Stand-Off Scanning and Pointing with Risley Prisms

With the ever increasing threat of improvised explosive devices, both in the military arena and the civilian realm, there is a growing demand for technologies with the ability to detect explosives and their precursors from a safe stand-off. While a wide variety of technologies have been investigated for this application, laser-based spectroscopic techniques designed to detect chemical traces on personnel, vehicles and other objects have garnered a lot of attention. These laser-based techniques include Raman spectroscopy, laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS), and photothermal spectroscopy (PTS), among others. Laser-based approaches concentrate a large amount of power on a single target location, which enables reasonable signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) to be obtained despite the 1⁄R2 drop-off in return signal strength (where R represents stand-off distance).

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Optics

Getting It Right with Composites

"Composite design and analysis is a highly integrated activity,” said Chris Gear, Chief Technology Officer & Senior Technical Fellow for GKN Aerospace. He noted that how composite material is placed, how it moves, how it cures, and the quality and conformance of the product are all interrelated. All of these factors are considered in the final release of the data for manufacturing, according to him, aided by design-for-manufacturing (DFM).

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Design processes, Manufacturing processes, Composite materials

Regional and Bizjets Refined and Redefined

There is definitely a degree of overlap in the regional and business jet sectors, both in terms of airframes and the engines that power them. At the high end of the market are aircraft such as the Boeing 737 BBJ and Airbus A319 Corporate Jet, which typically carry up to a dozen VIP passengers in spacious luxury, but which in airline service carry around 130 passengers.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Aircraft structures, Avionics, Business and general aviation aircraft

Solutions for RF Power Amplifier Test

As wireless mobile devices grow in capability and complexity, the associated growth in power demand is driving new approaches to battery utilization and power efficiency. One of the single largest power consumers in a wireless handset is the RF Power Amplifier (PA) and as such, improved efficiency techniques like Envelope Tracking (ET) and Digital Pre-Distortion (DPD) are being increasingly utilized. The key implication for test engineers — whether in design, characterization, or manufacturing test — is that testing these devices with this additional capability can potentially drive up both test cost and overall test time. This article discusses various approaches to maximizing test equipment utilization and reducing test times for such component RF PAs and front-end modules.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Amplifiers, Test procedures

Air-Ground Communications System Aims to Make Flying Safer

Reliance on old-fashioned radio contact by pilots and vulnerable tracking systems is still high, but satellites are set to change sky safety, thanks to international collaboration. The European Space Agency’s Iris program is looking to satellites to make aviation safer through modern communications. Worldwide digital data links via satellite, offering much higher capacity, will become the standard for cockpit crews, with voice communications kept as backup.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Satellite communications

Flight Management System Software

Paris La Défense Cedex, France
+33 (0)1 57 77 86 26

Thales was recently selected by Northrop Grumman Corporation to have its state-of-the-art Flight Management System software, i-FMS200, embedded in the avionics mission equipment package that Northrop Grumman will provide to upgrade the US Army’s UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters. The upgraded version of the Black Hawk helicopter will be known as UH-60V.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Computer software / hardware, Flight management systems

COTS Rugged Systems

North Atlantic Industries
Bohemia, NY

North Atlantic Industries (NAI) recently received an initial contract from L-3 Maritime Systems for Custom-on-Standard Architecture™ (COSA™) COTS rugged systems for the Ship to Shore Connector (SSC) Data Acquisition Unit. The advanced, rugged intelligent I/O and communications subsystem delivers significant advantages for data acquisition and control solutions for the U.S. Navy’s new SSC program. The SSC is the successor to the Navy’s versatile Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) vehicle, which is nearing its expected service life. Prime contractor for the detail design and construction of the Ship to Shore Connector, awarded under Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Contract N00024-12-C-2401, is Textron Systems.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Data acquisition, Marine vehicles and equipment, Military vehicles and equipment

Embedded Computing Subsystems

GE Intelligent Platforms
Huntsville, AL

GE’s Intelligent Platforms division recently secured orders from General Dynamics UK valued at £64 million (~$100 million) to provide a range of embedded computing subsystems that will be deployed onboard the British Army’s SCOUT Specialist Vehicle (SV) platforms. The scalable, open architecture subsystems – which include Ethernet switches, gateway processors, data servers and video servers – will allow SCOUT SV platforms to be easily upgraded during their lifetime as new requirements and technologies emerge.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Embedded software

Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) Shipsets

McMurdo Group
Lanham, MD

McMurdo Group, a company that specializes in end-to-end search and rescue (SAR) and maritime domain awareness (MDA) solutions, was recently selected by Embraer to provide complete Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) shipsets for its E Jets second generation of aircraft, known as the E Jets E2. The contract will include McMurdo Group’s Kannad Integra ELTs with its new ARINC GPS Interface fitted on the aircraft, and Kannad 406 MHz Survival ELTs for use by crewmembers in the cabin.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Electronic equipment, Emergency management

Fabricating Transparent and Stretchable Supercapacitors Based on Wrinkled Graphene Electrodes

Stretchable electronic devices, including solar cells, light-emitting diodes, batteries, and textile supercapacitors, have been developed to retain their functions even when under large strains (up to 40%). Some transparent solar cells, batteries, and supercapacitors have also been developed. However, most of the currently developed electrodes and the associated supercapacitor cells cannot be both transparent and stretchable.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Batteries, Electronic equipment, Ultracapacitors and supercapacitors, Fabrication