RF FPGAs for Multi-Function Systems

A dynamically reconfigurable, wideband programmable RF FPGA transceiver will provide reduced lifecycle cost, reduced redesign cost, and service for multiple DoD platforms, while maintaining near-optimal performance for each application.

State-of-the-art RF integrated circuits (ICs) achieve high performance via custom circuit elements with dedicated signal paths for application-specific functions, but long design lead times and non-recurring fabrication costs increase time-to-market for new applications and limit reuse. The key to developing an RF FPGA (radio frequency field-programmable gate array) is to provide RF switching components with very low insertion loss and high isolation that can be integrated with high-performance RF circuits in silicon germanium (SiGe) and gallium nitride (GaN) technologies, and integrating these circuits in a reconfigurable topology to allow an RF FPGA to perform a wide variety of functions.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, RF & Microwave Electronics, Radio equipment, Switches

3D Software Helps Development of Vehicle-Mounted Defense Systems

L-3 Communications Linkabit (Melbourne, FL) develops defense communications and electronic warfare systems to protect soldiers and save lives on the battlefield. A division of L-3 Communications, the sixth-largest defense company in the United States, Linkabit focuses on developing systems that safeguard troops in the field by obscuring visibility, jamming radar signals, intercepting communications, and disrupting infrared transmissions.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Computer software / hardware, Product development, Protective systems, Military vehicles and equipment

Software for Material/Structural Characterization Across Length Scales

Synthetic and natural micro-architectures occur frequently, and multiphase functionally graded composites are becoming increasingly popular for applications requiring optimized/tailored material properties. When dealing with such materials computationally, one issue that immediately arises is the analysis of the mechanical properties of macroscopically inhomogeneous multi-scale structures. The bulk response of these structures can be determined by performing full finite element analysis (FEA); that is, with the entire geometry discretized at a resolution high enough to accurately model the smallest length scale of interest. However, these full models may easily exceed hundreds of millions, or potentially billions, of degrees of freedom, and solving problems of this magnitude may only be possible with the use of supercomputing facilities.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Information Technology, Computer software / hardware, Composite materials, Materials properties

Model Development Using Accelerated Simulations of Hypersonic Flow Features

Currently, the two main computational tools used by the aerothermodynamics community to model hypersonic flows are Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), and the direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) particle method. Both use essentially the same physical models for rotational-vibrational excitation and dissociation phenomenon, which are based on a limited number of near-equilibrium experiments performed at low temperatures.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Information Technology, Computational fluid dynamics, Thermal testing, Aerodynamics

Chrono: A Parallel Physics Library for Rigid-Body, Flexible-Body, and Fluid Dynamics

The Chrono::Engine software is a general-purpose simulator for three-dimensional multi-body problems. Specifically, the code is designed to support the simulation of very large systems such as those encountered in granular dynamics, where the number of interacting elements can be in the millions. Target applications include tracked vehicles operating on granular terrain, or the Mars rover operating on discrete granular soil.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Software, Computer software / hardware, Particulate matter (PM), Off-highway vehicles and equipment, Spacecraft

Terrain Model as an Interface for Real-Time Vehicle Dynamics Simulations

In order to enable off-road vehicle dynamics analysis simulations when traveling on soft soil, a deformable Vehicle Terrain Interface (VTI) model that interfaces with existing vehicle and tire dynamics models was developed. It is modularized to be interfaced to a multibody dynamics vehicle that supports the Standard Tire Interface (STI). Any tire model can be used that supports the STI as well; currently, both rigid and flexible tire models are supported.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Information Technology, Tires and traction, Computer simulation, Off-highway vehicles and equipment, Vehicle dynamics

ETS researchers develop new methodology for wind tunnel calibration

In recent years, the École de Technologie Supérieure (ETS) Research Laboratory in Active Controls, Avionics, and Aeroservoelasticity (LARCASE) has acquired several research apparatus—a research flight simulator Cessna Citation X, an open return subsonic wind tunnel, and a flight autonomous system (UAV)—making it one of the few multidisciplinary research laboratories in Canada with a wide range of equipment with the capabilities of simulating aircraft models, especially airfoils, and validating the models with experimental data collected on the ground (wind tunnel) and in-flight (UAV).

Posted in: Technology Update, Aerospace, Defense, Test facilities, Aerodynamics, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Boeing advances automation with smart and portable orbital drilling tools for 787

Since robotic work cells have proven to be highly effective in certain applications, and the technology is always improving, some might dream of a day when aircraft can be made like cars on heavily automated assembly lines with all the associated benefits. Boeing has made an advance in that direction.

Posted in: Technology Update, Aerospace, Defense, Automation, Computer integrated manufacturing, Drilling, Robotics

Vacuum Regulators to Simulate Altitudes

Fletcher, NC

To support air assets, the US Navy’s Altitude Laboratory in Maryland is tasked with testing On-Board Oxygen Generating Systems (OBOGS). The lab has three hypobaric chambers to assess mechanical breathing simulators at altitudes up to 60,000 feet. The altitude in the chambers is simulated by precisely regulating the vacuum pressure.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Scale models, Aircraft operations, Aerodynamics

Electronic Attack Capability on Unmanned Aircraft

Northrop Grumman Corp.
Falls Church, VA

Northrop Grumman Corporation has integrated and employed an internal miniature electronic attack payload on the Bat unmanned aircraft, marking the first time that such a system was used in operation on a Group III (small, tactical) system.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Electronic equipment, Cyber security, Unmanned aerial vehicles