Designing High-Speed, Rugged Data Recorders

High-speed recorders represent a major share of electronic instrumentation found in commercial, industrial, scientific research, government, and defense applications. Each system captures specific classes of analog and digital inputs from among an enormous range of sensors, networks, and interfaces.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Electronic equipment, Durability, Event data recorders

Improving Software Reliability in Satellite and Spacecraft Applications

In the space industry, much of the effort to refine system engineering processes has been done by hand using tools as divergent as Microsoft PowerPoint to IBM Rational Doors. While these tools are valuable, they do not provide a direct connection to source code and test results.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Avionics, Computer software / hardware, Reliability, Satellites, Spacecraft

Target Location System Performs in Rain, Smoke, Haze, and Combat Scenarios

A combat identification system developed by Cubic Defense Applications, the defense systems business of Cubic Corporation, was successfully tested during a recent U.S. and Coalition forces assessment of technologies designed to reduce “friendly fire” casualties and increase situational awareness. Cubic's DCID-TALON, an acronym for Dismounted Combat ID with Target Location & Navigation, went through a number of tough tests to demonstrate its capabilities. The multifunction technology was tested in sun, rain, smoke, haze, through trees and windows and at a distance. It was tested on moving soldiers who were walking, riding in vehicles, and engaging in simulated dry-fire and live-fire combat scenarios.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Personnel, Identification, Visibility, Performance tests, Military vehicles and equipment

Rocket Launcher Tubes Protect Troops

The desire to get home safely dwells in the back of the mind of every soldier. The battlefield provides enough mortal dangers without soldiers having to wonder whether or not the weapons they carry could injure or kill them at any moment. A single flaw in the design or fabrication of man-held weaponry could prove fatal for a soldier, leaving weapon suppliers and manufacturers no margin for error in the weapon development process.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Failure modes and effects analysis, Product development, Risk management, Military vehicles and equipment

Holographic Radar Pinpoints Rapid Shell Fire

Cambridge Consultants has successfully carried out trials tracking 5 inch shells travelling at over 1,000 miles per hour for the US Department of Defense (DoD). The groundbreaking radar developed specifically for this task was able to measure the trajectory and burst points of shells fired from a naval gun at a rate of one every three seconds — the first time radar has been used this way. The technology will eventually be used by the US DoD for training against attack by fast moving land and sea vehicles.

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

Jamming-Resistant Adaptive Radio System

Developing smart antennas for jam-resistant cognitive or software-defined radio systems entails a number of challenging issues. Researchers at the University of Texas are investigating methods to locate jamming signals and then take evasive action to maintain a communication link. Their work involves the use of large arrays of miniaturized, tunable antennas and adaptive filters to protect the system. The goal is to design a resilient communication system resistant to jamming signals in a wide spectrum of frequencies.

Posted in: Application Briefs, RFM Catchall, Antennas, Communication protocols, Radio equipment, Reliability

High-Temperature Silicon Carbide Power Module for Military Hybrid Electric Vehicles

The ever-increasing electrical power, power density, and cooling requirements of present and future military platforms are pushing silicon-based power electronics systems to their operational limits. To address future needs, wide bandgap semiconductor materials such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) were developed for electronic applications. Using these semiconductor materials, a new generation of wide bandgap power devices is being developed.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Power electronics, Materials properties, Semiconductors, Hybrid electric vehicles, Military vehicles and equipment

Prognostic Health Management for Avionics System Power Supplies

Electronic systems such as electronic controls, onboard computers, communications, navigation, and radar perform many critical functions onboard military and commercial aircraft. All of these systems depend on electrical power supplies for direct current (DC) power at a constant (regulated) voltage to drive solid-state electronics. With these power supplies playing an important role in the operation of aircraft systems and subsystems, flight and ground crews need health state awareness and prediction tools that diagnose faults accurately, predict failures, and project life remaining of these components.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Avionics, Electronic equipment, Electric power, Prognostics, Commercial aircraft, Military aircraft

Energy-Scalable Protocols for Battery Operated Micro Sensor Networks

Networks of microsensors can greatly improve environment monitoring for many civil and military applications. Multiple sensors provide fault tolerance and can provide valuable inferences about the physical world to the end user. In order to prolong the lifetimes of wireless sensors, all aspects of a sensor system should be energy efficient. To maximize battery lifetimes of distributed wireless sensors, network protocols and data fusion algorithms should be designed with low-power techniques. Network protocols minimize energy by using localized communication and control and by exploiting computation/communication tradeoffs. A sensor network system that uses a localized clustering protocol and beamforming data fusion was developed to enable energy-efficient collaboration.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Mathematical models, Architecture, Sensors and actuators, Surveillance, Energy consumption

Fabrication of Carbon Nanotube Channels on Three- Dimensional Building Blocks

Single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) are the most attractive material in the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology due to their chemical, physical, and electrical properties. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are being applied in various kinds of nano devices such as transistors, electrodes, sensors, and filters because of the semiconducting, metallic, optical, and structural properties. To date, CNTs are mainly synthesized, grown, and dispersed on a two-dimensional substrate. However, it is not easy to fabricate and manipulate CNTs on a particularly structured substrate for various applications. In the case of CNTs on planar substrates, it is hard to get high conductivity and sensitivity because of physical disconnection and low surface areas due to randomly oriented two-dimensional structure.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fabrication, Nanomaterials, Nanotechnology