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Tech Focus: COM Express Board Roundup


The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

User Interface Demands Met with Tablets and Rugged Laptops Space Electronics Wrestle with Single Event IC Upsets An RTC Group Publication

August 2014 Volume 16 Number 8

Rugged Boards & Solutions We know PCIe/104. And we do it best. At RTD, designing and manufacturing rugged, top-quality boards and system solutions is our passion. As a founder of the PC/104 Consortium back in 1992, we moved desktop computing to the embedded world. Over the years, we've provided the leadership and support that brought the latest signaling and I/O technologies to the PC/104 form factor. Most recently, we've championed the latest specifications based on stackable PCI Express: PCIe/104 and PCI/104-Express.

With our focused vision, we have developed an entire suite of compatible boards and systems that serve the defense, aerospace, maritime, ground, industrial and research arenas. But don't just think about boards and systems. Think solutions. That is what we provide: high-quality, cutting-edge, concept-to-deployment, rugged, embedded solutions. Whether you need a single board, a stack of modules, or a fully enclosed system, RTD has a solution for you. Keep in mind that as an RTD customer, you're not just

working with a selection of proven, quality electronics; you're benefitting from an entire team of dedicated engineers and manufacturing personnel driven by excellence and bolstered by a 28-year track record of success in the embedded industry. If you need proven COTS-Plus solutions, give us a call. Or leverage RTD's innovative product line to design your own embedded system that is reliable, flexible, expandable, and serviceable in the field for the long run. Contact us and let us show you what we do best.



01 90

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Copyright Š 2014 RTD Embedded Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. All trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective companies. RTD is AS9100 and ISO9001 Certified, and a GSA Contract Holder. •


The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing


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 he 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.

August 2014 Volume 16 Number 8

FEATURED p.10 Development Solutions Ease Path to Deployment

SPECIAL FEATURE From Development Systems to Deployable Solutions


10  Development Solutions Ease Path to Deployment

6 Editorial

14  System Management for VPX Beyond VSO Specifications


The Inside Track


COTS Products


Marching to the Numbers

Filling the Space Gap

Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

Mark Overgaard, Pigeon Point Systems

20  Filling the Need for Formal Methods in ATR Thermal Testing Part 2 Miguel de la Torre, CM Computer

26  Pre-Integrated Systems Accelerate Test and Deployment RJ McLaren, Kontron

TECH RECON Laptops and Tablets as Military User Interfaces

Coming in September See Page 48

30  Laptops and Tablets Meet Military HMI Needs Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Space-Qualified Electronics and Subsystems 34 Single Event Upsets on ICs Cause Safety Challenges Ken O’Neill, Microsemi, SoC Group

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS COM Express Boards Roundup 38 COM Express Feeds Modular Computing and Graphics Needs Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief


COM Express Boards Roundup

Digital subscriptions available:

On The Cover: U.S. Marines with 1st Tank Battalion drive an M1A1 Abrams Tank during a Counter IED training exercise in Twentynine Palms, CA. In February General Dynamics Land Systems was awarded $72.7 million under an existing contract to upgrade 12 M1A1 Abrams tanks to the M1A2 Systems Enhancement Package (SEP) V2 configuration. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Carlos Sanchez Valencia)



The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

Editorial EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jeff Child, EXECUTIVE EDITOR Johnny Keggler,

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The Event for Embedded & High-Tech Technology 2014 Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conferences

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COTS Journal | August 2014

COTS Journal HOME OFFICE The RTC Group 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250 San Clemente, CA 92673 Phone: (949) 226-2000 Fax: (949) 226-2050 EDITORIAL OFFICE Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief 20A Northwest Blvd., PMB#137, Nashua, NH 03063 Phone: (603) 429-8301 PUBLISHED BY THE RTC GROUP Copyright 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.


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The TVC2404 is Trenton's latest in a long-line of scalable video wall controllers. Built on the rugged yet compact TRC2005 base chassis, the TVC2404 is typically configured with a singleprocessor system host board and our recent BPC8219 PCI Express backplane. The hardware combination of the TVC2404 enables:

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EDITORIAL Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

Filling the Space Gap


ith last month marking the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11, the first manned moon landing, my thoughts have inevitably turned to where we’re at today as a space-faring nation. Since the ending of the Shuttle program and a period of severe budget tightening, NASA funding unfortunately hasn’t been a high priority. In the past, I’ve been somewhat skeptical of the commercial space industry filling the gap, but it’s been progressing forward in recent years and now I’m more encouraged. All that said, I’m glad that I had the opportunity to attend a Shuttle launch in person. My friends, Pete and Warren—both cofounders of COTS Journal—attended more Shuttle launches than they could count. And they had me join them for the Shuttle Discovery’s last launch (STS-133) in February 2011. I’ll never forget that feeling of the vibration in my chest, and the bright blast of engine exhaust experienced from the three-mile-away Press/VIP area at the Kennedy Space Center. The United States’ current lack of a manned space launch vehicle is a problem that’s moved to the front burner lately with the tensions between the U.S. and Russia. The tensions have resulted in NASA stopping all cooperation with Russia in space except for the International Space Station—not that the two countries had much else they were collaborating on anyway in terms of space. NASA does of course depend on the Russian Federated Space Agency for taking U.S. astronauts back and forth to the ISS aboard their Soyuz spacecrafts. As a result of the tensions over Ukraine and the beginning of sanctions talk, a Russian official went so far as to mock that the U.S. should use a trampoline if it wants to send astronauts into space. The new model for manned space flight, at least low earth orbit space flight, is for NASA to act as more of a research organization, and has commercial companies taking over the role of spaceship building. There are currently three leading contending companies with manned vehicles, and NASA wants the winning design to launch by 2017. First of the three is Dragon, built by Space X. The craft is designed to deliver both cargo and people to orbiting destinations, and it famously made history in 2012 by becoming the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to the International Space Station and re-


COTS Journal | August 2014

turn cargo to Earth. The Dragon can carry a significant amount of cargo—13,228 lbs of payload on launch, and about half that on return. But it was designed to carry humans from the beginning. Space X has a deal with NASA to develop refinements enabling Dragon to fly crew. And its first manned test flight is expected to take place in 2-3 years. Meanwhile Boeing’s offering is the Commercial Crew Transportation System or CTS 100. It can seat seven and was developed using systems and processes used by Boeing on human transportation vehicles ranging from commercial airplanes to military aircraft and the Space Shuttle itself. According to Boeing, the craft incorporates simple system architectures that use proven high technology readiness level (TRL) components. The craft is compatible with a variety of launch vehicles; United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V was chosen for initial flights. It supports crew transportation requirements for both the ISS and the Bigelow Aerospace planned private space station, the Orbital Space Complex. The third contender is the Dream Chaser spacecraft developed by Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). The Dream Chaser spacecraft is being refined and validated through partnership agreements with seven NASA field centers. Dream Chaser’s reusable lifting-body spacecraft carries up to seven crew and cargo to and from low earth orbit, including the transportation of NASA astronauts to and from the ISS. The design is derived from NASA’s HL-20, which according to SNC has years of development, analysis and wind tunnel testing by the Langley Research Center. It launches on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V Launch Vehicle and has a low-g reentry (less than 1.5 gs). Whichever one of these three spacecraft becomes the first to serve the role as Shuttle replacement, it will be a win for our nation’s space future. Being a hardcore fan of space exploration myself, I personally would like commercial AND government manned space flight to advance faster and with more funding. Just as in the days when nations explored over the oceans with sailing ships, both commercial ventures and governments had roles to play. Either way, space electronic systems will depend on the rugged, radiation-hardened, high-reliability subsystems and components from our industry. And in that way we’re a part of the journey.


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INSIDE TRACK GENERAL ATOMICS SUCCESSFUL WITH FIRST FLIGHT OF PREDATOR XP General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has announced the successful first flight of Predator XP, an updated version of the company’s flagship Predator UAV that has been licensed by the U.S. Government for sale to a broader customer base, including countries in the Middle East, North Africa, South America and Asia. The flight occurred June 27 at Castle Dome Airfield, located at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground Range Complex in Arizona. During the company-funded 35-minute flight, Predator XP demonstrated its ability to launch, climb to operational altitude, complete basic airworthiness maneuvers, and land without any discrepancies (Figure 1). Offering improved Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, Predator XP exhibits the same physical dimensions, altitude, speed and long endurance (up to 35 hours) as the proven “RQ-1” Predator A aircraft. The aircraft also has been updated to include triple-redundant avionics, an Automatic Takeoff and Landing System (ATLS), GA-ASI’s Lynx Multi-mode Radar with Maritime Wide Area Surveillance (MWAS), High-Definition Electro-optical video, an improved Claw sensor control and image analysis software system, an Automatic Identification System (AIS) for maritime vessel monitoring and tracking, and a more efficient propulsion system. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Poway, CA (858) 312-2810

ViaSat Acquires Technologies Assets of Gray Labs ViaSat has expanded its high-speed satellite data communication technology base with the acquisition of a high-rate modem product line and custom spacecraft technologies for earth observation from Gray Labs. Gray Labs has been a leading innovator in this market for several decades, and the technology continues to provide high performance in ISR and other applications, according to ViaSat. ViaSat will continue to support Gray Labs products and customers with state-of-the-art design from its Duluth, Georgia campus. The former staff of Gray Labs has relocated to ViaSat facilities, and Dr. Jim Gray, former Gray Labs FIND the products featured in this section and more at


COTS Journal | August 2014

Figure 1 General Atomics’s Predator XP is an updated version of the company’s flagship Predator UAV that has been licensed by the U.S. Government for sale to a broader customer base.

president, has assumed a senior consulting position at ViaSat, where he will help expand the capabilities of satellite-to-earth communications for ISR. ViaSat Carlsbad, CA (760) 476-2200

Figure 2

Oshkosh Defense’s JLTV Solution Completes “NetReady’’ Testing

The Oshkosh L-ATV completed its Net-Centric testing at the Electronic Proving Grounds at Fort Huachuca, AZ.

Oshkosh Defense has reached a milestone in the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program by completing Net-Ready testing with the Oshkosh Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle (L-ATV) (Figure 2). A core element in developing the next-generation light vehicle is fully supporting the execution of operational activities and informa-

tion exchanges identified in DoD Enterprise Architecture, while satisfying the JLTV’s technical requirements for the transition to Net-Centric military operations. Oshkosh recently completed this testing at the Electronic Proving Grounds at Fort Huachuca, AZ—the United States Army’s developmental test center for Command, Control, Communications,

Computers, Cyber and Intelligence (C5I) capabilities. Oshkosh Defense has successfully completed every milestone to date throughout the JLTV program’s Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase, including the design understanding review, manufacturing readiness review, and on-time delivery of 22 prototype vehicles 12 months after the start of the EMD phase. Oshkosh Defense Oshkosh, WI (920) 235-9150

Latest Aegis Combat System Baseline Completes Three Major Tests The Lockheed Martin and U.S. Navy team’s Baseline 9 Aegis Combat System recently completed multiple exercises including the



The multiple exercises were the first major series of tests for the integrated air and missile defense (IAMD)-equipped USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53). longest-range engagement ever tested with a Standard Missile-6 (SM-6). This is the first major series of tests for the integrated air and missile defense (IAMD)-equipped USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53) (Figure 3). The success highlights the system’s accuracy in identifying and destroying threats from beyond the radar horizon. The first of three Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) exercises involved a long-range mission, known as AS2A, which used data from a nonAegis system to identify targets in a stressing scenario. The second and third tests, AS-2B and AS-2C, were conducted in increasingly difficult conditions that involved targets at varying altitudes and crosssections. NIFC-CA will be deployed on the Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group in 2015 after completing additional testing this year. Lockheed Martin Bethesda, MD (301) 897-6000


Figure 3

Despite near-term U.S. World Military UAV Budget Forecast budget cutbacks, UAVs continue R&D and Procurement as the most dynamic growth 12 sector of the world aerospace 11 industry this decade, according 10 9 to Teal analysts in their latest 8 integrated market analysis. 7 Teal Group’s 2014 market study 6 estimates that UAV spending 5 will nearly double over the next 4 decade from current worldwide 3 UAV expenditures of $6.4 billion 2 1 annually to $11.5 billion, totaling 0 almost $91 billion in the next ten FY15 FY16 FY17 FY18 FY19 FY20 FY21 FY22 FY23 FY24 years (Figure 4). US Procurement US R&D RoW Procurement RoW R&D The most significant catalyst RoW=Rest of World; speculative UCAV procurement not included to this market has been the enormous growth of interest in Figure 4 UAVs by the U.S. military, tied to Teal Group’s 2014 market study estimates that UAV spending will nearly operations in Iraq and Afghanidouble over the next decade. stan, as well as the general trend toward information warfare and net-centric systems. UAVs are a key element in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) portion of this revolution, and they are expanding into other missions as well with the advent of hunter-killer UAVs. Teal Group’s research suggests that the U.S. will account for 65 percent of the RDT&E spending on UAV technology over the next decade, and about 41 percent of the procurement (this latter percentage does not take into account potential UCAV (including UCLASS) procurement later in the decade, which is highly speculative at this point and would drive this number much higher). In addition, there is an indeterminable “black” U.S. budget for UAVs that is not accounted for in our unclassified numbers. The U.S. UAV funding shares for R&D and procurement represent higher shares of the market than for defense spending in general, where the U.S. accounts for about 64 percent of total worldwide R&D spending and 38% of procurement spending, according to Teal Group’s International Defense Briefing forecasts. This difference is due to the heavier U.S. investment in cutting-edge technologies and the marked lag time in such research and procurement elsewhere, especially major aerospace centers such as Europe. For further details and study availability, contact the respective Teal sales representative in your area at www. Teal Group Fairfax, VA (703) 385-1992 FIND the products featured in this section and more at

COTS Journal | August 2014


SPECIAL FEATURE From Development Systems to Deployable Solutions


COTS Journal | August 2014


Development Solutions Ease Path to Deployment Migrating a system design from the development to the deployment phase presents a number of challenges. Fortunately system solutions have emerged that smooth that process. Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief


ith budgets and schedules more compressed than ever, the pressure is on to move from development to deployment as smoothly as possible. An ability to do so can make or break the chances of a contract win—especially when complete working demos are often the requirement. Addressing this issue, a number of box-level system developers have crafted development systems designed specifically to be aligned with all the same key aspects of the final deployed system (Figure 1).

COTS Journal | August 2014



Figure 1 Today’s advanced military programs require complex development efforts. Shown here, THAAD flight tests are operated by U.S. Army soldiers.

Starting with VPX, the mix of these system solutions has broadened to other standard architectures—like CompactPCI—on one hand. And on the other hand, some more application-specific development systems have joined the game. The trend of more application-focused systems along these lines started a couple years ago with Extreme Engineering’s Avionics Development Platform (ADP). ADP is a 3U OpenVPX development system focused specifically on avionics. Extreme’s more recent offering is the XPand1202, a fully integrated OpenVPXbased (VITA 65) SDR development system featuring VITA 67 RF connections (Figure 2). The system integrates one XPedite7470 3U OpenVPX Intel Core i7-based SBC, up to four DRS SI-9138 3U VPX VITA 67.1 dualchannel RF receivers and one DRS SI-7138 3U VPX VITA 67.2 RF frequency reference module. This 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.

Speeding FPGA System Development Pentek takes a similar application-specific approach with its Model 8266 PC de12

COTS Journal | August 2014

velopment system, pre-configured to speed application development for the expansive family of Pentek Cobalt Virtex-6 and Onyx Virtex-7 FPGA PCI Express software radio and data acquisition I/O boards. The 8266 is delivered with the selected Pentek hardware configured for either Windows or Linux along with ReadyFlow BSP drivers and software examples, fully installed and tested. Upon delivery, the system allows development engineers to immediately run example applications out-of-the-box. The Model 8266 is offered as a standard pre-integrated platform, saving military system developers valuable time and cost in selecting, assembling and configuring components. All hardware is installed in appropriate slots, fully configured with proper cabling, power and cooling strategies, and optimized BIOS and operating system settings. The customer simply needs to remove the system from the package and start developing. As an added benefit, the tested and proven configuration of the Model 8266 streamlines Pentek customer support. A key strategy to smoothing the development-to-deployment cycle is to offer two compatible systems that let developers move from one stage to the other. While this idea isn’t new, products on the market have been mostly targeting VME- or VPXbased systems. Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions expanded this development-to-deployment approach to a CompactPCI-based system architectures to reduce risk, schedule and cost (Figure 3). The CompactPCI D2D ¾ ATR, a 7-slot ¾ ATR conduction-cooled chassis, eases the design of 3U cPCI-based systems by enabling the system integrator to use the same enclosure, via simple configuration upgrades, throughout the complete program lifecycle, from development to demonstration and all the way to deployment. Three standard configurations support Development, Demonstration and Deployment variants. The Development version eliminates the need for a custom cPCI backplane before system design can begin. It uses a standard COTS backplane and I/O cabling, an external power supply and an industrial grade fan. The Demonstration configurations feature a standard COTS power supply backplane that is cabled to a standard backplane, with either an industrial grade fan

Figure 2 The XPand1202 integrates one 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.

or a MIL grade fan; a 3U MIL COTS power supply is also available. And the applicationspecific Deploy configuration replaces the standard backplanes and cables with a custom backplane and I/O panel, and upgrades the industrial fans to MIL grade units. The rugged D2D ¾ ATR enclosure supports up to seven slots of 3U 0.8-inch pitch payload cPCI cards. The D2D ¾ ATR simplifies the integration process by providing a single enclosure that can be used equally well for in-lab development and fielded deployment.

Deployable in Benign Environments In the same vein of easing development to deployment, Artesyn Embedded Technologies provides its VPX system chassis: the KR8-VPX-3-6-1. Designed primarily for development, testing and lab duties, the KR8VPX-3-6-1 can also be deployed in ground benign installations as it meets Artesyn’s standard safety, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and environmental requirements. The new VPX system chassis will enable original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to rapidly develop, test and evolve their applications. Artesyn’s VPX system chassis accommodates up to five 3U VPX payload blades and associated rear transition modules (RTMs). It is designed to simplify the de-

A42_COTS_1-3V_2-25x9-875_Layout 1 6/24/14 2:3


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Figure 3 The CompactPCI D2D 3/4 ATR, a 7-slot 3/4 ATR conduction-cooled chassis, eases the design of 3U cPCI-based systems by enabling the system integrator to use the same enclosure throughout the complete program lifecycle, from development to demonstration to deployment.

velopment of next-generation applications with a range of features including removable side panels for module debugging, AC power input with standard IEC inlet and a top mounted handle that makes it easier for users to move the enclosure. The Emerson Network Power KR8VPX-3-6-1 backplane features one-inch slot pitch and complies with the VITA 65 backplane profile. The payload slots comply with the VITA 65 payload slot profile with channels A and B arranged as two x4 fat pipes configured as a twisted ring from slots one to five. Payload control plane signals are available for RTM use.

Abstracting Software from Hardware One useful strategy for easing the development to deployment path is to abstract the architecture of a system’s software from its underlying hardware. Mercury Systems has examples of customers of theirs where that approach was used. According to the company, Mercury provided a sort of hardware abstraction layer so that a military system developer could move its application software between hardware with different processor and fabric architectures. This technology was even able to allow a variety of different military applications to run on similar hardware configurations, all thanks

to the abstraction “layer.” As defense budgets get tighter, defense programs are under more scrutiny than ever before. Anything to keep schedules and development costs on track will be attractive to program decision makers. Solutions like the ones mentioned in this article are helpful tools to take advantage of.



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COTS Journal | August 2014


SPECIAL FEATURE From Development Systems to Deployable Solutions

System Management for VPX Beyond VSO Specifications The idea to base VITA 46.11 on PICMG’s ATCA management layer continues to reap rewards for VPX military systems. That can be extended by applying other standards developed for that market, such as PICMG HPM.1 and HPM.2 in the VITA 46.11 context. Mark Overgaard, Founder and CTO, Pigeon Point Systems


ssentially all VPX systems need management functionality. VITA 46.11, which was adopted as a draft standard for trial use in late 2013, defines a standardized approach that can allow this functionality to be shared and reused across applications. Standardization of this layer is increasingly important, as defense budgets tighten and the demand for cost-effective COTS-based hardware strategies continues to ramp up accordingly. The article “System Management on VPX Leveraging Established Technologies” in the March issue of COTS Journal, introduced this new VITA standard. It defines components, interfaces, mechanisms and general infrastructure to support the implementation of an interoperable, application-independent management subsystem within VPX that enables features such as inventory, sensor and diagnostic management, as well as system configuration and recovery. VITA 46.11 is based on the management layer defined in PICMG’s AdvancedTCA (ATCA), and therefore can benefit from over a decade of demanding field experience with ATCA systems around the world and an active ecosystem of management component suppliers. While strongly leveraging ATCA management, VITA 46.11 has been adapted to the specific needs of VPX applications, 14

COTS Journal | August 2014

including VITA-specific management commands and data structures. Both frameworks rely on the open Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) as a foundation. IPMI was primarily invented for, and is widely used in, the PC and server industries for hardware management.

More System Management Technologies This article discusses some ways in which VITA 46.11 implementations can take advantage of additional open standards, including two management-targeted PICMG specifications that can be used essentially as is in VITA 46.11-based VPX systems. One of these, PICMG HPM.1, defines an implementation-independent way to update management controller firmware, addressing a crucial need for VITA 46.11-based systems. The other, PICMG HPM.2, standardizes LAN-attached management controllers, which can share access to existing within-the-chassis Ethernet communication plane(s). HPM.2 benefits from another open standard, the Network Controller Sideband Interface (NCSI) from the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF, The VITA Standards Organization (VSO) may eventually create VITA-specific derivatives of these other specifications, but that will take time. Fortunately, these addi-

tional standards can be used immediately in VITA 46.11 contexts and are already available with some VITA 46.11-compliant management components.

PICMG HPM.1 in a VITA 46.11 Context HPM.1 addresses the need for an effective and implementation-independent way to upgrade the firmware in management controllers integrated into various boards and modules of a chassis. In open modular architectures such as VPX (and ATCA, as well), boards and modules (and their embedded management controllers) can be designed and implemented by multiple vendors. Using multiple proprietary tools from each of these vendors to upgrade the management controller firmware in the boards and modules of a chassis (let alone across a large system with dozens or even hundreds of chassis) would be inefficient and errorprone. A single HPM.1-compliant upgrade agent can manage and deliver firmware upgrades to all those controllers, as long as the controllers are HPM.1-compliant. Figure 1 shows how HPM.1 fits into the VITA 46.11 architecture. Each VITA 46.11 VPX module includes an Intelligent Platform Management Controller (IPMC) that monitors and represents that module in the chassis. Each VITA 46.11 chassis includes a Chassis Manager that monitors the modules


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Figure 1 Architecture for HPM.1 IPMC firmware upgrades in VITA 46.11 contexts.

in that chassis (via their IPMCs) and represents that chassis to higher level management. The specification defines the protocols by which an upgrade agent delivers firmware upgrades to IPMCs and data formats for that upgrade data. The protocols cover the possibility that a given controller may have multiple subsystems that need upgrading, such as the firmware image for a microcontroller, and the logic image for a programmable logic device (PLD) such as a Field Programmable Logic Array (FPGA). The architecture provides for dual redundant firmware images and automatic fall back when an upgrade attempt fails for some reason. Figure 1 shows the architecture for HPM.1 IPMC firmware upgrades in VITA 46.11 contexts.

Firmware Upgrades When an upgrade agent is directed to upgrade the firmware in a specific IPMC, it checks that the device and manufacturer information in the header of the upgrade image matches the corresponding profile of the target IPMC. In the diagram, two types of IPMCs are highlighted, each with an upgrade image. The IPMC type labeled “A” happens to be implemented entirely on a microcontroller, while the type labeled “B” includes both a microcontroller and a programmable logic device (PLD), each with a separate block of upgrade data in the image. There are two ways that firmware upgrade data can be delivered to an IPMC. In the first, the upgrade agent uses the Chassis Manager as a proxy to communicate

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Benefits of PICMG HPM.2

Figure 2 LAN-attached IPMC connected via sideband interface to shared network controller.

with that management controller via the IPMI-defined Remote Management Control Protocol (RMCP), typically running over Ethernet to the Chassis Manager and then via System IPMB to the IPMC. System IPMB is an Intelligent Platform Management Bus (IPMB), which is I2C-based, typically running at 100 kilobits per second. Alternatively, an upgrade agent could execute on the payload CPU of a module— perhaps a powerful Xeon or PowerPC pro16

COTS Journal | August 2014

cessor—and use IPMI messaging over a logical interface called the Payload Interface to communicate with the local IPMC. There are a variety of physical implementations for the Payload Interface, but typically they support low or moderate speed transfers. A VITA 46.11 system may include a networkconnected overall system manager and/or other network client that communicates with the Chassis Manager and potentially through it to IPMCs in the chassis.

PICMG HPM.2, the LAN-Attached IPMC specification, defines LAN attachment for an IPMC, enabling an IPMC to share the use of an already present Ethernet link implemented in the module managed by the IPMC. (HPM.2 also covers many other PICMG controller types that are not applicable to VPX.) Figure 2 shows a simple LAN-attached IPMC. In this example, the controller is based on Microsemi’s SmartFusion (A2F) intelligent mixed signal FPGA. This FPGA comes in several models, which are primarily distinguished by their logic capacity; A2F200 and A2F500 are the models relevant here. In a typical VPX module where an IPMC would be implemented, there are usually one or more Ethernet controller(s) to provide connectivity for the payload CPU(s) to one or more Ethernet-based communication planes in the chassis. In the figure, the IPMC shares access to that Ethernet connectivity via a sideband interface implemented in the network controller. A simple hub function in the network controller enables IPMI traffic to and from the IPMC to share the external Ethernet plane(s) with generic Ethernet traffic to and from the payload CPU(s) so that no dedicated management Ethernet is needed to support direct interactions with the IPMC. DMTF’s NC-SI enables a 10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet connection to the network controller for the IPMC. Many IPMCs are implemented with silicon such as the Microsemi SmartFusion models referenced above that include an NC-SI compatible Ethernet port; such IPMCs can be wired directly to an NCSI capable network controller without any need for additional interface logic. NC-SI is widely implemented in the types of network controller silicon that would typically be used on a VPX module. Figure 3 shows some ways in which LAN-attachment can be beneficial in a VITA 46.11 system. Without the IPMC LAN connections, external network clients are typically limited to interacting with IPMCs indirectly via a Chassis Manager and System IPMB. One of the applications shown was introduced earlier in this article: HPM.1based IPMC firmware upgrades. The existing HPM.1 architecture can be applied


seamlessly in an HPM.2 LAN-attached context to dramatically reduce the time it takes to upgrade the IPMC firmware in a system, especially when multiple IPMCs need to be upgraded at the same time.

Third Option for LAN-attached IPMCs For LAN-attached IPMCs, there is a third upgrade option: the upgrade agent connects directly, via RMCP, with the IPMC to be upgraded, bypassing the Chassis Manager and System IPMB altogether. LAN-attached firmware upgrades can be an order of magnitude (or more) faster than traditional HPM.1 upgrades that go through the Chassis Manager. The benefits get even larger when multiple upgrades need to be done at once. Since each VPX module has distinct Ethernet link(s), firmware transfers to several IPMCs can go on in parallel. Without the LAN-attach connections, all transfers from a single upgrade agent in a system need to go through System IPMB, typically only one at any given time. Another HPM.2 application that is potentially very useful during development and field diagnostics is serial over LAN (SOL), in which serial ports on a module are made available to a remote client via the LAN attach connection. The remote client can then monitor and interact with those serial ports to get better visibility on what is happening. Such visibility can be a huge benefit when complicated systems are being developed or diagnosed. HPM.2 allows for up to 255 physical serial ports connected to a given IPMC, with up to 15 of those concurrently visible via active HPM.2 sessions. The HPM.2 SOL facility leverages and extends the SOL features built into IPMI. The serial ports visible via HPM.2 SOL sessions with an IPMC can even include serial ports of the IPMC itself. HPM.2 includes a further useful diagnostic tool: IPMI message tracing. This feature enables traces of IPMI messages involving a particular IPMC, or even the Chassis Manager, to be packaged in a standardized way for forwarding to an IPMI messaging trace analyzer. One such analyzer, the open source, widely used Wireshark application, includes a graphical analyzer front end that supports IPMI message decoding, combined with similar services for numerous networking protocols. (See

Figure 3 LAN-attached management framework for VPX with VITA 46.11, HPM.1 and HPM.2 showing applications for IPMC LAN connections (the dashed lines).

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for background material on this application, including access to the latest releases. IPMC technology vendors that support this capability may have important updates to the generally available Wireshark source code for IPMI messaging features that are not yet supported there.) HPM.2 includes additional features that are not relevant for VITA 46.11 contexts. These features are optional, and there

is a defined mechanism for an HPM.2 client to discover, for a particular IPMC, which of them it supports. Thus, an HPM.2 client application can work seamlessly with either VPX or ATCA IPMCs. For a closer look at integrating a VITA 46.11 IPMC into a VPX module, see the Web-only sidebar “Adding 46.11 IPMCs to VPX Modules” in the online version of this article.

System Management Increasingly Important The benefits of an application-independent system management layer for VPX are increasingly important for today’s VPXbased defense system developers and subsystem suppliers. VITA 46.11 defines such a layer by leveraging a decade of success in the worldwide telecommunications market, while adapting to the special needs of the VPX context. Such leveraging from the telecommunications market can be extended by applying other standards developed for that market, such as PICMG HPM.1 and HPM.2 in the VITA 46.11 context. The choice to base VITA 46.11 on PICMG’s ATCA management layer continues to pay dividends for the VPX community. One of the most cost-effective ways to implement compliant and interoperable management components for VITA 46.11 (both at the Chassis Manager and IPMC levels) that include HPM.1, HPM.2 and NCSI support, is to choose an adaptable COTS generic core that supports VITA 46.11 and those specifications. Then, at either the Chassis Manager or IPMC levels, that core can be adapted to the specific needs and constraints of a particular VPX chassis or module. Pigeon Point Systems Oceanside, CA (760) 757-2304


COTS Journal | August 2014

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SPECIAL FEATURE From Development Systems to Deployable Solutions

Filling the Need for Formal Methods in ATR Thermal Testing Part 2 By establishing a universal criteria to obtain ATR benchmark thermal performance figures, system developers will have a smoother time evaluating chassis heat dissipation and enclosed payload reliability. Miguel de la Torre, General Manager, CM Computer


hen ambient operating temperatures increase or decrease, chassis thermal figures display variations of similar magnitude in payload temperatures. In fact, plotted thermal figures show a vertical axis parallel displacement between room and payload temperatures. As illustrated in Figure 1, test LT1 has been conducted at standard 20°C ambient with ΔT results of 24°C. The same test conducted at 40°C (LT2) yields a similar Delta-T, and outcomes remain the same for low temperature tests LT3 and LT4. Enclosure cooling capacity is proportional to air density, which is greater at low temperatures. For example, air density at 35°C is 1.14 kg/m3 and at -25°C is 1.42 kg/m3 representing a respectable 20 percent variation that will affect Delta-T linearity. Air density also influences fan rotation speed and cooling airflow. The conclusion therefore is that the chassis payload Delta-T values are consistent for a given payload power, regardless of ambient temperatures. In practice, ΔT is almost constant, showing moderate deviations due to environmental factors such as air density changes across the military temperature range (-40° to 55°C).

Maximum Military System Delta-T

Figure 1

Maximum conduction-cooled payload card-rail temperature is typically 85°C. To

Chassis payload Delta-T versus system ambient operating temperature.


COTS Journal | August 2014


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Max ATR payload power for compliance with MIL-STD-810 temperature range.

comply with MIL-STD-810, systems must be operational up to 55°C ambient (worst case scenario). In theory, this restricts payload maximum ΔT to 85° - 55°C (ΔTmax = 30°C). Therefore, how much payload can a chassis accept and still comply with military standards? The load limit is: Chassis Half MTBF Power Factor (CHMPT) x 3 or 30°C/Chassis Payload Thermal Resistance (CPTR). Temperatures in excess of 85°C dramatically increase the risk of module failure and reduce component MTBF. In Figure 2, a “danger zone” marked in red indicates the area at which systems are at risk and may shut down to standby in order to protect payload from stress. Chassis Total Payload Power (TPP) is limited in to approximately 225 watts to ensure compliance with MIL-STD-810 (55°C). Military limits may be relaxed for systems

serving in “indoor environments” (e.g. to 40°C ambient). Under these conditions ΔT margin can be increased to 85° - 40°C = 45°C ΔTmax.

Chassis Load vs. Installed Airflow Flowthrough (Open) and Heat Exchanger (Sealed) chassis are forced-aircooled products that should incorporate the largest military fans available. Installed rear fan packs in CM Computer’s COTS chassis may range from 1 x 65 CFM up to 4 x 140 CFM. It is interesting to determine the Maximum Theoretical Open Chassis Power Dissipation (MTOCPD) vs. Chassis Installed Airflow (CIA). For compliance with MIL-STD-810 (55°C ambient) payload ΔT is limited to 30°C. Open chassis optimize card-cage design in order that Ambient Airflow Delta-T (AADT) and payload ΔT be of

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Effects of Ambient Air Density Chassis total heat removal is proportional to the mass of cooling air, which is also a function of air density. Since air density is maximum at sea level and low temperatures, these are the best conditions for ATR operation. Fans are constant volume devices that poorly compensate for reductions in air density except those expressly designed for high altitude applications. Military high altitude fans are able to move greater volumes of air at high altitudes, keeping the airflow mass approximately constant, otherwise an altitude correction factor is required. Fortunately, the negative effects of air density at high altitudes are compensated with lower air temperatures due to the atmospheric inverse gradient of temperature vs. altitude.

Effects of Card-Cage Airflow

Figure 3 MTBF benefits of chassis internal airflow on payload electronic components.

similar magnitude. Using formula: W = CFM x AADT (30°C)/1.76, obtaining a maximum theoretical power of 1,108W for 65 CFM and 9,545W for 560 CFM. These ideal high power dissipation values appear promising, but real-world results are far from these numbers because many airflow reduction coefficients apply, particularly affecting chassis with high airflow or multiple-fan assemblies (130/560 CFM). Fans installed in chassis will never generate their free-air CFM performance as specified by fan manufacturers. The first airflow reduction factor concerns chassis that install multiple fans operating in parallel. Fan pack assemblies of two 22

COTS Journal | August 2014

or four fans do not deliver two or four times greater CFM as fans compete for available volumes of air. Fan pack airflow reduction can be empirically calculated by measuring the free-airflow delivered by fan assemblies (installed in chassis panel). A Multiple Fan Airflow Reduction Coefficient (MFARC) can be obtained by dividing the CFM delivered by the fan pack by individual fan CFM x number of fans (CIA). Multiple Fan Airflow Reduction Coefficient (MFARC) = Fan Pack free-air measured CFM / (Single Fan free-air CFM x n). For a detailed look at four different thermal testing examples, see the Web-only sidebar “Four Thermal Testing Examples” in the online version of this article.

Chassis fans move volumes of air (CFM) that must be converted to air velocity (LFM) across heat exchangers or card-cage areas to provide effective cooling. Most SBC, DSP, or FPGA hot air-cooled Eurocards require a minimum of 200-300 LFM in order to prevent overheating. True military chassis should supply up to 600 LFM (or more) in payload slots. Conduction-cooled Eurocard dissipation can be improved by supplying linear air velocity in combination with chassis conduction-cooled slots, providing a complementary thermal path to module wedgelocks. In conclusion, all standard board formats can benefit from internal card-cage airflow (Figure 3). Sealed chassis internal air recirculation reduces Payload-to-Exhaust Airflow Delta-T, improving heat transfer between power dissipating payload and chassis internal “cold walls.” This increases heat exchanger efficiency, reduces amplitude of board hotspots, and benefits payload Delta-T. Sealed chassis card-cage recirculation fan packs should be positioned close to payloads to deliver high LFM slot airflow. Chassis should be designed with very low card-cage impedance to facilitate internal air recirculation and reduce fan load. Integrators may use blanking plates to direct high airflow to “hot” slots.

Thermal Testing Considerations Chassis tested in thermal chambers may display different results than chassis

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tested in a laboratory (open air, room conditions). Chambers equipped with internal air recirculation fans create a degree of forced airflow surrounding the sample enclosure, whereby providing appreciable cooling advantages with respect to chassis operating within static air environments (natural freeair dissipation). ATR chassis thermal data must be supplied by vendors under static air environmental conditions (laboratory).

The Chassis Thermal Resistance concept is similar to classic electronics engineering thermal resistance (heat sinks, power devices, resistors, hot chips, etc.). However, ATR chassis are thermodynamically complex, and depending on the employed cooling technique, enclosure external surfaces may be “hot” (passive Sealed chassis), “warm” (Open Chassis), or “ambient” (Heat Exchangers Chassis).

FOR THE MISSION Figure 4 Military 3U COTS Sealed Heat Exchanger ATR under test in thermal chamber.

ATR Chassis Thermal Results


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COTS Journal | August 2014

This section illustrates the Linear Thermal Testing (LT) results of CM Computer’s Sealed 3U VPX 5-slot chassis (Figure 4). The chassis has been loaded with five conduction-cooled resistive modules CM-LOAD20/3U, operating under 270W total electrical chassis power. Up to eleven temperature sensors have been distributed throughout the chassis card-cage and internal wall critical points. Three additional sensors measure internal air, ambient air and rear fan exhaust air temperature. The 3U chassis is fitted with 28 VDC A-475W PSU. Two rear fans are installed, specified for 65 CFM each (CIA = 130 CFM), measuring 73 CFM of Chassis Effective Airflow (CEA). Data obtained classifies this CM 3U ATR model for 250W applications (272W), with a Chassis Global Thermal Resistance (CGTR) of 0.11°C/W, operating within the strict military range (ΔT = 30°C). CM Computer Sevilla, Spain +34 95 425 31 16

SPECIAL FEATURE From Development Systems to Deployable Solutions

Pre-Integrated Systems Accelerate Test and Deployment With cost and development times under tremendous pressure to shrink, military system developers need to use every tool available to succeed. Technologies like pre-validated VPX systems help smooth the way. RJ McLaren, Kontron


omputing technologies and platforms integrated into today’s military systems represent an amalgamation of more than 25 years of successful experience working with technology advancements and application-specific modifications, based primarily on the proven VME computing standard. VME is still a predominant backplane technology, and has evolved to now support the latest x86 and FPGA processor architectures. Moving forward, however, further advancements may stall in many of these systems, which are not flexible or scalable enough to compete in today’s aggressive development environment. High-speed I/O is becoming essential, along with the ever-present and ongoing systems demands to meet SWaP, performance, communication bandwidth, low power, efficient cooling, standards compliance, rugged operation, interoperability and scalability requirements. Adding one more challenge, the DoD’s “Agile Acquisition Process” has been instituted to keep costs in check, and it mandates proof-of-concept (PoC) prototypes as part of a competitive contract award process.

Pre-Validated Platforms Pre-validated, microprocessor-based VPX platforms address this complex set of challenges—delivering high-performance parallel processing using mainstream technology 26

COTS Journal | August 2014


User Kernel


TCP/IP Stack


Ethernet D Driver

PCIe Hardware

Ethernet Hardware

Figure 1 VXFabric software simplifies and accelerates application development of inter-CPU communication in VPX system architectures. VXFabric also enabled migration to emerging hardware communication solutions in the embedded domain, such as 10G and 40G Ethernet.

such as PCIe Gen 3 and TCP/IP. With datacenter-like parallel servers offering extreme I/O and computing power, designers avoid the need for specialized code or assigning resources to FPGA development. The process using pre-validated VPX platforms also helps Defense OEMs keep in step with Agile Acquisition requirements by minimizing the cost and timeline associated with creating PoC prototypes. A full range of standards-based building block components adds even more flexibility—boards, development systems, rugged enclosures, integration and board support packages, and operating system support are essentially manufacturersupported tools that enable systems to be quickly lab tested and proven prior to application deployment.

Economic Realities of Military Design Military customers are less likely today to accept paper designs or even provide the funding for PoC development as they might have in the past. In turn, developers are now required to prove their system solutions before winning a design award, helping the DoD reduce risk and ultimately decrease costs. As a result of this shift, many companies competing for military program designs are using their own IRAD (Independent/Internal Research and Development) funds to develop working prototypes. These prototypes not


Figure 2

CPU and I/O performance. This “performance matching� is a benefit that is required in order to take next-generation sensor system applications to higher levels of functionality. Not only does VPX deliver very high I/O bandwidth across the backplane with open standard fabrics such as GETH, it also permits chassis to chassis communication using the same fabric. Application developers can use identical mechanisms to reach any pro-

cessor in the system regardless of the type of chassis or distance between them.

Disruptive Performance Breakthrough technology is being seen in VPX systems, adding to the appeal and viability of application-ready systems that can dramatically streamline system design and testing. Developers are stepping into an entirely new and unparalleled class of signal

StarVX is a pre-qualified Proof of Concept (PoC) platform for mil/aero system developers. StarVX enables prototyping and demonstrations, and it provides the capability to expand as application requirements and functionality needs evolve.

only demonstrate the capability of the system, but they also validate the ease of development and accurately reveal upgrade costs. Contractors must now compete using fielded demonstrators, production prototypes and even production systems, which can be daunting using IRAD funds. Costs have been curbed by moving from closed, proprietary solutions to open standard COTS solutions; design is more cost-effective through multi-vendor support and competition, as well as more simplified upgrade capabilities that maximize original software investments. COTS technologies are also critical due to the DoD’s strict adherence to its Open Systems Architecture (OSA) policy as a business and technical strategy for system design and modernization. At the same time, designs are pushing the limits of performance achievable with generic IT computing technology. For example, greater I/O requirements have designers looking beyond VME to more advanced COTS solutions such as VXS and now VPX-based embedded computing boards and platforms. VXS was not widely adopted because its supplier ecosystem did not expand enough to build complete application solutions for deployment. In contrast, VPX has now been adopted by many suppliers, offering a wide range of products that allow integrators to build competitive, complete application solutions. More importantly, the multi-gigabyte signal backplane incorporated into standardsbased VPX ensures the ratio alignment of COTS Journal | August 2014



Figure 3 6U VPX is used at the last step of application deployment, when all the computer architecture has been validated and needs to fit an existing 6U computer space. The VX6060 and VX6080 are dual CPU 6U VPX blades designed to target this type of later stage deployment.

processing applications by incorporating PCI 3.0 with microprocessor-based VPX systems. High-speed data processing is readily available because the full data plane bandwidth is no longer shared between boards. VPX connectors and backplanes capitalize on multi-gigahertz signals to enable the capability of one or more dedicated 10 Gigabit connections via Ethernet or PCIe. Kontron’s VXFabric software provides the bridge between this disruptive technology and applications that exchange data via gigabit Ethernet—enabling peer-topeer transfer and eliminating the need for a switch to achieve greater than 10 Gbit speeds (Figure 1). Using pre-validated VPX platforms enables designers to tap into their own extensive experience working with all the familiar technology utilized by these systems. Costly proprietary designs can be eliminated with standards-based deployments that are better protected against obsolescence with integrated generic IT technology such as x86, Linux, TCP/IP and PCIe. For developers in contract competition, PoC can be completed on mainstream IT servers and the system can deploy unmodified. This gives OEMs a significant competitive advantage by capitalizing on the platform’s massive I/O bandwidth and available IP sockets. Applications such as next-generation radar and sensor processing illustrate the types of environments that can benefit from these advancements in overall 28

COTS Journal | August 2014

performance, including the anticipated lifetime of the technology. For example, Kontron’s StarVX is one platform that supports multiple prototypes or system solutions. The StarVX system has been designed with the ability to scale to any size (Figure 2). It serves as a modular HPEC system built to accelerate design of varying prototype profiles, for instance, sensor signal and data processing, high-speed recording and 3D reconstruction applications. StarVX can be used to demonstrate feasibility by implementing just a portion of the application being evaluated for contract. Offering broad scalability, this type of system offers the option to upgrade to any number of processors based on the final application requirements. The initial prototyping investment is cost protected, even while it provides the ability to demonstrate what will eventually become the final system. Standards-based flexibility is the key; for example, StarVX runs Linux, reducing development time, allowing for growth and portability, and saving on initial software expenditures.

VPX Building Blocks It’s also important to remember that the processing power of today’s 3U boards is essentially greater than yesterday’s 6U products. This provides for a more dense computing solution, sensitive to demands of SWaP (Size, Weight and Power). For systems moving to VPX for the first time, 3U backplanes help scale back the complexity of the platform—offering fewer variants and more cross vendor compatibility because many of the issues are limited to the P1 and P2 connectors only. Cooling a 3U system is a much more efficient and easier task because there is less heat to remove. Lastly, 3U systems are inherently less expensive than 6U solutions (Figure 3). When applications expand, designers can typically add a board to the system for increased processing power. This flexibility allows designers to create a broad spectrum of solutions using rugged, pre-validated VPX components. For example, the Kontron 3U VPX PCI Express and Ethernet hybrid switch VX3905 is optimized to partner with a centralized backplane to efficiently handle a high bandwidth (Figure 4). Designers can access up to 24 ports with 32 lane PCI Express Gen 1 / Gen 2 switch-

ing as well as additional 9-port Gigabit Ethernet switching capabilities for the control plane. HPEC (High Performance Embedded Computing) systems benefit from a tenfold increase in I/O bandwidth between computing boards as compared to VME. To implement custom interfaces on a VPX system, designers can use a board such as the Kontron VX3830, a processor board with integrated FMC site, to develop their own IP using Xilinx tools. The result is a specifically designed FMC that easily accepts an FPGA image loaded from a flash drive. Development kits support the complex process, containing, for example, a sample FMC with wrapping areas, a simple FPGA IP and a Linux rpm with drivers, utilities and test programs. These kits allow non-regression tests and provide the base for customized derivative work.

Optimized Compilers Ease the Way Over time, software has evolved as significantly as hardware. A system today might efficiently distribute the load across the system, using, for example, six cards with two quad core processors to allow the software to fully utilize the multi-thread environment. Migration from restrictive proprietary OS options and communication software is essential in meeting competitive design goals, and systems are largely moving to open and more familiar standards such as Linux and TCP/IP. New software models are proving valuable in streamlining complex application design. For example, costs for development as well as system support are being reduced through the use of 4th generation compilers, specifically designed to automate selected portions of military applications. The software developer is freed from having to learn new hardware configurations to maximize performance on today’s modern architectures; the military customer is not locked into a single-source, customized solution. Costly and time-consuming manual coding, debugging and fine tuning of software is eliminated through the use of automated data flow design. Gedae’s !dea parallel compiler illustrates the process and is integrated with Kontron’s StarVX platform. Instead of compiling for a single processor, Gedae uniquely compiles for the complete StarVX system—reducing prototyping in-


Figure 4

performance, including one or more dedicated 10 Gigabit connections via Ethernet or PCIe; multi-gigahertz data processing is readily available because the full data plane bandwidth is no longer shared between boards. Overall, developers using these proven systems are able to capitalize on a winning set of optimized, cost-effective, flexible and open standards technologies such as VPX, Ethernet, Intel processors, Linux and integrated

The 3U VPX PCI Express and Ethernet hybrid switch VX3905 partners with the centralized backplane to efficiently handle a high bandwidth. It provides up to 24 ports with 32 lane PCI Express Gen 1 / Gen 2 switching and additional 9-port Gigabit Ethernet switching.

software compiler tools. The benefits from leveraging pre-qualified systems and longterm manufacturer support give defense contractors the critical ability to demonstrate credibility and field readiness to compete successfully in the PoC phase. Kontron Poway, CA (888) 294-4558

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vestments and accelerating design of the rest of the application. No resources or design effort is wasted at any point in the process, and development timelines can be reduced by as much as half.

Winning the PoC Phase Reducing costs, risk and design schedules provides a tangible advantage in the more demanding environment of Agile Acquisition. To compete, developers must rely on efficient complete systems that include hardware, development environment and OS—application-ready for fast testing and PoC (proof of concept). A generic IT architecture based entirely on open standards simplifies design and not only meets DoD business policies based on open standards, but it is also readily available in scalable, pre-qualified and modular platforms. These proven platforms provide cost-effective flexibility, enabling developers to quickly expand from a PoC prototype to the final application. Accessible systems such as Kontron’s StarVX allow multiple computer profiles, as well as ideal flexibility and scalability to add performance features or advance performance by upgrading to the latest CPU technology. Pre-integrated VPX platforms are also unleashing a new level of data processingbased applications—now providing the enabling high performance in demand for radar, sonar and general image processing. Developers can tap advanced datacenter-like

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TECH RECON Laptops and Tablets as Military User Interfaces

Laptops and Tablets Meet Military HMI Needs Rugged laptops, portable workstations and more recently tablets have become a convenient solution for the mobile user interface for many military systems. These devices are enabling the military to advance toward the goal of network-centric operations. Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief


Figure 1 The latest version of FliteDeck Pro features new departure and arrival runway depiction (SID and STAR) rendering on the enroute map to increase pilot situational awareness.

oday’s networked military has a multitude of platforms that require sophisticated graphical user interfaces. Often in the form of rugged laptops, workstations and display systems and even rugged tablets, these interfaces are how the warfighter gets the complex situational awareness data—maps, video, images and text—it requires, and also how they interface directly to military weapons platforms on networks. These technologies help enable what the U.S. military calls network-centric operations. The goal is toward a networked military, which means that every vehicle, every aircraft, every ship, every UAV and every soldier on the ground has the capability to share data, voice and even video with almost any level of the DoD’s operation. Both the military and commercial aerospace industries are taking consumer tablet products and outfitting them in rugged cases, while the DoD and the mil/aero technology suppliers have crafted a growing selection of apps to run on those tablets. Meanwhile, other human-machine interface (HMI) technologies like touchscreens are filling some of the same needs. And rugged laptops are the most common user interface for larger embedded computing systems.

mercial Aviation Services, offers operators an enhanced version of its industry-leading FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag (EFB) solution for iPad. New iOS 7-compliant features and functionality of FliteDeck Pro will help airlines and other large operators work more efficiently, with improved access to critical flight information and shared data between devices. The new Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro version features new departure and arrival runway depiction (SID and STAR) rendering on the enroute map to increase pilot situational awareness. A new “Flight Info Drawer” feature redesigns the previous Route Drawer to create, load, view and save the active flight data from either the terminal charts view or the enroute view. Pilots are also now able to create user-defined waypoints and comments to identify important points along the enroute map. New integration and collaboration capabilities such as app-to-app route sharing and the ability to now import flight plans from third-party flight planning systems, provides the right information to the pilot at the right time in support of flight preparation and execution needs.

iPad as Flight Info Device

For its part, ASIG (Avionics and Systems Integration Group) offers its flyTab Cockpit iPad app as a FREE download in the Apple

In an example of tablets used along such lines, Jeppesen, a part of Boeing Com30

COTS Journal | August 2014

FAA-Certified Solution


Figure 2 Rugged laptops provide a familiar and effective user interface for computing systems such as those that comprise the Army’s Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) program.

tion process. A military apps marketplace is being created to enable rapid innovation to meet user needs based on a direct collaboration between a vibrant and highly competitive development community and involved communities of end-users. Reportedly, the apps can do things like mapping, identify explosives and weapons, and set locations of parachute drops. DARPA has field tested some of its apps in Afghanistan using a small Dell Streak 5-inch tablet computer that has been DARPA hardened. Over a 1,000 soldiers in Afghanistan now use this technology as it continues to be rolled out to brigades.

Laptops as the User Interface App Store. flyTab Cockpit is an avionics test environment and simulator for the flyTab avionics platform. The flyTab platform is a combination of FAA-certified hardware and iOS software that allows iPads to connect to standard avionics buses of an aircraft while in operation via the Lightning or 30-pin connector of an iPad. It is also useful to gather and display data from the buses on the iPad and capture the avionics data in files for further off-aircraft analysis. When in test mode, Cockpit allows installers of flyTab hardware to verify the installation in the aircraft and conform aircraft systems and sensor data via the iPad user interface. The Cockpit application also offers both Quick Access Recorder (QAR) and simulation mode features. When in simulation mode, Cockpit allows the user to replay flight data from previously recorded Cockpit data files. This allows users to review aircraft sensor performance and pilot inputs. Simulation files can be stored and distributed over Wi-Fi, 4G, or existing air-ground datacom by any application that uses the flyTab SDK. The flyTab SDK is a native Apple Xcode project add-in.

Military Apps Roll Forward Feeding the growing trend toward mobile devices like tablets being used by the military, DARPA launched a new program a couple years ago called Transformative Apps. According to DARPA, the program’s purpose is to develop a diverse array of militarilyrelevant software applications (“apps”) using an innovative new development and acquisi-

Particularly in larger embedded computing systems, a rugged laptop serves as an ideal user interface. Either through Ethernet or some other cabling interface, the laptop is tied into computing elements in a ground vehicle, for example. For instance, the Army’s Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T), is a network for reliable, secure and seamless video, data, imagery and voice services for the warfighters in the theater to enable decisive combat actions. A rugged laptop provides the user interface, while powerful rugged box systems provide the computing in the form of high-end virtual servers. An example is General Micro Systems Tarantula (SO302 4-in-1). This conductioncooled, fully ruggedized, Secure Virtual Machine (SVM) server has six hardware-independent I/O modules. It was designed to replace multiple workstations using virtual machine technology, and it incorporates an enterprise-level Layer 2 or Layer 3 intelligent switch for high-speed connectivity. Similar systems from GMS have been used by the thousands in WIN-T installations, and the Tarantula was selected by the Army for the MRAP Night Vision program. According to GMS, it was chosen because the six virtual machines can control real-time video, defensive counter measures and other critical operations replacing the need for multiple separate computers.

Display-Based Rugged HMIs While rugged laptops and tablets in rugged cases meet a lot of needs, there’s still a lot of demand for purpose-built military human machine interfaces (HMIs). An exCOTS Journal | August 2014



pert in custom-designed HMIs, Jayco designs and manufactures rugged human-machine interfaces and custom enclosures for military displays that reduce SWaP, and meet or exceed MIL-STD-810 and MIL-STD-461, at lower cost than conventional methods. Rugged HMIs for ground vehicles, aircraft and marine applications are built to MIL-STD-1472 Human Engineering criteria, as required. Even smaller form factor

products like compact displays, personal equipment and mobile applications can be designed and manufactured to achieve high levels of ruggedness and durability in sleek, lightweight, low power designs. Jayco’s human-machine interfaces, control panels, and switch and display products can include conventional, sunlight-readable and NVIS (MIL-STD-3009) displays; enclosures, bezels and faceplates; rotary and pushbutton

Figure 3 Custom-designed human-machine interfaces and custom enclosures for military displays play a role when there are needs to reduce SWaP, and meet or exceed MIL-STD-810 and MIL-STD-461, at lower cost than conventional methods.

switches; and your choice of RS-232, USB, or other interface (Figure 3). As the military depends more on critical information sharing, the devices that display that information need to keep up with advancing with those demands. That means advanced graphics, video and displays on lightweight, affordable platforms. Fortunately the marketplace is responding to these ever growing military requirements. ASIG North Little Rock, AR (866) 890-2744 General Micro Systems Rancho Cucamonga, CA (909) 980-4863 Jayco Corona, CA (951) 738-2000 Jeppesen Englewood, CO (303) 799-9090


COTS Journal | August 2014

Why Should Researching SBCs Be More Difficult Than Car Shopping? Today’s systems combine an array of very complex elements from multiple manufactures. To assist in these complex architectures, ISS has built a simple tool that will source products from an array of companies for a side by side comparison and provide purchase support. INTELLIGENTSYSTEMSSOURCE.COM is a purchasing tool for Design Engineers looking for custom and off-the-shelf SBCs and system modules.


SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Space-Qualified Electronics and Subsystems

Single Event Upsets on ICs Cause Safety Challenges Single Event Upsets are an increasing danger as chips get denser. By understanding SEU identification and mitigation techniques, military system developers can ensure their designers are really safe. Ken O’Neill, Director of Marketing, Space and Aviation, Microsemi, SoC Group


ingle Event Upsets (SEUs) are a major reliability factor for military electronics systems, whether they are used in ground-based or airborne applications. SEUs can cause SRAM-based field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to lose their configuration and behave unpredictably, and mitigation schemes can limit but not prevent malfunctions. It is possible to avoid problems by using flash-based and antifuse FPGAs that are immune to these configuration upsets. An SEU is a change of state in a flip-flop or memory cell caused by charged particles striking a sensitive node in a microelectronic device. The consensus of system integrators, avionics manufacturers and major commercial aircraft manufacturers is that SEUs due to atmospheric neutron radiation pose a reliability threat to avionics. SEU effects are not limited to airborne applications, though. They are also problematic in such terrestrial applications as military weapons and communications systems that operate at ground level.

SRAMs the Most Vulnerable The devices most vulnerable to SEUs are SRAMs. This is due to the SRAM fabrication process. Their transistors are tightly packed within the memory cell, and the spacing between transistors continues to shrink with 34

COTS Journal | August 2014

Oxide Insulation

Incoming Charged Particle




N+ -+- + - -+ + -+ -+ +

N+ P Substrate

Depletion Region

Figure 1 Charged particle causes trail of ionization and current pulse. each new generation of memories, increasing the probability of a particle hit. As memory dimensions continue to decrease, upsets will increase. SEUs affect CMOS integrated circuits (ICs) in a two-step process. First, a charged particle passes through a field effect transistor (FET) depletion region and causes a cur-

rent pulse. This current pulse then causes a storage element such as a flip-flop or SRAM cell to change state (Figure 1). The most prevalent sources of SEUs in atmospheric and ground-based systems are atmospheric neutrons. Neutrons have no charge; however, when a neutron collides with a silicon atom in an IC, it causes the silicon nucleus to frag-


Logic Module

Routing Matrix

Incoming particle causes configuration error in Logic Module

Incoming particle causes configuration error in Routing Matrix Configuration error leads to ...

Configuration error leads to ... VCCA

misconnected signal


function change

misrouted signal


missing signal

Figure 2 When configuration upsets occur in an SRAM FPGA, they can persist until detected, with severe consequences. With flash or antifuse FPGAs, configuration upsets do not occur.

ment, ejecting charged ions into the IC. It is these secondary charged particles that cause the current pulse and subsequent change in state of the flip-flop or memory cell. In contrast, flash-based FPGAs use a flash structure with a significantly larger QCRIT (the critical charge needed to change the bias and, as a result, the state of the transistor) than that of an SRAM cell. The large QCRIT of flash-based FPGAs, combined with their more robust flash cell configuration as compared to bulk flash memory, enables them to withstand the charge deposited by the ion strike in or near the flash cell’s depletion region. SRAM FPGAs do not have this natural protective immunity.

Aviation As Well As Space In the past, stringent SEU protection requirements only existed in space applications. Now there are stricter SEU limitations in aviation applications, too. Designers realize that ground-level electronics are also affected by SEUs, and they must consider soft error rates (SER). Additionally, medical elec-

tronics, communications and network infrastructure, industrial automation equipment and automotive systems all face increasing demands for reliability and safety, and the ability to avoid threats from SEUs. In the avionics industry, the European Aviation Safety Agency has issued a certification memoranda (CM) clarifying the agency’s course of action on SEUs. The CM provides guidance on how to assess and address/mitigate the safety impact of both transient and permanent SEU effects on airborne electronic hardware. Similar guidelines are provided in the U.S. According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) DO-254 specification, titled Design Assurance Guidance for Airborne Electronic Hardware, a hardware safety assessment must be performed for airborne electronic hardware (AEH) as part of the design process. Another important group is the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which has established a certification program for electronic components, processes and related materials as part of the IEC Quality As-

sessment System for Electronic Components (IECQ). The group’s IEC 61508 document outlines requirements for the functional safety of electrical and/or electronic elements that are used to perform safety functions.

SEU Sources Terrestrial neutrons begin with galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) comprised mostly of high-energy protons originating in space. This radiation reacts with gases in the atmosphere to produce neutrons that penetrate deep into the atmosphere, ultimately reaching ground level. The amount of neutrons present—called the neutron flux density— varies with altitude, peaking at 60,000 feet but remaining significant even at ground levels. Neutron flux density also varies with latitude, and is six times higher at the poles than at the equator. This is important since neutron effects are often quoted at New York City, sea level, where the effects are much lower. In contrast, an airplane flying over the Arctic Circle will experience up to 2,000 times greater neutron effects. It is COTS Journal | August 2014



CRC Block or Soft Error Mitigation IP Gives FALSE data, though configuration memory is not corrupted

High Energy Neutron or Alpha Particle Cannot detect REAL configuration memory errors

Figure 3 SEU mitigation does not equal immunity.

impractical to block neutrons or attempt to shield ICs from them as they can penetrate several feet of concrete. Another radiation source is alpha particles resulting from radioactive decay

Sealevel COM Express solutions offer the advantages of a custom design with the convenience of COTS. Our extensive library of proven I/O circuits

emitted by naturally occurring isotopes with energies of 2 to 9 million electron volts (MeV). These isotopes are found in silicon wafers and integrated circuit packaging materials. Although these particles can be absorbed by very thin layers of material, packaging materials are so close to the silicon substrate that they can generate errors in flip-flops and SRAM cells, which can cause circuits to malfunction. While low-alpha mold compounds are increasingly being used, they can reduce but not eliminate alpha emissions.

enables custom carrier board design in record time. No matter what your application, we’ll build a complete COM Express system that can handle your most serious challenges. Visit or scan the QR code. • 864.843.4343 •


COTS Journal | August 2014

Consequences of SEUs There are two challenging SEU consequences for SRAM FPGAs: data upsets and configuration upsets. With data upsets, data is changed, but not permanently. Also known as soft errors, these upsets are caused by neutrons

or charged particles striking memory cells, registers or flip-flops (FFs) in FPGAs. The corrupted data bit is overwritten with correct data during the next clock cycle. Usually only a single bit is affected, but SEUs can also affect multiple bits. The upset rates worsen with advancing technology nodes, and the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) predicts that multiple-bit upsets (MBUs) will be the dominant soft error mode at the 28nm node. Fortunately, soft errors are easy to detect, easy to correct and easy to protect against. In many applications, single-bit data errors have only minimal consequences, and error correction encoding can be employed along with fail-safe design techniques to protect critical data paths. Configuration upsets are a different story (Figure 2). Configuration memory cells are used in the routing matrix to interconnect or configure logic blocks. If a configuration memory cell experiences an SEU, a configuration error will result and will persist until detected. The only way to ease the damage from SEUs is to use power cycling or advanced mitigation techniques, which vary from simple to complex depending on the type and critical nature of the application.

Mitigation Techniques The industry has attempted to minimize the adverse effects of SEUs on SRAM FPGA configuration memory cells through mitigation techniques. The simplest tech-


nique is scheduled device reconfiguration. With this approach, accumulated SEUs are cleared by reconfiguring the SRAM FPGA at regular intervals based on a determination of mean time between failures (MTBF). If an SEU in the configuration SRAM has occurred, the FPGA will misbehave and generate incorrect data until the reconfiguration process starts. Alternatively, a full device reconfiguration can be performed every time an SEU is detected. Each reconfiguration process can take 100s of milliseconds to complete, during which the FPGA will be unavailable. Additionally, the FPGA will be misbehaving during the finite time between the SEU occurring and the SEU being detected. Both of these mitigation techniques may cause unacceptable downtime for critical applications. A more complex approach is configuration memory scrubbing, which is implemented with SRAM FPGAs that feature built-in error detection and correction capabilities using cyclic redundancy checks (CRC). With this approach, a “monitor-

detect-correct” methodology is used. It can still take milliseconds to detect an SEU, during which time erroneous data continues to propagate. Plus, the CRC blocks themselves are not immune to SEUs, and the soft error mitigation intellectual property (IP) core is also vulnerable to a fatal error. One or both of these logic blocks can give false data, even though the configuration memory is not corrupted, and/or they may be unable to detect real configuration memory errors when they occur. It is important to understand that SEU mitigation does not equal immunity (Figure 3). Mitigation techniques can only correct errors and lessen their impact after they have occurred. There are no mitigation techniques that can completely protect SRAM-based FPGA devices from the effects of configuration SEUs. The only way to ensure immunity to configuration SEUs is to use an FPGA whose non-volatile configuration memory makes it invulnerable to SEUs. To understand how to indentify SEU-related failures, see the Web-only sidebar “Neutron



Testing and Failure Rates” in the online version of this article.

Flash and Antifuse Solutions SEUs continue to be a major reliability factor for today’s systems, with groundbased and airborne applications being especially vulnerable. While data upsets can be easily resolved with mitigation schemes, there is no way to prevent malfunctions related to configuration upsets in systems using SRAM-based FPGAs. For safety-critical, high-reliability and high-availability applications such as defense avionics and weapons systems, the only way to ensure immunity to configuration SEUs is by using FPGAs whose configuration is determined by flash cells or antifuse interconnects. Microsemi Aliso Viejo CA (949) 380-6100

expansion enclosures

Choose from a variety of options: ExpressCard, PCIe, or Thunderbolt connectivity package

1, 2, 3, 5, or 8 slots

Full-length (13.25”), mid-length (9.5” ), or short card (7.5” )

Half-height or full-height cards

36W, 180W, 400W, 550W or 1100W power supply


Flexible and Versatile: Supports any combination of Flash drives, video, lm editing, GPU’s, and other PCIe I/O cards. The CUBE, The mCUBE, and The nanoCUBE are trademarks of One Stop Systems, Inc. and the logo are trademarks of One Stop Systems, Inc. Thunderbolt and the Thunderbolt logo are trademarks of the Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.

COTS Journal | August 2014


TECHNOLOGY FOCUS COM Express Boards Roundup

COM Express Feeds Modular Computing and Graphics Needs By serving as a modular, upgradable computing and graphics core, the COM Express form factor is well positioned to gain military mindshare. Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief


hile the Computer-on-Module (COM) concept has been with us for some time, the emergence of COM Express was an important milestone for multiple reasons. COM Express adds high-speed fabric interconnects to the mix, enabling a complete computing core that can be upgraded when needed, leaving the application-specific I/O on the baseboard. Meanwhile, COM Express—in contrast to other COM standards like ETX, ITX and EBX—was conceived by an open standards effort and ratified by PICMG. Those other COM offerings are open, but they are creations of sole vendors. The continual progression of semiconductor integration means that a single computing module like COM Express will only get more powerful. Meanwhile the argument for a two-board solution—COM module and baseboard—only gets stronger as complete system electronics are possible on a single baseboard. With all that in mind, the mindshare COM Express can gain for military applications will keep increasing. When COM Express was created, the spec planned for the expansion of video and display capabilities, and it provides standard connector access for a variety of high-speed interfaces. COM Express is particularly useful in applications that require a lot of graphics and video display technology (Figure 1). The COM Express connector supports multiple 38

COTS Journal | August 2014

Figure 1 COM Express is particularly suited for applications centered around graphics and video display technology. An example is the Mission Command On the Move—a mission command equipment package—that’s integrated into Stryker platforms, shown here in the interior of an MRAP.

video interfaces including DisplayPort, VGA, SDVO, HDMI and DVI. This allows designers to take advantage of the latest graphics capabilities without having to worry about affecting performance.

COM Express provides an added advantage in that it enables users to deal with transitions from legacy connectors and offers native interface support for modern-day I/O interfaces. On top of offering more PCI Express and USB ports than PC/104-Express modules, additional connecters can be added for LAN, SATA, video, audio, USB and PCI Express, delivering maximum I/O flexibility to meet specific application requirements. Because signals don’t have to pass through multiple connectors, the signal integrity remains intact. A variety of processors are represented in the product Roundup displayed on the next couple of pages. Intel Atom and Core i7-based COM Express cards are well represented, along with ARM and Freescale PowerPC QorIQ processor-based offerings. Last year PICMG announced that they adopted the 2.1 revision of the COM Express specification. That revision added new features and module sizes, and helped ensure that COM Express modules are prepared for future processors and high-speed I/O evolution while accommodating backward compatibility with older modules. Significant enhancements of the COM Express Revision 2.1 specification include standardization of new and smaller module sizes, extended power supply range, and support of the latest graphics interfaces. USB 3.0 and CAN Bus support are also included.


COM Express Boards Roundup

Rugged Modules Offer Core i7/i5 4th-Gen CPUs and Conduction Cooling

Compact COM Express Type 6 with High Performance and Ultra Low Power

COM Express Mini Module Powered by Atom E3800 & Celeron N2930/J1900

A Type 6 Basic COM Express module offers a choice of Intel’s fourth-generation Core i7 or i5 (Haswell) CPU and Intel’s 8-Series QM87 PCH chipset, formerly known as Lynx Point. An innovative SODIMM hold-down method ensures secure connections while still allowing users to remove or upgrade the memory. The XCOM-6400 provides heat sink capabilities not available on traditional COM Express designs. Conduction-cooled rails establish a new design opportunity for carrier cards. Additional heat management technologies include heat spreader plates plus options such as cooling fins and a fan. The board supports up to 16 Gbytes of high-speed DDR3L available in 1 x 4 Gbyte, 2 x 4 Gbyte and 2 x 8 Gbyte configurations. Acromag offers a high-performance quad core i7 CPU (2.4 GHz, 47W) and more efficient dual core i5 CPU (1.6 GHz, 25W). For graphics, the module uses an Intel integrated graphics processor with support for a 3x digital display interface (DVI or DisplayPort) and eDP interface (x2). Audio is supported through an HDA interface. Other I/O interfaces include four SATA III ports (6 Gbit/s), a PEG / general-purpose PCIe x16 interface with bifurcation/ trifurcation support, four USB 3.0/2.0 ports and four USB 2.0 ports. A variety of model configurations start at $1,995.

A new COM Express Type 6 Compact size computer-on-module (COM) takes full advantage of the mobile fourth generation Intel Core processor ( formerly known as Haswell-ULT) to provide a compact, high-performance COM solution with outstanding graphics capabilities. The Adlink cExpress-HL features a mobile fourth generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 processor at 1.7 to 3.3 GHz with Intel HD Graphics 5000 (GT3), delivering up to 50 percent higher graphics performance than the previous generation graphics card, while still keeping thermal design power (TDP) under 15 watts. The small footprint of Intel’s system-on-chip solution allows it to fit onto the COM.0 R2.0 Type 6 Compact size form factor of 95 x 95 mm. Though small in size, the cExpress-HL provides rich I/O and wide-bandwidth data throughput: three independent displays (two DDI channels and one LVDS), four PCIe x1 or one PCIe x4 (Gen2), four SATA 6 Gbit/s, two USB 3.0 ports and six USB 2.0 ports. The cExpress-HL is equipped with Adlink’s Smart Embedded Management Agent (SEMA), which provides functions including watchdog timer, temperature and other board information monitoring, and fail-safe BIOS support—all to ensure system reliability. SEMA allows users to monitor and manage standalone, connected or remote systems through a Cloud-based interface. A COM Express Type 6 Starter Kit is also available.

A COM Express Mini Type 10 module features Intel Atom E3800 or Celeron N2930/ J1900 with significant CPU and graphics performance improvements. Measuring only 84 x 55 mm, the SOM-7567 from Advantech supports onboard memory up to 4 Gbytes and 64 Gbyte flash memory, making it a perfect fit for portable applications and rugged requirements. Based on Intel Atom E3800 Family or Celeron N2930/J1900 processors, the SOM-7567 is capable of providing 100% better CPU performance and five times faster graphic processing speed than previous generations. The model can support up to 15 simultaneous 1080p full-HD video decode for the surveillance industry, which requires multi-display solutions. Featuring business card-sized dimensions, SOM-7567 offers high performance with low power consumption. It has wide range voltage input from 4.75 ~ 20V and flexible options from one to four cores for selection. The small form factor platform makes it suitable for applications in medical, factory, or portable devices. The onboard flash and memory has anti-vibration features, ideally used in rugged solutions for the vehicle or transport market. Better yet, the advantage of graphic processing and media performance makes it excellent for multidisplay solutions in the surveillance industry. SOM-7567 also comes with Advantech SUSIAccess and API bundled for system integrators to centralize monitoring and management of all their embedded devices, and remote recovery if they fail.

Acromag Wixom, MI (248) 624-1541

FIND the products featured in this section and more at


COTS Journal | August 2014

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

Advantech Irvine, CA (949) 519-3800

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS | COM Express Boards Roundup

Type 6 COM Express Card Sports 3rd Gen Core i7

AMD Embedded G Series SOC “Steppe Eagle” Processor Rides COM Express

Rugged COM Express Module Sports Second Gen Intel Core i7

American Portwell Technology provides the PCOM-B632VG, a Type 6 COM Express Compact (95 mm x 95 mm) module based on the Intel Atom processor E3800 product family (5W~10W). The compact PCOMB632VG COM Express module supports up to 8 Gbytes of DDR3L 1066/1333 MT/s SDRAM on one 204-pin SODIMM socket. Its expansion interface supports four (max.) PCI Express x1 Gen2 (5.0 GT/s) for enhanced video performance and offers the flexibility to be configured to two x2 lanes or one x4 lane. In addition, it supports one high resolution display, DP (DisplayPort) or HDMI selectable to double 3D performance compared to its previous generation. When designing the PCOM-B632VG, we applied the successful modular computing concept of our COM Express form factor and came up with an even more compact, efficient and economical combination. The ultra-low-power Intel Atom processor E3800 family is housed on the PCOMB632VG module board. And in this way, Portwell was able to maximize ComputerOn-Module (COM) technology to produce a unit that not only outputs under 5W~10W for fanless applications, but also supports a wide -40° to 85°C industrial temperature range. The PCOM-B632VG conserves scarce energy resources, minimizes carbon impact and keeps its energy budgets under control.

Congatec has expanded its Qseven and COM Express product range with modules based on 2nd generation AMD Embedded G-Series SOC (System-on-Chip) processors. Compared to the current AMD Embedded G-Series SOC platform, they provide higher performance and a lower power draw thanks to an improved Jaguar+ CPU architecture and AMD Radeon 8000 graphics core. Graphics engine speed has been increased up to 800 MHz and the DDR3 interface up to 1866 MT/s. A new function of the G-Series includes Core Boost Frequency to ensure appropriate processor overclocking. Depending on the design, the module comes with up to 4 Gbytes of ECC DDR3L RAM to allow for the correction of single and double bit errors. The integrated AMD Radeon graphics supports DirectX 11.1 and OpenGL 4.2 for fast 2D and 3D image display. OpenCL 1.2 is also supported, enabling the execution of program code by the GPUs. The range of available graphics interfaces includes LVDS and DisplayPort 1.2 as well as DVI/ HDMI 1.4a for the direct control of two independent displays. The Qseven modules support 1x USB 3.0 SuperSpeed and 5x USB 2.0 ports, while the COM Express Compact modules provide 2x USB 3.0 SuperSpeed and 8x USB 2.0 ports. Both module families provide up to four PCI Express x1 Gen 2 lanes, two SATA 3 Gbit/s ports and a Gigabit Ethernet interface. The congatec board controller, ACPI 3.0 CPU power management and high-definition audio complete the feature set.

Dynatem is shipping the CPU-162-14, a high-performance COM Express module based on the Core i7. The CPU-162-14 is designed to operate in harsh environments and features an extended temperature range, making it ideal for industrial projects. The CPU and ECC memory are direct mounted, which provides extra resilience to vibrations. The main features of the CPU-162-14 are extended temperature versions for -40° to +85°C operation, direct mounted RAM and CPU to withstand stress and vibration, and an Intel second generation Core i7 and i5, dual and quad core. The board offers up to 8 Gbytes DDR3 SDRAM with ECC support for high reliability. With a Basic Module form factor, the CPU-162-14 packs a large number of peripherals in a very compact design: Gigabit Ethernet, four SATA, eight USB, three video ports, x16, x4 and two x1 PCI Express and PCI. The card has a Type 2 pinout, COM Express Basic form factor. Three video ports support VGA, SDVO and LVDS. Support is provided for Windows 7, Windows Embedded Standard 7 and Wind River Linux.

American Portwell Fremont, CA (510) 403-3399

Congatec San Diego, CA (858) 457-2600

Dynatem Mission Viejo, CA (800) 543-3830

FIND the products featured in this section and more at

COTS Journal | August 2014


TECHNOLOGY FOCUS | COM Express Boards Roundup

Rugged COM Express Module Boasts Small Size, High Performance

Rugged Type 6 COM Express Module Sports PowerPC QorIQ CPU

Module Pair Serves up Atom E3800 and Celeron N2900/J1900 Processors

A conduction- or air-cooled Mini COM Express module (55 mm x 84 mm) supports the Freescale QorIQ P2041 quad-core processor. The XPedite5650 from Extreme Engineering Solutions includes a quad-core processor, 4 Gbyte of memory, a ruggedized design, and is less than 7.2 square inches. It can thus provide the processing subsystem for a wide range of industrial, communications and military applications where size, weight and power (SWaP) are critical. Designed and tested for harsh military, aerospace and industrial environments, the XPedite5650 includes enhancements above and beyond commercial COM Express modules. It provides a rugged and reliable COTS processor mezzanine solution that is designed and tested for operation from -40° to +85°C. Soldered-down memory replaces less rugged/reliable SO-DIMMs, and the module utilizes a tin-lead manufacturing process to mitigate tin-whisker effects. The RoHS-compliant process is also available. The QorIQ P2041 processor with four PowerPC e500mc cores at up to 1.5 GHz comes with 2 Gbyte or 4 Gbyte of up to DDR3-1333 ECC SDRAM, one x2 and two x1 PCI Express interfaces, two Gigabit Ethernet ports (one 1000BASE-T and one 1000BASE-X), two serial ports, two USB 2.0 ports and two SATA 3.0 Gbit/s ports. Linux, Wind River VxWorks and Green Hills Integrity BSPs are available. Other RTOS solutions may be available on request.

GE Intelligent Platforms offers the bCOM6-P1100, which expands GE’s COM Express portfolio by adding a Freescale PowerPC processor, and also takes advantage of GE’s expertise in the optimization of thermal performance. GE specifically selected onboard components for their reliability in demanding conditions, and unlike solutions designed for benign environments, processor and memory are soldered to the board for maximum resistance to shock and vibration. Extended mechanical construction protects the module, which is designed for optional conformal coating for even greater resistance to moisture, dust, chemicals and temperature extremes. The small form factor of the COM Express architecture is attractive to organizations looking to deploy embedded computing in constrained environments, while its separation of processor and carrier board allows simple, cost-effective upgrades that enable optimum operation to be maintained, minimize re-qualification costs, maximize asset performance and decrease lifetime cost of ownership. For OEMs and systems integrators looking for solutions that deliver high performance coupled with low power consumption, the bCOM6-P1100 offers a range of two Freescale PowerPC QorIQ processor options, with performance between 800 MHz and 1.2 GHz (x2) and power consumption between 3.5W and 13.0W. Up to 8 Gbyte of DDR3 SDRAM with ECC can be configured, allowing the most demanding applications to be deployed.

Kontron offers two COM Express compact Computer-on-Module families with Intel Atom E3800 series processors and Intel Celeron N2900 / J1900 series processors. The standard design of the COM Express compact modules—Kontron COMe-cBT6— supports the entire portfolio of the Intel Atom E3800 processors (COMe-cBTi6) and Intel Celeron processors N2900 and J1900 (COMe-cBTc6), whereby the E3800 variants are designed for the extended temperature range of -40° to +85°C. The memory of up to 2x 4 Gbyte has been laid out as dual-channel DDR3L SODIMM. With eMMC Flash, SD card slot and 2x SATA, ample storage options for OS and application code are available. Substantial USB support is also offered with 1x USB 3.0 and up to 8x USB 2.0. The Kontron COMe-cBTi6R comes with an especially robust design and is tailored to suit shock- and vibration-proof mobile and stationary applications as well as the extended temperature range of -40° to +85°C. It is exclusively equipped with Intel Atom E3800 family processors and soldered RAM. According to the different requirements of real-time controllers or memory-hungry HMIs, either up to 4 Gbytes of DDR3L with ECC or up to 8 Gbytes of DDR3L without ECC is available. The support of Rapid Shutdown offers an extremely fast shutdown of a computer system to minimize the risk of system or data tampering in missioncritical applications. Any peripherals can be connected via 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB OTG, 8x USB 2.0 or 4x PCIe x1.

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


COTS Journal | August 2014

GE Intelligent Platforms Charlottesville, VA (800) 368-2738

Kontron Poway, CA (888) 294-4558

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS | COM Express Boards Roundup

High Performance Computing Integrated into Rugged COM Express

Low Power COM Express Module Provides Advanced Graphics

Type 6 COM Express Card Supports -40° to +85°C Temps

MEN Micro offers the CB70C, a highperformance, Intel Core i7-based Rugged COM Express module for robust, missioncritical operations. The CB70C’s VITA 59: RCE design combines with advanced Intel processors to provide state-of-the-art PC technology in a rugged small form factor with scalable performance using 1, 2 or 4 processing cores, depending on system requirements. The Intel Core i7 family provides a core frequency of up to 1.2 GHz and a Turbo Boost frequency of 3.1 GHz. The new module offers a number of I/O interfaces including PCI Express, LVDS, DDI, VGA, HD audio, SATA, Ethernet and USB for exceptional flexibility in system design. The board boasts up to 16 Gbytes of directly soldered main memory and supports other memory like USB Flash on the carrier board. The CB70C is compatible with COM Express Basic modules of pin-out Type 6. VITA 59 RCE: Rugged COM Express, currently in preparation, ruggedizes the common and well-accepted computer-on-module concept to enable this cost-effective technology to be employed in harsh environments and applications. Embedded in a conductioncooled cover and frame with a thermal connection to the PCB, the CB70C operates over a wide temperature range of -40°C to +85°C. This secure cover also provides 100% EMC protection as well as resistance to high levels of shock, vibration, dust, humidity and chemicals. Pricing for the CB70C is $2,125.

A new COM Express module family is based on the AMD Embedded G-Series system-onchip (SoC) platform. The Type 6 MSC C6C-GX computer-on-modules from MSC Embedded offer a powerful graphics and multimedia performance with low power dissipation. The family will be available with four different quad-core and dual-core processors: AMD GX-420CA (2.0 GHz, 25W TDP) and AMD GX-415GA (1.5 GHz, 15W TDP) with four CPU cores each and dual-core variants with AMD GX-217GA (1.65 GHz, 15W TDP) and AMD GX-210HA (1.0 GHz, 9W TDP). 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, VC1, 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. The COM Express MSC C6C-GX modules support two independent displays. These can be connected via Digital Display Interface (DP 1.2, DVI, HDMI 1.4a) with resolutions of up to 4096 x 2160, an Embedded DisplayPort 1.3 with 2560 x 1600, LVDS or VGA. Flexible connectivity is assured by three PCI Express x1 channels, PCI Express graphics (PEG) x8, two USB 3.0 and six USB 2.0 ports; LPC, and Gbit Ethernet. Interfaces to HD audio, a microSD card socket and two SATA interfaces at up to 3 Gbit/s are available. The main memory can be expanded to 16 Gbyte dual-channel DDR3-1600 SDRAM via two SO DIMM sockets.

The CEQM87 Type 6 Compact COM Express module from Radisys features the quad core performance of the 4th Generation Intel Core processor ( formerly codename Haswell). This 95 mm x 95 mm module is ideal for compute intensive applications such as medical imaging, communications, military–aerospace and test and measurement applications that require high levels of processing performance in a small space. The COM Express R2.1-compliant Type 6 pin-out enables customers to take advantage of modern interface technology such as DisplayPort, PCI Express Gen2 & Gen3, USB 3.0, and SATA 6G storage. Rich media content can be delivered via up to three independent displays. The Intel CPU, built on 22nm 3D transistor technology, provides breakthrough compute and graphics performance to keep up with the demanding workloads of modern embedded systems. The CEQM87 supports Intel vPro Technology, including Intel AMT for remote manageability, VT for virtualization and TXT for trusted boot, ensuring a solid platform for securely managed systems.

MEN Micro Ambler, PA (215) 542-9575

MSC Embedded Computer Technology San Bruno, CA (650) 616-4068

RadiSys Hillsboro, OR (503) 615-1100

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COTS Journal | August 2014




FIND the products featured in this section and more at

Networked Modules Serve Virtualization, Clustering and Cloud Needs Themis Computer announced the addition of system management and networking modules for their Intel-based RES-XR4 high-density (HD) server product line. The new Themis Resource Manager and Mellanox-based, high-speed switch modules add new network facing functionality, minimizing the number of network interconnects and administrative effort required to scale high-density, integrated server and storage systems. The RES-XR4-Switch module occupies one of four HD chassis slots with a 12-port, managed 56 Gbit/s InfiniBand VPI SDN/40GBe switch system that delivers up to 1.3 Terabits/s of non-blocking bandwidth and 200ns port-to-port latency. The Switch module enables data centers to scale out with Fourteen Data Rate (FDR) Infiniband. Mellanox switching technology provides industry-leading performance, power and density. The Themis Resource Manager (RES-XR4-TRM) module is an out-of-band resource management system that occupies one of four HD chassis slots. The Resource Manager Module provides 14 ports that enable remote, independent initialization, administration and monitoring of the health and environment of up to 14 HD modules, RES servers, or related computing infrastructure equipment. The Resource Manager provides KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) functionality over IP to provide access to the console of any attached server for complete in-band control of that system. Multiple KVM windows to different machines may be open and operating concurrently. Featuring four chassis slots and enhanced reliability features, the 2U RES-XR4-HD system chassis houses stand-alone, hot-pluggable processor, storage (HDS, HDFS and HDS8), high-speed switching and system management module options. Customers can combine different module types to define system functionality and meet their requirements. Designed with leading-edge components that include Intel Xeon E5 2600 V2 Series processors and Supermicro motherboards, processor modules support up to three 56 Gbit/s InfiniBand (IB) or 40 Gbit Ethernet ports to provide industry-leading I/O bandwidth. Themis Computer, Fremont, CA (510) 252-0870.

Line of Military COTS Quarter Bricks Delivers up to 300W

Rugged Embedded Computer Serves Rackmount SWaP Needs Crystal Group has announced the release of the RS111S13 Rugged Embedded Computer. The shallow depth computing system is ideal for rackmount applications in tight confines like airborne command centers, unmanned vehicles, submarines, ships, server rooms and process control centers. Weighing between 6-14 lbs. dependent on configuration requirements, the unit has a short 13” chassis depth and offers standard rackmounting options. The RS111S13 is fanless and features an exceptional operating temperature range of -15° to +55°C with rotational media and -40° to +55°C with solid state hard drives. Compact construction of the RS111S13 supports two removable 2.5” SATA drives or one 3.5” HDD, one mini PCIe w/mSATA internal slot, two Ethernet ports, two front USB ports, up to four back USB ports, up to four Ethernet ports, DVI/I or VGA, HDMI, and VESA display port. The unit also offers low-power AC or DC options for environmental flexibility. FIND the products featured in this section and more at


Crystal Group, Hiawatha, IA. (319) 378-1636.

COTS Journal | August 2014

SynQor has released its Military COTS EXA Series of isolated and fully regulated DC-DC Converters. This new EXA Series offers up to 300W of power in a quarter brick package. These highly efficient (95 percent at full load), high power density DC-DC converters have a 28V nominal input voltage (1640 Vin range with a 50V transient for 1 second). They are offered in five different output voltages: 5V, 12V, 15V, 28V and 50V. Each output voltage has a wide trim range of +10 to -50 percent. The converters also feature a fixed switching frequency that provides for predictable EMI performance. SynQor’s new quarter bricks are designed to meet MIL-HDBK-704, MIL-STD-1275 and MIL-STD-461 when paired with SynQor’s MCOTS EMI filters. The Mil-COTS product line has also been qualified to MILSTD-810. This ruggedized encased package with an industry standard pin out is ideal for meeting the Military’s “Size, Weight and Power” (SWaP) requirements. The EXA Series converter is a leading embodiment of SWaP in DC-DC brick power technology. The device measures 1.54- x 2.39- x 0.50 inches and weighs 3.3oz. SynQor, Boxborough, MA. (978) 849-0600.


Product Trio Meets a Variety of Military Power Needs Pico Electronics recently announced three new products designed to answer the ever-changing needs of military system design engineers. The AC3 is an AC-DC module with a 3-phase input and output from 5 VDC to 300 VDC in a single brick design with up to 300W ratings. The HiQP module offers a higher and wider input range of 125 VDC to 475 VDC in our compact ¼ brick design, with isolated DC output voltages from 5 VDC to 200 VDC and power ratings up to 50W. The DC-1 is a higher power series that can offer an input voltage of 120 VDC to 370 VDC with isolated output voltages to 300 VDC. PICO Electronics, Pelham, NY. (800) 431-1064.

FMC Board Sports Dual 500 Msample/s A/D Channels Innovative Integration has announced the FMC500, a high-speed digitizing and signal generation FMC IO featuring two 500 MSPS A/D channels. The module also provides a dual-channel 1230 MSPS DAC plus ultra low-jitter PLL sample clock and triggering features. Support logic written in VHDL is provided for integration with FPGA carrier cards. Software tools for Innovative carrier cards are included at no charge and provide C++ libraries and drivers for Windows and Linux, 32 or 64-bit. The FMC500 provides the basis for applications such as Wireless Receiver and Transmitter, Radar and High Speed Data Recording and Playback. The FMC-5000 module features sample clocks and timing and controls as well as an external clock/reference input. The module is compliant with VITA 57.1 and offers conduction-cooling per VITA 20 subset. Power is 11.5 W typical (with AC-coupled inputs). Environmental ratings include +40° to +85°C temperatures and 9g RMS sine, 0.1g2/Hz random vibration.

16-Channel 250 MHz Data Acquisition Card Rides PCI Express 4DSP today announced the release of a PCI Express product featuring the Xilinx Kintex-7 combined with 16 A/D channels at 250 Msamples/s. The PC768 is designed for a variety of applications, including Software Defined Radio (SDR) and wideband waveform processing. The PC768 adds to 4DSP’s PCIe FPGA card data acquisition product catalog. It is ready to use right out of the box and is well-suited for speeding design to production for both the industrial and defense markets. The card supports PCIe Gen2 x8/4-lane and PCIe Gen3 x4 (softcore). Memory includes 1 Gbyte DDR3 SDRAM and 32 Gbyte Micro SD Flash. 4DSP, Austin, TX. (800) 816-1751.

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

Processor XMC Brings ARM to Harsh Environments GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the rugged XMCM01 SBC in the XMC form factor. Based on the Marvell ARMADA XP (Extreme Performance) series of multicore processors, the XMCM01 is designed to deliver high performance in a broad range of harsh environments, especially in military/aerospace, in which size, weight and power (SWaP) are highly constrained such as small form factor C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence) applications. \The XMC form factor provides customers with maximum flexibility, enabling them to create purpose-designed carrier boards for unique applications, and take advantage of a “drop in” processing capability. Because the XMCM01 is offered with a range of CPU core and memory options, it allows for a highly modular, upgradable design that enables straightforward technology insertion, or for the same carrier board to feature different levels of processing power according to the demands of the application. Optionally available, to make customer development easier and less expensive, and allow the final solution to be brought to market in the shortest time possible, is the MCC601 6U CompactPCI carrier card. The Marvell ARMADA XP CPU is equipped with up to four ARMv7-compliant 1.6 GHz CPU cores and 2 Mbytes L2 cache. With advanced power management and waking options, this CPU enables the XMCM01 to maintain a high level of performance within a low power envelope. The XMCM01 provides up to 2 Gbytes of DDR3 SDRAM with ECC, x4 PCI Express via the P15 connector, a wide range of I/O via the P16 connector (with an option for I/O on the P14 connector for PMC users), three 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet ports, three RS-232/422 UARTS, two Serial ATA (SATA) ports, three USB 2.0 ports and eight GPIO ports. GE Intelligent Platforms, Charlottesville, VA. (800) 368-2738.

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COTS Journal | August 2014



Wide-Screen Rackmount HD TFT LCDs Feature Rugged Design Chassis Plans has announced its latest military-grade rackmount LCD, the CPX2-173. Designed to meet military standards 901D and 810G, the CPX2-173 5052-H32’s aluminum construction and locking stainless steel hardware are inherently rugged and reliable. Rackmount ears are securely screwed to the sides of the display body and can be removed, allowing the monitor to be used with a VESA mount, panel mount or bulkhead mount. The CPX2-173 is offered with two 17-inch LCD displays: standard brightness and high-bright sunlight readable. Both are high- performance, long-life TFT LCDs offering a maximum native resolution of 1920x1080. The displays offer an optional optically bonded 3 mm Dura Block 90 anti-reflective overlay glass. In addition, an optional laminated 1.1 mm soda lime glass with an ITO conductive EMI filter and an additional 1.1 mm soda lime glass overlay with an anti-reflective (AR) coating can be provided. Both glass components are optically bonded to each other and to the front of the display, for superior viewing clarity and overall ruggedness. A 6 mm copper bus bar surrounds the entire glass stack-up and provides consistent grounding. A contrast ratio of approximately 1300:1 is delivered with this ITO/anti-reflective glass stack-up. Both displays provide 0° to 70°C operation and -20° to 70°C storage. Chassis Plans, San Diego, CA. (858) 571-4330.

Redundant CompactPCI PlusIO SBC Offers Safe Operations

25-Watt 1 x 1-Inch DC/DC Converter has 2:1 Input

MEN Micro offers a SIL 4 certified, redundant CompactPCI PlusIO SBC for the safe operating systems required in railway applications—overlapping with the requirements of military needs. Incorporating three 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processors and a safe QNX operating system, the new COTS-based F75P provides onboard functional safety. With both fail-safe and failsilent architectures, the rugged SBC ensures safe computing during normal operation as well as when potential failures or faulty data are present. Each of the two control CPUs offers independent 512 Mbytes of DDR2 RAM memory. The I/O processor offers 1 Gbyte of DDR2 as well as 8 Kbits of non-volatile FRAM for logging system events, such as reset, over and under voltage and excessive temperatures.

ConTech has announced the “QMS” Series of DC/DC converters. The QMS Series offers up to 25 watts of fully regulated output power. The series offers a 2:1 input range with nominal input voltages of 12, 24 and 48 VDC. Single outputs offered are 3.3, 5, 12 and 15 VDC. Dual outputs are +/-12 and +/-15 VDC. The footprint used on the 1 x 1-inch package is the same as that of an industry standard 1 x 2-inch, thereby offering a space-saving alternative. The QMS Series operates with efficiencies as high as 90 percent. Features include Remote On/Off, Output Trim and Short Circuit Protection. The operating ambient temperature range of the QMS is -40° to +50°C with no de-rating. ConTech, Concord, CA. (925) 609-1193. www.contech-us.comConTech

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

Mission Computer Embeds Core i7 SBCs and Virtex-7 FPGA Engines Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions has introduced a new fully integrated, ITAR-free compact mission computer, the MPMC-9365 Multi-Platform Mission Computer (MPMC). The compact, SWaP-optimized MPMC-9365 supports up to three small form factor Intel Core i7 3rd Generation 2.1 GHz Quad-Core processor-based Curtiss-Wright VPX3-1257 3U OpenVPX single board computers (SBCs) to deliver 400 GFLOPS of compute power. It can also be configured with up to two VPX3-530 Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA 4 Gsample/s ADC/DAC 3U VPX modules that deliver an aggregate performance rated at 10 TMACS. To support high-speed data transfers across its six available slots, the compact system supports Gen 2 PCIe and Ethernet switching. For customers that require a Power Architecture-based system, the MPMC-9365 can be built using those Curtiss-Wright SBCs that feature a common pinout with the VPX3-1257, depending on the required I/O. To ensure optimal performance under the harshest deployed conditions, circuit cards installed in the MPMC-9365’s system enclosure are isolated from external environmental conditions such as humidity, dust and sand. Cooling is accomplished by thermal transfer between the card edges of the system’s conduction-cooled 3U VPX cards and the side walls of the enclosure. Heat is removed from the system’s interior via an integral speed-controlled fan. EMI filters and gaskets are also employed to ensure FIND the products featured system security and increased reliability. in this section and more at


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

COTS Journal | August 2014


PRODUCT GALLERY PC/104-Plus Watchdog Board

Raptor Rugged COTS System

• Software selectable timeout from 4 µsec • Watchdog open collector reset outputs • Temperature measurement, monitor, and alarm • Light sensor for enclosure security • Fan status and speed control • Extended temperature (-40°C to +85°C) • PCI/104 power monitor / limit alarm interrupt • Opto-isolated input to trigger reset

Diamond’s Raptor COTS computer system features a rugged SBC with the 2.1GHz Intel Core i7-3612QE CPU housed in a sealed aluminum enclosure. A full suite of I/O, including on-board data acquisition, provides the connectivity for most applications. A wide operating temperature, high resistance to shock and vibration, and wide voltage input enables Raptor to excel in vehicles or harsh environments.

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

Diamond Systems Phone: (650) 810-2500 Email: Web:


The RPCS-001

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

The RPCS-001 is a highly portable rugged computing system contained in a hardened shock proof enclosure. It is ideal for applications that need to be rapidly deployed in the field. The embedded computer uses an Intel Core i7 with 8 GB of memory. External I/O include GbE, USB and display ports. The system supports both removable and internal drives. The internal expansion slots allow additional I/O features and rapid customization.

ACCES I/O Products, Inc.

LCR Embedded Systems

Phone: (858) 550-9559 Email: Web:

Phone: (800) 747-597 Email: Web:

ADLE3800PC - Intel® E3800 Series PCIe/104 SBC

NIU1A – NANO Interface Unit with optional processing

• Intel® E3800 Series SoC Processors, DC/Quad • Up to 8 GB DDR3L-1333, 1.35V SoDIMM204 Socket • Type 2 Downward-Stacking PCIe/104 V2.01 with 2x Gen2 PCIe x1 Lanes • 4x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 2x Serial COM • 2x SATA 3 Gb/s, 2x GLAN Ethernet • PCI Express Mini Card 1.2 Socket, Compatible with Mini PCIe or mSATA Modules Phone: (858) 490-0597 Fax: (858) 490-0599 Email: Web:

• Optional ARM Cortex™-A9 Dual Core 800 MHz Processor • 512 MB DDR3L SDRAM • 4 GB SATA II NAND Flash (up to 32 GB option) • 2x 10/100/1000 Base-T Ethernet • 40+ Intelligent I/O or Comms functions • Commercial or Rugged applications

North Atlantic Industries, Inc. Phone: (631) 567-1100 Fax: (631) 567-1823 Web:

CM1-86DX2 PC/104 Single Board Computer

PCIe/104 Dual-Slot Mini PCIe

• Ultra low power, DM&P Vortex86DX2 SoC • Full ISA bus support • 512MB/1G onboard DDR2 memory • 2x Ethernet ports • 8x GPIO • VGA and 18/24-bit single channel LVDS • HD Audio for CM1-86DX2-1G version • PCI Express Mini Card and optional MicroSD slot

• IM35100HR • Stackable PCI Express (PCIe/104) • 2 Onboard mini PCI Express card slots • Accommodates full and half cards • For use with third-party MIL-STD-1553, CAN, frame grabber, and other mini PCIe modules • Custom designs and enclosures available • -40 to +85°C operating temperature

ADLINK Technology

RTD Embedded Technologies, Inc.

Phone: (408) 360-0200 Email: Web:

Phone: (814) 234-8087 Email: Web:

Save SWaP-C... New High-Channel Mix XMC

Quad Core PC/104 Processor –VL-EPMe-30

Universal embedded avionics I/O solution delivers SWaP-C savings and advanced, dependable performance. Flexible Multi-Protocol, High Density Data Bus Solution… • Saves Space, Weight, Power & Cost (SWaP-C) • One Card Replaces Many… MIL-STD-1553, ARINC 429, ARINC 717, RS-232/422/485 Serial I/O, CANbus 2.0/ARINC 825, Discrete I/O • P/N: BU-67118

High performance / low power optimized Bay-Trail quad core Atom design. • Single and dual-core versions available • Industrial temp (-40° to +85°C) • Fanless versions • PC/104 form factor • Ultra-high reliability • 5-year warranty

Data Device Corporation

VersaLogic Corporation

Phone: 1 (800) DDC-5757 Email: Web:

Phone: (503) 747-2261 Email: Web:\Bengal1

AS9100 & ISO 9001 Certified

COTS Journal | August 2014



ADVERTISERS INDEX GET CONNECTED WITH INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS SOURCE AND PURCHASABLE SOLUTIONS NOW Intelligent Systems Source is a new resource that gives you the power to compare, review and even purchase embedded computing products intelligently. To help you research SBCs, SOMs, COMs, Systems, or I/O boards, the Intelligent Systems Source website provides products, articles, and whitepapers from industry leading manufacturers---and it's even connected to the top 5 distributors. Go to Intelligent Systems Source now so you can start to locate, compare, and purchase the correct product for your needs.


Company Page# Website

Company Page# Website

Acces I/O Products, Inc.......................18..................................



One Stop Systems, Inc. ....................25,

Ballard Technology, Inc........................29.......................

Phoenix International Systems, Inc. .....4............................

Cots Product Gallery............................49.........................................................

Pico Electronics, Inc............................13.................

Curtiss-Wright, Corp...........................39....................

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

Extreme Engineering


GE Intelligent Platforms......................19............................





TE Connectivity Ltd.............................21..............................................

Intelligent Systems Source..................33..

Interface Concept................................31..............

Trenton Systems, Inc.

Mercury Systems, Inc. .........................7..................................

WinSystems, Inc.

Milcom 2014........................................49............................... 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: Open Architecture Computing in Navy Modernization Programs

Military shipboard computing systems have quite different requirements than their air- and land-based counterparts. In today’s modernization programs space is usually less of an issue, but the goals of highly automated systems and advanced ISR gear keep the demand for compute density high. When the goal is to pack as much compute density into a system as possible, it’s hard to beat a rackmount blade computer architecture. Rackmount systems, ATCA and other bladed solutions are attractive. This section looks at the technology trends of some of the key Navy modernization programs.

Tech Recon: VPX, VXS and VME FPGA Boards in Radar and SIGINT Once used merely as glue-logic, FPGAs are now complete systems on a chip. And now that many of them even have general purpose CPU cores on them, the military is hungry to use FPGAs to fill processing roles. As the signal processing capabilities of FPGAs continue to climb, they’ve become key enablers for waveform-intensive applications like sonar, radar, SIGINT and SDR. This feature section delves into the VPX, VXS and VME solutions available in this area and explores how they’re transforming military processor-based systems.


COTS Journal | August 2014

System Development: Situational Awareness Technologies in Airborne Platforms

Airborne platforms—ranging from UAVs to helicopters to advanced reconnaissance planes—do a lot of the heavy lifting for today’s military situational awareness capabilities. With radar and other sensor technologies, these platforms share data with information critical for warfighters. This section explores the display, computing and networking technologies that are all a part of airborne situational awareness systems.

Tech Focus: EBX, ETX and ITX SBCs

The magic of the semiconductor integrator has enabled complete computing systems on bus-less single board form factors. EBX, ETX and ITX are the standard embedded computing form factors that exemplifying this trend. Military system developers have a wide range of product choices to consider among those maturing technology offerings. This Tech Focus section updates readers on these trends and provides a product album of representative EBX, ETX and ITX SBCs products.


AFFORDABLE MISSION SUCCESS: MEETING THE CHALLENGE Oct. 6–8, 2014 Baltimore Convention Center The premier international conference and exposition for military communications, MILCOM 2014 showcases the technical innovations and creative talents of military, academic and industry leaders. Attendees will experience an in-depth technical program with industry exhibits, panel discussions and tutorials, which are eligible for continuing education units. Technical tracks and topics include: Cyber Security and Trusted Computing Waveforms and Signal Processing Networking: Architectures, Management, Protocols and Performance System Perspectives Selected Topics in Communications

COTS Journal’s



Amount Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems plan to invest from 2014 to 2016 in affordability measures, to directly achieve a lower-priced F-35 Lightning II 5th generation fighter aircraft. Last month the DoD announced an agreement aimed at reducing the price of an F-35 Lightning II 5th generation fighter to the equivalent of today’s 4th generation fighters by the end of the decade. Designated “The Blueprint for Affordability,” the DoD and the three primes signed an agreement to implement cost reduction initiatives to lower the production costs of F-35 aircraft.

$235.5 MILLION

Value of contract Raytheon has received for Radar Digital Processor (RDP) kits to upgrade the combat-proven Patriot Air and Missile Defense System for the U.S. and two partner nations. Awarded by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, AL, this full rate production contract will deliver benefits including improved target detection and identification, enhanced surveillance and support of the PAC-3 MSE missile. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s Integrated Air Defense Center, Andover, Mass., supported by a global team of Patriot system suppliers.


The total that the global submarine market is expected to be cumulatively worth over the next ten years according to a new market research report now available from ASDReports. The market, which is estimated at $19 billion in 2014, is set to rise by a CAGR of just under 5 percent, to just under 32 billion by 2024. In spite of the budget sequestration measures, the U.S. still has the highest spending in the sector and is almost equal to the spending in Asia-Pacific, the second largest spending region. 50

COTS Journal | August 2014

22 VEHICLES Number of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) that AM General delivered ahead of schedule to the U.S. Government for Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) testing. With that milestone complete, AM General announced its entrant into the U.S. Government’s competition. The company’s Blast Resistant Vehicle - Offroad (BRV-O) has completed months of rugged off-road testing during the competition’s EMD phase.


Estimated amount of cargo that the U.S. Marine Corps, the Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace K-MAX cargo unmanned aircraft system (UAS) delivered during its nearly threeyear deployment in Afghanistan. Lockheed Martin recently announced that the K-MAX has returned to the United States. As troops were frequent targets of IEDs and insurgent attacks, the K-MAX reduced the number of truck resupply convoys and their troop escorts to protect soldiers on the ground.

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


4th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-based 3U VPX SBC with XMC/PMC


Freescale QorIQ T4240-based 6U VPX SBC with dual XMC/PMC

Secure Ethernet Switches and IP Routers


Secure Gigabit Ethernet router XMC utilizing Cisco™ IOS®


3U VPX 10 Gigabit Ethernet managed switch and router

High-Performance FPGA and I/O Modules


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

High-Capacity Power Supplies


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

Rugged, SWaP-Optimized, COTS-Based Systems


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


SFF 2x 3U VPX system with removable SSD and integrated power supply


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

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COTS Journal  

COTS Journal August 2014

COTS Journal  

COTS Journal August 2014