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Tech Focus: Tech Focus: EBX, ITX and ETX Board Roundup


The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

Open Architectures Strengthen Navy Modernization Efforts

Radar and SIGINT Ride OpenVPX Technology Wave Modular Form Factors Serve Avionics Systems Needs An RTC Group Publication

September 2014 Volume 16 Number 9

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COM 1 & 3


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.

September 2014 Volume 16 Number 9

FEATURED p.10 Open Computing Approaches Improve Navy Networks and EW

SPECIAL FEATURE Open Architecture Computing in Navy Modernization


10  Open Computing Approaches Improve Navy Networks and EW

6 Editorial

20  New Demands Complicate Interconnect Design Choices


The Inside Track


COTS Products


Marching to the Numbers

Can Do vs. Should Do

Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief Bob Stanton, Omnetics

TECH RECON VPX FPGA Boards in Radar and SIGINT 26  VPX Meets Needs for Hybrid FPGA/GPU Video System Architectures Lionel Provost and Thierry Wastiaux, Interface Concept

SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Modular Technologies in Avionics Platforms 32 Case Study: VPX and COM Module Integration Serves Avionics Needs Alexey Medvedev, Fastwel

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS EBX, ITX and ETX Board Roundup 38 Advanced Graphics and Integration Are Theme for EBX, ETX and ITX Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief


EBX, ITX and ETX Board Roundup

Digital subscriptions available:

Coming in October See Page 48 On The Cover: The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) is among the ships being outfitted with systems implementing the the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) program. Show here, the carrier arrives at Joint Base Pearl HarborHickam to participate Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010 exercises. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shawn D. Torgerson)



The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

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

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

Can Do vs. Should Do


t’s a very human quirk that every generation thinks their time is the most complex, most tumultuous, most challenging era in all of history. They’re never completely right of course. For every upheaval or revolutionary geopolitical flare up in the present day, there are always ten others from the past that were more significant in some way. Can World War II be credibly compared to the Cold War in any way that makes sense? In the area of technology, and computing technology in particular, it is valid to say that every year things are getting more complex. Computer processing technology and all of its associated system infrastructures always build on previous generations of developments, while reaping the fruits of Moore’s Law. Faster and more complex processors roll out each year. These were once driven by the PC market, but are now very much driven by the demands of two sectors: mobile consumer devices—smartphones, tablets, etc.—and high-end servers of the class that power data centers. It’s far from a new trend that embedded board and boxlevel vendors in our industry scramble to keep pace with the latest processing technology available. Less than a decade ago, however, there was a time gap of months or years between the time the newest microprocessor was announced by Intel, for example, and when that same processor started showing up on released VME, CompactPCI or PC/104 form factor boards. Today that time gap has narrowed, and in the case of Intel chips, completely gone away. It’s now quite routine for Intel to announce a new processor and that same day several embedded board vendors announce products with the chip. Intel has become particularly good about not only sharing their roadmaps with embedded board vendors, but also giving them access to the products and support technologies early. This is turn fits in with military system developer desires to have the latest computing technology. Because of the long design and deployment cycles of military programs, it’s always a struggle to avoid obsolescence. In an example along those lines, at the beginning of the week of the Intel Developer Forum earlier this month, Intel announced its Intel Xeon processor E5-2600/1600 v3 product families ( formerly codenamed “Haswell-EP”). That same day several embedded board vendors such as ADLINK, RadiSys and Mercury Systems introduced


COTS Journal | September 2014

board products based on the processor. The E5-2600 v3 provides up to 18 cores per socket and 45 Mbytes of last-level cache, which is 50 percent more cores and cache compared to the previous generation processors. As I said before, this trend of embedded computing vendors keeping tight pace with the latest and greatest processors isn’t new—it’s been going on fairly steadily on a broad scale since Intel’s Celeron processor days. What’s different now is that this new era of High Performance Embedded Computing, or HPEC, has brought a new class of computing into our military embedded space. Instead of using processors from the mobile device / laptop world—like the Core i7, military embedded vendors are designing server class processors like the Xeon, with all the support electronics—from memory to storage to interconnect. The resulting products data center levels of technology in rugged embedded computing form factors. Military systems can leverage this level of computing to process and exploit large amounts of sensor data in real time, store it on board for analysis, and send imagery or other data to ground stations or handheld devices. I don’t want to commit the sin of saying this level of challenge is greater than that of decades past. But I do think the sheer level of design complexity at this level of computing technology makes one thing very clear: computer design is a specialty best done by computer designers. The system design teams at military prime contractors are some of the best engineering talents in the world—and most of you readers are among them. Today, just as they have for many decades, you and your military prime contractor colleagues have the capabilities to design computer systems—whatever forms they take: box-level, slot-card SBCs, or busless SBCs. But as budgets have become tighter than ever, and engineering staffs have been reduced, does it make sense anymore to take on the burden of developing an onboard or box-level computer core for your military application? In this era of Gigahertz, Terabyte and Teraflop technologies, it’s a hard argument to make that engineering time and resources should be spent on creating server-class embedded computing solutions in-house, when you can buy them off-theshelf from companies like those you see in the pages of COTS Journal and then integrate them into your military platform or application.

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INSIDE TRACK Northrop Grumman Selected to Modernize Black Hawk Cockpit for Army Northrop Grumman has been selected by Redstone Defense Systems to supply and integrate mission avionics equipment for a digital cockpit upgrade of the U.S. Army’s UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters. Northrop Grumman will provide a scalable, fully integrated mission equipment package for the UH‑60L cockpit and will replace the older analog gauges with digital electronic instrument displays (Figure 1). The new designation for this upgraded aircraft will be UH60V. The system virtually replicates the newer UH‑60M pilot-vehicle interface, providing a common training environment. Northrop Grumman’s design solution has already been demonstrated through a flight test on

a UH-60L helicopter. The system features a centralized processor with a partitioned, modular operational flight program with an integrated architecture that enables new capabilities through software-only solutions rather than hardware additions. The system is aligned with the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) standard and supports integration of off-the-shelf software and hardware, enabling rapid insertion of capabilities while reducing cost and risk for system integration and upgrades. Northrop Grumman Los Angeles, CA (310) 553-6262

Cubic Awarded $1.8 Million Contract to Supply CDL for Small UAVs Cubic announced that it has been awarded a contract valued at $1.8 million from Idaho National Laboratory to perform phase one of a two-phase program to provide a common data link (CDL) for unmanned platforms, specifically Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) (Figure 2). Phase one of the CDL for SUAS program requires the five companies selected, including Cubic, to complete a specified portion of the waveform development for a next-generation CDL known as Bandwidth Efficient Common Data Link (BE-CDL Rev B). The BE-CDL Rev B system will be used for the communication of ISR and Command/Control (C2) data from unmanned aircraft to other FIND the products featured in this section and more at


FIGURE 1 The upgraded Black Hawk UH‑60L cockpit will replace the older analog gauges with digital electronic instrument displays.

the standard CDL (STD-CDL) more commonly used today. BE-CDL Rev B will maintain full CDL capability and transmit full-motion video and sensor feeds from unmanned aircraft. It is anticipated that in the future a significant number of U.S. ISR platforms will support BE-CDL Rev B.

Figure 2 A Marine Corps avionics maintenance technician with VMU-2, brings the RQ-7B Shadow small UAV back to the taxiway shortly after landing. military communications devices. Cubic’s CDL system has received the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) specification compliance verification. The development and deployment of this system will ensure SUAS ISR and C2 data transmissions are secure and expeditious, while using a narrower swath of RF frequencies than

COTS Journal | September 2014

Cubic Defense Systems San Diego, CA (858) 277-6780

Lockheed Martin Teams Up to Establish Space Debris Tracking Site Under a new strategic cooperation agreement, Lockheed Martin and Electro Optic Systems are developing a new space object tracking site in Western Australia that will paint a more detailed picture of space debris for both government and commercial customers.

The site will use a combination of lasers and sensitive optical systems like those found in telescopes to detect, track and characterize man-made debris objects. Electrooptical technologies that can zoom in on specific objects form a strong complement to radar-based systems like the U.S. Air Force’s Space Fence, which will sweep the sky and track 200,000 objects. Drawing on advanced sensors and software, the new site will focus on specific objects and determine how fast they’re moving, what direction they’re spinning, and what they’re made of. Electro Optic Systems Canberra, Australia + 61 2 6222 7900 Lockheed Martin Bethesda, MD (301) 897-6000



Interconnect Technology Enables 14+Gbaud Per Channel Signal for OpenVPX

Figure 3 The Cornell CUAUV team’s Gemini submarine is powered by an Express-HL COM Express with quad-core Intel Core i7 processor.

Winning AUV at RoboSub 2014 Contest Powered by ADLINK COM Express Board ADLINK Technology announced its sponsorship of the Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (CUAUV) team’s entry into the 17th Annual International RoboSub competition last month held at the Space and Naval Warfare Command Research facility in San Diego, CA. Cornell’s Gemini was the 1st place winner of the event. The CUAUV’s Gemini submarine is powered by ADLINK’s Express-HL COM Express computer-on-module (Figure 3). The board sports a 4th generation quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Mobile Intel QM87 Express chipset. The Express-HL was tasked with all vision processing and decision-making required by the AUV. In addition, the Express-HL COM Express carrier board runs its own controller, as well as communicating with microcontrollers on several custom-built peripheral circuit boards also included in Gemini’s design. The international RoboSub competition is co-sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Foundation and the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) with the goal of advancing the development of AUVs. The competition mission elements and tasks are designed to simulate real-world challenges, such as visual recognition of objects, navigation and acoustic sensing. ADLINK Technology San Jose, CA (408) 360-0200

Mercury Systems has announced its Micro Via Radial Interconnect (MVRI) technology. MVRI improves OpenVPX switch fabric interconnect data rates by increasing the signal integrity margin Figure 4 approximately three-fold, OpenVPX-compliant enabling switch fabrics MVRI technology ensures a and point-to-point conreliable signaling rate of 14+Gbaud nections to run faster and per channel, even across the most complex more reliably. Mercury subsystems. research determined that the payload/backplane interconnect is typically the weakest link in an OpenVPX processing subsystem’s signal channel. The open standards-compliant MVRI technology addresses this bottleneck by ensuring a reliable signaling rate of 14+Gbaud per channel, even across the most complex subsystems (Figure 4). This enables the fastest OpenVPX subsystems to run 40 Gbit/s Ethernet and FDR InfiniBand protocols at full speed, providing superior signal integrity for our customers’ critical sensor processing and mission computing applications. MVRI technology is scalable, enabling it to support signaling rates greater than 14Gbaud per channel. Planned future fabric implementations, using InfiniBand enhanced data rate (EDR) or 100Gb Ethernet, especially benefit from the performance boost MVRI technology delivers. Intel Xeon server-class OpenVPX ecosystems in combination with the latest InfiniBand and Ethernet switch fabrics provide unparalleled embedded processing capability, making them ideally suited to the most challenging electronic warfare (EW) and C4ISR processing applications. These applications are characterized by their need for low Size, Weight and Power (SWaP), high deterministic data exchange rates across powerful processing clusters, and include applications as diverse as AESA radars, high resolution wide area motion imagery (WAMI) and sophisticated on-platform sensor data exploitation. MVRI technology will be integral in select Mercury OpenVPX subsystems that begin shipping in Q4 2014. For more information, visit Chelmsford, MA (978) 967-1401

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COTS Journal | September 2014


SPECIAL FEATURE From Development Systems to Deployable Solutions


COTS Journal | September 2014


Open Computing Approaches Improve Navy Networks and EW For both its shipboard networks and its electronic warfare systems, the Navy is applying open, scalable systems architectures. And in doing so, they look forward to huge cost efficiencies and performance gains. Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief


ith the shift to an Asia-Pacific defense strategy, Navy funding is enjoying a stronger focus. But the central principle to the U.S. Maritime Strategy remains forward presence. Forward presence is the idea of promoting conflict deterrence by ensuring forces are in a position to expeditiously respond to conflict. With that in mind, the Navy is doing major upgrades to its electronic warfare systems as well as to its shipboard networking architectures. As shown in Figure 1, the Navy segment of the DoD’s 2015 budget request is significantly larger than other segments. Starting with the largest items, the Shipbuilding Portfolio for FY 2015 includes funding for the construction of seven new ships (two Virginia Class SSN 774 nuclear attack submarines; two Arleigh Burke DDG 51 Class Flight IIA destroyers; and three Littoral Combat Ships (LCS)). The funding in this category finances the developmental efforts, equipment procurements and construction of ships that will allow the U.S. Navy to maintain maritime superiority well into the 21st century. Aircraft carriers remain the centerpiece of U.S. Naval forces. Currently there are 10 active carriers in the Navy’s fleet. The CVN 78 class ships will include new technologies and improvements so that the ship and air wings can operate with fewer personnel by replacing maintenanceintensive systems with low maintenance systems. The new A1B reactor, Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) and Dual Band Radar all offer enhanced capability. The Gerald R. Ford class is positioned to be the premier forward asset for crisis response and early decisive striking power in a major combat operation. The FY 2015 budget funds the third year of construction for the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), completion costs for the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) and continued development of carrier ship systems.

COTS Journal | September 2014


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Figure 1 Driven by the shift in policy toward the Asia-Pacific region, the Navy segment of the DoD’s 2015 budget request is significantly larger than other segments.

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COTS Journal | September 2014

More AEGIS Destroyers The DDG 51-class AEGIS Destroyer is another key vessel type in the Navy’s arsenal. This Arleigh Burke class ship is comprised of three separate variants; DDG 51-71 represent the original design, designated Flight I ships, and are being modernized to current capability standards; DDG 72-78 are Flight II ships; DDG 79 and later ships are Flight IIA ships. The budget funds two DDG 51 AEGIS class destroyers as part of a multiyear procurement for nine ships from FY 2013 to FY 2017 and provides advance procurement for two ships beginning construction in FY 2016. A critical part of the Navy’s strategy involves the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The LCS is a fast, agile and small surface combatant capable of anti-access missions against asymmetric threats in the littorals (coastal areas). Interchangeable mission modules for Mine Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Surface Warfare are used to counter anti-access threats close to shore, such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and swarming small boats. The seaframe acquisition strategy procures two seaframe designs, which is a separate and distinct acquisition program from the mission module program. The two programs are synchronized to ensure combined capability. The Budget Request

funds construction of three LCS seaframes and procurement of mission modules.

CANES Moves into Deployment Ranking as one of the most comprehensive changes in shipboard systems is the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) program. CANES consolidates and modernizes shipboard, submarine and shore-based command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) network systems to increase capability and affordability across the fleet. Consolidation through CANES will eliminate many legacy, stand-alone networks and provide a common computing environment infrastructure for dozens of command, control, intelligence and logistics applications. This strengthens the network infrastructure, improves security, reduces existing hardware footprint and decreases total ownership costs. The CANES effort enhances operational effectiveness and quality of life for deployed sailors. The plan for CANES is to ultimately be deployed to 180 ships, submarines and Maritime Operations Centers by 2022. Last month, the Navy—and specifically the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), on behalf of the Program Executive Office for Command, Control,

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Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I), selected the five vendors that will build and deliver the Navy’s nextgeneration tactical afloat network, Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES). Each vendor will be awarded an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ), firmfixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. The indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity

multiple award contract has a potential value of $2.5 billion over eight years. The vendors include BAE Systems Technology Solutions and Services, Inc., Rockville, MD; General Dynamics C4 Systems, Taunton, MA; Global Technical Systems, Virginia Beach, VA.; Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Herndon, VA. and Serco, Inc., Reston, VA.

Built with Upgrades in Mind

Figure 2 CANES units are bound for installation aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). They are shown here being loaded and tested in the SPAWAR Network Integration and Engineering Facility prior to fleet delivery.

According to SPAWAR representatives, the build-to-print delivery approach will leverage the CANES design and integrated product baselines established during the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase. Lessons learned from the CANES operational testing continuum and initial platform installations will allow for evolution and update of the CANES production baseline. Figure 2 shows CANES units bound for installation aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) being loaded and tested at SPAWAR in San Diego, CA. Over the next eight years, the Navy will leverage the best of industry and government expertise as it works to develop and deliver multiple CANES hardware and software baselines in the most affordable means available. In November of last year, the Navy announced it installed the first operational nextgeneration tactical afloat network aboard the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) (Figure 3). Based in Yokosuka, Japan, McCampbell completed its installation of the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES). The destroyer conducted sea trials in October to validate how the network would perform in an operational environment and that the network would meet mission needs. CANES Initial Operational Test and Evaluation began last month aboard USS Higgins (DDG 76), which will support of a Full Deployment Decision expected in third quarter FY 2015. The Full Deployment Decision will authorize the program to continue 14

COTS Journal | September 2014

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to Full Operational Capability. During the initial stages of the Limited Deployment phase, aside from the USS McCampbell, CANES installations have been successfully completed on nine destroyers. Installations continue on three carriers, one amphibious assault ship, eight destroyers, one landing dock ship and one cruiser. An additional 28 installations are planned throughout FY 2015 and FY 2016. So far the program’s system maturity is based on performance measures and test data from almost 12,000 hours of cumulative test time. For its part, Northrop Grumman uses the Modular Open Systems Approach – Competitive process for its CANES solution to achieve the lifecycle benefits of open-systems architecture and commercial off-the-shelf components and software. The strategy strengthens the network’s infrastructure, improves security, reduces the existing hardware footprint and decreases total ownership costs. In addition to providing greater capability, CANES will allow fleet end-users to benefit from reduced operations and sustainment workloads as a result of common equipment, training and logistics.

Figure 3 The Arleigh-Burke-class guidedmissile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) was the first to receive CANES upon a successful installation in November 2013.

EW Embraces Open Approach Electronic warfare is an area where upgrading technology has been an ongoing challenge for the Navy. That’s because of hardware obsolescence issues in legacy systems. Fortunately COTS-based approaches



have come to the rescue as the navy replaces closed systems with scalable, upgradable architectures. What’s being replaced is the AN/ SLQ-32, the legacy surface ship EW detection and countermeasures system initially installed in the fleet during the late 70s. Since 2003, the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP), a spiralblock development program, has provided a common/open and scalable architecture to leverage emerging technologies. General Dynamics has been the Lead Systems Integrator for SEWIP. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems has partnered with the Navy on the continued evolution of SEWIP through Blocks 1A, 1B1, 1B2 and now 1B3. For the 1B3 system, Lockheed Martin MST is supporting General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems as a major subcontractor. The Block 1A, with 18 installs completed and 103 additional installs planned, incorporates the updated Improved Control and Display (ICAD) Human Machine Interface and the Electronic Surveillance Enhancements (ESE) upgrade to provide a much-needed COTSbased technology refresh for the obsolete

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COTS Journal | September 2014


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AN/SLQ-32 display and pulse processing. The Block 1B1, with 38 installs completed and 29 planned, introduces standalone Specific Emitter Identification (SEI). Future SEWIP Block 1B upgrades continue with the addition of integrated Specific Emitter Identification (SEI), High Gain High Sensitivity (HGHS) capabilities, and networkcentric and mission planning capabilities. Block II and beyond will focus on replacing the legacy AN/SLQ-32 all together with new hardware (receiver/transmitter) and software improvements, resulting in an innovative, effective and cost-efficient EW Suite for the 21st century.

COTS Systems Save Cost

Figure 4 Shown here is the Lockheed MartinRaytheon team’s SEWIP Block 3 solution at RIMPAC.

strategy, which facilitates the rapid introduction of new technology into the fleet. By using In Block 2 of the Navy’s SEWIP initia- COTS components, it provides additional cost tive, the AN/SLQ-32(V)2 system found on all savings and ease of maintenance for sailors. U.S. aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers and The Navy competitively awarded Lockheed other warships is upgraded with key capabili- Martin a contract in 2009 to develop SEWIP ties that determine if the electronic sensors Block 2, and the company completed sucof potential foes are stalking the ship. The cessful integration and test activities for two system is the first sensor to be fully compli- engineering development models. ant with the Navy’s Product Line Architecture Companies from the military embedded computing industry have naturally been involved in SEWIP. For example, Mercury Systems is providing Lockheed Martin with advanced radio frequency (RF) microwave tuner and intermediate frequency Sealevel COM Express (IF) products as part of solutions offer the the U.S. Navy’s Surface advantages of a custom design Electronic Warfare with the convenience of COTS. Our Improvement Proextensive library of proven I/O circuits gram (SEWIP) Block enables custom carrier board design in record 2 Upgrade program. time. No matter what your application, we’ll build a Lockheed Martin will complete COM Express system that can handle your provide a modular enmost serious challenges. terprise solution based on its Integrated ComVisit or mon Electronic Warscan the QR code. fare System (ICEWS), an integral part of which includes Mercury’s high-performance Echotek Series • 864.843.4343 • wave tuner and digital receiver. The SEWIP Block 18

COTS Journal | September 2014

2 Upgrade includes the receiver and antenna capabilities as well as the combat system interface of the legacy surface ship EW system. Leveraging commercial off-the-shelf COTS electronics, the ICEWS is designed to scale across all ship classes in the Navy’s surface fleet. For the program, Mercury leveraged technology from its acquisition of LNX. Based in Salem, New Hampshire, LNX designs and builds next-generation RF receivers for Signals Intelligence, Communications Intelligence as well as for Electronic Attack applications. Figure 4 shows the Lockheed Martin-Raytheon team’s SEWIP Block 3 solution at RIMPAC. Back in January, Lockheed Martin completed a milestone test on the U.S. Navy’s evolutionary Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 2 system. This test further validated the system’s ability to protect the Navy’s fleet from evolving anti-ship missile threats. Under SEWIP Block 2, Lockheed Martin is upgrading the AN/SLQ-32(V)2 system found on all U.S. aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers and other warships with key capabilities to determine if adversaries are using electronic sensors to track the ship. Block 2 obtained a Milestone C decision in January of 2013, after which the system began 11 months of land-based testing in preparation for installation on a Navy warship. According to Lockheed Martin, this test, which successfully completed in January 2014, demonstrated the maturity of the open architecture electronic warfare systems by performing full system operation in multiple scenarios. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems Fairfax, VA (866) 943-2410 Lockheed Martin Bethesda, MD (301) 897-6000 Northrop Grumman Los Angeles, CA (310) 553-6262

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SPECIAL FEATURE Open Architecture Computing in Navy Modernization

New Demands Complicate Interconnect Design Choices The push for ever more reductions in size, weight and power have affected connector requirements. Evolving connector technology is helping to feed those needs. Bob Stanton, Director of Technology, Omnetics


apidly changing demands and designs in product performance and electrical integrity are having a huge effect on electronic connector systems. New smaller and more portable electronics in aerospace, defense and other stressful environments are resulting in changing demands and design decisions. To meet the needs, changes are needed to standard micro-D connectors. New technology, including new latching Micro-D connectors developed by Omnetics, offer significant improvements for rapid connection and release with proven signal integrity for the portable and ruggedized electronics flooding into the market. The new latch technology provides high shock and vibration performance tested at military-level specifications.

Smaller and Lighter

Figure 1 Variety of connectors used in today’s military electronic systems.


COTS Journal | September 2014

It is a fact of life that instruments are changing rapidly and everything is getting smaller. Today’s newer electronic instruments can afford neither the space nor the weight required by older cabling and connector systems. See Figure 1 for a few examples of the variety of connector types traditionally used for electronics. Even many of the older military specification models are rapidly becoming outdated in the face of the evolving demand


out through cabling to probes, sensors, and detectors used to deliver a variety of information to the main unit, including video, thermal measurements, shock, and guidance. Circuits in mission-critical applications are often placed in harm’s way and must retain the highest reliability and maintain signal integrity even in stressful environments, including high shock and constant vibration of the electronics.

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Increasing Complexity As electrical circuit technology and complexity evolves, chip speeds are increasing their data processing rates, current and voltages are being used at lower levels and mixed signal systems are demanded within the same interconnect system. The use of these new circuits with higher and higher circuit speeds are evident nearly everywhere, but are most critical in surveillance cameras and high resolution displays used in portable military applications, space satellites, and ruggedized robotic equipment. Nowadays, miniature electronic modules are moved from the big-box,

Changes in the electronics and the applications have both allowed and demanded significant changes in the systems that connect each electronic module to the main driving system or cable and connectors that assist in interlacing electronic connections from module to module or module to sensors, detectors, cameras, lasers or other data acquisition or data distribution devices. And keep in mind that in


for smaller and lighter connection systems. Older connectors like the D-Subminiature connectors (Mil.-DTL-24308), requiring 0.100-inch from pin to pin just do not fit within today’s systems. Rapid industry growth in micro-size at 0.050-inch spacing and nano-connectors at 0.025-inch spacing are fulfilling the need in today’s higher technology electronics. The change is sweeping through many industries as each one in turn sees the benefits of rugged portability and miniaturization and adjusts to the need for new connector and cable designs. For example, a number of military and deep space applications began using robotics and soon we began to see emergency rescue device development companies beginning to use miniature cable and connectors. Then, since many emergency applications require the use of devices that can run at higher temperatures, up to 200°C, we began to see the petroleum research and geothermal industry following suit and testing new micro-D connector technology for their applications. In short, squeezing a lot into small spaces is becoming key across the industry and micro-D connector technology must be available to serve that need. The designers are heralding the ruggedized miniature connector as a major solution to a combination of design needs and applicationrelated demands. The trend also includes a need for quick plug-and release connector technology, because users do not want to have to go back to a lab and use additional tools to mate or release a connector.

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COTS Journal | September 2014



Figure 2 Latching Micro-D technology.

many cases the new electronics have to be rugged and reliable, wearable or portable, as well as meet the standards of the system in motion. A number of critical elements have

changed in both the application and the design of those interconnection systems that serve the new electronics: • Voltages are somewhat standardized and are significantly lower than pre-

viously. • Current levels are dropping to the milliamp levels, compared to older electronic systems. • Space for signal routing has become limited. • Weight of the connector and cable must be reduced to increase service life of the module. • Ruggedness is increasingly significant, especially in airborne and robotized instruments. • Rapid connect and interconnection is often critical in field applications. Industry trends have shown that most cable and connector manufacturers are rapidly tooling smaller interconnect systems to meet the mechanical and physical configurations that can serve the new ruggedized miniature electronics of today. It is important to note that electronic design groups are also pushing new limits in providing faster and more efficient microchips. Expanded C-MOS technologies have combined most electronic sub-systems within one chip design. These new chips

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

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COTS Journal | September 2014


offer much higher speed signals, larger memory sections and operate on lower voltages and lower current, which greatly expands battery and field life of the instruments they are supporting.

Analog Versus Digital Another interesting trend is that analog signal management is giving way to digital signal processing. Analog signals

are not going away and remain very useful in certain level-sense control and modulation circuits, but they often require larger wire diameters and higher voltages. Digital processing seems to be eclipsing many areas of electronic circuit design and are used from commercial communication application, (like cellular phones), to many high level military and space technology applications. The advantage

Figure 3 Cable types that protect signal intrusion.

of digital signal management is that it can be routed easily and can be dramatically speeded up with lower cost and complexity in the electronics. Many cables use a differential pair of twisted wires, for example, Apple’s FireWire, or other equivalent. Highly reliable signal speeds are being achieved and maintain the high signal integrity as they perform in the Gigahertz range on extremely small diameter wire. This trend allows the placement of new, unique, electronic products in portable and rugged applications beyond what we have previously seen today. An important note about using digital signal processing within cabling is that it is more secure from listening devices, since the cables can be shielded and protected way beyond what can be designed for signal transmission through the airwaves, especially when security and confidential information is involved.

Proven Design, New Trends Micro-D connector technology has been around for generations. A smaller type of connector derived from the Dsubminiature or D-sub (named for its Dshaped metal shield), the microminiature D, or micro-D, is about half the length of a D-sub, and has proven to be extremely successful over the last 40 years. Recently, Omnetics developed a new Latching Micro-D to retain the advantages of the popular and proven micro-D design and update it to meet the requirements of smaller and more mobile technologies. These technologies tend to require more frequent module changing and rapid field replacement of systems in places where Untitled-1 1


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additional tools may not be available. Digital signals from optical surveillance systems, low voltage differential signals and even lower current power supplies are some of the newer applications taking advantage of the quick-change design opportunities of the new Latching Micro-D connection system. See Figure 2. The new technology is based on the micro-D’s well-established reliability and performance specifications. It also takes advantage of its predictable voltage and current ratings and the fact that it is adaptable for many board-mount, panelmount and wiring configurations and pin counts. The new Latching Micro-D system has three major sections or components. Wired plugs are connected to cables or open wiring that includes optional metal or over-molded back-shells to protect for electromagnetic interference (EMI), and a strain- relief design that reduces wear on the cable interface to the back shell of the connector. The Latching Micro-D connectors support a wide range of cable types that can include open wiring, jacketed cable sets, and even EMI-shielded braided coverings to protect signal intrusion and/or signal noise from escaping the cable and affecting other circuits. See Figure3. With the latch design, the cable can be quickly disconnected in a simple squeeze-and-pull motion. An adapter can be added to existing micro-D connectors to allow current instruments to use the latch on cables in their system. The connectors are built with highly rugged and compact designs using aluminum alloy 6061 shells with nickel plating, offering contact counts from 9 to 51 positions. Using a one piece beryllium copper flex pin design, the connectors are plated with nickel/gold for robust service that operates from -55° to +125°C, with a special version rated for 200°C. The Latching Micro-D’s high reliability, light-weight, rugged, quick-connection system has been used in a number of newer designs for miniaturized equipment designs. Cable systems include braided shields to reduce EMI and cross talk. Adapting to the older jackscrew designs are done by adding a simple “latching adapter” to existing Micro-D connectors.

As new electronics are developed for a more portable and rugged environment, the miniature micro-D connectors are being used to fit into many limited capacity and limited weight design applications. Matching cable and wiring systems are ready and can be implemented immediately, without adjustment or design changes. Designers can even use standard solder-cup versions in their own lab for

prototype and circuit development. The quick connection features also help speed up the test and analysis process. Omnetics Minneapolis, MN. (763) 572-0656

COTS Journal | September 2014



VPX Meets Needs for Hybrid FPGA/GPU Video System Architectures FPGAs and GPUs offer a formidable blend for video capture systems. And VPX has the bandwidth and features to make such platforms deployable. Lionel Provost, R&D Project Leader, and Thierry Wastiaux, Senior Vice President, Interface Concept


ccording to the UAV Market study from Forecast International, starting from 2017 UAV production is forecast to average about one thousand UAVs annually for the following years. The payload of the modern surveillance UAVs usually includes one radar for long range detection and tracking, which then drives an Electro-Optical (EO) / Infrared (IR) system to observe the detected targets (Figure 1). In armored vehicles the video systems are even more critical as they must also include all the functions including detection and tracking. These EO/IR systems have become essential to the global surveillance system for battlefield analysis and situation awareness, in real time or in post-processing processes. In all these video applications, real-time image stabilization, fusion of multiple day light or infrared images into a single intelligent picture, panorama 360째 images built from many fixed cameras, image resolution adaptation and filtering are among the requested video functions to augment the reality to the viewer. The EO/IR systems include numerous video interface adaptations to various video protocols, as we will discover further in this article.

FPGAs and GPGPUs Two types of technologies are used in these video systems: Field Processing Gate 26

COTS Journal | September 2014

Figure 1 For surveillance UAVs, payloads usually include one radar for long range detection and tracking, which then drives an Electro-Optical (EO) / Infrared (IR) system to observe the detected targets. A prototype MQ-4C Triton is shown here during flight testing.

of performance versus power consumption, FPGAs become a high-performance solution for multi-parallel video signal decoding/encoding, serialization/deserialization, format adaptation and processing. Another important feature of the latest generation of FPGAs consists in their great capabilities in terms of connectivity and communication. By implementing sophisticated analog designs, their transceivers have become extremely fast, reaching the 28 Gbit/s per lane in the case of the GTZ technology of Xilinx, allowing very high speed chip to chip or backplane connections. The Virtex-7 FPGA can have an aggregate bidirectional transceiver bandwidth of up to 2.7 Terabytes/s. These numerous high-speed transceivers enable the connection of multiple high performance video signals.

Matrix and Vector Operations Array (FPGA) and Graphical Processing Unit. The latest generation of FPGAs features a much lower energy consumption compared to CPUs, DSPs or even GPUs. When working on integers, the FPGAs tend to be up to 10 times more efficient in term of GOPS/watt in comparison with CPUs or GPUs (sNational Science Foundation, Allen George, Herman Lam and Gregg Stitt, IEEE Computing in Science & Engineering magazine, Jan/Feb 2011). With these good ratios

Modern GPUs perform calculations related to 3D computer graphics that involve matrix and vector operations. That is the exact reason why engineers and scientists have increasingly studied the use of GPUs for nongraphical calculations as a modified form of stream processor. They can transform the massive processing power of a modern GPU unified shader pipeline into general-purpose processing power. In certain applications, GPUs can compute forty times faster than

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Figure 2 This example video application with many video flows has been developed using the VPX IC-GRA-VPX6a platform on one single slot in a VPX chassis enabling high cost reductions. the conventional CPUs traditionally used by such applications. These outstanding performances are therefore used in the most powerful computers in the world. The OpenCL framework provides a performant, low-level and portable layer of abstraction to enable parallel computing using task-based and data-based approaches. An OpenCL program can be executed on CPUs, GPUs and FGPAs, hiding hardware details from the developer. OpenCL was developed as an open standard defined by the Khronos Group and is becoming broadly supported. OpenCL solutions are developed by renowned companies such as Intel, AMD, Nvidia and ARM, ensuring long-term perspectives. These two technologies, FPGA and GPU, are usually competing in systems. But here we demonstrate that their combined use can lead to outstanding performances in video platforms.

A Lot of Legacy in Video The video standards developed in the last 25 years are numerous and tend to stay for long periods of time. Even in modern aircraft, some legacy display interfaces are still in use. For example, due to aircraft weight distribution, display analog interface wiring couldn’t be easily moved to ARINC818 fiber optic interconnects. The shift from legacy to

modern digital interfaces also has implications on system synchronization, overlay features and so on. So clearly, up-to-date digital video interfaces and legacy interfaces have to coexist in EO/IR systems. Main analog interfaces still in use are STANAG3350 and VGA. STANAG3350 is an analog video standard for aircraft system application. The STANAG3350 standards evolved in Europe as a way of standardizing more rigorously what was already in common use. The STANAG3350 standard applies to conventional standards in various ways. First, STANAG 3350 Class A (875 Lines at 60 Frames) is based on RS-343. STANAG 3350 Class B (625 Lines at 50 Frames) is based on PAL). And finally, STANAG 3350 Class C (525 Lines at 60 Frames) is based on NTSC RS-170A. Some other useful features of STANAG3350 are well used in aircraft systems: the external video synchronization to allow the mixing of different sources on one display and the clean switching from one to another as well as the Vertical Interval Reference (VIR) for Automatic Gain Control (AGC) to correct color performance. VGA, still used in the PC area, is the standard that has stood the test of time. So some touch screen military display monitors are provided with VGA interfaces only.

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Digital Video Interfaces Main video interfaces used in digital video-based systems are DisplayPort, HDMI/DVI, HD-SDI and ARINC 818. Both HDMI and DVI use TMDS (Transition Minimized Differential Signaling) to send 10-bit characters that are encoded using a specific 8B/10B encoding algorithm, different from commonly used 8B/10B in other serialized data transmission. The digital video signal is

sent on four shielded differential wire pairs (a clock and three data), at the rate dictated by the video frame rate and resolution. This rate is often well over 1 Gbit/s on each data pair. A 1920x1080p@50Hz defined in the CEA-861B standard means a 1.485 Gbit/s data rate. The cabling has length limitations making it suitable for close-by connections that can be found in UAVs. ARINC 818 is an Avionic Digital Video

Bus (ADVB) for high bandwidth, low latency and uncompressed digital video transmission in avionics systems. Based on ANSI Fibre Channel Audio Video (FC-AV), ARINC 818 provides a point-to-point, 8B/10B encoded serial protocol. Boeing, Airbus, Rockwell Collins, Lockheed Martin, Thales and other aircraft specialists have adopted that standard (e.g., the A400M has 787 display systems that are based on ARINC 818). HD-SDI is a digital standard for the broadcast studio world. Delivering a 1.5 Gbits/s of uncompressed high definition video through RG-179 coax cables in a video multiplexing environment, these features make it interesting in some video recording systems. Modern FPGA resources combined with the right architecture can handle most of interface conversions of embedded systems.

Data Computing Part of Video Beyond display interfaces, data computing is certainly a big part of video systems. This includes video scaling, video interlacing and de-interlacing, frame buffering, color correction, on screen display, image enhancement, image fusion, object detection and tracking, video decoding and encoding. Depending on application needs, such data computing are handled by GPU or FPGA. As an example, AMD Radeon E8860 GPU supports hardware video decoding and encoding (H.264, VC-1, MPEG-4 and MPEG2), color conversion (YCrCB, RGB), video scaling and noise removal—with limited development costs. When custom, low latency treatments are unavoidable, FPGA is the preferred choice; but developing on such open resources involves solid skills in FPGA architectures. The diagram of Figure 2 shows an example of a video application with many video flows that has been developed using the Interface Concept VPX IC-GRA-VPX6a platform on one single slot in a VPX chassis enabling high cost reductions. The video processing flows are split into three main stages: 1) Input modules performing video decoding to an internal AXIStream video oriented; 2) Video processing modules and 3) Output modules performing video encoding to the required format.


COTS Journal | September 2014


Applying VPX Technology The different video flows of this application are processed simultaneously by the VPX 6U product IC-GRA-VPX6a. This product is based on the industry’s first Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture that improves computing capabilities beyond the pure graphic functionalities. It delivers 768 Gflops peak single-precision floating point performance and 48 Gflops peak double precision floating-point performance. Two of the dual-mode display ouputs— HDMI or DisplayPort—are connected to the Xilinx Kintex-7 through two high-speed quad GTX transceivers (see the two top inputs on Figure 2). Preprocessing on GPU and video conversion with Kintex-7 resources is performed on the platform IC-GRA-VPX6a. The second video flow is coming through the IC-GRA-VPX6a rear data path that enables many video applications; the Intel Sandy Bridge dual processor dual core VPX 6U SBC IC-INT-VPX6a and its HDMI port is connected to an HDMI decoder module on a standard bank implementing

Two DACs with advanced synchronization modules are also available on the IC-GRAVPX6a board.

Linking to Cameras

Figure 3 The IC-GRA-VPX6a board combines the power of the E8860 GPU, the high communication capabilities and the high ratio processing power to consumption of a Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA.

ISERDES resources of the Xilinx Kintex-7 (up to 125 MHz pixel clock). Video scaling followed up with an interlacing module that enables it to convert a high resolution progressive scan video to a STANAG3350Bcompliant format with its specific timings.

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On the third video flow, an IR Camera is connected to a Camera Link decoding module instantiated into the Kinterx-7 FPGA. The image is then merged with the E8860 HDMI display source after video scaling. Object detection and tracking is then performed before ARINC 818 video encoding. On the fourth video flow at the bottom of Figure 2, a data flow from a video data recorder in HD-SDI video format is decoded, using IC-GRA-VPX6a 1 Gbyte DDR3 interface with 6.4 Gbyte/s peak bandwidth and Xilinx Gen2 PCIe interface. This flow is then Display Port encoded. The use of internal AXI-Stream video oriented protocol is highly recommended to facilitate processing IP reuse. The hardware platform for this video application is the IC-GRA-VPX6a board, which is shown in Figure 3. By combining the power of the E8860 GPU, the high communication capabilities and the high ratio processing power to consumption of an FPGA of the 7 series of Xilinx, very flexible and rich solutions can be built for the next generation of low power EO/IR systems. Many video flows are processed in a single VPX chassis slot allowing high cost reductions. Interface Concept Quimper, France +33 (0)2 98 57 30 30

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SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Modular Technologies in Avionics Platforms

Case Study: VPX and COM Module Integration Serves Avionics Needs 3U VPX and COM form factors together offer a number of useful features for modern avionics designs. This case study explores implementing these technologies in an Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) solution. Alexey Medvedev, Brand Manager, Fastwel


ystems based on the Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) concept are ideal for use in modern avionic equipment. The IMA system is a crate with a backplane populated with connectors that are used for standard standalone modules. Repair and routine maintenance of these crates is achieved by swapping out modules—making maintenance and repairs straightforward while cutting operating costs. Moreover, the use of standard parts and connectors reduces manufacturing costs (Figure 1). This case study looks at an avionics indicator console crate developed by the R&D company firm Elara. The engineers at Elara implemented the crate in a 3U VITA 46/48 format based on Vortex86DX processor board CPB906. The structure of the VITA 46/48 crate is designed for operation in harsh environments, and also for using modern high-speed data exchange protocols and provision for electromagnetic compatibility.

System Purpose and Functions The indicator is intended for displaying video in an ARINC 818 format that is transmitted via two optical channels. The system is controlled by the built-in protected keyboard. The onboard information is transferred via the ARINC 429 interface and the software is updated via Ethernet channel. The indicator also receives eight inputs 32

COTS Journal | September 2014

Figure 1 By using a modular embedded computing approach in modern avionics, routine maintenance and repair is both easier and enjoys less operating costs.

and generates eight output one-time commands, including integral proper functionality of the system. Based on technical specification requirements, the indicator should not only display the received video data, but also

add textual and graphic information to the video. The high-speed input video channel enables transferring large data quantities within the system, therefore a serial highspeed PCI Express (PCIe) bus has been chosen as the system bus.


All that said, it was hard to determine the right design of a 3U CPU module based on a PCI Express bus. Using ready-made CPU boards in a 3U VITA 46/48 format in their proprietary crates—produced by other local manufacturers—proved to be inappropriate despite the standard VITA 46/48 design. Each developer chooses the system bus and other interfaces that meet the minimum requirements for solving specific tasks of their systems, so various 3U VITA 46/48 CPU modules may be incompatible. This required developing the CPU module installable into a 3U VITA 46/48 crate. In the design, the CPU module provides the following eight functions: (1) Inter-module high-speed data exchange within the crate over the PCI Express 1x bus via backplane; (2) Processing of interrupt requests from target devices (single-function target devices, number of interrupt request lines: one from each device); (3) Data exchange with external devices as part of integrated onboard equipment via 100 Mbit/s Ethernet (IEEE 802.3) channel, which can also be used for updating of functional software; (4) Hardware support of USB interface with possibility to load from flash drive; (5) RS232 support; (6) Loading of Linux-type operating system takes no more than 40 seconds, which provides a short ready-to-operate period for the whole device after power ON/ OFF; (7) Storage and loading of system and functional software, integrated flash drive; (8) Debugging mode, video output to monitor and input for the connection of PS/2 keyboard.

Harsh Environment Requirements Aside from those requirements, the module needed to guarantee operation in harsh environments. And specifically, the most crucial requirement here is the ability to operate in the extended temperature range. In order to meet customer requirements it was decided to install a Fastwel mezzanine CPU module into the carrier board. The carrier board for the 3U module has the following dimensions: 100 x 171 mm. The Fastwel CPB906 CPU module shown in Figure 3 was selected as the mezzanine board. Although it has no integrated PCI Express interface for the rest, its functionality corresponds perfectly to the set of requirements.

Figure 2 The avionics indicator console crate is implemented in a 3U VITA 46/48 format based on the Vortex86DX processor board CPB906. The structure of a VITA 46/48 crate is designed for operation in harsh environments, while also using modern high-speed data exchange protocols.

For transferring command data, PCI bus bandwidth capacity would be enough and the carrier board has the installed PCIPCI Express bridges made by PLX Technologies in order to arrange inter-module data exchange via PCI Express bus. The CPB906 CPU module is a system on module (SoM), which offers high performance and at the same time low power consumption and low heat dissipation. An industrial version of the CPB906 module has an extended operating temperature range from -40° to +85°C. Because the Vortex86DX processor is anx86 CPU, it is compatible with many applications. The CPU has a wide range of interfaces: ISA, PCI, IDE 2×SDIO, 2×USB 2.0, Ethernet 10/100 Mbit/s, I2C, 2×RS-232 (TTL), GPIO. The block diagram of the carrier board with a CPB906 module is shown in Figure 4. The parallel PCI bus of the CPB906 CPU module is used for data exchange with two PCI Express 1x boards via PEX 8112 bridges, and for output of video data via a PEX 8114 bridge in PCI Express 4x format for an external graphics card. Video output is used for programming and system debugging and COTS Journal | September 2014



is routed to the additional (test) connector of the carrier board. The PS/2 keyboard ports, USB1 ( for CPU booting), COM1 and 6 GPIO lines are also rooted to this connector. PCI Express-PCI bridges on the carrier board are operating in the reverse mode ( from PCI to PCI Express) and provide easy switching from one bus to the other. Two PCI Express 1x channels, USB2 bus and Ethernet are routed to the backplane via the 3U module’s main connector. G1, G2, G3 are differential generators used for clocking of each of the bridges.

Development Tools Development of the carrier board’s electric circuit was carried out using the Design Entry HDL software and PCB’s electric circuit—using PCB Editor, which is a part of the Cadence software suit. Element libraries were created independently. User constraints (settings) enable automatic routing with further manual topology editing. PCB of the 5-th accuracy grade contains 10 layers. Software of the CPU module has been developed in a Linux environment.


COTS Journal | September 2014

Figure 3 Based on the Vortex86DX processor, the CPB906 module has an extended operating temperature range: -40° to +85°С—and a wide range of interfaces: ISA, PCI, IDE 2×SDIO, 2×USB 2.0, Ethernet 10/100 Mbit/s and more.

CPB906 has compact dimensions—65×40 mm. All the main interfaces are routed to the carrier board via a low-profile 220-pin high density connector socket. As this material was prepared for publication, Fastwel extended its range of CPU modules by manufacturing the CPB907—a new mezzanine CPU module. This module is based on the Intel Atom E6xxT CPU and is equipped with three PCI Express 1x ports. The module is implemented in a COM Express mini standard, having a bit larger overall dimensions than CPB906 (85×55×15 mm, height is specified without heat-sink included), and has the graphics coprocessor able to connect two monitors, a larger RAM volume and flash memory, as well as an extended range of interfaces. The new module is designed for use in devices with a PCIe sys-

tem bus, however, it is necessary to reduce the height of the CPB907 to make it fit into the module in a 3U VITA 46/48 form factor. A CPB907 that combines the improved performance, high-speed interfaces and extended functionalities is generally promising for the use in new developments. All those factors enabled Fastwel engineers to design the carrier’s module according to the VITA 46/48 requirements. The 220-pin connector socket of the CPB906 CPU module demonstrated solid performance in case of frequent connections/disconnections during software debugging process. While installing the CPB906 module into the carrier board, the only advantage was the necessity to shorten test connector pins of the CPB906 by 2.5 mm in order to prevent them touching the top cover of the carrier board. An external view of the CPU module developed by Elara is shown in Figure 5. A rather large space in the CPB906 board is allocated for the battery compartment, used for feeding power to a real-time clock. For avionic equipment constantly experiencing temperature differences and vibration, reliability of such a battery would be insufficient. Since no real-time clock was used in the project, the battery was not installed. Two target devices are connected via the PEX 8112-type bridges made by PLX Technology, because PCI Express 1x has been chosen as the inter-module interface and CPB906 has an external PCI interface.


PS/2 keyboard





Ethernet PCI



Test connector of 3U module (for adjustment)

PEX 8112 Unum


PEX 8112 Unum


PCIe 1x Communication channel 0

PCIe 1x Communication channel 1

PEX 8114 PCIe 4x Video

Main connector of 3U module (to the backplane)


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Figure 4 As this block diagram of the carrier board shows, the parallel PCI bus of a CPB906 CPU module is used for data exchange with two PCI Express 1х boards via PEX 8112 bridges and for output of video data via a PEX 8114 bridge in PCI Express 4х format for an external graphics card.

Inter-Module Exchange For establishing communication and arranging exchange via PCI Express between the CPU module with the installed CPB906 mezzanine board and peripheral devices, point-to-point connection is implemented using only two differential pairs RX (RX+ иRX-) and TX (TX+ и TX-). This is possible due to the clock data recovery (CDR) mechanism available with PCI Express. This mechanism enables recovering clock frequency data from the code. While the CDR is used, each PCIe device is clocked from its own generator and no additional lines for transferring clock frequency from the main generator are required. Differential reference frequency generators are installed in each of the modules— target PCIe devices, as well as in the carrier board—one per each PEX bridge. According to the PCI specification, connection of TX and RX signal polarity in any combination is possible. PCI Express target devices are implemented as FPGA-based made by Xilinx. One of the devices has the installed FPGA Spartan 3, another one Spartan 6. If the structure of the carrier board with CPB906 is organized, the “bottleneck” of the

system was the bandwidth of primary PCI bus. Nevertheless, it was more than enough for systems and interface modules (modules of multiplex data exchange channel and ARINC-429 type). Apart from the data exchange, the PCI bus bandwidth is sufficient for video data output in 800x600, 60 Hz, 24bit format with regard to each color and for solving general control tasks. Due to the fact that CPB906 has no converter of Ethernet physical level decoupling, it is installed in the carrier board, and receive/transmit lines using the matched conductor strips are routed via the backplane to the external connector. Keyboard and USB-port signals are routed to the module’s front panel (test connector). Loading from the external USB flash drive is available upon activation of the relevant BIOS options. With the possibility to connect a keyboard, graphics car and anEthernet channel, the system provides the necessary means for processing and modifying system and functional software. Initial connection, development and debugging of software were carried out using a KIB880 carrier board, which is equipped with a connector for CPB906. It also provides the

The TQMa53 module comes with a Freescale i.MX53 (ARM® Cortex™-A8), and supports Linux and QNX operating systems. The full-function STKa53-AA Starter Kit is an easy and inexpensive way platform to test and evaluate the TQMa53 module.

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required range of hardware tools for connection of SD cards, Ethernet, COM, and implemented in PC/104+ format. The KIB880 also contains a VIM 800 external graphics card in PC/104+ format and a set of necessary flat cables and connectors. This CPU module has the installed Linux 2.4.27 adapted to the device tasks and the support of a R6040 network adapter integrated into the SoC Vortex x86; replacement/update of software is available by connecting via NFS over the telnet service (via Ethernet channel). The driver supports connection of several PCI/PCIe modules with the possibility of high-speed intermodule data exchange. Output of system and/or debugging data to the connected display has been implemented.

Bringing it all Together The carrier board manufactured by Elara, using the CPU board with PCI interface as the basis, made it possible to manufacture a CPU module in a 3U VITA 46/48 format with a PCI Express system

Figure 5 This external view of the CPU module developed by Elara shows a large space in the CPB906 board that’s allocated for the battery compartment, used for feeding power to a real-time clock.

bus, to provide a high-speed data exchange within the crate. The project’s key feature is the connection of three high-speed PCI Express channels to the much slower parallel PCI bus. Such a nonstandard solution was needed because of strict requirements

for the mezzanine CPU board, But all that enabled saving time and resources for designing your own CPU module with an integrated PCI Express bus. At the design stage the developers could sufficiently reduce software development time due to their experience of using and adapting Linux to x86 systems based on a SoC Vortex. The developed CPU module is a perfect match for systems that do not require transferring of large volumes of data, as well as for practical experience of basic level IMA technical solutions with a possibility of further development of hardware and software tools. The modern requirements to speed inter-module data exchange shape a compelling need for small-size mezzanine PC modules with high-speed interfaces. This article was based on materials written by Fastwell engineers Daria Filatova, Roman Chernyaev and Andrey Baturinet. Fastwel US Brooklyn, NY (718) 554-3686

Flexibility and Ruggedness

from CES

RSL-5222 - serial I/O PMC

The latest rugged high-performance serial I/O solution from CES offers up to 8 channels for synchronous and asynchronous protocols in a PMC form-factor. FPGA based, RSL-5222 supports most serial I/O protocols and matches any PMC pinout thanks to its FlexIO™. Delivered with a SW driver, RSL-5222 is ready for your mission computer and fixed ground-based installation. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, CES - Creative Electronic Systems SA has been designing and manufacturing complex high-performance avionic, defense and communication boards, subsystems and complete systems for thirty years (such as ground and flight test computers, ground station subsystems, radar subsystems, mission computers, DAL A certified computers, video platforms, as well as test and support equipment). CES is involved in the most advanced aerospace and defense programs throughout Europe and the US, with a world wide sales presence.

For more information: 36

COTS Journal | September 2014


Advanced Graphics and Integration Are Theme for EBX, ETX and ITX Driven by the trend toward compact, complete single board solutions, busless embedded computer form factors such as EBX, ETX and Mini-ITX have secured their niche. Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief


or years slot-card, backplane-based form factors like VME and cPCI were the primary solution for military systems. But those backplane-based standards by definition entail extra size and weight for card cages and the backplanes themselves. Today, as many applications are calling for high constraints on space, weight and power, busless embedded form factors have gained significant mindshare. COM and COM Express modules are great for “compute core only” parts of that approach. But form factors like EBX, ETX and the various versions of ITX offer a more complete single board computer (SBC) approach, integrating most or all of the typical desktop PC kinds of functions. Military systems where graphics are a priority are particularly suited to these types of board-level products (Figure 1). Based on the ATX PC motherboard standard, the ITX form factor is more known recently for its spinoff versions such as MiniITX and Pico-ITX. Mini-ITX is a 17 x 17 cm (or 6.7 x 6.7 inch) low-power motherboard form factor developed by VIA Technologies in 2001. They are commonly used in small form factor (SFF) computer systems. Mini-ITX boards can be passively cooled due to their low power consumption architecture. The four mounting holes in a Mini-ITX board line up with four of the holes in ATX-specification motherboards. Pico-ITX, meanwhile, is a PC 38

COTS Journal | September 2014

Figure 1 Busless embedded computer form factors like ITX, EBX and ETX are particularly well suited for small constrained military applications like this that require advanced graphics for user interfaces.

motherboard form factor announced by VIA Technologies in January 2007. The form factor was transferred over to SFF-SIG in 2008. The Pico-ITX form factor specifications call for the board to be 10 x 7.2 cm (3.9 × 2.8 inch). Meanwhile, the “Embedded Board, eXpandable” (EBX) standard is the result of a collaboration between industry leaders to unify the embedded computing industry on a small footprint embedded single board computer standard. The EBX combines a standard footprint with open interfaces. The EBX form factor is small enough for deeply

embedded applications, yet large enough to contain the functions of a full embedded computer system: CPU, memory, mass storage interfaces, display controller, serial/parallel ports and other system functions. For expansion, EBX allows easy and modular addition of functions not contained in standard product offerings via popular existing industry standards—PC/104, PCI, PC/104-Plus, PCI-104 and PCMCIA. PC/104 places the ISA bus on compact 3.6 x 3.8inch modules with self-stacking capability. PC/104-Plus adds the speeds of PCI bus to the equation. The more established of the three, ETX, stands for Embedded Technology eXtended. ETX is a highly integrated and compact 95 x 125 mm (3.7 x 4.9 inch) computer-on-module (COM) form factor meant to be used much like an IC component. An ETX COM integrates core CPU and memory functionality, the common I/O of a PC/AT, USB, audio, graphics and Ethernet. All I/O signals as well as a full implementation of ISA and PCI buses are mapped to four high-density, low-profile connectors on the bottom side of the module. In April 2006, the members of the ETX Industrial Group released the latest generation of the ETX 3.0 specification. The ETX Industrial Group ( is an independent association of companies that support ETX and advance the standard.

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Š 2014 General Electric Company. All rights reserved. All other brands, names or trademarks are property of their respective holders.


EBX, ITX and ETX Board Roundup

Mini-ITX Board Delivers 16 PCI Express Slots

Thin, Fanless Mini-ITX Sports Celeron J1900/N2930 Processors

Nano-ITX Board Marries Low Power and Increased Performance

Acrosser Technology provides the AMB-IH61T3, an industrial Mini-ITX motherboard with the highest costperformance ratio yet, powered by an Intel H61 chipset supporting 3rd/2nd Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 processors. The AMBIH61T3 possesses high connectivity and multiple high-speed I/O ports. Built with 8 USB ports/headers and 10 serial ports/ headers, this board provides sufficient and flexible connection possibilities. The Mini-ITX AMB-IH61T3 equipped with a PCI-E x16 slot, brings not only more expanded functionality, but also enhanced graphic power. System developers can even choose to leverage an additional graphics card on top of the slot to improve visual effects for any kind of gaming application, or use the multiple displays for industrial automation purposes. The industrial PC industry has been craving smaller, more affordable portable computing devices.

Advantech has announced the AIMB215, an industrial-grade THIN Mini-ITX motherboard, featuring Intel Celeron J1900/ N2930 low-power SoC with significant CPU and graphics performance improvements. AIMB-215 is designed in low profile for a total height of only 21 mm and a rich variety of I/O functions, making it ideal for a multitude of space-limited applications. Built with Intel Celeron J1900/N2930 processors, AIMB-215 delivers lower power consumption and higher performance than previous generations. It comes with high connectivity and multiple high-speed I/O including: dual LAN ports, 1x USB 3.0, 9 x USB 2.0, 2 x SATAII, 6 x COM, 1 x PCIe x1, and 2 x MiniPCIe (F/S x 1, H/S x 1) expansion sockets, accompanied with one SIM card holder for easy Wi-Fi/3G module installation. It also supports 8-bit digital programmable I/O along with Audio Jack. AIMB-215 accommodates both ATX12V and DC-IN power, providing a low total cost solution. All these rich connectivity and high-performance features are packed in a thin and fanless Mini-ITX form factor that is space-saving, power-efficient and costeffective. AIMB-215 integrates Intel Gen. 7 Graphics Engines and media encode/ decode engine with DX11, OpenCL1.2 and OpenGL3.2 support to deliver enhanced graphics performance and improved 3D video performance.

A Nano-ITX embedded system board from American Portwell is based on the Intel Atom processors E3800 product family ( formerly codenamed Bay Trail, 5W~10W). The new Intel Atom processors integrate the Intel Gen 7 3D graphics engine that improves the performance to double that of the previous generation. It supports one single-channel 24-bit LVDS connection, one DisplayPort (DP) on rear I/O with resolution up to 2560 x 1600 and one onboard VGA port with resolution up to 1920 x 1200. The 204-pin non-ECC SODIMM provides maximum memory, making it capable of supporting up to 4 Gbyte of DDR3L, all within a compact 120 mm x 120 mm footprint. The NANO-6060 Nano-ITX embedded board not only operates with thermal design power (TDP) under 10W for fanless applications, but also supports a wide industrial temperature range from -40째 to 85째C for rugged applications. In addition, the NANO-6060 supports DC 12V input, one non-ECC SO-DIMM memory slot for DDR3L SDRAM up to 4 Gbyte, half-size mini-PCI-E socket, dual display support by DP/VGA/LVDS, two Gigabit Ethernet, one RS-232/422/485 selectable COM port, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports and one micro SD socket. It also provides one PCI-E x1 slot for riser card expansion.

Acrosser USA Cypress, CA (714) 903-1760

Advantech Irvine, CA (949) 789-7178 FIND the products featured in this section and more at


COTS Journal | September 2014

American Portwell Fremont, CA (877) 278-8899


Mini-ITX Motherboard Based on 4th Gen Intel Core Processor

Pair of ITX Boards Excel in Graphics and SWaP

EBX Card Offers PCIe/104 and Mini PCIe Expansion

IBASE Technology offers the MI987 MiniITX motherboard based on the Q87 chipset, designed to support socket LGA1150 4th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 desktop processors. The board is equipped with two DDR3-1600 SO-DIMM sockets to support up to 16 Gbytes of system memory and three types of graphics display interfaces, including VGA CRT, HDMI and DisplayPort. Alongside the display edge-connectors are one serial port, four USB 3.0 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, audio connectors and a 19V DC-IN jack that eliminates the need for a bulky internal power supply and shrinks the volume of the system chassis. With long-term availability, the MI987 comes with many great features, such as two 6 Gbit/s SATA III interfaces, two serial ports, watchdog timer, digital I/O, TPM 1.2, iAMT and iSMART. While TPM allows systems to run applications securely, iSMART provides EuP/ErP power saving and intelligent scheduler for better environmental performance. The MI987 is available in both the Intel Q87 and H81 versions.

Kontron has announced two embedded motherboards with Intel Atom processors. The new Pico-ITX with long-term availability in the smallest embedded motherboard form factor (2.5”) is equipped with an Atom processor E3800 SoC series. Its particularly small footprint of 100 mm x 72 mm boasts a rich feature set. Most notable are the bootable slot for micro-SD cards and the mPCIe slot, which can also be used for mSATA drives. Further features include two independent graphic outputs (DP + LVDS), 1x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x USB 3.0 and 3x USB 2.0. First samples of the new Pico-ITX motherboards with long-term availability will become available in March 2014. Further information is available at the Kontron pITX-E38 product website. The Mini-ITX embedded motherboard with Atom processor E3800 SoC does not require any additional PCB designs and is therefore also immediately deployable. The board supports not only Display Port 1.1a but also 24-bit LVDS. The mPCIe slot supports mSATA or mPCIe extensions. The operating system and application code can be stored on the 16 Gbyte-sized bootable NAND Flash memory (eMMC). Numerous standard interfaces, including GbE, SATA and USB, are, of course, also integrated on this new Mini-ITX motherboard.

Versalogic provides two recent models in their popular “Copperhead” line. The offerings include a dual-core Intel Core i3 product and a Celeron-based product. Based on the industry-standard EBX format (5.75 x 8 inches), Copperhead provides a choice of 3rd Generation Intel Core i7, Core i3 and Celeron processor options. The Copperhead features a high-speed memory interface, up to 16 Gbytes of onboard RAM capacity, and up to three independent display outputs. The PCIe/104 expansion site with a PCIe x16 lane is ideal for add-on cards, such as frame grabbers. The Copperhead features onboard data acquisition via 16 analog inputs, 8 analog outputs and 32 digital I/O lines. System I/O includes dual Gigabit Ethernet with network boot capability, two USB 3.0 ports, ten USB 2.0 ports, four serial ports, and HD audio. Dual SATA 3 and SATA 6 interfaces support Intel Rapid Storage Manager with RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 capabilities (SATA 6 ports only). Flash storage is provided via an mSATA socket, eUSB interface and a Mini PCIe socket. Available in both standard (0° to +60°C) and industrial temperature (-40° to +85°C) versions, the rugged Copperhead boards meet MIL-STD-202G specifications for mechanical shock and vibration. Pricing starts at $1,620 in OEM quantities.

Kontron Poway, CA (888) 294-4558

VersaLogic Eugene, OR (541) 485-8575

IBASE Technology Sunnyvale, CA (408) 992-0888

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COTS Journal | September 2014



Pico-ITX Card Serves Up HighPerformance Graphics Processing

Mini-ITX SBC Is Based on 2nd Gen AMD Steppe Eagle SoC

EBX Atom SBC Blends High Performance and Legacy Support

VIA Technologies’ VIA VAB-1000 PicoITX board is powered by a 1.0 GHz dual core VIA Elite E1000 Cortex-A9 SoC. The VIA VAB-1000 features a high-performance graphics and video engine optimized to deliver richer multimedia capabilities. It is based on the ultra-compact Pico-ITX form factor, measuring 10 cm x 7.2 cm. The processor’s Unified Shader Architecture features 64 stream processors that provide support for dual independent displays along with the smoothest 3D/2D graphics acceleration and full HD playback support for the most demanding video formats in resolutions up to 1080p. Back panel I/O includes two HDMI connectors for HDMI-in and HDMI-out, one mini-USB 2.0 port, one MicroSD slot, one Gigabit Ethernet port and one DC-in jack. Front panel I/O features one pin header for two additional USB ports, one pin header for SPI1 and 8-pin GPIO, one pin header for three I2C and two COM ports, and one pinheader for front audio (Line-in/Line-Out/ Mic-In). Other onboard features include 4 Gbyte eMMC Flash memory, 2 Gbyte DDR3 SDRAM, one dual channel LVDS connector, one S-video pin header and one Mini-PCIe connector.

WIN Enterprises has announced the MB73360, a mini-ITX motherboard that offers OEM customers a choice of three different AMD 2nd Generation System-on-Chip (SoC) processors. The CPUs are integrated with graphic processing units (GPUs) based on AMD’s Graphics Core Next technology to provide superior graphics. The board provides 2x HDMI support 4k resolution, 1x VGA. Memory includes DDR3 up to 8 Gbytes. Also featured are 2x Intel GbE LAN ports, 6x COM , 9x USB , HD audio and 2x SATA links. Other expansion support includes Mini-PCIe socket, PCIe X16 slot and a PCIe slot. The AMD G-Series processors are designed to provide up to 60 percent better compute performance than the previous generation of the same AMD series. Configurable thermal design power is a feature that can limit power to just 5W at the processor level. This helps protect the CPU from failure through over-heating and ensures longer overall product life.

WinSystems announced their EBC-C384, an EBX-compatible, Intel Atom-based single board computer (SBC). The EBC-C384 comes with either the Intel Atom single-core 1.66 GHz N455 or dual-core 1.80 GHz D525 processor combined with the ICH8M I/O hub controller and a variety of onboard serial and parallel I/O interfaces. This SBC’s I/O includes two SATA channels, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, four serial COM channels that support RS-232/422/485, 48 digital I/O lines and HD audio. Legacy I/O includes a PS/2 keyboard and mouse controller, LPT port and PATA interface. Also PC/104, PC/104Plus and MiniPCI connectors provide additional expansion options with industry standard off-the-shelf or user-designed specialty I/O modules. Up to 4 Gbytes of DDR3 MHz SODIMM system memory can be supported on the dual-core D525, and 2 Gbytes on the singlecore N455 version of the EBC-C384. There is also a socket for a CompactFlash (CF) device as well. The fanless, single-core N455, 1.66 GHz board is priced at $529. The dualcore D525, 1.80 GHz board is priced at $595.

VIA Technologies Fremont, CA (510) 683-3300

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COTS Journal | September 2014

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

WinSystems Arlington, TX (817) 274-7553

VPX PLUSTM Design | Test | Deploy Meritec’s VPX PLUS™ is today’s most versatile VPX MULTIGIG RT compatible cabling system, allowing users to access and expand upon the traditional VPX backplane. When bringing out VITA 46 and Open VPX I/O, developers can utilize SATA, SAS, Serial Rapid I/O, InfiniBand, Ethernet, Meritec’s HERCULES™ and other MIL-38999 connectors. Meritec’s VPX Plus System, along with its I/O capabilities, is designed for full bandwidth testing and can be adapted for deployment. The standard VPX cabling terminology applies to Meritec’s VPX Plus cabling system. Fat pipes, thin pipes, ultra-thin pipes are all available in multiple lengths as COTS products, and thanks to Meritec’s unique stacking of wafers, any number of wafers can be stacked to achieve final result, thus creating a wide variety of development options. Your link to The Xtreme High-Speed Xperts — Visit Booth 219 at MilCom14 October 6–8 in Baltimore

FEATURES › The Meritec VPX-Plus backplane cabling system is a cost effective

and flexible alternative to expensive rear transition modules.

› VPX-Plus has less electrical losses than both backplane and rear

transition modules circuitry.

› Provides a connection method allowing backplane circuit rerouting

with small electrical losses and low investment.

› Adds Functionality & Flexibility to any System › 6U and 3U housing kits allow you to maintain complete control from

test to deployment.

› Deployment rails, supplied with capped screws, enhance the

ruggedness & security of the system when deployed into real world environments › COTS and standard pricing › Made In The USA

Contact a MERITEC Solutions Specialist or visit to see our proven array of interconnect solutions.

Contact: Facebook: Linkedin:

Meritec | 888-MERITEC (637-4832)

HERCULES®>10Gbs Ruggedized COTS High-Density Interconnect System Meritec’s Hercules Interconnect System embedded in the rugged MIL-DTL-38999L Series III circular shell provides both a rugged and high-bandwidth interconnect system suitable for Mil/Aero/Marine and harsh environment commercial applications not previously accommodated by Industry standard interconnects. The rapid emergence of high-speed switched serial fabric backplanes in the rugged embedded computer market has created a need for a connector system capable of supporting serial I/O at full bandwidth between platforms. New backplane architectures are supporting link speeds in excess of 5 Gbs. The desire of system developers to implement these speeds and to operate independent boxes or platforms at full system bandwidth requires a new generation of high bandwidth (>10 Gbs) ruggedized I/O connectors. The new VITA 76.0 (Draft) Standard is based on the HERCULES Interconnect System, that will support these bandwidth (>10 Gbs) requirements while also meeting the necessary density and pin counts emerging in ruggedized systems. Follow the link for interactive flipbook and technical data — Visit Booth 219 at MilCom14 October 6–8 in Baltimore

Meritec | 888-MERITEC (637-4832)

FEATURES › Up to 145 total contacts with 44 differential pairs in a #23 circular shell › Rugged light-weight aluminum MIL-38999 Series III Size 9, 13, 17 & 23

threaded-coupling circular shells.

› Shell plating: CAD & Ni PTFE plating materials are available › Keying: “N” (standard) “A”, “B”, “C”, “D” › Available as Plug-Cable Assemblies & Jam-Nut or Flange-Mount

Receptacles for Solder Tail, Press-Fit or Pigtail

› Jacket types available LSZH, PVC, FEP & Halar Expando › Cable types available in 24, 26, 28, 30 AWG, high bandwidth, Custom

lengths built to order

› Supports data rates in excess of 10 Gbs & differential-pair signaling

w/low-skew pairs & shielding for EMI/RFI protection

› Compatible with the following protocols: SAS / USB / PCIexpress / Serial

I/O / Ethernet / SATA as well as InfiniBand

› Matched impedance design of 100 Ohm › Fully electrically tested interconnect systems › Made In The USA

Contact a MERITEC Solutions Specialist or visit to see our proven array of interconnect solutions.

Contact: Facebook: Linkedin:


FIND the products featured in this section and more at


Dual 4 GSPS Transceiver VPX Card Targets C4ISR Applications Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions has begun volume production shipment of its VPX3-530 dual channel ADC/DAC engine. The rugged, low-latency transceiver module’s 12-bit ADC can be configured with either two 4 Gsample/s channels or four 2 Gsample/s channels. In addition, the VPX3-530 provides two channels of 14-bit DAC data conversion at up to 5.6 Gsamples/s on a single, SWaP-optimized 3U OpenVPX card. This next generation transceiver card provides a user programmable Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA to couple the ADC and DAC channels, which results in very low latency between inputs and outputs for efficient sense and response performance required by Electronics Warfare (EW) applications. The compact, highly responsive VPX3-530 can easily be scaled for multi-board, multi-channel synchronization to form an array of synchronized analog inputs, a critical feature for applications such as SIGINT/Direction Finding (DF) or other applications that require beamforming. Designed for embedded digital receiver applications deployed in harsh defense and aerospace environments, the VPX3-530 is ideal for use in EW, base stations, ground and airborne applications including SIGINT, ELINT, SDR (Software Defined Radio), Radar Warning Receivers and ECM Radar. Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions, Ashburn, VA (703) 779-7800

System Blends Data Acq, Signal Processing and Storage 4DSP’s CES720 (Compact Embedded System) is a stand-alone, small form factor embedded system designed to provide a complete and generic processing platform for data acquisition, signal processing and communication. The system is housed in an enclosure measuring five inches per side and weighing less than 1 kg. It features a low-power x86 CPU tightly coupled to a high-performance Xilinx Kintex-7 and FPGA Mezzanine Card (FMC – VITA 57.1). The Kintex-7 410T FPGA provides a flexible and powerful processing backbone for interfacing to the FMC site, CPU and external DDR3 SDRAM, with plenty of room left over for high-performance Digital Signal Processing. 4DSP, Austin, TX. (800) 816-1751.

6U VPX PMC/XMC Carrier Cards Feature High-Speed PCI Express Acromag has expanded their OpenVPX carrier card selection with the addition of two new models. The VPX4820 and VPX4821 feature two PMC or XMC slots with support for front or real panel I/O and deliver 25W of power to each site. Connect to the OpenVPX via the Expansion plane using model VPX4820, or use model VPX4821 to connect to the OpenVPX via the data plane. The XMC site uses an 8-lane PCIe bus Gen 2 interface to enable rapid data throughput. The PMC site uses 32/64-bit, 33/66/133 MHz PLX technology with a PCIe to PCI-X bridge. Pricing starts at $2,495 for an air-cooled version with a 0 to 70°C range. Conduction-cooled and REDI models are also available. Acromag, Wixom, MI. (248) 295-0310.

2,756 MHz VCO Offers 0.5 to 4.5V Control Voltage Range Crystek’s CVCO55CC-2756-2756 VCO (Voltage Controlled Oscillator) operates with a control voltage range of 0.5V-4.5V. This VCO features a typical phase noise of -116 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz offset and has excellent linearity. Output power is typically +4 dBm. Engineered and manufactured in the USA, the model CVCO55CC-2756-2756 is packaged in the industry-standard 0.5-in. x 0.5-in. SMD package. Input voltage is 5V, with a maximum current consumption of 28 mA. Pulling and Pushing are minimized to 1 MHz and 0.2 MHz/V, respectively. Second harmonic suppression is -15 dBc typical. Crystek, Ft. Myers, FL. (239) 561-3311. FIND the products featured in this section and more at


COTS Journal | September 2014


PXI Express Embedded Controller Sports 4th Gen Core i7 Processor ADLINK Technology has announced the release of the new PXIe-3985, its highest performing 3U PXI Express (PXIe) embedded controller, equipped with the quad-core 4th generation Intel Core i7-4700EQ processor and operating at up to 3.4 GHz clock frequency (in singlecore Turbo Boost Mode). With four links x4 or two links x16 and x8 PCI Express gen 2 link capability, up to 8 Gbytes/s of total system throughput and up to 16 Gbytes of DDR3L 1600 MHz RAM, the PXIe-3985 is the perfect choice for applications requiring intensive data analysis or processing and high-speed data streaming, such as in wireless, radar, or RF testing environments. ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200.

PCIe/104 I/O Module Family Boasts Many Programmable Features Diamond Systems has introduced EmeraldMM-8EL-XT (EMM-8EL-XT), a family of highperformance PCIe/104 OneBank serial I/O modules offering 4 or 8 serial ports with software-controlled configuration and optional opto-isolation. The serial ports are based on a high-speed PCIe octal UART with 256-byte TX/RX FIFOs and auto RS-485 transmit control. Each serial port can be independently configured for RS-232, RS-422, or RS-485 protocols, along with programmable 120-ohm line termination. Each port is independently isolated with an isolated power + signal chip, plus additional isolators for control signals. Opto-isolated models feature independent 2500V isolation circuits for enhanced reliability in vehicle or long cable applications. All ports also feature +/-15KV ESD protection. Each serial port is available on an independent latching connector for increased isolation and ruggedness. EMM-8EL-XT also offers 8 digital/analog I/O lines that are programmable from the onboard microcontroller. Each I/O line can be configured for digital input or output. Seven of the I/O lines can also be configured for 12-bit A/D input with selectable 0-2.048V or 0-3.3V input ranges. The board is qualified for operation over the full industrial temperature range of -40° to +85°C.

XMC/PMC Serves up 1.91 GHz Atom E3800 Processor The XPedite8101 is an Intel Atom-based XMC/PMC available in conduction- and air-cooled configurations. The Atom E3800 processors provide excellent computational performance and I/O functionality for their power profile and size. They are low-power system-on-chip (SoC) processors with integrated graphics operating at up to 1.91 GHz. The XPedite8101 supports up to 8 Gbytes of DDR3 ECC SDRAM and up to 32 Gbytes of SLC NAND flash, as well as a Dual-Mode DisplayPort video interface and two Gigabit Ethernet ports. Four USB 2.0 ports, two RS-232/422/485 serial ports and up to two SATA interfaces are also available through the P14 and P16 connectors. Extreme Engineering Solutions, Middleton, WI. (608) 833-1155.

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

In-Memory Database System Paired with ThreadX RTOS McObject, developer of the eXtremeDB In-Memory Database System (IMDS) product family, and Express Logic, provider of the ThreadX RTOS and software tools, announced a partnership in which eXtremeDB has been ported to ThreadX. The integration delivers a fast and cost-effective new platform for developing and deploying data-intensive connected devices. ThreadX offers priority-based pre-emptive scheduling, optimized context switching and an intuitive, easy-to-use API, along with advanced scheduling facilities, message passing, interrupt management and other services. Complete source code is provided. McObject’s eXtremeDB IMDS provides a core in-memory database architecture that eliminates much of the latency that is hard-wired into traditional on-disk database systems. FIND the products featured McObject, Federal Way, WA. (425) 888-8505.

in this section and more at

COTS Journal | September 2014



Rugged Portable RF/IF Signal Recorder Captures a 3.6 Gsamples/s Pentek has announced a new recorder for its family of Talon RF/IF signal recording and playback systems. The Model RTR 2729A is a rugged portable recorder, suitable for military and aerospace applications. Equipped with a 3.6 GHz 12-bit A/D converter, the RTR 2729A is capable of capturing an extremely wide band of signals in real time to disk. The user-programmable DDC (digital downconverter) allows the system to capture tunable IF signals with bandwidths up to 360 MHz continuously for over four hours. The RTR 2729A is the first portable recorder based on a new packaging scheme that boasts a smaller package, lighter weight and faster data rates. The RTR 2729A uses a high-powered Pentek Virtex-7-based Onyx software radio board with a PCIe Gen 3 engine to provide data streaming for the high-speed A/D converter. Coupled with a high-performance PCIe Gen 3 SATA III RAID controller, the RTR 2729A is capable of streaming contiguous data to disk in real time at rates up to 4.8 Gbytes/s, which is 2.4 times faster than the previous generation. The RTR 2729A features a portable, lightweight housing measuring only 16.0- x 6.9- x 13.0-inches, weighing just less than 30 pounds. This extremely rugged workstation is reinforced with shock absorbing rubber corners and an impact-resistant protective glass for its high-resolution 17-inch LCD monitor. The hot-swappable Solid State Drive (SSD) array is available in 7.6 and 15.3 Terabyte configurations and supports RAID levels 0, 1, 5, or 6. The SSDs are meticulously qualified by Pentek for optimum use in rugged and portable applications. The hot-swappable solid state drives exhibit high immunity to shock and vibration for full operation in ground vehicles, ships and aircraft. Customers can select the recording I/O performance that best matches their recording system requirements. The Talon RTR Portable Recorders start at $74,995. Pentek, Upper Saddle River, NJ. (201) 818-5900.

HD/SD USB A/V Encoder Supports Multiple Capture Formats Sensoray has announced the Model 2263S, a versatile USB audio/video encoder supporting multiple analog and digital input formats. It captures HD or SD video and simultaneously sends a compressed and an uncompressed (preview) stream to the host. Supported video inputs include DVI, component and composite. Audio is optionally captured from analog line input, compressed and multiplexed into a transport stream. It is well-suited for uncompromising capture of multiple video sources, such as video pipeline inspection, radar and sonar processing, remote video surveillance and traffic monitoring. Model 2263S is designed as a UVC (USB Video Class) device, which means it does not require a device-specific driver. It is controlled using a video API (DirectShow or Video4Linux). Sensoray provides Software Development Kits ( that speed up application development) for several operating systems. A fully functional demo application illustrates the capabilities and serves as a good starting point for Custom Development. The device implements efficient H.264 video compression. The resulting data is output as an MPEG transport stream (MPEG-TS), or in MP4 or AVI file formats. Audio compression is performed using AAC-LC. High precision hardware timestamps used for multiplexing aid in keeping audio and video data in sync. Sensoray, Tigard, OR. (503) 684-8005.

3U Networking Platform Offers Quad-Core Processing WIN Enterprises has announced the PL-80540, a 3U networking platform. The system delivers high-density processing with up to 12 hot-pluggable blades powered by Intel Xeon E3 12xx series processors. These high-performance quad-core processors deliver clock speeds of 3.2 GHz or 3.4 GHz. In addition to its standard LAN complement of 2x 10GbE SFP, 2x GbE SFP and 2x GbE RJ45, the PL-80540 accommodates expansion modules for an additional 6x 10GbE SFP and additional 16x GbE copper/fiber LANs. The hot-swappable blades enable the OEM to scale from moderate to high density server solutions. The unit features redundant power and provides four hot-swappable fans with speed control. FIND the products featured in this section and more at


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

COTS Journal | September 2014



LSF-02 • The LSF-02 is a small form factor computing and communication platform ideal for vehicle and man-pack applications. • The COM-E based platform provides flexibility to meet different performance and power envelopes. • Support for 2 Mini-PCIe cards and two additional add-in cards allows quick customization. • Total weight with 2 Mil-2590 batteries is 20.8lbs

LCR Embedded Systems Phone: (800) 747-5972 Email: Web:

3U cPCI Intel Core i7 - 75INT2 • Intel® Core™ i7-3517UE @ 1.5 GHz Dual Core Processor • < 25 W MB power dissipation • Up to two I/O or communications functions • Up to 8 GB DDR3L SDRAM • Up to 32 GB SATA II NAND Flash • Dual 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet ports • Wind River® Linux, VxWorks® or Windows® Embedded Standard 7 OS support

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

COTS Journal | September 2014



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Company Page# Website

Company Page# Website

Acromag..............................................28........................... Aries Electronics, Ballard Technology, Inc........................52....................... Cots Product Gallery............................47......................................................... Creative Electronic Systems................36...................................... Critical iO............................................17........................... Data Bus Products..............................24.............. Data Device Corporation.....................47........................... Equipto Electronics Extreme Engineering GE Intelligent Platforms......................45............................ Harting................................................30...................... Innovative Interface Concept................................33.............. LCR Embedded Systems, Inc...............22........ Mercury Systems, Inc. ........................31.................................

Meritec................................................43............................. Milcom 2014........................................49............................... One Stop Systems, Inc. ....................16, Orbit International Corp. .....................5....... Pentek, Inc..........................................13.............................. Phoenix International Systems, Inc. .....4............................ Pico Electronics, Inc............................27................. Red Rock Technologies, Inc..................4....................... RTD Embedded Technologies, Inc. .......2..................................... Sealevel..............................................18............................ SIE Computing Solutions.....................21............................... SynQor, Tech Trenton Systems, Inc. WinSystems, Inc.

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: Communications and Networking for a Net-Centric Military

System Development: Upgrade Paths for Legacy VME and CompactPCI Systems

Tech Recon: Rugged Storage Strategies in the Terabyte Era: From RAID to SSDs

Tech Focus: Rugged Stand-Alone Box Products

A major portion of today’s U.S. military platforms is either directly or indirectly involved in communications or networking critical information between warfighters. The trend is toward every vehicle, every aircraft, every ship, every UAV and every soldier on the ground to be able to quickly share data, voice and even video with almost any level of the DoD’s operation. This section explores the display, computing and networking technologies that are all part of a net-centric military.

We’ve reached an era when Terabyte densities for storage media are practically routine. High-bandwidth sensor platforms on UAVs, satellites and other systems are bringing in a deluge of data. This is making military data storage a more mission-critical function than ever before. Memory arrays comprised of RAID module, rotating disks, SSD and sophisticated interfaces are being tasked to manage and store massive amounts of data. This section explores the key technology and product trends in military data storage. 48

COTS Journal | May 2014

Upgrade strategies vary depending on whether it’s just the processing technology that needs a refresh or whether the interconnect speeds and other capabilities are the issue. OpenVPX is decidedly aimed more at high-bandwidth, data-intensive military applications. But VME is still more suited for use in applications that are event-driven. Meanwhile, upgrade options for CompactPCI include PICMG 2.16, CompactPCI PlusIO and CompactPCI Express. This section looks at technology and product choices involved in these decisions. Traditional embedded board vendors have added stand-alone rugged boxlevel systems to their military market offerings. These complete system boxes often support standard form factor boards inside them. The result is a complete, tested and enclosed computing solution that eliminates complex integration chores for customers. This section looks at this emerging product class and outlines the problems they solve. A product album rounds up the latest representative products in this area.


AFFORDABLE MISSION SUCCESS: MEETING THE CHALLENGE Oct. 6â&#x20AC;&#x201C;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



Operational mission milestone achieved by the U.S. Air Force’s RQ-4 Global Hawk in Southwest Asia. The aircraft has recently moved into the Pacific region. Built by Northrop Grumman Corp., Global Hawk is operated largely out of the 69th Reconnaissance Group at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. The 69th Reconnaissance Group falls under the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, central station for the entire Global Hawk fleet based at Beale Air Force Base, California. Global Hawk is equipped with the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program sensor capable of detecting fixed and moving targets.

Up to 5 km

Distance at which the MD 530G Scout Attack helicopter hit within 1.5 meters from center of target firing Raytheon TALON Laser Guided rockets. Last month MD Helicopters announced the successful completion of Live Fire Qualification Exercises at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona, for its new MD 530G Scout Attack Helicopter. Aside from the rockets, the live fire demonstration included .50 caliber and 7.62 mm ammunition.

$10.78 Billion

The value that the vehicle electronics (vetronics) market is expected to reach by 2020 according to a new market research report, now available from ASDReports. The report tracks the vetronics market by application, by subsystems, by military land vehicle type and by region. The report provides a market analysis of the topic over the next six years. It does an analysis of drivers, restraints, challenges and opportunities that impact the industry. It also provides details about the technology trends that are currently prevailing in vetronics. 50

COTS Journal | September 2014


Value of contract awarded to General Dynamics Bath Iron Works to provide planning yard services for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program. Bath Iron Works, as the LCS Planning Yard, will provide maintenance and modernization support for all Navy LCS 1 and LCS 2 variant ships. Work to be performed under this contract includes availability advanced planning, ship alteration design and logistics support, material support, ship planned maintenance, class services, onboard maintenance, and planning of all maintenance availabilities in the U.S. and abroad.

Year that NASA aims to launch its Space Launch System (SLS) for the first time. The SLS has been in development for three years, and when finished it should propel spacecraft beyond Earth’s orbit and eventually launch crew vehicles to Mars by the 2030s. NASA has now completed a thorough review of the project, signifying formal space agency commitment to the 70 metric ton version of the SLS at a cost of $7.021 billion from 2014 to 2018.

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

Extreme Engineering Solutions 608.833.1155

Designed, manufactured, and supported in the USA

The industry’s most trusted and widely used USB interfaces

Portable Avionics Databus Interfaces A reliable USB interface from Astronics Ballard Technology does it all – databus test, analysis and simulation. Use it in

· MIL-STD-1553, EBR 1553 · ARINC 429, 708, 717 · Serial, Discrete

the lab or in the field – it’s fully powered by a single USB port. Simply connect it to any available laptop, desktop or tablet PC and it’s ready to go. Add our CoPilot® interactive software for a complete easy-to-use solution.

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COTS Journal  

September 2014

COTS Journal  

September 2014