spokesman for Orbit Electronics at AUSA in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Orbit makes ruggedized color AMLCD and Electroluminescent Flat Panel Displays for militarized defense electronics and aerospace applications. grated board-level solutions. Command and Control systems have embraced these capabilities and now rank among the

most demanding users of these advanced graphics technologies. Meanwhile, evolution toward a networked military means


that every vehicle, every aircraft, every ship, every UAV and every soldier on the ground should have the capability to share data, voice and even video with almost any level of the DoD’s operation. Orbit Electronics for example develops and manufactures a wide array of ruggedized color AMLCD and Electroluminescent Flat Panel Displays for militarized defense electronics, aerospace, air traffic control, severe environment and industrial applications (Figure 1). Ac-

cording to Orbit, the displays offer clarity, contrast, accurate color and uniformity in even the most extreme airborne, shipboard, wheeled/tracked vehicle and handheld environments, while providing the utmost reliability and economical operation.

Intelligent System Solutions Exemplifying this trend of sophisticated displays everywhere, earlier this spring the Naval Surface Warfare Cen-

Figure 2

Designed for the popular 3x3 display configuration found in many control rooms, the MediaWall 4500 provides robust 24/7 operation with up to 30 graphic and video windows. ter tapped Z Microsystems to supply its Intelligent Display Series for use in the Small Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (STUAS RQ-21A) program on board amphibious ships (LHD, LHA and LPD classes). This program provides ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) support for the United States Marine Corp using the Integrator UAV supplied by Insitu Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing. The Z Microsystems Intelligent Display Series (IDS) of flat panel displays offer real-time enhanced video (RTEV) capabilities to improve critical tactical surveillance missions. The LCD display panels use a high-powered FPGA to apply image enhancement algorithms to incoming video streams without adding latency. A sophisticated image enhancement algorithm brings out detail in images degraded by poor visibility or atmospheric interference. Operators can turn image functions on or off with the click of a button.

Panel PCs for Rugged Systems Panel PCs are an important part of the military’s move toward net-centric operations. As the need to share information across the military’s networks grows, so does the demand for display panel solutions at many of the nodes in that network. Feeding such needs, Kontron’s Panel PC family—called V Panel Express—is now available with the Intel Core i7 dual-core processor. Compared to its predecessors, this version offers Untitled-1 1 COTS Journal | June 2013 32

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nearly double the performance and is ideally suited for industrial high-performance applications. The Panel PC follows a 100% passive cooling concept, whereby the unit needs neither a fan nor a fan filter to be replaced and is therefore completely maintenance free. Optimal shock, vibration and temperature resistance are all standard features of the Panel PC family. The same is true for its high level of protection against electromagnetic interference, which is

often found in industrial environments emitted from electric motors. The V Panel Express is scalable from 12.1 inches to 19 inches, serving the increased demand for larger display sizes. The front panel is made of stainless steel and offers IP65 protection against dust and water spray. The resistive touch display, with LED backlight, enables reliable operation even when working with gloves and pens is required. Optionally, the front panel can be designed to cater to customers’ specifica-

Wall Solutions for Defense The U.S. military has made its transition from paper maps to video displays that combine complex data, video and images. Serving such needs, in January RGB Spectrum released a new configuration of its MediaWall 4500 line of display wall processors (Figure 2). Designed for the popular 3x3 display configuration found in many control rooms, the MediaWall 4500 3x3 includes all of the features of the MediaWall, including robust 24/7 operation with up to 30 graphic and video windows. The family of processors allows images to be displayed anywhere, any size, within or across screens, in correct aspect ratio or stretched to fit, in whole or zoomed to emphasize details. Input alternatives include RGB/DVI, HD/3G-SDI and analog video modules. An HDCP option allows the display of protected content. The MediaWall 4500 line of processors provides buyers with a system that can be sized according to requirements, resulting in an attractive price point. All MediaWall processors have a custom, highperformance architecture rather than a PC, with faster updates, more display flexibility, robustness and security. Real-time display of inputs is guaranteed under all conditions, without dropped frames.

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tions, including individual branding. The Kontron V Panel Express, with long-term availability of up to five years, supports the Intel Core i7-2655 dual-core processor with 2.2 GHz (2.9 GHz in turbo mode) and up to 8 Gbytes of DDR3 memory. The integrated range of interfaces suitable for industrial deployment includes 5x USB (1x front, 4x rear), 1x LAN 10/100, 1x LAN 10/100/1000, 2x RS-232 and 1x DVI-I.

6/4/13 9:47 AM

Earlier this spring, Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense rolled out a rugged mission display for airborne platforms. Comprised of a video display with touchscreen, it is designed for the most demanding helicopter and fixed wing applications. Featuring a wide array of digital and analog inputs, the AVDU5500 easily connects to the market’s leading electrooptical turrets, either directly or via any


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The AVDU5500 from Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Systems easily connects to electrooptical turrets, either directly or via any of Curtiss-Wright’s Skyquest VMS video distribution units. of Curtiss-Wright’s Skyquest VMS video distribution units. The AVDU5500 combines an array of video viewing options and visibility features (Figure 3). For example, the popular built in “quad screen” option enables operators to view up to four independent live video images simultaneously from any of the multiple video sources sent to the display. The AVDU5500 uses advanced optical bonding techniques to ensure maximum visibility in bright sunshine conditions and improved ruggedness. As standard, the AVDU5500 utilizes a dual LED backlight for Night Vision Goggle (NVG) filtering purposes. When required, the display can be switched into NVG mode, which switches off the standard white backlight and turns on the NVG filtered backlighting, conforming to MIL-STD-3009 NVIS B. This gives the user full color, high brightness imagery usable with direct sunlight during daylight operations, as well as perfectly filtered imagery for NVG operations at night. All other display bezel lighting is also NVG filtered as standard. The AVDU5500 is designed to provide airborne operators with the greatest amount of flexibility and control. The dis-

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play’s five-wire resistive touchscreen can be customized to operate with any of today’s leading digital moving maps. A wide array of I/O options, including USB, Ethernet and RS-422/232, enable the AVDU5500 to interface with peripheral equipment. Its eight “hard” bezel keys, located at the bottom of the display, control core display functions such as power on/off, brightness and channel selection. Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions Ashburn, VA. (613) 254-5112. []. Kontron Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [].

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TECHNOLOGY FOCUS PC/104 and PC/104-Family Boards

PC/104 Nurtures a Niche Where Legacy and Performance Collide In an era where compatible upgrades are critical and compute density a priority, PC/104 is perfectly positioned to solve the needs of spaceconstrained military systems. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


ith its 20th anniversary celebrated last year, the incredibly highly successful PC/104 standard gets to claim credit for opening the door to the embedded stackable computing concept. It began with the ISA bus and over the years has grown to include the latest innovations in desktop computing technologies with PCI and PCI Express. Today, the PC/104 form factor and all of its follow-on variants continue to hold an established position in military embedded systems. PC/104— and its wider family of form factors including PC/104-Plus, PCI-104 and EPIC—has a clear success story in leveraging many technologies from the PC infrastructure. The PC/104 Consortium’s most recent efforts have revolved around crafting a detailed, consolidated and consistent stackable PCI Express roadmap, starting with the adoption 36

COTS Journal | June 2013

Figure 1

PC/104 is used in the Miniature AirLaunched Decoy (MALD) systems on board F-16s and other aircraft. Shown here, an F-16 Fighting Falcon touches down at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. of the PCI/104-Express and PCIe/104 specifications. In February of this year, the PC/104 Consortium announced that the PCI/104-Express and PCIe/104 Specification—with provisions for PCI Express Generation 2 and Generation 3—was approved by member vote. The purpose of the additions and enhancements to the specification were to align it with performance improvements to PCI Express 3.0. Transfer rates of up to 2 Gbytes/s, 8 Gbytes/s, 16 Gbytes/s and 32 Gbytes/s are now possible on its x1, x4, x8 and x16 links. The connector technology and footprint are preserved in the specification. Layout examples for the different PCI Express links, USB 3.0 and SATA were added to assist developers. Over the past several months, products based on this revision of the specification were already rolling out as PC/104

vendors took advantage of the higher performance interconnect capability with PCI Express Gen 2 or Gen 3. This opens up new possibilities for data-intensive applications with fewer required PCI Express links. The Roundup on the following pages showcases some representative examples of PC/104, PC/104-Plus, PCI/104-Express and EPIC single board computer products. Many of these vendors offer both PC/104 and EPIC families of products. However, for the purposes of this Product Roundup, vendors were asked to include just one of their PC/104 or PC/104-related products. PC/104 enjoys a rich legacy as a trusted option for space-constrained military systems. As an example, PC/104 is used in the Miniature AirLaunched Decoy (MALD) system, a 7-foot long, 7-inch diameter f light vehicle carried on F-16 (Figure 1) and other fighter aircraft. It is capable of f lying at just under Mach 1 in formations and paths typical of real aircraft. MALD contains circuitry to emulate the radar signatures of fighter aircraft. When a fighter pilot launches one or more of these decoys, enemy radar sees what looks like a number of attack planes in places where in fact there are none. According to Diamond Systems, PC/104 was chosen for the avionics because it was the only open-standard bus available that was small enough to fit in the vehicle and rugged enough to endure the extreme environmental requirements of battle. Diamond Systems analog I/O boards are used in the system.

Embedded Boards


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

with advanced CPU chipsets employing sleep modes and active power management. Also, the unit can operate in a +85°C ambient temperature environment using normal convection cooling and no fan. The outputs are +5V@10A, +3.3V@10A, +12V@3A, -12V@500mA, and +5VSTBY@2A. Each output

Small & Fanless



WinSystems, Inc. (817) 274-7553 PD Power Supply PC/104 Module for PoE Applications WinSystemsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; PPM-PS397-POE-1 is an isolated 25W, 802.3af-compliant, Power over Ethernet (PoE) module. It powers a PC/104-Plus single board computer stack from DC power extracted from the CAT5 cable. It is designed for use in areas where other power is unavailable and to reduce the wiring costs for installations.


is short short circuit protected and current limited. A minimum load is not needed to bring the supply into regulation. When power is applied to the board, ÂżYH/('VZLOOLOOXPLQDWH providing a visual status that power is available.




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


The PPM-PS397-POE-1 accepts 4257VDC and converts it to three isolated outputs: +5VDC@5.0A, +12VDC@1.0A, and -12VDC@0.8A. Each output is short circuit protected and current limited. A minimum load is not needed to bring the supply into regulation. :LQ6\VWHPVDOVRRIIHUVWKLVERDUGFRQ¿J ured for PC/104 and standalone systems. No fans or heat sinks are required to meet its extended operating temperature range of -40° to +85°C.

WinSystems, Inc. (817) 274-7553

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS: PC/104 and PC/104-Family Boards PC/104 SBC Boosts Performance for Legacy Systems

PCIe/104 SBC Serves Up 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N2600 Dual Core CPU

Board Serves Up Ultra Low Power SoC CPU

The CoreModule1-86DX2 is a PC/104 single board computer with a DMP Vortex86DX2 single chip solution and an attractive performance to power ratio. The board comprises all peripherals needed for an embedded PC on a small 3.775 by 4.050-inch printed circuit board. The CoreModule186DX2 enables a performance boost for legacy PC/104 systems that continue to use a real ISA bus. The CoreModule1-86DX2 integrates a powerful yet efficient DMP Vortex86DX2 with graphic controller and audio controller together with an additional Gigabit Ethernet

Reducing size, weight and power (SWaP) in military embedded systems has to start with embedded computing technology that’s in line with such goals. With that in mind, ADL Embedded Solutions offers the ADLN2000PC PCIe/104 SBC. The ADLN2000PC features the Intel Atom N2600 processor with integrated HD graphics engine and memory controller functions. The processor interfaces to the ICH9M-E, which is also used on the ADLD25PC, but provides the PCIe/104 I/O bandwidth necessary to enable performance-

The emergence of complete systems on chips has brought direct benefits to small form factor boards like PC/104. Advantech offers a cost-effective System on Chip (SoC) PC/104 CPU module driven by the ultra low power DM&P Vortex86DX 1.0 GHz processor with 256 Mbytes of DDR2 SDRAM memory on board. PCM-3343 has the standard dimensions of 96 x 90 mm in a fanless PC/104 architecture, supporting rich graphic output including VGA and 24-bit LVDS or TTL up to 1024 x 768 resolution. PCM-3343 delivers ultra low power consumption of less than 5W under full load, and extended temperature support between -40° and 85°C. It is well suited for

controller to form a complete PC, with all the standard peripherals already on board. Two Ethernet ports (1x Gbit and 1x 100 Mbit), four RS-232/RS-422/RS-485 serial ports, one USB 2.0 host controller and one USB 1.1 host controller handle the communication with external devices. There are PS/2 connectors for keyboard and mouse. A first generation SATA interface allows the connection of hard disk or CD drives. Applications that require non-moving storage can use the MicroSD-Card slot or the bootable flash. The CoreModule186DX2 runs DOS, Windows XP/7 and Linux operating systems and is powered by a 5V-only supply. System expansion can easily be realized over the PC/104, Mini-PCI-Express and I2C bus connectors.

based rugged, portable or thermally constrained applications. The ADLN2000PC has an Intel rated Thermal Design Power (TDP) maximum of only 3.5W, yet has enhanced graphics including dual-channel video capability at full 1080P with full MPEG2 (VLD/ iDCT/MC) and HW decode/acceleration for MPEG4 (AVC/H.264). In addition to the wide range of rugged, extended temperature or harsh environment applications in which the ADLN2000PC can excel, it also supports a healthy set of features. The ADLN2000PC has two Gbit/s LAN ports and dual independent display capability with VGA, LVDS, DisplayPort and HDMI/DVI ports available. The ADLN2000PC also has two RS232 COM ports, 2x SATA with RAID support, and 8x USB 2.0 are also supported on board, with an additional two SATA 3G and two USB 2.0 ports available on the down-stacking Type 2 PCIe/104 connector. The ADLN2000PC can optionally be expanded by adding the PCIe mini-card Socket, which includes the additional USB 2.0 ports and can be used for Wi-Fi, DDC1553, CAN bus, Ethernet or other functions.

those applications that need only basic CPU performance, but very low power consumption at an attractive price. PCM-3343 supports USB hot plugging to replace FDDs, as well as having an optional 4 Mbytes of external SPI flash for boot disk and small storage, which makes this total solution even more cost-effective. Advantech also provides a ruggedized package service that includes conformal coating and Industrialgrade compact flash—SQFlash. The conformal coating service is offered to protect the PCB and components from dust, moisture, fungus, corrosion and vibration. APIs are included for configuring I2C, watchdog timer, panel backlight on/off, brightness control and GPIO—all through a user friendly GUI to make it easier and simpler to configure and integrate into applications. PCM-3343 is designed with ample I/O ports and storage, including three RS-232, one RS-422/485, one IDE, four USB 2.0 and two 10/100 LAN ports, plus a single CompactFlash socket and 16-bit GPIO.

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

Advanced Digital Logic San Diego, CA. (858) 490-0597. [].


COTS Journal | June 2013

Advantech Irvine, CA. (800) 866-6008. [].

PC/104 and PC/104-Family Boards ROUNDUP

Extreme Rugged™ PCI/104-Express Single Board Computer 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor Extended temperature: -40 C to +85 C Shock and vibration MIL-STD-202G 4GB soldered ECC memory

SBC Boasts Atom E640T CPU and Onboard Data Acq

PC/104-Plus SBC Sports AMD Embedded G-Series CPU

Athena III is the newest incarnation of our highly popular Athena embedded SBC series, bringing you latest generation embedded computing and I/O technologies in a popular, compact form factor. Athena III provides CPU and data acquisition integrated onto a single board, giving you state-of-the-art, rugged performance in a highly compact form factor with PC/104 expansion. Athena III’s backward compatibility enables longer product lifecycles and simplifies technology refresh efforts. Performance has been increased by a factor of three while

Many military embedded systems are truly embedded in the sense that they’re meant to not interface to a display. Kontron offers a headless version of the Kontron PC/104Plus SBC MICROSPACE MSM-eO-N based on the AMD Embedded G-Series processor. The Kontron MICROSPACE MSM-eO-N is a cost-saving and low-power solution for deeply embedded systems that require no display support or graphic requirements. With long-term availability, this space-saving, twochip solution based on the AMD Embedded processor T24L and Fusion Controller Hub

maintaining equivalent power consumption and upgrading features across the board to latest generation high-speed technologies. Standard Diamond rugged features include soldered onboard memory, full -40° to +85°C operating temperature and fanless cooling. Athena III can be customized for increased ruggedness. Options include latching connectors, hardwired configuration settings, rugged heat sink mounting, conformal coating and BIOS modifications. Special order options include 2 Gbyte of onboard DRAM. An enhanced set of I/O ports is provided to support any application’s requirements, including Gigabit Ethernet, SATA, four serial ports, PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, and four USB 2.0 ports. The watchdog timer provides protection from software crashes and is programmable for delays up to two seconds. The built-in PC/104 expansion bus enables Athena III to work with almost all Diamond Systems’ data acquisition and communications modules, as well as hundreds of I/O boards from other vendors. Athena III can be provided with either stackthrough PC/104 connectors (standard) or non-stackthrough connectors for a slim baseboard application. The compact 4.2 x 4.5-inch form factor, slightly larger than PC/104, enables Athena III to include more features on a single board.

A55E is ideal for fanless Small Form Factor (SFF) designs that run purely as number crunchers. OEMs will benefit from reduced energy consumption and a lower Bill of Material (BoM) for their SFF designs. The Kontron PC/104-Plus SBC MICROSPACE MSM-eO-N integrates the single-core AMD T24L processor with 1.0 GHz, which offers high data processing performance with only 5.0W total power dissipation. With up to 4 Gbyte DDR3 RAM, the Kontron MICROSPACE MSM-eO-N provides enough resources to accelerate even the most memoryintensive applications. Storage media can be connected via two SATA interfaces for which RAID 0, 1 support is available. For extremely space-saving and robust applications, a socket for micro SD cards is also available. A Gigabit Ethernet interface allows for direct integration into network structures without additional extension cards. Four USB 2.0 and four serial interfaces (RS-232/TTL) are available for connecting numerous application-specific peripherals. To facilitate further applicationspecific I/Os, the Single Board Computer has eight configurable GPIOs.

Diamond Systems Mountain View, CA. (650) 810-2500. []. 40

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

PC/104 and PC/104-Family Boards ROUNDUP

SBC Marries Freescale i.MX515 and FPGA Access FPGAs bring a wealth of flexibility to PC/104-based systems. For maximum offthe-shelf I/O flexibility, Micro/sys provides user access to a Xilinx Spartan 5 FPGA on a low-power, high-performance Cortex-A8 SBC using Freescale Semiconductor’s i.MX515 processor. The Micro/sys SBC1651 is easily embeddable supporting a PC/104 form factor and is available in extended temperature. Matching the newest Freescale i.MX processor series with Xilinx’s vast library of IP modules for I/O expansion, this powerful SBC provides embedded users with the first completely

integrated solution on a small, low-power, rugged board. OEMs reap the benefit of this integration realizing reduced development efforts, easily customized I/O, faster time-tomarket, easier production builds and lower total cost of ownership. With flexible FPGA I/O options, the Micro/ sys SBC1651 allows OEMs to efficiently configure boards with their exact I/O requirements. 512 Mbyte SDRAM, 2 Gbyte flash and 2 SD/MMC card slots answer the demand for portability and multimedia storage simultaneously. The dual 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, seven serial ports and four USB ports ensure the SBC1651 provides design engineers every means of embedded communication their application requires. Additional onboard peripherals include a real-time clock, watchdog timer, 1-wire interface, 24 lines of discrete I/O, two PWM outputs, audio support TV out, 24-bit LVDS flat panel display output, 4-wire touchscreen interface and a SATA HDD port. Since all components are validated for the extended temperature range from -40° to +85°C, the SBC1651 is industrial temperature capable by design. The SBC1651 starts at $595 in single quantity and mid $300s in OEM quantities.

PCI/104-Express and PC/104Plus DC/DC Power Supplies Deliver 100 Watts Parvus offers two rugged embedded DC/ DC power supply boards with built-in MILSTD power conditioning and EMI filtering for military ground vehicles and aircraft installations. The rugged PWR-21-11 (PC/104Plus form factor) and PWR-22-11 (PCI/104Express form factor) galvanically isolated DC/ DC converter modules provide 100 watts of combined power output (+3.3V, +5V, +12V) and come equipped with MIL-STD-461 EMI filtering and transient protections for demanding 250V spike and 100V surge

requirements under MIL-STD-1275. They support an 18-36 VDC input range for 24/28 VDC applications and typically eliminate the need for additional in-line power conditioning/ EMI filtering devices in military embedded systems. Featuring a rugged mechanical design, these small form factor (3.550” x 3.775” / 90 x 96 mm) cards are designed to be used in a PC/104, PC/104-Plus, PCI-104, PCIe104, or PCI/104Express embedded system stack, operate without any active cooling over extended temperature ranges (-40° to +85°C per MILSTD-810G), and provide resistance to high levels of shock and vibration (per MIL-STD810G fixed wing jet, rotary aircraft and tracked ground vehicle conditions). A tribute to their robustness and versatility, the PWR-21-11 and PWR-22-11 power supplies are integrated into various Parvus MIL-STD-810/1275/704/461 qualified DuraCOR mission computers, DuraNET Ethernet switches and DuraMAR mobile IP router subsystems.

Extreme Rugged™ PCI/104-Express Single Board Computer 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor Extended temperature: -40 C to +85 C Shock and vibration MIL-STD-202G 4GB soldered ECC memory

Parvus Salt Lake City, UT. (801) 483-1533. [].

Micro/sys Montrose, CA. (818) 244-4600. [].

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PC/104 and PC/104-Family Boards ROUNDUP

AMD G-Series APUs Ride PCIe/104 and PCI/104-Express

Rugged A/V Codec Rides PCIe/104 Form Factor

EPIC SBC Serves Up Atom CPU and Mini Card Socket

The latest PCIe/104 and PCI/104-Express single board computers from RTD Embedded Technologies are based on the AMD Fusion G-Series Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) processor and chipset in 1.0 GHz dualcore and 615 MHz and 1.0 GHz single-core configurations. The CMA24GS and CMX34GS modules are for power-conscious systems that need high performance per watt coupled with PCI Express and PCI expansion to support the latest generation peripherals as well as legacy devices.

Sensoray has introduced the ultra-lowlatency, high-performance Model 953ET: PCIe/104 Form Factor A/V Codec. It simultaneously captures four channels of analog video and four channels of stereo/ mono audio. Each video channel captures at the full frame rate (30 fps for NTSC or 25 fps for PAL), which results in an aggregate frame rate of 120 fps for NTSC or 100 fps for PAL. The Model 953-ET compresses the A/V streams into MJPEG, MPEG-4, H.264, or MPEG-TS format for video, and with G.711 or AAC format for audio.

Developed by the PC/104 industry, the EPIC form factor offers a larger alternative to PC/104. Versalogic offers the Iguana, a lowpower / high-performance EPIC format single board computer (SBC) featuring extensive onboard I/O. Driven by Intel 1.8 GHz Atom D525 and Atom D425 processors, the Iguana provides high-performance single- or dual-core processing with low power requirements (9W to 12W typical). Based on the industry-standard EPIC form factor (4.5 x 6.5 inches), this SBC is an excellent solution for embedded applications with substantial I/O requirements.

Onboard features include high-speed USB 2.0 ports, SATA and Serial ports, Gigabit Ethernet, advanced Radeon HD video interfaces for high-end graphics capabilities and onboard advanced digital I/O lines. RTD’s G-Series CPUs include 2 Gbyte DDR3 surface-mounted SDRAM and an onboard SATA Flash disk up to 32 Gbytes. Software highlights include RTD’s enhanced BIOS, complete compatibility with all x86 PC operating systems, and drivers and support for DOS, Windows and Linux. These PCI Express SBCs provide a forwardlooking upgrade path for existing Pentium M and Geode LX systems. G-Series customers will have a wide range of peripheral module options with RTD’s complete PCI Express product line including advanced data-collection, processing, networking and storage solutions. The G-Series CPUs are available as stand-alone modules, or mounted in passively cooled, stackable, ruggedized modular frames with integral structural heat sinks.

The powerful encoding engine supports ultra-low-latency, full frame rate encoding of two video streams from its single composite video input and sends the streams out over the PCI-Express x1 link. The video streams can be displayed on a monitor, saved on a storage device like HD/SSD, or streamed over an IP network. The Model 953-ET can also perform as a 4-channel decoder, converting a compressed A/V stream into standard analog video and audio signals. Seven transparency levels of overlay images can be displayed on top of the composite video output, as well as up to 160 characters of text overlay for each channel prior to compression. This extended temperature, small form factor board is ideal for applications where processor performance is critical. Sensoray provides SDKs for the Model 953-ET that include drivers, programming examples and comprehensive documentation, for both Windows and Linux operating systems. OEM quantity 2-9 pricing starts at $905.

For high-performance graphics applications, the Iguana provides integrated support for DirectX 9c, OpenGL 1.5, MPEG-2 decoding and adaptive interlacing. A single-channel LVDS flat panel interface and an analog VGA video interface support multiple display modes. An optional adapter supports dual VGA operation. The Iguana features onboard data acquisition ports including include eight analog inputs, four analog outputs and sixteen digital I/O lines. System I/O includes dual Gigabit Ethernet with network boot capability, up to 2 Gbyte DDR3 RAM, six USB host ports, four serial ports, SATA interface with support for two devices and HD audio. Removable flash storage is provided via CompactFlash socket, eUSB interface and a PCI Express Mini Card socket. The PCI Express Mini Card socket also accommodates plug-in Wi-Fi modems, GPS receivers, MIL-STD-1553, Ethernet channels and other mini expansion cards. An industry-standard PC/104-Plus expansion site provides plug-in access to a wide variety of expansion modules from numerous vendors. The SPX expansion interface provides additional plug-in expansion for low-cost analog, digital and CANbus I/O. Pricing starts at $680 in OEM quantities.

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

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

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


COTS Journal | June 2013

PC/104 and PC/104-Family Boards ROUNDUP

Atom-Based PC/104-Plus Module Has Rich I/O

PC/104 DC/DC Supplies Provide Complete Power Management

WIN Enterprises provides a low-power PC/104-Plus module that offers a choice of the Intel Atom D525, D425 and N455 processors. The Intel Atom D525 and D425 processors are clocked at 1.8 GHz; the N455 at 1.66 GHz. The PC/104-Plus module features dual Gbit Ethernet ports, four USB ports, LVDS support, CFast and SATA. The MB-73240 is ideal for space-limited applications such as UAVs, portable military comms and in-vehicle infotainment systems. The module has up to 2 Gbytes of DDR2

Energy concerns are not just a private sector matter. The DoD is intent on reducing its energy costs wherever it can. WinSystems has introduced PC/104 and PC/104-Plus highly integrated, “green energy” power supply modules for remote applications requiring renewable power sources. The PS394 series of DC/DC supplies support two inputs from solar panels, wind turbines, or other DC sources. Also included is a controller for battery charging and uninterruptable power supply (UPS) operation. These products are designed

memory. The device provides resolution of up to 2048 x 1536 over VGA; 1366 x 768 18-bit over LVDS and support for dual display. The MB73240 provides exceptional I/O with two GbE LAN ports, two serial ports and four USB 2.0 ports. Storage is supported by a SATA interface and CompactFlash. Other I/O interfaces include 3x RS-232, 1x RS-232/422/485, GPIO and HD audio. Operating system support includes Windows XP Embedded, Windows XP and Linux.

for applications not able to run off the standard AC power grid. They require only convection cooling and do not require a fan or heat sink while operating from -40° to +85°C. The PS394 series modules provide a complete power management solution for embedded computers by directly powering the device from one of the dual DC inputs as well as providing smart battery charging and switching to battery power when the input voltage(s) drop below operational levels. The battery charging controls support 6V or 12V batteries including Lead Acid, Li-Ion/Polymer, LiFePO and SLA chemistries. The UPS feature provides a fast switchover that is free of oscillations between the two external sources and battery. The power supplies are available in three standard configurations with custom engineered solutions also available. Each of the 90 x 96 mm board options accept voltages from the dual 9- to 32-volt DC input sources and automatically selects and converts the highest one to the output voltage(s). Single quantity price for the PPM-PS394-533 is $249. The PCMPS394-500 is $229 and the ISM-PS394-533 is $209.

WIN Enterprises North Andover, MA. (978) 688-2000. [].

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

June 2013 | COTS Journal


COTS FIND the products featured in this section and more at


Core i7-Based Fanless Embedded Box PC Features Sealed Design

A small and rugged fanless embedded box PC utilizes the Intel Core i7 processor. The XPand6103 from Extreme Engineering Solutions is a reliable and maintenance-free high-performance computing platform well suited for environmentally challenging and space-constrained situations. It was specifically designed for rugged yet processing-intensive vehicle applications, and provides an attractive solution for demanding autonomous vehicle computing requirements. The XPand6103 maximizes processing performance, thermal performance and modularity while minimizing cost and size by integrating support for the latest industry standard components. This includes support for X-ES’s line of Rugged COM Express modules, such as the XPedite7450, which integrate the most recent Intel Core i7 and Freescale QorIQ processors in a small, thermally efficient and robust circuit board design. The internal 64 Gbytes Slim SATA SSD memory module combines the convenience of highcapacity off-the shelf storage with the reliability and performance of SLC NAND Flash memory. The XPand6103 is equipped with a number of I/O interfaces through its rugged and environmentally sealed M12 connectors. The standard configuration includes DisplayPort++ video, two Gigabit Ethernet, USB, four CAN Bus and RS-232/RS-422 ports. The system can also be configured to provide up to two 10 Gigabit Ethernet 10GBASE-T interfaces. With three internal PCI Express Mini slots and support for two external antennae, the XPand6103 offers a flexible array of additional I/O configurations, including WLAN, cellular and GPS. Through the implementation of an environmentally sealed and completely rugged design, the XPand6103 can operate within the most demanding environmental conditions. This includes IEC61373, EN50155 and MIL-STD-810 shock and vibration requirements as well as the water immersion requirements of IP67. The XPand6103 also supports operating temperatures from -40° to +70°C ambient.

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

MIL-STD-1553 Transceiver/ Transformer Is RadTolerant Data Device Corp. (DDC) has introduced the radiation-tolerant SPACE-PHY +5V Dual MILSTD-1553 Transceiver/Transformer Device. SPACE-PHY is a completely integrated MIL-STD-1553 physical layer in a single package, including dual transceivers and transformers, creating a highly reliable MIL-STD-1553 space level solution. The device features an extended -55° to +125°C temperature range, making it ideal for the extreme environmental conditions encountered in mission-critical space applications. The device replaces two transceivers and two transformers. The single package devices allow for a simplified board layout. The device will be space-qualified and meets MIL-PRF-38534.

Data Device Corp., Bohemia, NY. (631) 567-5600. [].

Rackmount LCD Monitors Support Multi-Touch and Gesture Recognition Chassis Plans has upgraded its military-grade rugged 24” rackmount LCD monitor, the CPX1-241, and industrial-grade large rugged LCD monitor, the CPI1-241, to include multi-touch technology with gesture support through Windows 7. The monitor’s native resolution is 1920x1200, which is more screen space than is required for high definition video. The additional work space can be customized by the customer for dashboards and gauge controls based on application needs. The IR touch screen is sealed to IP65 and can be used with gloved hands or most other pointers. The CPX1-241 and CPI1-241 are designed for rugged applications, providing robust aircraft grade aluminum construction and durable components. Anti-reflective coated glass is bonded to the display for harsh environments, and a MicroMesh EMI filter can be embedded to meet EMI emissions requirements.

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

Module Blends Integrated Peripherals and Video Acceleration A ready-to-use CPU module is based on the Texas Instruments Cortex-A8 high-performance application processor from its DM814x (DaVinci) and AM387x (Sitara) families. Maya from Dave SRL can operate in -40° to + 85°C industrial temperature range and has a 204-pin SO-DIMM form factor. Maya is a Lite Line CPU module based on Texas Instruments DM814x/AM387x Cortex-A8 at 1 GHz with a NEON Media Technology SIMD coprocessor. A PowerVR SGX 530 3D graphics accelerator offers a programmable high-definition video image coprocessing (HDVICP v2) engine with up to 750 MHz C674x Floating-Point VLIW DSP (DM8148 version only). The module is supplied with up to 512 Mbytes of DDR2 SDRAM and two USB on the go (OTG) ports with PHY and 2x SD/MMC. In addition, there is fast Ethernet LAN and a high-end dual-CAN controller, four UARTs, 2x I2C, 2 x SPI, 1 x I2S. The display subsystem offers an RGB interface, a 24-bit HD Display Port and TV out.

Dave SRL, Porcia, Italy. +39.0434.921215. []. 44

COTS Journal | June 2013

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PC/104-Plus TwoChannel Gigabit Ethernet Card Supports POE A new PC/104-Plus module integrates two independent Gigabit Ethernet ports with power sourcing equipment (PSE) circuits. It is suitable to source two remote tethered 802.3af/ at-compliant POE devices supporting up to 25W each from an external DC source. Application areas include security, transportation and industrial control where centralized power can simplify integration and reduce wiring costs. Implemented as a PC/104-Plus add-in I/O module, the PPM-GIGE-2-POE from WinSystems can manage power to remotely located POE devices or board stacks. Both POE interfaces can use separate external DC supplies or share a single external power source. The POE controller for each channel goes through a detection, discovery and classification process each time a network cable is attached or removed. The controller additionally provides input undervoltage lockout, input overvoltage lockout, over temperature detection, output voltage slew-rate limit during startup and LED status indication on each port. This protection operates automatically without the need of software. The PPM-GIGE-2-POE is based on two Realtek RTL8110s Gigabit Ethernet controllers. These controllers combine triple-speed, IEEE 802.3-compliant Media Access Controller with an Ethernet transceiver, 32-bit PCI bus controller and embedded memory. The Ethernet controllers are compliant with the IEEE 802.3at specification for 10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet and the IEEE 802.3ab specification for 1000 Mbit/s Ethernet. This module uses RJ-45 connectors to plug into 10/100/1000 Mbit/s networks using standard Category 5 (CAT5) unshielded twisted pair (UTP) copper cables. Quantity one pricing for the dual channel PPM-GIGE-2-POEs is $249 and for the single channel PPM-GIGE-1-POE, $199.

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

SBC Features Freescale Cortex A9 CPU and Rich I/O Cadia Networks has introduced its latest ARM product. The ESBC3200 is a highly integrated SBC based on Freescale’s Cortex A9 i.MX6 processor. This small form factor SBC boots right out of the box with its native Android or Linux operating system. Memory on board includes 8 Gbytes of iNAND flash and 2 Gbytes of DRAM system memory. The ESBC-3200 is one of the few SBCs on the market that physically allows you to mount a 2 ½ inch SATA drive directly onto the board. High definition video options are wide and deep with multi independent displays through HDMI, LVDS or OPS connections. Network communications is easily achieved through either of the ESBC-3200’s onboard Wi-Fi or GigE ports. A Mini-PCIe expansion slot is available with USB and a SIM site for 3G/4G communications or other configurable I/O options. This board is fully featured with five RS-232 COM ports, six USB—two in the front and four via pin header, mini-USB OTG, micro SD slot,16-bit GPIO and a dual CAN bus option.

Cadia Networks, Laguna Hills, CA. (855) GO-CADIA. []. 46

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5/30/13 9:58 AM

COTS PRODUCTS FIND the products featured in this section and more at

Updates to Tools for Low-Power Renesas MCUs

System Brings Scalable HMIs to Mobile Devices

A new version of the development tool suite for Renesas RL78 MCU adds a large amount of new functionality for code writing and debugging. Among the improvements to the IAR Embedded Workbench from IAR Systems is the new text editor and source browser, which includes user-friendly features such as autocompletion, parameter hints, code folding, block select and indent, bracket matching, zooming and word/ paragraph navigation. Also added is project connections functionality for automated integration with device configuration tools. This makes it possible to import files or file packages generated by such external code generation tools and enables IAR Embedded Workbench to automatically detect changes in the generated file set. New in the comprehensive C-SPY Debugger is the possibility to connect an E1 or E20 emulator to a running system to inspect it without interrupting program execution.

A new system provides a way to build, deploy and view simple, effective and scalable operator interfaces to monitor and control systems and equipment using computers and mobile devices. Using only a modern web browser, Groov from Opto 22 securely lets end-users, system integrators, machine OEMs, building managers, technicians, or any authorized person quickly build and deploy browser-based interfaces. These operator interfaces can then be viewed on almost any computer or mobile device regardless of its manufacturer or operating system, including PCs, tablets, smartphones and even smart high-definition televisions. Groov offers a simple yet flexible environment for developing operator interfaces with zero programming, and requires no per-seat runtime or viewing licenses. Overcoming the biggest challenge in developing for multiple screen sizes, Groov automatically and gracefully scales all screens, page objects and gadgets, allowing Groov HMIs to be viewed and manipulated from virtually any device of any screen size. Groov works with modern web browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Opera running on operating systems including iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS and Linux. Groov has a suggested list price of $199.

IAR Systems, Foster City, CA. (650) 287-4250. [].

Opto 22, Temecula, CA. (951) 695-3000. [].

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

Coming Next Month Special Feature: Pre-integrated Systems Serve Technology Readiness Needs In parallel with the trend toward rugged box-level systems is another trend toward “pre-integrated subsystems.” These are defined as a set of embedded computing and I/O boards put together and delivered as a working system to provide a certain function but intended to be used in a military customer’s larger system. These help feed the military’s desire for complete systems that are at high TRL (Technology Readiness Level). Some of these are function specific, whereas others are more generic computing/networking platforms. This section explores the forces driving this trend and the trade-offs between the two types of systems. Tech Recon: Embedded Software for Safety-Critical and Mission-Critical Systems The fact that military system functionally is now mostly software based means that the burden of security and safety-critical operation falls squarely in the embedded software realm. Such software has to be certified to the safetycritical standard DO-178B and its imminent successor DO-178C. But while those efforts seem costly they pale in comparison to the huge costs associated with correcting software defects once they’re deployed on an airborne system. This section compares the tools and techniques available to help system developers meet real-time and safety-critical needs. System Development: Applying Supercomputing Strategies to Defense Systems While the strict definition of High Performance Embedded Computing (HPEC) varies, the basic idea is to leverage technologies like VPX and PCIe to provide massive processing power for compute-intensive systems. Such systems can meet immense throughput and processing requirements in space-constrained systems handling more than a teraflop of data. Articles in this section look at the products and tools available to make these systems a reality. Tech Focus: OpenVPX SBCs The OpenVPX spec provides implementation details for VPX payload and switch modules, backplane topologies and chassis products. And most importantly, it provides specific profiles on all the key aspects of an OpenVPX so that users and product vendors now have a clear language defining which OpenVPX are compatible with one another. Over the past couple years, the number of new OpenVPX boards continues to ramp. This section updates readers on the progress of those implementations, and displays a sampling of the current crop of OpenVPX SBC products. 48

COTS Journal | June 2013

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EDITORIAL Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

Economics of Spectrum Allocation


here can be no doubt that the advent of smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices has changed the world, with demand for bandwidth continuing to climb. Against that backdrop, new mission needs that involve wireless spectrum continue to emerge among federal government agencies including the DoD, and this raises concerns about availability of radio frequency spectrum for all. The national interest depends on a robust commercial wireless broadband system, but the government also needs spectrum to support critical missions, including military operations at home and around the world. Balancing these needs is a challenging and complex task. In an era when financial priorities are of major concern and defense budgets are constrained, the economics of spectrum allocation are interesting. For its part, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) led an 8-month interagency evaluation process to determine whether it would be possible to repurpose 95 MHz in the 1755-1850 MHz band for commercial wireless services. Within the United States, this band is currently allocated exclusively to the federal government, particularly for defense purposes, such as military tactical communications, air combat training and space systems. In March 2012, NTIA reported that the preliminary cost estimate to relocate most federal operations from the 1755-1850 MHz band would be about $18 billion over 10 years. To get an understanding of the costs, and to examine the differences between federal relocation costs and revenue, the GAO did a review of recent NTIA spectrum relocation reports, including NTIA’s annual progress reports for the 1710-1755 MHz transition. The Advanced Wireless Services-1 (AWS-1) auction involving the 1710-1755 MHz band was the only spectrum auction involving federal agencies with significant known relocation costs. According to the report, although 11 of the 12 agencies plan to spend the same amount or more than they estimated, the DoD expects to complete the 1710-1755 MHz transition for about $284 million, or approximately $71 million less than the original estimated cost of about $355 million. Interestingly, DoD officials said the relocation of systems from the 1710-1755 MHz band has been less expensive than originally estimated because it was possible to re-tune many federal systems to operate in the 1755-1850 MHz band and still meet federal mission requirements. Both NTIA and OMB (Office of Management and Budget) are taking steps to ensure that agencies improve their cost estimates for a future relocation from the 1755-1850 MHz band. 50

COTS Journal | June 2013

For example, according to NTIA and OMB officials, the agencies prepared a cost estimation template and guidelines for reimbursable costs as part of the process to estimate relocation costs for the 1755-1850 MHz band. One option, which was not evaluated by the DoD, included a preliminary cost figure of $1.6 billion. This estimate was based on eliminating some of the 16 exclusion zones around DoD sites, and therefore, relocating additional systems that were not included in the original estimate of $38-138 million, according to NTIA. In December 2006, NTIA reported that the DoD’s estimate to relocate systems would be about $355.4 million. This estimate reflected a new set of assumptions, such as maintaining exclusion zones at 2 of the 16 DoD sites, and relocating fixed microwave systems to the 1755-1850 MHz portion of the band or to other federal bands. Another side of the economics of spectrum relocation is the revenue generated from auctioning it off. For instance, the Advanced Wireless Services auction of the 1710-1755 MHz band raised almost $6.9 billion in gross winning bids from the sale of licenses to use these frequencies. GAO analysis of auction revenue compared to actual relocation costs suggests that the auction of the 1710-1755 MHz band raised $5.4 billion for the U.S. Treasury. This number reflects the difference between the $6.9 billion auction revenue and the approximately $1.5 billion estimated final federal relocation cost. Some agencies have returned or plan to return excess relocation funds to the Spectrum Relocation Fund. Looking toward the 1755-1850 MHz band relocation, there’s no official government revenue forecast to go by. However, economic consulting firm Brattle Group published a revenue forecast in 2011 for a potential auction of the 1755-1850 MHz band that forecasted revenues of $19.4 billion for the band. The forecast assumed that the band would generally be cleared of federal users. It also assumed the AWS-1 average nationwide price of $1.03 per “MHz-pop” as a baseline price for spectrum allocated to wireless broadband services. While the costs and revenues of moving around radio spectrum are hard to get a handle on, it’s clear that the stakes are high both for revenues that are a welcome asset for the fiscally troubled government, and for mitigating any costs that could affect an already constrained DoD budget. While these big dollar elephants play, our industry’s role is that of the mice running around solving the technical problems associated with relocating spectrum and continuing to meet military mission needs.


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COTS Journal  

June 2013

COTS Journal  

June 2013