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Tech Focus:

Ethernet Switch Boards Roundup

The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing


Slot Card and Busless Systems Square Off for Military Mindshare

COTS Instrumentation Solutions Streamline Test Operations An RTC Group Publication

Volume 16 Number 1 January 2014

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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing


CONTENTS January 2014

Volume 16

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 customer-paid minor modification to standard COTS products to meet the customer’s unique requirements. —Ant. When applied to the procurement of electronics for the U.S. Military, COTS is a procurement philosophy and does not imply commercial, office environment or any other durability grade. E.g., rad-hard components designed and offered for sale to the general market are COTS if they were developed by the company and not under government funding.

Departments 6 Editorial A Year of Greater Certainty

Number 1



The Inside Track

Five Chip Architectures That Enable Demanding Military Applications


COTS Products

10  Five Chip Solutions Lead the Future of Military Systems


Marching to the Numbers

Jeff Child

16  Modular Small Form Factors Boost Design Flexibility RJ McLaren, Kontron

TECH RECON Standard Slot Cards vs. Busless Modules in Defense Systems

20  PCI Express 3.0 Backplane Design Poses New Challenges Steve Riley, Trenton Systems

SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Military Test and Instrumentation Advances

24  PXI Technology Solves Flightline Test Modernization Hurdles Major General Stephen T. Sargeant, USAF (Ret.) Loofie Gutterman, Marvin Test Solutions

28  Automated Test Solves Maintenance Issues for Military Vehicles Alan Lowne, Saelig

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS Ethernet Switch Boards

32  Ethernet Switch Boards Balance Cost and Performance Needs Jeff Child


Ethernet Switch Boards Roundup Digital subscriptions available:

Coming in February See Page 48 On The Cover: USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) uses a battle management system called COMBATSS-21 that integrates the radar, electro-optical infrared cameras, gun fire control system, countermeasures and short-range anti-air missiles. The ship’s Intelligent System Manager (ISM-X) manages the ship’s propulsion, electric plant, auxiliaries and engineering casualty/damage control systems. It employs open software architecture and distributed processing. (Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation)


The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing


Publisher PRESIDENT John Reardon,


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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


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Journal | January 2014

PUBLISHED BY THE RTC GROUP Copyright 2014, 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.

1/9/13 11:06 AM

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EDITORIAL Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

A Year of Greater Certainty


efore the start of the holiday season last month, I made the usual rounds exchanging insights with my industry friends about our assessments of 2013, and our thoughts looking forward to this year. In the process it occurred to me that we were having the same conversations in 2012 in regards to a feeling that some degree of military budget certainty would make everything better. Large or small, a more certain defense spending roadmap was preferable so programs could move forward and development efforts could be pointed where they needed to go. Fortunately 2013 ended with the positive notes of the President signing a two-year U.S. budget and the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2104. The deal calls for defense spending in the current 2014 fiscal year to be capped at $520.5 billion, up from the current level of $498.1 billion. In fiscal 2015, the amount would be capped at $521.4 billion, up from $512 billion. Pentagon spending would be about the same in 2014 as in the 2013 fiscal year. As Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said, the deal reduces the impact of sequestration cuts and provides the DoD greater budget certainty so it can now plan effectively. In many ways the looming threat of sequestration and the uncertainty about how it would be enforced pretty much defined the defense industry throughout calendar year 2013. The end of the year also saw Ashton B. Carter stepping down from his role as Deputy Secretary of Defense. Carter has returned to private life after nearly five years of serving Secretaries Hagel, Panetta and Gates, first as the Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, and for the past two years as the Deputy Secretary. In trying to make sense of 2013, I found Carter’s last public speech as Deputy SecDef nicely summarized where today’s U.S. military is at and the fiscal challenges that are a reality. When someone leaves office it’s not uncommon for them to become more vocal than they were in office. But in Carter’s case that’s not a fair characterization given that he, particularly over the past year, was very effective at expressing the difficulties that budget uncertainty was causing the department. The speech, delivered at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland in November, covered a wide range of topics. First he 6

COTS Journal | January 2014

contrasted how much had changed in the past four years. In 2010 the so-called Arab Spring had yet to unfold, Syria was quiet, and the Administration had not yet announced what would come to be known as the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. At that time the “gusher” of defense spending, as former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates famously called it, had not yet been turned off. A theoretical physicist and former Harvard professor, Carter’s insights on technology have always been keen, and that was reflected once again in the speech. He remarked on how, although our servicemen and women are in few numbers in Afghanistan, the troops need key technologies to do their job: “Even as we draw down, our troops in the field continue to need protection from IEDs, they need the best ISR, and they need the best logistics support.” He went on to talk about how many attempts at change had been done the wrong way over the last year. “The government shutdown, sequestration, and the lack of a budget for this fiscal year have each taken a significant toll on our people and operations,” said Carter. The issue, he explained, is not that defense cuts are the answer to the nation’s overall fiscal challenge. Rather it’s that sequester is “purely an artificial, self-inflicted wound.” Circling back to the topic of technology, Carter said that now more than ever, maintaining a technological edge over our competitors is the surest way to deter conflict. We must continue to invest in those technologies that will be essential to 21st century defense. This includes increasing investments in the cyber domain, in recognition of the growing threat that cyber poses to our national security and critical infrastructure. In the space domain, the DoD is requesting funds for additional sensors to increase space situational awareness, and investing in jam-resistant technologies and new operating concepts that will enhance the survivability of U.S. satellites. Important investments are also being made in ISR systems and unmanned assets, including UAVs, UGVs and unmanned undersea vehicles. The good news for our embedded computing industry is that our products and technology are critical building blocks in all those areas.

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INSIDE TRACK Raytheon Awarded $75 Million for DDG 1000 Program Raytheon has been awarded $75 million to complete remaining hardware and electronics for DDG 1000 and 1001, the first two ships of the Zumwalt-class of multimission destroyers (Figure 1). The award reflects exercised options under a previously awarded U.S. Navy contract. Under this contract, Raytheon will complete outstanding hardware and electronics production and assembly for the first two ships of the class, including electronics for the multi-function towed array for the sonar suite; canister electronics and uptake kits for the MK 57 Vertical Launching System; and the advanced procurement of Electronic Modular Enclosure shelters for the third ship, DDG 1002. As the prime mission systems integrator for DDG 1000, Raytheon provides all electronic and combat systems for the program. To date, the company has completed several key tasks as part of the programs. This includes delivering more than 3,500 hardware items and completing mission systems equipment production for DDG 1000. Production is more than 95 percent complete for DDG 1001. The company also completed more than 1.3 million lines of code for SPY-3/Dual Band Radar for DDG 1000, DDG 1001, CVN 78 and the Self Defense Test Ship and delivered complete radar suite equipment for all ship sets. Figure 1

Raytheon Waltham, MA (781) 522-3000

Figure 2

An artist’s graphic of the Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350 used in the Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance Surveillance System (EMARSS) program.

XTAR Awarded Renewal of Manned Airborne ISR Contract XTAR LLC has been awarded a $5.6 million contract renewal from L-3 Communication Systems-West to provide X-band satellite connectivity to the U.S. Army for manned airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (AISR)


COTS Journal | January 2014

The Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer DDG 1000 is floated out of dry dock at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard in late October. mission support. The recent L-3 award caps off another year of significant growth for XTAR in support of airborne applications. Under the terms of the contract, XTAR will deliver space segment capacity on multiple XTAR-EUR beams, including the Middle East and global beams. The satellite will support connectivity to Army-operated King Air 350 (Figure 2) and Dash 8 aircraft. The contracted satellite capacity has increased from the previous amount to satisfy growing requirements, which include achieving higher data rates and supporting additional aircraft. XTAR-EUR, at 29 degrees east longitude, provides commercial X-band coverage from Eastern Brazil across the Atlantic Ocean as far east as Singapore. The flexible payload is delivered through its two global, one fixed and four steerable spot beams, which can

be relocated anywhere within the satellite’s coverage area. XTAR Herndon, VA (571) 281-3570

GrammaTech and Raytheon Team up for DARPA Device Security Program Raytheon BBN Technologies and GrammaTech Inc. are collaborating on a $4.8 million contract award under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s VET program. Raytheon BBN Technologies is a wholly owned subsidiary of Raytheon. The VET (Vetting Commodity IT Software and Firmware) program seeks to help U.S. government agencies address the threat of malicious

code and hidden “backdoor” access in commodity IT devices. Mobile phones, network routers, computer workstations and other networked devices can be secretly modified to function in unintended ways or spy on users. Under the program, GrammaTech and Raytheon BBN intend to develop tools and techniques to enable organizations to inspect the software and firmware that exists inside such network-enabled devices and protect them from attack. Raytheon BBN Technologies plans to develop techniques that enable analysts to prioritize elements of software and firmware to examine for hidden malicious functionality. GrammaTech plans to develop the tools that actually examine the software and firmware to allow analysts to demonstrate that they do


INSIDE TRACK Grammatech Ithaca, NY (607) 273-7340

Lockheed Martin Taps Trust Automation for Counterfire Radar System

Figure 3

Mounted on a five-ton truck, the AN/TPQ-53 can be automatically leveled, rapidly elevated and remotely operated to rotate within intense accuracy guidelines from a laptop computer in harsh environmental conditions. Lockheed Martin has awarded Trust Automation its third contract for the vehicle automation system for the AN/ TPQ-53 (Q-53), a long-range counterfire radar that provides soldiers with enhanced 360-degree protection from indirect fire. Mounted on a five-ton truck, the AN/TPQ-53 can be automatically leveled, rapidly elevated and remotely operated to rotate within intense accuracy guidelines from a laptop computer in harsh environmental conditions (Figure 3). Trust Automation developed the motion control systems that automatically level the vehicle, raise and

Military Market Watch Stable Funding Predicted for U.S. DoD Budget for Special Ops U.S. DoD Special Operations Command (SOCOM) spending is anticipated to remain stable over the next few years, despite existing budget pressures. Investments in COTS products as well as networking and collaboration tools will rise as they lower overall costs and enhance efficiency. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan’s U.S. DoD Special Operations Command Budget research finds spending on military products and services stood at $10.09 million in 2012 and estimates this to reach $10.60 million in 2018 (Figure 4). According to Frost & Sullivan Aerospace & Defense Senior Industry Analyst Brad Curran, the need for operations and maintenance services as well as military system upgrades is on the rise. That’s because the U.S. DoD SOCOM is involved in direct operations, training or relationship building in over 100 countries. U.S. policy to forge low-footprint, low-cost military relationships to achieve counter-terror objectives provides the foundation for budget and acquisition plans. The U.S. DoD SOCOM is also expected to spend on new platforms, especially training and ground mobility vehicles up to 2018. In terms of technology, expenditure will focus on incremental size, weight and power (SWaP) product improvements. Command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance systems, training and simulation, as well as rotary wing applications DoD SOCOM: Spending Forecast, US, 2012–2018 11000 will witness maximum growth. That said, the combined ef10500 fects of sequestration, continuing 10000 resolutions, reprogramming and overseas contingency operations 9500 are driving up costs, delaying 9000 real reform to the requirements process and stifling new technol8500 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 ogy implementation. This leads 10,092.3 9,873.4 9,470.6 9,300.0 9,800.0 10,200.0 10,600.0 to uncertainty surrounding the Year Note: All figures are rounded. The base year is 2012. Source: Frost & Sullivan budget and future U.S. DoD SOCOM programs, which hinders efficient research, development, Figure 4 testing, evaluation, procurement Spending on Special Operations Command military products and services and fielding of military systems. stood at $10.09 million in 2012, and Frost & Sullivan estimates this to This poses a further challenge for reach $10.60 million in 2018. large system integrators, as they lose skilled engineers and become reluctant to invest in or acquire small firms with innovative technologies. For more information on Frost & Sullivan’s new research, please email Jennifer Carson, Corporate Communications, at Spending ($ Million)

not have exploitable security vulnerabilities.

Frost & Sullivan San Antonio, TX (210) 348-1000 rotate the counterfire radar. Trust Automation has successfully demonstrated their capabilities on earlier development platforms of the EQ-36 system. As a direct result of the successful deployment of these systems,

Trust Automation was awarded its the third manufacturing contract (after receiving the first two LRIP contracts) for Limited Rate Initial Production (LRIP3).

Trust Automation San Luis Obispo, CA (805) 544-0761

January 2014 | COTS Journal


SPECIAL FEATURE Five Chip Architectures That Enable Demanding Military Applications


COTS Journal | January 2014


Five Chip Solutions Lead the Future of Military Systems As military system developers wrestle with challenges like compute density, parallel processing, cooling and signal processing, five categories of processing chips meet today’s needs


oday’s highly integrated processors are critical enablers to achieve the compute density needed in today’s advanced military programs. Embedded processors are critical in defense systems because an ever increasing amount of system functionality is now implemented as software running on single board computers or in box-level subsystems. The days of hardwired electronic assemblies are long gone. As we researched a selection of forward-looking programs and did an informal survey of suppliers and users, five chip architectures stood out as the most important enablers for today’s military needs. In addition, because COTS Journal covers all the major new product announcements of processor-based boards and systems marketed toward defense, we have a pretty good perspective on what chip architectures embedded computing suppliers are seeing a demand for. January 2014 | COTS Journal



Figure 1

The 6U OpenVPX HDS6502 High Density Server (HDS) module integrates dual quad-core Intel Core i7-4700EQ processors with native Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0 and PCIe Gen 3, an OpenCL programmable GPU and up to 16 Gbytes of 1600 MHz DDR3 SDRAM.

Because nothing in military system design is ever black and white or straightforward, some of the leading processing chip architectures fell more into categories of technology—GPUs and FPGAs for example—rather than specific architectures. Moreover, simple technical comparisons never tell the complete story in this market. Issues of legacy, component life cycles and market acceptance all come into play in defense applications. In computeintensive military applications there are many aspects to computing complexity. There are some cases where pure “number crunching” processing is the main goal, while in others it’s a matter of distributing control nodes throughout a military platform to meet its requirements. Ultimately, the list of chip-level processing architectures was sifted down to these five: • Intel Core i7 • Freescale QorIQ • GPGPUs • FPGAs • ARM

Low Power Era for Intel

Intel processors had a couple major hurdles to overcome before gaining traction in the defense market. First there was the sheer legacy of the competing (formally Motorola) 68000 processor architecture in military systems. Many of those systems upgraded to the PowerPC pro12

COTS Journal | January 2014

cessor, oftentimes because of the convenience of not rewriting the massive install base of Power PC embedded software. As software deployment became more flexible, that became less of a factor. The other problem for Intel processors was that for many years their power dissipation was significantly higher than competitors like the PowerPC. That power dissipation required managing a lot of unwanted heat. That’s a major problem in defense where many applications don’t permit fans and instead relying on conduction cooling. As Intel’s line of processors developed for laptop and other portable devices evolved, the power dissipation dropped over the past several years. Today, Intel processors like its Core i7 family are now solidly in the range of cutting-edge performance within a reasonable realm of power dissipation. Over the past year or so, an avalanche of single board computing products based on Core i7 have emerged, the latest of which sport the 4th generation Core i7 processor. Based on the new Intel microarchitecture, formerly codenamed “Haswell,” the new processor integrates new features such as the Intel AVX2 instructions, which dramatically accelerate floating-point-intensive computations. Also included is the improved Intel AES-NI, which accelerates data encryption and decryption. The processor also features upgraded 3D / media graphics and an OpenCL-programmable on-chip GPGPU, while the thermal footprint has remained nearly the same. Several military embedded computer vendors rolled out new board-level products based on that new Haswell architecture—five of them specifically on OpenVPX. An example product along those lines is Mercury Systems’ 6U OpenVPX HDS6502 High Density Server (HDS) module. It integrates dual quad-core Intel Core i74700EQ processors with native Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0 and PCIe Gen 3, an OpenCL programmable GPU and up to 16 Gbytes of 1600 MHz DDR3 SDRAM within a rugged OpenVPX module (Figure 1).

Strong PowerPC Legacy

PowerPC-based embedded computers continue to play a strong role in defense

applications. Many of these are mundane tech upgrades on VME, simply replacing faster processor boards in the same slot. Freescale’s latest and greatest processors in its QorIQ family offer some unique features particularly for throughput and communications-centric applications. The QorIQ maintains software compatibility with older PowerPC products such as the PowerQUICC platform. The P2 series within the QorIQ line is designed for a wide variety of applications in the military and industrial markets. It will be available in special high-quality parts, with junction tolerances from -40° to 125°C, especially suited for harsh environments. An example of a QorIQ offering is Extreme Engineering Solutions’ XCalibur1840, a 6U OpenVPX module featuring the Freescale QorIQ T4240 or T4160 communications processor (Figure 2). Freescale’s Power Architecture e6500-based T4240 and T4160 processors combine multiple 1.8 GHz dual-threaded cores, large caches and high-performance networking capabilities with the next-generation AltiVec single-instruction multiple-data (SIMD) engine. Freescale’s significantly improved next-generation AltiVec engine delivers DSP-level floating-point performance with 172 GFLOPS of vector processing capability, more than seven times the performance of its previous generation, while maintaining compatibility with an already extensive inventory of AltiVec software libraries. The board supports two XMC or PMC modules for additional I/O and processing flexibility, and it includes up to 24 Gbytes of DDR3 ECC SDRAM across three channels. The XCalibur1840 is available in either conduction-cooled or air-cooled versions and supports 0.8” pitch or 1.0” pitch 2 Level Maintenance (2LM) configurations.

FPGAs for Signal Processing

Signal processing capabilities of FPGAs continue to climb, feeding the insatiable appetite such systems have for more digital signal processing muscle. The requirements for such systems continue to call for ever more data collection capacity. The ability, for example, to process that data—in the form of radar captured video or images—presents major system design


VPX Channelizer System provides a complete, fully tested and configured Stratix V development environment with high-speed data conversion targeted for a wide variety of applications, including satellite communications, radar and electronic warfare. Figure 2

XCalibur1840 is a 6U OpenVPX module featuring the Freescale QorIQ T4240 or T4160 communications processor. The board supports two XMC or PMC modules for additional I/O and processing flexibility, and it includes up to 24 Gbytes of DDR3 ECC SDRAM across three channels.

challenges for developers of military platforms. Board-level FPGA computing solutions have grown to become key enablers for waveform-intensive applications like sonar, radar, SIGINT and SDR. Faster FPGA-based DSP capabilities combined with an expanding array of IP cores and development tools for FPGAs are enabling new system architectures. Today FPGAs are complete systems on a chip. The high-end lines of the major FPGA vendors even have general-purpose CPU cores on them. And the military is hungry to use FPGAs to fill processing roles. Devices like the Xilinx Virtex-6 and -7 and the Altera Stratix IV and V are examples that have redefined an FPGA as a complete processing engine in its own right. An example system taking full advantage of FPGA capabilities is BittWare’s 6U VPX Channelizer System. The single-slot OpenVPX system features BittWare’s S56U-VPX (S56X) FPGA COTS board based on the high-density Altera Stratix V GX and GS FPGAs and two VITA-57 FPGA Mezzanine Cards (FMCs) with direct data connections to the onboard FPGAs: an ADC FMC (A/D Converter) providing up to four 8-bit A/D channels at 1.25 to 5 Gsamples/s, and a DAC FMC (D/A Converter) providing two 14-bit D/A channels at 5.6 Gsamples/s. Along with the dual Stratix V FPGAs, the 6U VPX board also contains an ARM Cortex-A8 for control plane interface and processing. The 6U

General Purpose Computing Using GPU

While FPGAs remain a mainstay of military signal processing, a newer trend emerged in 2007 and continues to gather momentum: the idea of “GPUs as generalpurpose processing engines.” It offers a simpler way to do complex multiprocessing by putting high-performance graphics processors to work on general-purpose processing tasks. It falls nicely into the theme of doing more while keeping the complexity at bay—in this case, complexity to the system developer. Graphics chip vendor NVIDIA developed a parallel computing architecture called CUDA. System developers can also us AMD GPUs using OpenCL instead of CUDA. Languages like CUDA and OpenCL let programmers use conventional computing languages to access the massively parallel processing capabilities of the GPU. Aside from serving applications in radar, signals intelligence and video surveillance and interpretation, GPUs have potential in other application areas, including target tracking, image stabilization and SAR (synthetic aperture radar) simulation. Exemplifying the GPGPU trend is GE Intelligent Platform’s 6U VPX IPN251 and ICS1572 XMC. The IPN251 is a quad-core Ivy Bridge SBC integrated with a 384-core NVIDIA Kepler GPU, Mellanox ConnectX-3 InfiniBand/10GigE adapter and XMC site (Figure 3). On the IPN251’s XMC site, the ICS1572, a Xilinx Virtex-6-based RF interface with two ADC channels and two DAC channels, was mounted. Using GPUDirect RDMA, data was streamed directly from the ICS1572’s ADCs into the Kepler GPU. Note that the ICS1572 uses a PCIe gen1 x8 connection, so the maximum achievable bandwidth is 2 Gbytes/s.

ARM Gaining Interest in Military

The newest kid on the block, in terms of processors used for military systems, is the ARM architecture. Helping to drive that

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Figure 3 The IPN251 supports GPUDirect RDMA. It combines an Intel Ivybridge SBC, chip-down NVIDIA Kepler GPU, Mellanox ConnectX-3 adapter and XMC site on a single 6U VPX board.

demand are the challenges for military system design with regard to cooling. Demand for extreme low power is on the rise as system designers look for higher performing processors, smaller system footprints and

the evolution of extremely rugged environments. As a result, the SWaP protocol has transitioned into SWaP-C (Size, Weight, Power and Cooling) as a priority focus for packaging engineers solving thermal chal-



lenges of these next-generation designs. ARM processors excel in this area. One of the most likely places ARM will gain acceptance is on non-backplane, non-slot card boards. An example is Kontron’s KTAM3874/pITX, a Pico-ITX motherboard. The board is available with the single-core Texas Instruments Sitara 3874 microprocessor (MPU) for the extended temperature range with 800 MHz CortexA8 technology. Extremely suitable for compact, fanless applications, it is also the first Kontron motherboard designed from scratch for the extended temperature range of -40° to 85°C. For OS and application data there are up to 16 Gbyte NAND Flash memory on board plus a microSD slot. Besides two Fast Ethernet interfaces with an optional switch, it also offers 2x CAN bus as well as a SIM card slot for MiniPCIe modem cards. Peripherals can be connected by the 5x USB 2.0, 2x RS-232 or 1x RS435. 26x GPIOs, I²C, UART and SP output round off the feature set.

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COTS Journal | January 2014



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SPECIAL FEATURE Five Chip Architectures That Enable Demanding Military Applications

Modular Small Form Factors Boost Design Flexibility By airing COMs with PMC, XMC and FMC, military system designers can ensure long-term performance and design value in complex platforms like UAVs. RJ McLaren, Portfolio Manager, Kontron


s military systems continue their march toward higher-performance, small footprint deployments, the role of rugged small form factors becomes even more essential to embedded development. Designers are challenged with portable/mobile applications, or space- and weight-constrained deployments that span the range of military systems, yet must handle steadily rising levels of sensor data processing. This is an important trend in military electronics—as improved leadership decisions, better situational awareness, and the overall safety and security of military personnel rely on the growing volume of sensor data collected and shared among military forces. At the same time, military electronics are focused on achieving more functionality and performance in smaller packages. Demand for system mobility includes unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), vetronics and avionics systems—which adds complexity to the design challenge since there is no option to increase the footprint to make room for increased power or performance (Figure 1). SWaP considerations are elevated, along with reliability and planning for inevitable future upgrades in the same small space. 16

COTS Journal | January 2014

Figure 1

In UAV designs like the Predator, there is no option to increase the footprint to make room for increased power or performance. As a result, SWaP considerations are elevated, along with reliability and planning for inevitable future upgrades in the same space.

Application Ready COM Express

COM Express-based Computer-onModules (COMs) packaged in a rugged housing can be considered applicationready platforms ideal for these types

of rugged, high-performance deployments—operating as a nearly complete computer mounted on a carrier board. COM Express offers one of the smallest form factors available for military sys-


tems, providing a range of sizes excellent for SWaP considerations coupled with customizable I/O options. By integrating mezzanine options, COM Express systems can further increase their suitability for any number of applications—essentially creating a new small form factor system without significant modification to the design. COM Express modules can incorporate the most current and advanced x86 processors, offering graphics and processing performance that would have once required multiple boards. Operating in conjunction with a carrier board, which contains all I/O and customization required by the specific military computing application, COM Express modules enable performance and low power in very small form factor, standards-based designs. Broad vendor support further simplifies the design process, ensuring access to a well-established ecosystem of resources to manage future product migration. And when it is time to upgrade performance, COM Express-based systems have a readily available upgrade path simply by switching out processors for the latest advancements. Design value and flexibility are hallmarks of COMs, which provide the chipset I/O to the carrier board via rugged board-to-board connectors. Broad combinations of I/O are available and are incorporated into the design via the application-specific customization of the carrier board. Depending on the requirements of the application, designs can access LAN, SATA, video, audio and multiple USB or PCI Express ports. COMs also integrate video processing and display, which is an important advantage for graphics-heavy imaging and sensor data processing applications increasing so significantly in military computing environments. The COM Express standard itself addressed the potential requirement for long-life video support as a native feature within the chipset and currently enables standard connector access for VGA, LVDS, SDVO and now Displayport, DVI and HDMI. Video cards are unnecessary, as is borrowing access from CPUs already constrained in space for processor, chipset and memory.

Extending Value with Rugged Design

COMs offer access to extended thermal characteristics “by design”—or via a COM that has been re-engineered and validated for proven performance in extended temperature applications. Mil/ aero and industrial temperature requirements can range from -40° to +85°C. In a “by design” COM, suppliers will test a complete system and design-in individual components to assure that performance withstands specific environmental conditions; this validation process is essential to ensure that the electronics will survive in mission-critical applications under extreme environmental conditions (Figure 2). Within some of these rugged modules, Kontron implements a special Rapid Shutdown circuit design. The Rapid Shutdown feature provides a mechanism on board to survive a high energy pulse that typically occurs in a nuclear event or from a high energy electromagnetic pulse (EMP). The COM processor board is the heart of a small form factor system and requires a rugged baseboard, power module, housing and appropriate I/O connectors to make it a complete system. An example of this type of system is Kontron’s next generation high-performance embedded computer COBALT (Computer Brick ALTernative). The Kontron COBALT is a fanless, fully enclosed system solution that weighs less than seven pounds and offers efficient thermal management in a small 8.5 (W) x 5.5 (D) x 3.5 (H)-inch form factor. Designers can access a range of flexible options, scaling computing performance based on specific application requirements, for example, from a very low power Intel Atom processor-based implementation to a powerful Intel Dual Core i7 processor system. Operating temperatures range from -40° to +71°C and are compatible to the broadest spectrum of UAV, vehicle, shipboard and mil/aero airborne requirements. The Kontron next gen COBALT leverages the COM Express Type 6 pin-out, which has future design options; the pins formerly assigned to the IDE interface (pin-out Type 2) are now reserved for future technologies still in development. The Type 6 is based on pin-out Type 2, the

Figure 2

The COMe-bIP6XT is a COM Express basic Type 6 pin-out Computer-onModule. It offers triple independent display with integrated GMA, rapid shutdown functionality and extended temperature performance from -40° to +85°C.

most widely adopted COM Express pinout to date. However, it reallocates legacy PCI pins from Type 2 to enable the digital display interface and additional PCI Express lanes. Some of the extra PCI Express lanes can be routed to serial-based mezzanine card slots like mPCIe and XMC to create expansion options. This creates a performance jump in contrast to devices incorporating earlier pin-out options, and also enhances fourth generation graphics architectures often used in advanced video applications such as surveillance for situational awareness. As a result, designers have access to broader native display choices and higher serial bandwidth than previously available. COM Express’ native support for the newest display interfaces further simplifies carrier board design, in turn reducing time-to-market and total cost of ownership for graphics-intensive mil/ aero applications. PCI Express support for Type 6 is extensive, illustrating the trend to migrate from legacy parallel interfaces toward pure serial embedded system designs to enable higher bandwidth and reduced latency. With Type 6 systems, military designers have a smooth transition to next generation devices via faster drives January 2014 | COTS Journal



Figure 3

The COBALT II enables modular small form factor design, including an optimized baseboard with mPCIe slots. Secondary XMCs support profile features and deliver configurable front I/O solutions, incorporated as either off-the-shelf or application-built modules.

and peripherals—critical for the rigors of long-term deployments and evolving sensor data processing applications

Flexible Deployments with Mezzanines

COM Express-based systems further ensure flexibility in how systems can be used by incorporating a range of I/O options enabled by mezzanine solutions. Mezzanine cards in three widely available standards—PMC (PCI Mezzanine Card), XMC (Switched Mezzanine Card) and FMC (FPGA Mezzanine Card)—are showing promise in not only upgrading performance by reusing proven technology in many different systems, but also by offering flexibility in deploying the enduse applications. The PMC is likely the longest existing standard included here, well-proven within the industry but limited to compatibility with legacy parallel bus architectures. The XMC standard is the next evolution, integrating seamlessly with VPX high-speed interconnects and expected to continue to grow in popularity as more vendors and solutions expand the market. The most current mezzanine form factor 18

COTS Journal | January 2014

is the FMC, which offers the greatest number of options in terms of flexibility and configuration, but is more complicated based on FPGA core development. Its use will continue to increase, but most likely as a more customized solution for tailoring to very specific customer application requirements. The PCI Express mini form factor also weighs in, offering the smallest board form factor and a solid solution for specific interfaces such as WiFi, GSM and LTE, which accommodate low power and small component footprint requirements. These mezzanines options give system engineers a product-rich ecosystem offering excellent future product expansion and flexibility for application requirements.

Mezzanines Increase Options

Most next generation high-speed standards-based boards and systems consistently accept the same mezzanines; this enables OEMs to maximize design investments, reusing systems in many different applications by repackaging them to meet a specific program’s exact requirements. 3U/6U systems use backplanes to interconnect the processor, switch and I/O (us-

ing mezzanines) to specific boards. Small form factor systems employing just a COM Express module don’t require a backplane, but instead rely on a specific baseboard to host the module and I/O. Only a small number of mezzanine expansion slots will fit on this type of system, meaning system engineers must determine the configuration based on the necessary performance for the particular application or system. By reusing these proven designs in smaller systems, OEMs are then able to extend functionality yet avoid customization and its related costs and development resources. By using Kontron’s COBALT to illustrate this option, we can look at an example system based on a COM Express solution and capitalizing on the industry’s most current x86 modules (Figure 3). System performance can evolve with processor advancements by swapping out modules for future upgrades and avoiding requalification of the design. Featuring ruggedized, thermal performance from -40° to +85°C, this system’s baseboard stack provides the necessary interconnect for the COM Express board as well as for XMC and mPCIe (mini PCIe) interfaces. Due to environmental requirements, all I/O from the baseboard utilizes an appropriate rugged connector, while all external I/O employs a MIL circular connector (38999 type). For OEMs, the XMC and mPCIe modules leverage industry standard boards that provide additional I/O functionality, essentially building a specific system profile without significant modification to the design.

Integrating Mezzanines for New Designs

These types of systems can be tailored to meet end application solutions with more specific I/O requirements that may be found in harsh computing environments, such as rugged vehicle, commercial avionics, automotive or transportation, unmanned vehicles, shipborne systems, and oil and gas markets. Additional features used in all of these markets include increased storage capabilities, either fixed or removable solid state drives, wireless connectivity requirements including WiFi, WiMAX or a 3G/4G modem, and a L2/


L3 GbE switch for additional network port connections. All of these features can be added into an enclosed COMs-based system for a tailored application requirement. For example, commercial avionics typically require an ARINC-429 interface, which can be added via ARINC-429 module and board support package in order to meet this requirement. The power module would be changed to meet aircraft AC power input, meeting DO-160 environmental specifications including 200ms hold-up. Similar to commercial avionics, alternate I/O interfaces may be required for military avionics, including ARINC-429 as well as MIL-STD-1553. These can be readily added to a COMsbased system, installed and wired to an appropriate I/O connector interface. A growing demand is the need for video capture, compression, storage and analytics within a rugged small form factor system. By adding a video encoder profile, enclosed COMs-based systems can support up to 4x composite video

feeds and perform video capture and compression. This can be easily recorded on fixed or removable solid state drives or offloaded via the GbE network connection or wireless connection via Wi-Fi or modem option. Real-time displays with playback features can be easily accommodated via the 2x HDMI display outputs.

Mezzanines and COMs Enable Options

For example, the mPCIe mezzanine card, which offers a very small form factor in an off-the-shelf card, can deliver specialized I/O such as video encoding, ARINC 429 or MIL-STD-1553 or more common wireless specifications like Wi-Fi, GSM or LTE. The standard specification is maintained and developed by the PCI-SIG (PCI Special Interest Group)—and this type of functionality, embedded in the mezzanine rather than a custom-designed board, in turn enables a longer and more flexible product lifecycle for deployed systems. As data gathering missions such as

surveillance and reconnaissance are more frequently delegated to unmanned or portable systems, rugged small form factors continue to be a primary focus of military design. By coupling mezzanine modules with carrier boards in COMs platforms, designers are poised to maximize the reuse and applicability of proven systems in a broader range of rugged deployments— improving their competitive edge and dramatically reducing time-to-market and total cost of ownership. Kontron Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. FIND the products featured in this section and more at

LCR Embedded System’s complete line of integrated rugged industrial and military systems, from off-the-shelf to fully customized, are ideal for all aspects of mission-critical computing. To learn more about what we can do for you and your application, contact us today. Our integrated systems feature VME, VPX, ATCA and CompactPCI architectures For chassis, backplanes and integrated systems, LCR Electronics is now LCR Embedded Systems.

(800) 747-5972 e-mail

January 2014 | COTS Journal


TECH RECON Standard Slot Cards vs. Busless Modules in Defense Systems

PCI Express 3.0 Backplane Design Poses New Challenges For military applications with endless performance appetites, PCIe 3.0 offers a welcome speed boost. But many design challenges come with the territory. Steve Riley, Senior Design Engineer, Trenton Systems


ackplane design has always been a key linchpin for optimizing performance and interoperability for previous generations of PCI Express. Effective backplane design is even more important with PCIe 3.0 where speeds have doubled and the backplane subsystem needs to perform a significantly more active role in signal propagation, equalization, link management and inter-device tuning. Military system integrators and component suppliers alike are dependent on the performance, robustness and standards adherence of the backplane as a critical make-or-break factor in overall system success. If the Gen3 backplane and other PCIe 3.0 cards do not adhere to disciplined design techniques, a system integrator could end up with a sub-optimal Gen3 system in which actual performance is only at the Gen2 or even Gen1 level. With all that in mind, it’s important to understand the challenges of creating robust PCIe 3.0 backplanes and the specific design methods that can optimize results.

PCIe 3.0 Overview

PCIe 3.0 (also known as Gen3) uses an 8 Giga Transfers per second (GT/s) bit rate, which doubles the PCIe 2.0 bit rate, while still preserving full compatibility 20

COTS Journal | January 2014

Raw bit rate

Interconnect bandwidth

Bandwidth per lane per direction

Total bandwidth for x16 link (bidirectional)

PCIe 1.x





PCIe 2.x





PCIe 3.0


8Gbits/s (approx.)



PCIe architecture

Figure 1

Evolution of PCI Express performance.

with existing software and mechanical interfaces. This version-to-version continuity and backward compatibility are key advantages of the PCI Express standard, which provides performance scaling and interoperability for a wide range of boardlevel functionality, along with low cost, low power and minimal changes at the system level. Gen3 also provides enhanced signaling and data integrity optimization features, including transmitter and receiver equalization, clock data recovery, PLL improvements and channel enhancements. By using a new 128b/130b encoding scheme, PCIe 3.0 reduces the data

overhead as compared with the previous 8b/10b encoding used in PCIe 2.0 and helps achieve the higher interconnect bandwidth.

More Data Transfer Efficiency

The PCIe 3.0 encoding scheme enables a doubling of the effective bandwidth without having to double the encoded bit rate. This provides a significantly higher level of data transfer efficiency and reduces overhead. PCIe 2.0 uses an 8b/10b encoding scheme that delivers an interconnect bandwidth of 4 Gbit/s per lane from encoding the raw bit rate of 5 GT/s. In comparison, PCIe 3.0 uses a scrambling

ARI-F-7353 EDesign


9:38 AM


methodology with a 128b/130b encoding scheme that delivers a useful bandwidth of nearly 8 Gbit/s per lane from a raw bit rate of 8 GT/s. This effectively provides a 98.5% efficiency as compared to 80% efficiency with the 8b/10b encoding. In addition to doubling the bandwidth, Gen3 includes a number of new protocol extensions and active equalization capabilities for host-intelligent device interactions and power management capabilities. The protocol extensions improve interconnect latency, power and platform efficiency, while paving the way for better access to platform resources compute- and I/O-intensive applications as they interact with the PCIe interconnect hierarchy.

Requirements and Driving Forces

As was the case with PCIe 2.0, the push for PCIe Express 3.0 usage has come from the graphics arena, where there is an insatiable demand for bandwidth. As graphical displays continue to increase in resolution, color depth and real-time motion, the need to move more data across the backplane is a critical element for meeting application performance requirements. In systems where inter-card data movement has been the limiting factor, moving from Gen2 to Gen3 bandwidth means the time required to display images at a given resolution can be cut in half, thereby doubling graphics performance. In addition, PCIe multi-cast capabilities can boost performance even more by enabling simultaneous channels between the CPU and multiple GPUs. PCIe 3.0 is playing a key role in enabling advanced audio, video, telemetry and signals intelligence analysis by providing high-bandwidth, multi-channel interconnect options that support better aggregation and scaling while minimizing power consumption. Real-time applications such as airborne telemetry and other mission-critical military systems utilizing the latest highspeed data acquisition I/O cards are also leveraging the higher bandwidth and performance capabilities of PCIe 3.0-based platforms. Looking ahead, with PCIe 4.0 (Gen4) already scheduled to provide another doubling of performance when the specification is available in 2014-2015, all

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of the lessons learned with Gen3 board design will provide a foundational baseline for the next leap forward in serial interconnect technology.

PCIe Gen3 Backplane Design Issues

Any backplane design must achieve four key goals. These include achieving target performance levels, maintaining signal integrity and interoperability, minimizing cost and optimizing manufacturability, and assuring lifecycle reliability and TCO targets. PCIe Gen3 interface performance increases require backplane designers to meet these objectives while dealing with an expanding set of board design challenges at 8 GT/s bit rates. The change to 128b/130b encoding means DC wander becomes a more significant issue that must be tightly controlled in the hardware rather than compensated for by the encoding scheme—as was the case with 8b/10b encoding. In the past, links could use “dumb” redrivers but now the Gen3 links need more end-to-end integrity and can’t simply be broken up with passive redrivers. Other major issues include placement of components and the length of the traces. The longer the signal has to travel and the more layers it has to pass through, the more prone it is to data loss and link

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(Continuous Time, Linear Equalizer), DFE (Decision-Feedback Equalization) and FIR (Finite Impulse Response) capabilities. These capabilities reduce jitter and clock fluctuations to guarantee the best operability along the entire trace. The ability to actively monitor and modify the signal channel is not possible with any of the passive methods. Figure 1 shows a PCIe 3.0 backplane using retimers.

Managing Jitter and Signal Loss

Figure 3

An example PCIe 3.0 system Integration.

failures. With previous generations it was best practice to keep traces below 16 inches to ensure optimum operability. PCIe Gen3 makes the trace length requirement even more challenging. It is important to remember that the Gen3 specification requires a pre-validation of the link before data transmission. If the automatic equalization training cannot establish a reliable link, it will not allow the transmission of data at 8 Gbit/s speeds, which significantly compromises the target performance goals.

Active vs. Passive Approaches

Passive design approaches, such as using high-speed materials and back-drilled via stubs, can improve the expected signal integrity, but it comes at a high manufacturing cost. Passive solutions cannot fully account for PCB material variance from batch to batch, vendor to vendor, or between assembly houses. A passive approach for PCIe 3.0 not only drives up the cost of PCB and the risks of performance loss, it also limits the implementation of key new features such as fine-tuning of links between devices. For Gen3, an active design using retimers is the optimal approach. Retimers improve signal quality over extended distances and simplify design by alleviating board layout constraints. Retimers can extend Gen3 traces beyond 30 inches at a relatively low cost. Retimers are intelligent devices that allow designers to fine tune the PCI Express signal with CTLC 22

COTS Journal | January 2014

The goal of optimizing loss/signal integrity is to achieve a consistently open signal transmission “eye.” Key challenges are impedance discontinuity, signal loss, crosstalk and jitter, all of which work to close the eye. This is especially a problem for backplanes because trace lengths are longer, resulting in loss and crosstalk, and connectors in the signal path add impedance discontinuities and jitter. To compensate for this, pre-emphasis is added to the original signal to amplify it at transitions, and de-amplify after them. The sum of these two signals provides a more open eye, as shown in Figure 2. Equalization is performed in the receiver and is similar to pre-emphasis, in that it amplifies the high frequency component of the signal. Retimers boost amplitude of the signal, while adding equalization to receivers and pre-emphasis to transmitters, thus assuring robust PCIe 3.0 links between all devices.

Interoperability and Performance

A main reason for the widespread use of PCIe technology is the assurance of robust interoperability between disparate devices across all levels of the specification. PCIe 3.0 continues that guarantee while once again doubling performance. In the real world, this means that system designers can configure their optimal combination of standard and custom Gen3 cards and SBCs, with the confidence of getting the full 8 Gbit/s performance between them. In the high-performance, mix-andmatch environment that is common to embedded computing and COTS products, suppliers of subsystems often have no control over how their products are configured in the higher level system. In

the case of many military applications, the suppliers may not even have access to information about how their products are being used. For example, an airborne surveillance and telemetry application might use a combination of PCI Express Gen1, Gen2 and Gen3 data acquisition and NICs in conjunction with the latest graphics and video cards in a system with a standard COTS PCI Gen3 backplane and single board computer. Figure 3 shows an example PCIe 3.0 system integration.

PCIe 3.0 Opportunities

The introduction of PCIe 3.0 has once again opened new performance opportunities for system integrators as well as for COTS subsystems and single board computer suppliers. However it has also raised the bar for designers. For Gen3, system integrators really have to know what they’re doing in the board design area—both PICMG 1.3 backplane and SBC design—to ensure that an end user can extract the full benefits of the technology in their industrial computer system implementation. Less than robust PCIe Gen3 backplane and/or SBC designs can cause customers to unwittingly implement systems with COTS plug-in Gen3 cards that may only be operating at Gen2 or even Gen1 operational parameters. If the Gen3 backplane and SBC links cannot reliably equalize at the 8 GT/s bit rate, they will automatically train down to the previous PCIe link speed and the Gen3 performance objectives will go unachieved. Therefore, using proper PCIe Gen3 PICMG 1.3 backplane and SBC design techniques can provide the makeor-break difference for achieving the full promise of PCIe Gen3. Trenton Systems Gainesville, GA. (770) 287-3100.


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SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Military Test and Instrumentation Advances

PXI Technology Solves Flightline Test Modernization Hurdles As aircraft avionics get upgraded, the test equipment must keep pace. COTS technologies like PXI combine ruggedness and cost-effectiveness to meet critical test needs. Major General Stephen T. Sargeant, USAF (Ret.), CEO Loofie Gutterman, President, Marvin Test Solutions


he A-10/C Thunderbolt II, also known as “Warthog,” is the premier attack aircraft used by the United States Air Force for close air support. In 2008, the A-10/A aircraft received upgraded digital avionics and precision weapons capabilities, and was given the new designation “A-10/C.” However, the A-10/C’s flightline tester—the Portable Automated Test Set-30 (PATS-30)—was not updated along with the aircraft, requiring flightline maintenance personnel to employ multiple test sets to maintain the latest A-10/C model. Faced with the PATS-30’s obsolescence, the A-10 Systems Program Office (SPO) needed a modern replacement, designated as the PATS-70 (Figure 1). Consequently, the A-10 SPO turned to the 309th Software Maintenance Group (SMXG) at Hill Air Force Base to develop a solution that would meet the aircraft’s requirements. The requirements of the SPO were to develop a test set that would provide enhanced flightline test capabilities and be able to test and troubleshoot the A-10/C avionics suite.

Designing New Test Capabilities

With the new modern avionics suite, the A-10/C needed test capabilities that were previously unavailable to maintain24

COTS Journal | January 2014

ers at the flightline. The A-10 SPO requirements called for more than the typical Go/ No Go test solution—the PATS-70 would need to provide advanced test functionality with troubleshooting capabilities. Test sets that provide troubleshooting are typically larger and are used at the intermediate or depot level of maintenance and sustainment. The challenge the 309th SMXG faced was to not only develop a highperformance test set with troubleshooting capabilities, but also to ensure the test set was able to operate in harsh environments and yet was small enough to be portable for use on the flightline. Additionally, the 309th SMXG wanted to base the PATS-70 design on COTS products in order to shorten the deployment cycle by reducing the development and production costs.

Choosing an Appropriate COTS Platform

Many military flightline test sets are designed from the ground up as unique “Mil-Spec” systems in order to meet the harsh environmental specifications. This approach delivers test sets that are ultrarugged and suitable for flightline use. However, this approach is also costly, has a very long development-to-deployment cycle, and by the time it is deployed, is often based on old technology.

Basing the design on ready-made technology is therefore very attractive to the developer, the customer and the enduser. However, COTS products also have their own challenges. Available platforms for small-footprint applications suitable for flightline use are very limited. Box instruments such as GPIB or LXI are too large and cannot be considered, which limits the selection to card-modular platforms such as PCI, PXI and VXI. While PCI is a highperformance platform, it cannot be effectively used in rugged environments. VXI can be enhanced and ruggedized to support flightline use. However, its large form factor is less suitable for flightline applications. For this reason, the 309th SMXG selected PXI as the PATS-70 platform. PXI (PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation) is an established platform that provides a rugged industrial solution with a small footprint and a wide variety of cost-effective product offerings. With additional product improvements, PXI can become an ultra-rugged platform similar to those provided by Mil-Spec designs while remaining compact in size.

Increasing the Platform’s Environmental Ruggedness

Most COTS products are rated for operation between 0° and 50°C and are


Figure 1

MTS collaborated with the United States Air Force (USAF) to create the modernized, portable flightline test sets for the A-10/C Thunderbolt II.

designed for use in a benign environment. The typical COTS products operate in controlled laboratory or industrial environments and are not subject to high humidity or extreme shock and vibration. Furthermore, typical COTS products are not required to meet strict electromagnetic interference (EMI) requirements that include both conducted and radiated interference specifications. PXI COTS products therefore need to be further ruggedized before they could be used in the flightline environment. The process of “ruggedization” is needed for both the chassis and instruments and includes the following: Temperature Ruggedization: Flightline use requires a wide operating and storage temperature range. Most flightline test applications require operating at temperatures as low as -30°C and as high as 60°C. With PXI standard operating temperature range being 0° to 50°C, the platform needs to provide an increased level of protection. Heaters and control circuitry incorporated into the chassis provide the necessary support for subzero operation and ensure that the COTS products are not exposed to temperatures below 0°C. The high-temperature requirement is more challenging as the internal temperature will typically be 10° to 15°C higher than ambient. In order to operate

the PXI cards at temperatures under 50°C, the chassis must incorporate an air conditioner or a heat exchanger—both solutions are large and heavy and not suitable for flightline operation. The solution for this challenge is a process called “uprating,” which includes the screening of the COTS products and in some cases replacing components to further improve thermal performance. Shock, Vibration and Environmental Ruggedization: To support the shock and vibration requirements, the chassis needs to incorporate shock absorbers. Additionally, Room Temperature Vulcanizing Silicone (RTVS) needs to be used for the potting of connectors and can also be used to secure some components on the COTS boards. RTVS is important for providing protection against shock and vibration, and it is also crucial for operation in highhumidity conditions. Conformal coating is also needed to protect the exposed COTS boards. The use of RTVS, combined with conformal coating of the COTS boards, provides the necessary protection against humidity, water and salt fog.

Technical Performance Requirements

The test requirements of the A-10/C include testing of avionics systems and subsystems such as the Anti-Skid, AlphaJanuary 2014 | COTS Journal



Figure 2

The USAF shortened development time by building the PATS-70 on the MTS207 Mil-Spec, commercial-off-the-shelf platform.

test points using a very high-density switch matrix with over 1000 cross points. Highpower switching is needed to switch power supplies and loads using a high-current, high-density switching card. Two maintainers are needed to operate the PATS-70: one maintainer sits in the cockpit running the test via the aircraft Multi-Function Displays (MFDs), and the other remains on the ground managing the PATS-70 and interconnecting cables. The PATS-70 had to provide the maintainer in the cockpit with a portable control device. The 309th SMXG evaluated portable touch screens, ruggedized laptops and ruggedized tablets before selecting the tablet that met their requirement. A removable solid state disk (SSD) was chosen as the removable storage media to support the classified storage requirements. The SSD contains all the PATS-70 software including the Windows 7 operating system and the test procedures. The 309th SMXG required special menu-driven forms to simplify operation and provide the user with easy-to-use prompts and built-in technical information.

Completing the Test Set

Figure 3

MTS assisted the 309th SMXG with the design of the final PATS-70, which included many custom subsystems and components, to quickly meet the flightline avionic maintenance requirements of the A-10/C. Mach, fuel-quantity and stability augmentation systems. Further, the PATS-70 is required to provide uploading of Operational Flight Program (OFP) to the various line-replaceable units (LRUs) and download data from the avionics subsystems. These requirements necessitate the use of highperformance instrumentation. This includes elements like a MIL-STD-1553 Interface to communicate with MIL-STD-1553 and MIL-STD-1760 systems and subsystems and to allow OFP uploading and data downloading. It also includes a switch matrix to connect the above instruments to multiple 26

COTS Journal | January 2014

To ensure program success in the shortest possible time, the 309th SMXG wanted to leverage existing products with a prior successful flightline record and called upon MTS for assistance. With domain expertise and specific experience in providing flightline test solutions for maintenance over the past two decades, MTS had developed rugged Mil-Spec, COTS platforms that could be used by military and aerospace organizations such as the 309th SMXG (Figure 2). The PATS-70 is based on a customized MTS207, an ultra-rugged, portable PXI-based field and flightline test set that is well-suited for maintenance of aircraft avionics, missile systems and armament. The 309th SMXG chose this technology as the only readily available, qualified, customizable Mil-Spec COTS test platform with the ruggedness, technical performance and small footprint that met the PATS-70 requirements while substantially reducing program risk. To further reduce qualification-related program risk, MTS assisted the Air Force with the ruggedization, testing and qualifying of all instrumentation that the 309th

SMXG selected for the PATS-70. MTS’s ability to customize solutions provided the Air Force with the assurance that the PATS70 would operate flawlessly during and after the qualification test. By using COTS products and relying on MTS’ domain expertise, the USAF’s 309th SMXG test professionals were able to streamline many aspects of the project that would otherwise have been more challenging.

Tablet Integration

The test system modifications included the development of a docking station for the tablet selected by the Air Force. While docked, the tablet connects to the PATS-70 via a “pogo pin” interface that includes power and Ethernet such that no additional cables are needed. When removed from the docking station, a 30-foot-long external cable connects the tablet to the PATS-70 panel, providing the same functions. The tablet, although initially ruggedized and designed for field operation, had standard peripheral connectors that were not suitable for flightline use. For this reason, 309th SMXG personnel modified the COTS tablet and replaced these connectors with a small circular military connector. The custom front panel, specialized connectors and the removable SSD were also added to the PATS-70 configuration to meet the SPO’s requirements (Figure 3). The PATS-70 test set allows the A10/C maintenance community to fully test the aircraft’s avionics with modern equipment, minimizing logistics and simplifying operations. The PATS-70 packs a high-performance flightline test set into a portable, ultra-rugged system. By using a Mil-Spec, COTS platform based on PXI instruments, the 309th SMXG was able to develop and qualify the system in record time while saving money compared to the initial budget estimates. With its modular architecture, the PATS-70 can easily be enhanced in the future to support additional USAF requirements includingA10/C armament and weapons. Marvin Test Solutions Irvine, CA. (949) 263-2222.

SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Military Test and Instrumentation Advances

Automated Test Solves Maintenance Issues for Military Vehicles Long life spans of vehicle-based electronics, combined with the inevitable obsolescence issues, are an ongoing problem in the military. Automated test technologies are easing the pain. Alan Lowne, CEO, Saelig


he military sector uses electronics on an extremely large scale, ranging from radars, navigation and control electronics on board ships to portable, telecommunication equipment for ground personnel. Due to the large defense budgets involved, the equipment used by the military around the world also requires a long life span. Keeping obsolete and disparate systems running reliably is a constant task for military planners. Ensuring the reliable and safe operation of a wide variety of military systems—wheeled and tracked equipment, tanks, ground and air transportation—often means that electronic assemblies and boards that malfunction or need routine testing are returned to their respective OEMs for evaluation. This creates expensive and inconvenient downtime for equipment out of service. In order to reduce operating costs, and improve response times and shorten repair cycles, operators often set up a local electronic repair workshop within their own field maintenance centers to test and find faults with the electronic assemblies and PCBs to avoid sending subsystems far out of the field of operations. This not only saves time and money, but also reduces the unavailability of vital transport stock and equipment. Reduced 28

COTS Journal | January 2014

Figure 1

Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs) can cost $500,000 or more, but it’s not so easy to have them refitted for civilian use. Many vehicles lack documentation—making it hard to fix the electronics in them.

in-service breakdowns and improved fleet capability ensure that transit and field systems run more smoothly.

Maintenance Difficulties

And with recent developments, U.S. military is handing over leftover equipment from the Iraq conflict to police under a military surplus program. American law enforcement agencies have received 165 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles

(MRAPs)—18-ton, armored vehicles with gun turrets—this year, according to an AP investigation. Military officials say police have filed requests for 731 more. Each military vehicle can cost $500,000 or more, but before they can be used by law enforcement agencies they have to be refitted for civilian use. Many vehicles lack documentation—making it hard to fix the electronics in them (Figure 1). Regular routine maintenance is a key aspect of the military transport industry in all countries as part of a strategy to keep aging infrastructure running without delays. This applies throughout the complete operation at all levels for permanent infrastructures, signaling, radar and communications. Whether testing, repairing, solving obsolescence issues or re-manufacturing obsolete devices, a complete maintenance system can help keep vital electronics working and bring increased asset availability, shorter repair times and the ability to support legacy and third-party equipment.

Incompatibilities and Obsolescence

In many cases, military transport infrastructures are made up of older, legacy equipment combined with latest-release products. The problem of incompatibility


for the maintenance and repair of PCBs. Choosing to use local maintenance tools not only speeds up the repair process but also broadens the range of equipment that can be fixed. Do-it-yourself testing gives confidence in ensuring safety (circuits can be extensively tested for full confidence, with improved reliability), extending product service through refurbishment, time-savings with fast turnaround times

for repairs by technicians who need little training, and saving capital expenditures through maintenance and life-extension of high value electronic circuits.

Moving to Automated Test

So the need for repair and maintenance can be found in all sectors and applies to almost any product containing at least one electronic PCB. In former times,

Figure 2

While some aircraft still use technology from the ’70s and ’80s, newer aircraft still have to follow a strict maintenance program of state-of-the-art electronics on board.

of test equipment for each technology is thus an additional difficulty. Maximizing fleet availability through extending Mean Distance Between Failure (MDBF) is a key parameter. Aging electronic parts are subject to increased failure rates and component obsolescence as well as increased stress in theater operation. Electronic circuits can be stressed beyond economic repair and require costly replacement. All sectors of transportation have similar problems. Aviation is one of the most critical arenas in which maintenance must leave no room for error, for obvious reasons. While some aircraft still use technology from the ’70s and ’80s, newer aircraft still have to follow a strict maintenance program of state-of-the-art electronics on board (Figure 2). The long development programs for new planes adds to this problem, as the technology specified at the design stages can become technically obsolete when reaching production. The military transport sector also uses electronics on an extremely large scale, ranging from radars, navigation and control electronics to portable, telecommunication equipment for ground personnel. Defense products require a long life span— some of the electronics in use are based on designs from as far back as the 1970s. In some cases, equipment that is deemed obsolete by one nation may be sold to another country for continued use. This situation creates a lack of information and support

The 100GB Revolution Is Taking Off The World’s Highest Performance AMC line cards - from VadaTech They are here! The 100GbE Processor AMC with Cavium 100GbE FMC Carrier FPGA – CN6880 and a high-end FPGA with Altera 5SGTC and 100GbE FPGA with Altera Stratix V usher in the next AMC534 echelon of performance. With 100G out the front ports •Altera™ Stratix V GT FPGA and 40GbE across the backplane, the market just hit a •Distributed processing for new dimension of speed, density, and options. Whether performance & reliability it’s the full ecosystem of MicroTCA-based products or a •Dual zQSFP+ ports to customized architecture, come to VadaTech–The Power front panel f of Vision. 100GbE Processor AMC – AMC738 •Cavium™ CN6880 multi-core •Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA •Dual CFP2 or zQSFP+ ports to front panel


Chassis Platforms

Application - ready Platforms

January 2014 | COTS Journal



as BGA, FPGA, CPLDs, or even complete boards with a JTAG connector. ATEs have given power and independence to military forces when it comes to electronic repair. Becoming equipped with automatic testing means that repair facilities don’t have to rely on outside contractors; they can reduce repair time and cost, and even refurbish and repair outdated and old electronics closer to their use.

ATE Solutions Figure 3

Schematic learning systems to generate missing schematics are employed in aviation repair by commercial airlines for all aspects of avionics, including communications, navigation, monitoring, flight-control and simulators, and management systems. numerous separate instruments, manually wired connections and paper test procedures operated by skilled technicians were adequate. These repairs were covered by trained-technician repair shops in dedicated off-site repair centers. Nowadays, with the emphasis on efficiency and reduced costs, universal automated test systems have replaced individual test instruments, but these can be extremely expensive and some of them come with a steep learning curve. Automatic test equipment (ATE) products perform automated or computerized test procedures on a device under test, including functional testing of ICs, analog and digital components, complete boards, etc., and they vary in complexity in order to provide repair capabilities with different levels of test capabilities for differing board complexities. Computerbased automated test procedures can run reliably and consistently with test results being captured automatically, with high accuracy, high test speeds and extreme flexibility. Typical ATEs include: In-Circuit Testers, performing device level tests on components mounted circuit boards; Functional Testers, used to test full functionality of boards and modules via edge connectors; Boundary Scan Testers for products that are JTAG-compliant such 30

COTS Journal | January 2014

Diagnosys is probably the largest player in this market with its PinPoint System. They manufacture and sell automatic test equipment and services for the test, fault finding and repair of electronic circuits to customers in defense, industrial and mass transit market sectors. Their website lists customers as diverse as Ingeniería Integrada (Columbia), Mitsubishi Electric (Florida), ADATS (Air Defence and Air Traffic Systems Delivery Team UK), Porterbrook Leasing (UK) and Naval Air Systems Command (USA). Diagnosys’ testers diagnose and repair circuit card assemblies from weapons replaceable assemblies, where failures typically occur in components for which test programs or schematics are generally not available. An up-and-coming challenger to Diagnosys’ products is the more affordable solutions provider UK-based ABI Electronics. ABI products are well known around the world, but are just becoming known in the USA. Their test equipment is used in naval bases around the world, as well as by BAE and NASA. The Naval Precision Electronics Complex (NPEC) of Karachi, for instance, uses 20 SYSTEM 8 BFL modules every day to ensure the maintenance of their fleet. Other SYSTEM 8 modules are widely used in the air force, including the British R.A.F. and the Egyptian Air Force, for the diagnostics of onboard electronics.

Schematic Creation

Interestingly, some sites are also using ABI’s RevEng (schematic learning) systems to generate missing schematics in order to support their repair processes on obsolete equipment. ABI products are employed in aviation repair by commercial airlines in the UK, Turkey, Indonesia, New

Zealand and the USA for all aspects of avionics, including communications, navigation, monitoring, flight-control and simulators, and management systems (Figure 3). Euro Disney—often a leader in systems efficiency—uses ABI’s modules in Paris for their ride and park transport maintenance needs. ABI’s System 8 is particularly easy to use since it can rapidly compare (and remember) known good boards with suspect ones to quickly find faults without needing supporting documentation. This is very handy for obsolete or irreplaceable equipment. When it comes to circuit boards, it is more cost-effective to repair than replace and transport, and defense systems around the world have begun to realize this trend and have started incorporating ATEs into their support and development infrastructure. Factors to consider when selecting a suitable product include cost, ease-of-use, training availability and expandability. Care must be taken to consider if the system can cope with obsolete and state-of-the-art electronics. Whether you are military planner, an engineer, or a servicing officer, there are test products to be found that will provide solutions to meet individual requirements to keep transportation electronics working and reduce system costs. While today’s ATE systems are modular and configurable to support multiple different test methods, they need to be easy to use and to become familiar with. The criteria for selecting suitable test systems for use in house should include: simplicity of operation, technical capability, product quality, reliability, flexibility, accurate fault identification and long-term support. The challenge is to find test equipment that is capable of testing legacy equipment as well as latest-release products, that is flexible to apply to a wide range of disparate products, that does not need extensive training, and that can provide comprehensive final reports—and is affordable too. Saelig Company Fairport, NY. (585) 385-1750.

Uninterruptible Power Supply

Sealed Rugged ►Power 1U: 1250W/1500VA ►Weather-proof, shock-proof construction Smaller ►True on-line double conversion ►1U high rack mount (17" x 21.6" x 1.73") Lighter ►Low weight — 32 pounds ►Dual input (AC and DC) More Powerful ►Battery run time >10 minutes @ full load ►Removable battery pack ►Full power operation: -20°C to +55°C

Made in the United States of America.


TECHNOLOGY FOCUS Ethernet Switch Boards

Ethernet Switch Boards Balance Cost and Performance Needs Perfectly suited to this era when low cost and high performance are in the forefront of military system needs, rugged Ethernet switches enable a dual solution as both a networking technology and an interconnect fabric in compute-intensive applications. Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief


riven by rapid advancement and lower costs, Ethernet has fast become the standard for connecting the IP-based components of autonomous vehicles, robots, and other military and harsh mobile applications. Ethernet switch boards are the linchpin needed to connect those systems. The large bandwidth and exceptional scalability of the 10 Gbit Ethernet network enables systems developers to seamlessly scale up with increasing channel count and bandwidth. Beyond just using 10 Gbit Ethernet for networking, the military has followed on to embrace it as a high-speed data transfer mechanism for demanding military sensor interfacing and processing. It offers a standards-based server solution that takes advantage of processing power gain and market pressures for driving down processing costs. A 10 Gbit Ethernet network simplifies system architecture and provides easy partitioning of data acquisition and data processing, by separating the sensitive analog mixed signal front end from the digital back end. Today Ethernet has taken its place as an interconnect fabric in compute-intensive military applications like sonar, radar or any application that networks sensor arrays together. Ethernet offers nearly 32

COTS Journal | January 2014

Figure 1

The TPU III subsystem on the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle provides highdensity computing power to support processing for the vehicle’s fire control system.

limitless synchronized scalability by simply adding fibers for additional 10 Gbit Ethernet links. Ethernet allows simplified acquisition devices to be placed near the antenna that pipes the data to processing platforms in a sheltered location. A 10 Gbit Ethernet system also handles realtime bandwidth in excess of GHz on a continuous and sustained basis. Ethernet switches in form factors such as VPX and CompactPCI PICMG 2.16 serve as communications backbones for

moving massive amounts of data around tightly coupled processing or I/O data concentrators, typically found in military, aerospace and spacecraft applications. Many operating at full wire speed, these non-blocking switches provide high-speed connectivity and traffic management for streaming video, audio and data In an example of Ethernet switch technology used in the military, this past summer Curtiss-Wright Controls announced that it had received a contract from BAE Systems to design and develop a rugged embedded processor subsystem for use as the next-generation Central Processing Unit (CPU) on the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (Figure 1). This contract results from the Engineering Change Proposal 2 (ECP 2) program for the Bradley, which BAE Systems was awarded in September 2012. Under the contract, the Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions group is supplying its Turret Processor Unit III (TPU III) subsystem, comprising its Fire Control Processor III (FCP III) single board computer and COTS PMC651 Ethernet Switch, as the baseline solution for the CPU.

2-In-1 System

Configuration Maximizes Computing Security

Trenton TRC4013

Trenton’s TRC4013 two-in-one rackmount computer saves component rack space while maximizing application flexibility. Independent computers satisfy differing application security levels in one rugged, built-to-last chassis.

TRC4013 two-in-one system configured with long-life configuration options and featuring the following system capabilities: PCIe, PCI-X I/O Cards Independent Software HDD/SDD Support

A Single 4U Rugged Chassis Removable Power Supplies Up to 4TB of Data Storage

Our system engineering experts are available to discuss your unique military computing application requirements. Contact us to learn more at 770.287.3100 / 800.875.6031 or

The Global Leader In Customer Driven Computing Solutions™ 770.287.3100


TECHNOLOGY FOCUS: Ethernet Switch Boards Roundup 10 Gbit Ethernet XMC Targets RealTime Needs

CompactPCI Ethernet Switch Is Suited for Harsh Environments

Acromag’s XMC-6260-CC pairs a highperformance Chelsio T4 purpose-built multiprotocol processor with two channels of 10GbE connectivity. This combination maintains maximum 10GbE performance to meet the needs of data-intensive real-time applications. A PCI Express v2.0 x8 host interface provides a high-speed connection to the system processor. With support for 5 Gbit/s data rates, the PCIe interface delivers up to 32 Gbit/s of bandwidth to the server. This connection accommodates

Aitech Defense Systems offers the rugged C660, part of a series of high-performance, single-slot Gigabit Ethernet switches. The new 6U CompactPCI PICMG 2.16-compatible switch serves as a robust communications backbone for moving massive amounts of data around tightly coupled processing or I/O data concentrators, typically found in military, aerospace and spacecraft applications. This new full wire speed, non-blocking switch provides highspeed connectivity and traffic management for

stateless offloads, packet filtering (firewall offload) and traffic shaping (media streaming). The XMC-6260-CC’s TOE ASIC has hundreds of programmable registers for protocol configuration and offload control. As a result, the XMC-6260-CC can offload TCP processing per connection, per server, per interface. It can also globally and simultaneously tunnel traffic from non-offloaded connections to the host processor for the native TCP/IP stack to process. Additionally, the XMC-6260-CC provides a flexible zero-copy capability for regular TCP connections, requiring no changes to the sender, to deliver line rate performance with minimal CPU usage. The XMC-6260-CC integrates a highperformance packet switch, which allows switching of traffic from any of the input ports to any of the output ports (wire-to-wire), and from any of the output ports to any of the input ports (host-to-host). Acromag’s XMC-6260CC provides guaranteed interoperability and compatibility with the full Ethernet standard.

streaming video, audio and data. The C660 uses Marvell’s BobCat Gigabit Ethernet (BobCat-GE) switch controller and Marvell MTS management suite to perform Layer 2 and 3 routing and switching for 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports and up to four 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports. All switches will be available in vibrationand shock-resistant versions, compliant to commercial, rugged and military specifications with a maximum operating temperature range of -55° to +85°C. The mechanical and electrical design of these switches guarantees reliable operation over the full range of military and rugged application environments. The switches are available in industry-standard 0.8” pitch for the VME and CompactPCI versions. The VPX version comes in 0.8-, 0.85- and 1.0-inch pitch conduction-cooled or 1.0-inch pitch air-cooled form factors as well as in the VITA 48 (VPX REDI) format with ESD covers to support two level maintenance LRM requirements for the 0.85” pitch version.

Acromag Wixom, MI (248) 295-0310

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

Conduction-Cooled PMC Ethernet Switch Card Targets Avionics Applications

A new 10-port managed/ unmanaged Ethernet switch PMC for embedded use in the aerospace and defense industries features advanced management functions, health monitoring, onboard magnetics and an integrated Ethernet controller (NIC). The MPRES-1 from Ballard Technology includes two Gbit ports and eight 10/100 Mbit/s ports. One Gbit port routes directly to the integrated Ethernet controller and provides the host computer

with a direct connection to the switch for easy system expansion. The second Gbit port can act either as a straight 1 Gbyte path for the host single board computer, as a high-speed uplink to other switches, or as a standard 10/100/1000 Mbit/s port. The CCPMC form factor allows easy integration with modern embedded computers, including VME, VME-64, cPCI and VPX systems. The MPR-ES-1 combines an advanced Marvell switch controller with onboard magnetics for high performance and reliable operation. It provides IEEE 802.1X MAC-based authentication and support for up to 8K MAC address entries with automatic learning and aging. Management functions include VLAN, QoS and ingress/egress limiting. In addition, the switch includes health monitoring and diagnostic features such as Built-in Test (BIT), temperature monitoring, port mirroring and Virtual Cable Tester. Low power consumption and high MTBF ratings make the MPR-ES-1 an ideal choice for rugged, high-availability systems. The MPR-ES-1 is suitable for both conduction- and convection (air)-cooled systems.

Ballard Technology Everett, WA (800) 829-1553

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COTS Journal | January 2014


Switch Brings 40 Gbit/s Ethernet / InfiniBand Switching to OpenVPX

PC/104-Plus Card Integrates Four 10/100 Ethernet Ports

Secure 3U VPX Switches and Routers Deliver up to 10 Gbit Ethernet

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions has introduced the newest member of its recently announced industry-leading Fabric40 family of extremely high-speed 40 Gbit/s OpenVPX modules. The new VPX6-6802 Fabric40 Switch is the first rugged, high-performance 6U OpenVPX (VITA 65) switch card to provide support for 10/20/40 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) and SDR/ DDR/QDR/FDR-10 InfiniBand (IB) connectivity to OpenVPX systems. Systems built using the VPX6-6802 and complementary Curtiss-Wright

Diamond Systems offers the Mercator II PC/104-Plus module that integrates four PCI-based 10/100 Ethernet ports with 24 userconfigurable digital I/O lines in the compact and rugged PC/104 format. This 2-in-1 combination of Ethernet and digital I/O can help lower the size and cost of your embedded system by eliminating one additional board from your PC/104 stack. The Ethernet ports are driven by two dual Micrel KSZ8842 Mac + Phy PCI controller chips,

Two new 3U VPX switches are secure, non-blocking, high-performance, Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet networking solutions that provide versatile management and routing options. The XChange3013 and XChange3018 from Extreme Engineering Solutions have features ranging from managed or unmanaged Layer 2 switching to fully featured IP routers with Cisco IOS and Cisco Mobile Ready Net technology. The XChange3018 is a VPX Ethernet switch

Fabric40 system elements will deliver over 2x the performance of previous generation SRIO Gen-2-based systems and 4x the performance of 10 GbE-based systems. The unprecedented high bandwidth interconnect data rates supported by the VPX6-6802 are ideal for the computeintensive processing elements used in HPEC and ISR embedded systems for demanding defense and aerospace applications such as SIGINT, Radar processing and beamforming. The fully rugged VPX6-6802 is available in air-, conduction- and air flow-through (AFT)cooled configurations. Designed for use with today’s highest speed switched fabrics, the board provides a combined Data Plane and Control Plane high-performance switch for 6U VPX systems. The board’s full bandwidth, low-latency interconnects eliminate board-to-board data bottlenecks. The VPX6-6802’s Data Plane fabric supports both GbE and IB protocols at multiple port speeds, including 10G, 20G and 40 Gbit/s. It supports up to 20 Data Plane fabric ports on the backplane, with an additional 10/20/40 Gbit/s fabric Ethernet or IB port, and a 1000Base-T Ethernet port available on the front panel (aircooled configuration only).

two ports per chip, and are NE2000 compatible. Each chip has a unique MAC address, therefore only two Ethernet ports are visible to the end user for active communication. The other two ports work in switch fashion to enable daisy chaining of networks with one port on the chip as an uplink to a network while the other port provides active communication on the network. The 24 digital I/O lines are based on an 82C55 chip and feature programmable direction in 4and 8-bit groups. Extended temperature capability (-40° to +85°C) enables the board to operate in environments with extreme temperature swings, such as vehicles or outdoor installations. In addition, the board may be custom-configured with 0-ohm resistors in place of jumper blocks for increased ruggedness in high-vibration environments. Diamond Systems offers appropriate mating cables for your convenience. Cable number C-PRZ-02 provides a panelmountable RJ-45 connector for the Ethernet, and cable number C-26-18 is a 26-conductor ribbon cable for the digital I/O.

that supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet using the 10GBASE-T protocol, eliminating the need for 10 Gigabit optical transceivers, which are large, expensive and not ideal for use in extremely low temperatures or rugged environments. The XChange3013 and XChange3018 both deliver full wire speed across all of their ports and jumbo packets up to 13 Kbytes. They also support IPv6, Quality of Service (QoS), Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE), and a comprehensive set of IETF RFCs and IEEE protocols. The XChange3013 and XChange3018 include an XMC site that is compatible with the XPedite5205, which implements Cisco IOS IP Routing capabilities and provides a complete Embedded Services Router (ESR) solution. The XChange3013 (shown) supports up to twenty Gigabit Ethernet ports, including fourteen 10/100/1000BASE-T ports and six 1000BASE-X SerDes ports. The XChange3018 supports up to four 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, which are configurable as either 10GBASE-T or XAUI, as well as twelve Gigabit Ethernet ports divided into six 10/100/1000BASE-T ports and six 1000BASE-X SerDes ports.

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions

(650) 810-2500

Ashburn, VA

(703) 779-7800

Diamond Systems Mountain View, CA

Extreme Engineering Solutions Middleton, WI (608) 833-1155 FIND the products featured in this section and more at

January 2014 | COTS Journal



Multi-Fabric Switch Enables Complex, Scalable Systems

10/40 Gigabit OpenVPX Ethernet Switch Enhances Data Throughput

3U CompactPCI Serial Cards Provide 16 Gbit Ethernet Ports

GE Intelligent Platforms provides the PEX431 multi-fabric switch and PMC/XMC carrier card. Designed to enable the development of complex, scalable, high-performance 3U VPX systems in today’s increasingly connected military/ aerospace world, it is characterized by significant flexibility. The PEX431 complements GE’s recent announcement of the SBC326 3U VPX single board computer based on the fourth generation Intel Core i7 (“Haswell”) processor. For customers who need a multi-fabric network

A new 10/40 Gigabit Ethernet switch is designed to significantly enhance and standardize data throughput in network-centric OpenVPX applications. The main features of the fully managed Layer 2/Layer 3 Switch Kontron VX3920 are its 24 high-throughput 10 Gbit/s ports to the data plane. These can be scaled through channel bundling up to as high as 40 Gbit/s bandwidth. By using this new rugged switch for inter- and intra-system communication, OEMs can achieve a significant

MEN Micro offer two 3U CompactPCI Serialbased Gigabit Ethernet switches for high data processing and versatile I/O implementations. Each switch provides up to 16 Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back or three ports on the front panel and 13 on the rear. Both the managed G302 and the unmanaged G303 switches support full or half duplex operation, fast non-blocking store-and-forward switching and auto-negotiation as well as Layer 2 switching. Compliant to EN 50155 for railway operation,

switching capability that includes PCI Express Gen 2.0/Gen 3.0 and up to nine ports total of 1000BaseBX and 1000BaseT Gigabit Ethernet, the PEX431 supports three OpenVPX payload profiles. The PEX431 can also make a significant contribution to reducing SWaP (size, weight and power). It provides both control plane and data plane switching on a single board, and by providing the ability to be a carrier card for an XMC mezzanine card, it potentially reduces the number of slots required to implement a given system—or allows more functionality to be configured in the same number of slots. Many of today’s high-performance embedded computing (HPEC) systems deploy multiple processors and multiple I/O modules within a single chassis. A single PEX431 enables six processors to be interconnected: for even higher performance systems with more than six processors, multiple PEX431s can be daisychained. The PEX431 is also supported by GE’s innovative software capability that allows VPX PCI Express peer-to-peer connectivity. Without this, customers are required to “handcraft” a solution, with consequent impact on program cost and time-to-market.

performance boost for their applications. Also, other highly individual data buses can now be replaced. Application areas include high-performance embedded computing (HPEC) systems for radar, sonar and image processing, “vetronics” systems (vehicle electronics) as well as rapidly deployable networks for flexible communication in the field. With up to 60 Gbit/s data throughput provided by one rear I/O module with 40 Gbit/s Ethernet QSFP+ and two 10 Gbit/s SFP+, it also enables a powerful networking for complex system clusters, which are found on larger military intelligence and surveillance applications such as naval vessels. The non-blocking L2/L3 Gigabit Switch VX3920 offers 24 x 10 Gbit/s ports to the backplane. These can also be bundled in groups of four on data leads with 40 Gbit/s. For system interconnection, 2x SFP+ cages for 10 Gigabit Ethernet are offered on the front. Kontron VX3920 switch is available as an air-cooled version for environmental temperatures of 0° up to +55°C and as a rugged condition-cooled (RC) version for the extended temperature range (-40° up to +85°C).

GE Intelligent Platforms

Kontron America

the new switches are ideal for use in rugged applications. Operating temperature is -40° to +85°C with shock and vibration tested in accordance with EN 61373. The built-in test mechanism increases the switches’ reliability in communication-based operations. The switches’ CompactPCI Serial architecture provides flexible integration into any rugged system. In a peripheral slot, the G302 and G303 can take over typical tasks for connecting external devices without any software overhead. When used in the system slot, these full-mesh switches foster powerful multi-computer architectures, where CPU cards are plugged into the peripheral slots. The fault-tolerant G302 has the ability to restore itself. If a link is temporarily unavailable, frames can be sent via backup or redundant links, eliminating data loss. The G303 can function similar to a managed switch with fixed settings via an application-specific configuration EEPROM. This allows the switch to offer features atypical of an unmanaged switch, including 802.1p priority and port-based priority, portbased VLAN or IEEE 802.1q VLAN IDs. Pricing for the G302 starts at $810; pricing for the G303 starts at $538.

Charlottesville, VA

Poway, CA

(800) 368-2738

(858) 677-0877

FIND the products featured in this section and more at


COTS Journal | January 2014

MEN Micro Ambler, PA (215) 542-9575


3U cPCI, Gbit Ethernet Switch Provides 12 Ports

PC/104 Rugged 5-Port Ethernet Switch Rides PCI/104-Express

Military-Grade 8-Port Gbit Ethernet Switch Is Credit Card Size

The 75D4-H2 is a 3U cPCI Layer 2+ Gbit Ethernet Switch from North Atlantic Industries, built upon the company’s multifunction, cPCI board technology. The 75D4 motherboard contains a high-density I/O module slot that supports an H2 switch function. The 75D4 with H2 consumes approximately 9.5W of total power at 5V to operate at full 1000Base-T speeds. In addition, the 75D4 motherboard can integrate four channels of RS-232/423/422/485 serial communications. This adds an additional 1.5W

RTD offers rugged PC/104 Ethernet switches in a variety of configurations. The LAN25255 is a five-port 10/100/1000 Ethernet switch with a PCI/104-Express stackable bus structure. Four Ethernet ports are available on-board, and one port is available to the host CPU through a x1 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller. This design allows the CPU to use the switch without the need for external cables. The LAN25255 can also be used as a standalone 4-port Ethernet switch.

Building upon its recent delivery of miniaturized, ruggedized, military-grade Ethernet switches, WLANmall has announced the availability of the Techaya MILTECH 918 ultra-compact 10/100/1000 managed Gigabit Ethernet switch. With dimensions of 3.94” x 3.5” x 1.4”, the MILTECH 918 is slightly larger than a credit card and weighs only 0.86 lbs. The small form factor, advanced networking features and MIL-STD-1275 and 704 compliance make it ideal for UAV or tactical communications systems that

of 5V power. Serial data is available on the cPCI bus or can optionally be available over Ethernet via the use of one of the switch ports. The card supports IEEE 802.3Ab (100BASE-T Gig-E), IEEE 802.3u (100BASE-TX Fast Ethernet), IEEE 802.3 (10BASE-T Ethernet) and IEEE 802.3x (Flow control/full and half duplex). The 75D4 can also be configured to support a complement of NAI’s high-density I/O functions found here. Furthermore, 3U cPCI processing is supported using the 75DP3 with multiple processor options, or expanded I/O is supported using the 75C3 multifunction I/O board in a system to provide a complete low-power/highperformance, programmable cPCI solution for sensor control/interfacing and communications. For 6U VME Switch options, please see the 64DP3.

This Ethernet switch is available in a stackable, milled aluminum enclosure. Customers can choose from standard RJ-45 jacks with external LEDs, or screw-down 9-pin D-sub connectors. With a -40 to +85°C standard operating temperature, the LAN25255 stands ready for rugged deployment in the harshest environments. This module uses a BroadCom BCM53115 Gigabit Ethernet switch with unmanaged operation, and an Intel WG82574IT PCI Express Ethernet controller for interface to a host CPU.

need wire-speed forwarding rates for applications such as video and sensor data acquisition and transmission. Driven by rapid advancement and lower costs, Ethernet is becoming the standard for connecting the IP-based components of the autonomous vehicles, robots and other military and harsh mobile applications. These rugged components need to be connected with equally reliable, purpose-built Ethernet switches. The growing sophistication of the components demands equally sophisticated switch features. Using less than 8W of power at 24 VDC, the MILTECH 918 supports advanced networking features. The MILTECH 918 features mechanical packaging enhancements designed for MILSTD-810F/G/GM for airborne and ground environmental and EMI compliance (MIL-STD461E) with high reliability. The unit has been especially hardened to improve ingress, impact and shock/vibration protection. All moving parts have been eliminated and the unit uses passive cooling and sealed MIL-SCE circular connector interfaces. These devices are ideally suited for C4ISR and battlefield communications operations in harsh ground, aerial and marine environments.

North Atlantic Industries Bohemia, NY (631) 567-1100

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

WLANmall El Segundo, CA (310) 416-1200 FIND the products featured in this section and more at

January 2014 | COTS Journal


COTS FIND the products featured in this section and more at


3U VPX GPGPU Board Aims at C4ISR

Aitech Defense Systems released a 3U VPX GPGPU that combines exceptional processing and high data throughput capabilities with a rugged design ideal for C4ISR and advanced sensor processing. Aitech’s new C530 carries the latest industry-standard MXM modules with the ability to easily upgrade to newer modules as they become available. These state-of-the-art MXM modules enable one module to be leveraged across multiple platforms, providing expanded graphics and teraflop processing options for each system. The C530 GPGPU board is currently offered with one of two state-of-the-art MXM modules. The first option is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX at 600 MHz with 4 Gbytes of GDDR5 memory at 1800 MHz. The other is an AMD Radeon HD 7970M at 850 MHz with 2 Gbytes of GDDR5 memory at 1200 MHz. The multiple format video output channels included as standard on the new C530 enable the board to be used in a variety of rugged signal processing and high resolution graphics requirements. The C530 connects to any Intel-based VPX SBC via a high-speed PCIe Gen 2.0 link using up to 16 lanes over the VPX backplane. This makes for easy integration into VPX-based systems, while meeting the high-performance requirements of graphics-based applications. The new C530 GPGPU meets the critical task of effectively processing sensor data and situational awareness information in defense and aerospace applications. The new C530 GPGPU comes in commercial and rugged air-cooled as well as conduction-cooled configurations for severe and harsh environments per VITA 46. Conduction-cooled versions are compliant with VPX-REDI (VITA 48.2).

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

Compact 50 Watt DC/DC Converter Boasts 4:1 Input

ConTech has announced the “TMX” Series of DC/DC converters. The TMX Series offers up to 50 watts of fully regulated output power with an industry standard 2 x 1-inch footprint. The series offers a 4:1 input range with nominal input voltages of 24 VDC and 48 VDC. Single outputs

offered are 3.3, 5, 12, 15 and 24 VDC. The TMX Series operates with efficiencies as high as 92 percent. Features include Remote On/Off, Output Trim and Short Circuit Protection. The operating ambient temperature range of the TMX is -40° to +105°C case temperature. The unit is encapsulated with a thermally conductive potting compound in a six-sided metal case for improved thermal performance in still air environments.

ConTech, Concord, CA. (925) 609-1193.

Mini-ITX Motherboard Sports Gen Intel Core Processor

WIN Enterprises has announced the MB-73340, a mini-ITX motherboard with a 4th generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 processor and mobile Intel H81 Express chipset. The 4th Generation Intel Core processors provide up to a 15 percent better performance than the previous generation. The board features a 4th generation Intel Core LGA 1150 Socket, Intel H81 Express chipset, an H3 QC/ DC processor and two banks of DDR3 1600 MHz / SODIMM DRAM up to 16 Gbytes. Excellent 3D graphics capability is supported by 1 x external HDMI/ VGA/DVI-D/24-bit Dual Channel LVDS. An optional PCIe riser card enables OEMs to add features. Among these are 1 x PCI Express X16 slot, 1 x PCI Express X1 slot and 1 x full-size Mini-PCIe with PCIe X1. Robust storage space is provided by two SATA 6 Gbit/s drives and two SATA 3 Gbits/s drives.

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

Rugged SAS RAID Arrays Enable Fibre Channel/ iSCSI Convergence

Phoenix International Systems has introduced its latest RAID controller technology for its RPC24 4004 Series Drive Magazine-based, rugged storage solution. The RPC 4004 Series is available in a variety of configurations for 2.5-inch SSDs and 2.5-inch HDDs. Each RPC24 converged interface storage array includes two four-port controllers and can be easily configured in the field with eight 16 Gbit Fibre Channel ports, eight 10 Gbit iSCSI ports, or a combination of four 16 Gbit Fibre Channel and four 10 Gbit iSCSI ports. These storage arrays are fully backward-compatible with 8 Gbit / 4 Gbit Fibre Channel and 1 Gbit iSCSI networking solutions such as switches and host bus adapters. The RPC24 4004 12 Gbit SAS models are fully backward-compatible with 6 Gbit SAS investments. Featuring a capacity of twenty-four drives, the lightning fast RPC24 4004 series includes two easily removable magazines containing up to 12 solid state disk or hard disk drives, each housed in a rugged 2U (3.5-inch) panel height, 19.5-inch deep enclosure. Incorporating aluminum and steel in its rugged construction, it series weighs only 51 lbs with a full complement of 24 SSDs, is less than 20 inches deep and is certified to military specifications MIL-STD810G and MIL-STD-461E.

Phoenix International Systems, Orange, CA. (714) 283-4800. 38

COTS Journal | January 2014

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

VITA 67 RF Tuner System Integrates Core i7 Processor SBC

Extreme Engineering Solutions offers the XPand1202, a fully integrated OpenVPX-based (VITA 65) SDR development system featuring VITA 67 RF connections. The system integrates one XPedite7470 3U OpenVPX Intel Core i7-based SBC, up to four DRS SI-9138 3U VPX VITA 67.1 dual-channel RF receivers and one DRS SI-7138 3U VPX VITA 67.2 RF frequency reference module. This completely standards-based system also includes OpenVPX Ethernet and PCI Express (PCIe) switches, as well as an OpenVPX backplane with 3U VPX VITA 62-compatible power supply slots. The VITA 67 RF connectors enable the SI-9138 and SI-7138 to access sensitive analog signals directly through the backplane. This simplifies module installation by removing the need to manually connect cables between payload modules after they are inserted. It also reduces system SWaP by eliminating the extra space needed for routing these cables between the front panels of the installed modules. The installed modules communicate with each other over an OpenVPX backplane using both PCIe and Gigabit Ethernet. PCIe is utilized for sending high bandwidth data between the SI-9138 RF receiver modules and the VITA 48 REDI XPedite7470 SBC, and it is routed through the OpenVPX XChange3012 PCIe switch. Gigabit Ethernet is used for sending command and control messages between the payload modules and is routed in the backplane as a dual-star configuration from each payload module through two separate 3U VPX Ethernet switches.

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

Tactical Data Comm Adapter Offers Quick Disconnect Radio Cable

Sealevel’s ACC-188 USB synchronous tactical data communications adapter has been enhanced to include a new quick disconnect radio cable that allows the adapter to be easily configured for the user’s target radio. ACC-188 adapters purchased today will be compatible with future radios simply by adding the appropriate radio cable. When combined with free PDA-184 software from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), the ACC-188 provides an interoperable, high-speed data communications solution for tactical radios to send and receive IP data including email, text messages and images. The ACC-188 is compatible with any tactical radio that has a synchronous communication port using MIL-STD-188-184.

Sealevel Systems, Liberty, SC. (864) 843-4343.

Low Power COM Express Module Provides Advanced Graphics

MSC Embedded has announced its new COM Express Type 6 MSC C6CGX module family based on the AMD Embedded G-Series SOC (system-on-chip) platform. The MSC C6C-GX module family will be available with four different quad-core and dualcore processors. The processors support AMD64 64-bit ISA technology. The chipset is integrated into the SOC. Furthermore, the SOC contains the on-chip Radeon HD 8000 Series GPU including a hardware video decoder (H.264, MPEG4, VC-1, WMV) and the VCE 2.0 video compression engine (H.264, SVC). The innovative graphics controller supports DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 1.2.

Flash Storage Array Appliance Serves up 8 Million IOPS

One Stop Systems has rolled out its Fusion-Powered Flash Storage Array (FSA) product line to customers demanding extreme storage performance in a small footprint. Fusion ioScale flash memory products, coupled with four 128 Gbit/s OSS PCIe 3.0 server links in the FSA, provides the extreme performance demanded by today’s mission-critical applications. Uniting these innovations creates a 100 Terabyte network attached flash array that can reach 40 Gbyte/s throughput and over 8 million IOPS. At an overall height of 3U and 24” deep, the 19” rackmount FSA packs up to 32 Fusion ioScale products into four individually removable sleds. The sleds and enclosure are made of lightweight, rugged alloys with ample redundant power and filtered air-cooling optimized to the installation environment. The local IPMI module optimizes the enclosure parameters to the environment while also allowing the power user to set features through SNMP or the built-in user interface based on the overall policy of the installation. The small footprint, removable sleds and light weight allow easy one-person installation in data centers, airborne ISR platforms, mobile shelters and portable transit cases. The 3U x 18 x 3.4-inch memory sleds fit easily into an available roll-aboard-style locking transportation case or standard data safe.

One Stop Systems, Escondido, CA. (877) 438-2724.

MSC Embedded, San Bruno, CA. (650) 616-4068. January 2014 | COTS Journal


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

6U OpenVPX Backplane Supports 40 Gbit/s Ethernet and InfiniBand

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions has announced the industry’s first 40 Gbit/s Gen3 OpenVPX backplane. The new Hybricon Gen3 OpenVPX 6U 6-slot Backplane, the latest member of Curtiss-Wright’s Fabric40 family, is designed for the end-to-end transmission of the high-speed data required for the most demanding ground and airborne C4ISR and EW deployed applications. This Gen3 OpenVPX backplane supports full-speed, bottleneck-free distribution of data over 40 Gbit/s Ethernet or InfiniBand fabrics. The Fabric40 Gen3 OpenVPX backplane is designed for use in both development and rugged deployed applications. In air-cooled or conduction-cooled development chassis, the new backplane speeds and eases the integration of compute-intensive radar, signal and image processing for ground or airborne platforms. Curtiss-Wright can also design application-specific configurations to meet a customer’s individual requirements. Designed to stringent Curtiss-Wright Gen3 Signal Integrity (SI) design rules, Hybricon Fabric40 backplanes exceed VITA 68 VPX compliance channel draft standard guidelines. Curtiss-Wright’s innovative Fabric40 initiative ensures that all aspects of 40 Gbit/s data fabric technology are optimally configured to work together, which greatly enhances interoperability and reduces customer integration risks and development time. Curtiss-Wright is developing all of the subsystem elements required by system designers to integrate complete, end-to-end 40 Gbit/s embedded systems.

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

Rugged Box-Level Brick System Offers I/O Flexibility

Kontron has announced the availability of its nextgeneration highperformance embedded computer COBALT (Computer Brick Alternative) system. Meeting severe environment operational demands in many industries, Kontron designed the IP67 chassis to operate reliably in a multitude of conditions including extreme temperatures, shock, vibration and EMI. Powering the Kontron COBALT base system is a 3rd generation Intel dual-core-based COM Express Type 6 module that features ECC, rapid shutdown design and 100 percent extended temp screening with the option of removable or fixed SSDs and/ or fixed mSATA storage. The Kontron COBALT is a fanless, fully enclosed system that provides efficient thermal management in a small 5.5 x 8.5 x 3.5-inch (139.7 x 215.89 x 88.89 mm) form factor weighing less than 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg).

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

PXI-Based Real-Time Measurement System Tackles RF and More

RADX Technologies in collaboration with National Instruments has introduced the RADX LibertyGT Model 1200B (“1200B”) COTS Benchtop SDSI. Designed to address high-performance, high-throughput wireless communications, RF and microwave test and measurement applications, the 1200B is a turnkey, multifunction, COTS, benchtop Software Defined Synthetic Instrument (SDSI) that is uniquely modular, programmable, upgradable, reconfigurable and cost-effective. The 1200B’s modular architecture combines an extensive library of RADX COTS Realtime Measurement Science Software and Firmware modules with a powerful collection of advanced, COTS NI PXI modules and LabVIEW system design software—all housed in an integrated, field-service-optimized benchtop enclosure equipped with a comprehensive RF Interface Unit (RFIU) and High-Definition (HD) touchscreen display.

RADX Technology, Palo Alto, CA. (765) 481-1430.

Modular Mission Computer Marries Custom I/O and Multicore Processing

Elma Electronic offers the compact F-Series PCIe/104 Platform, a fanless, rugged mission computing platform that combines an innovative, highly configurable structure with Intel’s 4th generation Quad or Dual Core processor. Using custom I/O panels, expandable sidewall modules and a host of application-specific PCIe/104 I/O expansion cards, the F-Series Platform can be easily modified to take on additional I/O including video compression and frame grabbers, ARINC and 1553 cards, Ethernet and Ethernet switching plus FPGA and GPGPU processing. The new F-Series Platform takes full advantage of Intel’s cutting-edge processor and all its capabilities, including the 8-series QM87 PCH chipset, making the system useful where multicore processor performance is needed in space-constrained, rugged or extended temperature environments. By combining a suite of high-speed I/O with a high-performance HD4600 graphics engine, the F-Series enables unparalleled performance for countless applications. The rugged system platform incorporates a thermally conductive base as well as ribbed sidewalls and fins to provide convection and conduction cooling for superior thermal management. The mission computer, which can withstand external temperatures of -40° to +70°C, is designed to meet MIL-STD-810F, ensuring reliable performance in high shock and vibration applications. Pricing for the F-Series PCIe/104 Platform starts at $4,500, configuration-dependent.

Elma Electronic Systems, Fremont, CA. (510) 656-3400. 40

COTS Journal | January 2014

Ultra Low Power and High Performance? Now That’s a Switch.

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Introducing the 75D4-H2... the only low-power, high performance 3U,cPCI 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet Switch. • • • • • • • • •

12-port Layer 2+ Gigabit Ethernet Switch 11W total power at 5V Features Broadcom® 53312S Non-blocking Gig-E fully integrated switch fabric w/4Mb packet buffer memory Integrated MACs (IEEE 802.x compliant) with support for 9600-byte jumbo frames IPv4 and IPv6 traffic class support Port segregation/partition options available Four integrated RS232/422/423/485 serial ports (optional) Also available in 6U VME The Single Source for Intelligent COTS Solutions Visit or call us at 631-567-1100 today.

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

Removable Memory Cartridge Houses 2.5-Inch SATA Drives

A family of rugged housing units eases the deployment of removable industrystandard high-density SATA solid state drives (SSDs) into embedded systems for defense and aerospace applications. Each Vortex Removable Memory Cartridge (RMC) holds a single industry-standard 2.5” SATA drive and features a non-proprietary, long lifecycle 100,000 insertion cycle connector. Vortex RMCs provide system designers with an open-standard, flexible approach to add secure removable high-density storage to their deployed compute platforms. Because Vortex RMCs are designed for use with standard SATA solid-state drives (SSDs), they ease technology refresh and reduce the risk of obsolescence. The Vortex RMC is available un-populated, already integrated with a SATA drive specified from Curtiss-Wright’s selection of “best-in-class” offerings, or Curtiss-Wright can consult with the system designer to identify the specific SATA drive available in the market that meets their unique mix of density/encryption/sanitation/performance requirements. RMCs are also offered in fully integrated Curtiss-Wright data transport subsystems such as the Vortex Data Transport System (DTS) and VRD1 Video Management System. Available in a wide range of memory densities up to 1 Terabyte, RMCs enable the system designer to select the drive type that best suits their lab development or rugged deployed requirements, including SLC NAND Flash, eMLC NAND Flash or MLC NAND Flash SSDs. To ease removal of the compact, shirt-pocket sized RMCs during missions, Curtiss-Wright provides the units with a handle specially designed for use with gloved hands.

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions, Ashburn, VA. (613) 254-5112.

Inductance-to-Digital Converter Does Position and Motion Sensing

Advanced Graphics and Security Capabilities on AMC Processor Card

Texas Instruments has released the industry’s first inductanceto-digital converter (LDC), a new data converter category that uses coils and springs as inductive sensors to deliver higher resolution, increased reliability and greater flexibility than existing sensing solutions at a lower system cost. Inductive sensing is a contactless sensing technology that can be used to measure the position, motion, or composition of a metal or conductive target, as well as detect the compression, extension or twist of a spring. Key benefits of LDC technology include higher resolution, which enables sub-micron resolution in positionsensing applications with 16-bit resonance impedance and 24-bit inductance values. The LDC1000 is available to order today in a 16-pin, 4-mm by 5-mm SON package for $2.95 in 1,000-unit quantities.

A new AMC processor card represents a new solution for the fourth generation Intel Core processor (formerly codenamed “Haswell”) with Mobile Intel QM87 Express chipset, which is designed for use in aTCA or MicroTCA systems. The PRM-130 AMC Processor Card from JumpGen Systems features the 22nm Intel Core i5-4402E processor with Intel 8 series chipsets (based on Intel’s 3D tri-gate transistor manufacturing technology) along with dual Intel 82599 10 Gigabit Ethernet network port and the Intel Ethernet Controller i350 with integrated graphics controller. It can be delivered with up to 16 Gbytes of 72-bit wide DDR3 ECC memory running at 1600 MHz and 128 Gbytes of onboard bootable SSD. The PRM-130 is compliant with PICMG AMC.0 Revision 2.0, Mid-Size or Full-Size form factor standards.

Texas Instruments, Dallas, TX. (972) 995-2011.

JumpGen Systems, Carlsbad, CA. (760) 931-7800.

Stamped CPU Heat Sink Improves Air Convection

A newly developed Stamped CPU Heat Sink series from Assman WSW is a combination of “CROSS-CUT” and “Finger-Shaped heat sinks.” The series is available at distributor Rutronik as of now. An advantage of the new CPU heat sinks is an improved air convection of up to 5%, because of non-simultaneous heating from one cooling fin to the other. The result is a better heat exchange between the various “hot and cold” air layers. Designated holes in the T=3mm base plate will optimize this exchange as well. The stamped CPU heat sinks are manufactured from AL5052 aluminum alloy. They are ideal for cooling devices such as PGA, BGA or other high-power components, because replacing an overheated component can be cost-intensive and complicated or nearly impossible. Other advantages are the additional mounting options and numerous modification possibilities. The stamped holes in the base plate can optimally be used to mount the heat sink on the PCB via “Push Pins.” It is also possible to use solder pins to attach the heat sink on the PCB. Single- or double-sided thermal adhesive tape is included and custom notches in the heat sink can be attained through modifications of the tool.

Rutronik, Inspringen, Germany. +49 7231 801-0. 42

COTS Journal | January 2014

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

Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA-Based XMC and VPX Modules

Two high-performance FPGA processing modules are now available in industry-standard XMC and 3U VPX form factors. The COTS XPedite2470 3U VPX and XPedite2400 XMC modules from Extreme Engineering Solutions utilize the Xilinx Virtex-7 Family of FPGAs to merge high throughput, configurable I/O and DSP-level processing with high thermal efficiency. The combination of high-end signal processing and high-speed Analog-to-Digital or Digital-to-Analog conversion makes the XPedite2470 and XPedite2400 attractive solutions for demanding RF signal acquisition, SDR and DSP requirements. These modules can utilize the VITA 49 VITA Radio Transport (VRT) protocol, which provides an industry-standard framework for formatting the data of a digitized IF stream. The XPedite2470 is a configurable, 3U VPX-REDI, FGPA-processing module that provides eleven high-speed GTX lanes to the backplane and eight high-speed GTX lanes to an on-card FMC site. The XPedite2470’s FMC site provides numerous I/O expansion capabilities, allowing access to single-ended or differential I/O, configurable GTX transceivers, and high-frequency Digital-to-Analog Conversion (DAC) or Analog-to-Digital Conversion (ADC). The XPedite2470 includes a Freescale P1010 QorIQ processor for additional signal-processing or general-purpose capabilities. The compact XPedite2400 is an FPGA-based XMC module that includes a high-speed DAC, 2 Gbytes of DDR3 SDRAM, a Gen3 PCI Express interface, and up to ten high-throughput GTX lanes. The module’s integrated DAC supports a 14-bit resolution and a sample rate of up to a 2.5 Gigasamples per second. The analog interface can be accessed via MMCX connectors from the front panel. The XPedite2400 supports 32 LVDS signals through its P14 connector for additional connectivity.

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

Shelf Manager Supports PICMG HPM.2 and HPM.3

A new release of the Pigeon Point Shelf Manager adds support for the PICMG HPM.2 and HPM.3 specifications, complementing corresponding support in the Pigeon Point Board Management Reference (BMR) products, which was delivered in April 2013. Release 3.3.0 now also includes radial IPMB-0 support for the ShMM-700R, the fourth generation of Pigeon Point’s Shelf Management Mezzanine (ShMM) products that are already installed in tens of thousands of ATCA shelves worldwide. HPM.2, the LAN-attached IPM Controller specification, standardizes how xTCA management controllers can attach to an in-shelf LAN. HPM.3, the DHCP-assigned Platform Management Parameters specification, covers how the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) can be used to efficiently assign controller parameters such as network addresses.

Pigeon Point Systems, Oceanside, CA. (831) 438-1565.

Motherboards Marry High Performance and Rich I/O Set

1U Rackmount Network Appliance Boasts Security Features

A family of 1U rackmount network security appliances offers great platform security and a maximum of 32 Gbytes of memory with its error correcting code (ECC) option. The new CAR-4020 from American Portwell features fourth generation Intel Core processors and Intel Xeon processor E3-1200 v3 family (codenamed Haswell) based on the 22nm manufacturing process and Intel C226 Chipset with up to 24 GbE ports. The CAR-4020 enables additional platform security through the new Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (AVX2) and Intel Encryption Standard New Instructions (AES-NI).

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

A standard Flex-ATX board with two EN60601-1 compliant isolated Ethernet ports offers a long-term availability of seven years, and in addition to the isolated LANs, includes two DVI interfaces to drive imaging tasks on two HD monitors. The performance of the KTQ67/Flex-MED motherboard from Kontron is scalable across the complete range of the powerful dual core and quad core desktop CPUs from Intel’s third generation Core processors. The Kontron motherboard KTQ67/Flex-MED is based on the Intel Q67 System Controller Hub and offers up to 32 Gbytes of DDR3 RAM. It connects two independent displays via DVI. Apart from the two isolated Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, it also offers 12 USB 2.0 interfaces. Storage media can be connected via the 6x SATA interfaces (4x SATA150/300 and 2x SATA600) with SW RAID support (RAID 0/1/5/10). For expansion cards, PCIe x16, PCIe x4 and PCI 32-bit (2x) slots are available. A multi-purpose feature connector supports up to 160 GPIOs. To achieve excellent signal qualities and optimize electromagnetic compatibility, the KTQ67/Flex-MED is based on more PCB layers than are normally found in conventional consumer motherboards. Intel’s Active Management Technology 8.0 is supported for remote management and easy maintenance, resulting in higher system availability and lower overall costs.

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


COTS Journal | January 2014

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COTS Journal | January 2014


Featuring the latest technologies in FPGA Processing Boards, Small Form Factor Boards and more

EmQ-i2301 • Fanless Design • Soldered Onboard Intel® Bay Trail-I E3825 / E3845 SoC Processor • Intel i210IT PCIe- GbE controller • Soldered Onbaod 16GB eMMC • Dual Channels 24-bit LVDS, Display Port, DDI Port • Extended Operating Temp.: -20 ~ 70ºC

Arbor Solution Phone: (408) 452-8900 Email: Web:



Small form-factor intelligent FMC carrier with Xilinx Zynq FPGA.

Diamond Systems’ Epsilon-12G2, the new rugged, managed Layer 2+ Ethernet switch module offers twelve 10/100/1000 Mbps copper twisted pair ports and two small form factor pluggable (SFP) sockets in a compact COM Express form factor.

Standalone functionality with gigabit Ethernet connectivity. Range of high performance simultaneous multichannel ADC and DAC modules with FMC footprint, as well as a range of intelligent multi-module carriers.

D-TACQ Solutions Ltd

Diamond Systems

Phone: + 44 7866 739622 Email: Web:

Phone: (800) 367-2104 Email: Web:

PCIe/104 Xilinx Spartan-6 User Programmable FPGA]

SIU3-3 –Sensor Interface Unit – Conduction Cooled • Configure with up to 9 I/O and communication function modules • 40+ different modules available • SBC-less stand-alone operation supported via Gig-E • 3 x 3U cPCI Slots • PowerPC®, Intel Core i7® or ARM SBC Processor • Windows®, Linux and VxWorks® OS Support • 4.71”W x 4.78”H x 7.95”D • MIL-STD-810G & MIL-STD-461F

North Atlantic Industries, Inc. Phone: (631) 567-1100 Web:

• FPGA35S6101HR • PCIe/104 with stackable PCI express bus • Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA • 101,261 logic cells • 5,800 Kb of internal RAM • 1.0 Gbit of DDR2 SDRAM • 4 RS-232/422/485 transceiver channels • -40 to +85°C operating temperature

RTD Embedded Technologies, Inc. Phone: (814) 234-8087 Email: Web:

AS9100 & ISO 9001 Certified

January 2014 | COTS Journal


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Company Page# Website

Company Page# Website

Aries Electronics,

One Stop Systems, Inc.................14,27.............

Ballard Technology,

Pentek, Inc.....................................7..............................

Cots Product Gallery...................... 47.......................................................

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

Critical IO,


Embedded World

Extreme Engineering Solutions.......52............................

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

Intelligent Systems

Satellite 2014................................46....................

Interface Concept..........................25..............

SynQor, Inc....................................31.............................

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

Trenton Systems,

Mercury Systems, Inc.................... 15................................

Vadatech Incorporated...................29..........................

North Atlantic Industries................. 41..................................


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: GPGPUs vs. FPGAs for Military Signal Processing The concept of putting high-performance graphics processors to work on general-purpose processing tasks is beginning to gain traction. But GPGPUs are not expected to supplant FPGAs overnight. GPUs have potential in application areas including target tracking, image stabilization and SAR (synthetic aperture radar) simulation. Sensor processing and software defined radio are also well suited for this kind of processing. Board-level products have emerged specifically for GPGPU computing in a number of form factors including OpenVPX. Tech Recon: Military Battery and Power Supply Trends for Board and Box-Level Systems Today the choice of power supplies, power converters and batteries can rank as a make or break decision in embedded military computer systems. With more and more computing stuffed into smaller spaces, power has direct implications on the size, cooling and mobility of a system. Articles in this section examine technology trends affecting military batteries, DC/DC converters, power supply module bricks and slot-card power supplies (VME, cPCI and others). System Development: Security and Anti-Tamper Issues for Electronics Military systems that employ advanced electronics, new technologies and encrypted digital systems are always at risk of becoming perishable items. Reverse engineering exploitation of lost, captured and “misplaced” military systems threatens our national security and billions of dollars of R&D investment. This is a problem that has now moved front and center to the design process of military systems. This section explores the importance of “anti-tamper” circuitry and what military system designers need to do to keep pace with this challenging issue. Tech Focus: CompactPCI and CompactPCI Serial Boards The CompactPCI embedded form factor has achieved the maturity and broad product range that military system designers so crave. Now well into its second decade of existence, the 3U flavor of cPCI is particularly attractive to space/weight-constrained applications like avionics. The new serial version of cPCI adds new levels of bandwidth. This Tech Focus section updates readers on cPCI trends, and provides a product album of representative 6U and 3U cPCI and cPCI Serial boards. 48

COTS Journal | January 2014

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2014 Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conferences Santa Clara, CA January 23 Huntsville, AL February 18 Melbourne, FL February 20 Boston, MA April 29 Nashua, NH May 2

Rosemont, IL - Sensors Expo Pavilion June 24-26 Orange County, CA August 19 San Diego, CA August 21 Minneapolis, MN September 9 Chicago, IL September 11

Toronto, ON, Canada October 7 Ottawa, ON, Canada October 9 Los Angeles, CA October 21 San Mateo, CA October 23 Tysons Corner, VA November 6

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127 meters Length of the 10 Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class ships that Austal has been contracted to build for the U.S. Navy as prime contractor subsequent to a $3.5 billion block buy in 2010. Last month Austal completed the launch of the future USS Jackson (LCS 6). Shown here is the Jackson’s sister ship the USS Independence (LCS 2).

10 kWatt

The power class of a vehicle-mounted highenergy laser the Army used for the first time to successfully engage more than 90 mortar rounds and several unmanned aerial vehicles in flight. The Army High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator, or HEL MD, underwent multiple test events between Nov. 18 and Dec. 10 at White Sands Missile Range. The Boeing Company is the prime contractor for the HEL MD program.

$80.5 Million Amount of modification Raytheon Company received to a previously awarded firmfixed-price contract for the procurement of 200 full rate production Lot 10 AGM154C-1 Joint Standoff Weapons (JSOWs). The contract also includes associated support equipment and one performance characterization test. 50

COTS Journal | January 2014


The number of months over which the U.S. Marine Corps has successfully conducted developmental testing and supported two Weapons and Tactics Instruction (WTI) events for the AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) system, built by Northrop Grumman. The radar is built with an open, scalable architecture to enable digital interoperability and incorporation of new capabilities through software-only updates.

$5,335.1 Million Amount the global smart weapons market is forecasted to reach by 2018 according to a recent research report from ASDReports. com. The market is valued at $3,621 million in 2013 and is expected to register a CAGR of 8.06%.

POWER YOUR CRITICAL MISSION A Full Range of Proven DC-DC Power Converters, EMI Filters and Accessories

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5-200+ watts Six-sided metal or potted packaging Rugged environmental screening -55°C to +100°C

Space Series  5-120+ watts  Developed for TOR compliance  TID: 100 krad (Si)  SEE: 85 MeV  -55°C to +125°C  MIL-PRF-38534 Class H and Class K  DLA SMDs available  Engineering models typically ship from stock  Other radiation levels and custom versions available


Module and System-Level Solutions from Intel® and Freescale™ Single Board Computers


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Secure Gigabit Ethernet router XMC utilizing Cisco™ IOS®


3U VPX 10 Gigabit Ethernet managed switch and router

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Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA-based XMC with high-throughput DAC

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3U VPX 300W power supply with EMI filtering for MIL-STD-704 & 1275

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Sub-½ ATR, 6x 3U VPX slot system with removable SSDs


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SFF Intel® Core™ i7 or Freescale QorIQ-based system with XMC/PMC

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January 2014

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January 2014

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