VITA 66 & 67 Bringing Fiber Optic and Mixed Signal Capability to VPX

Today’s rugged embedded computing industry demands the best of technology and reliability. Driven by requirements for higher performance solutions, platforms continually evolve. Standards organizations, such as the VSO (VMEbus Standards Organization), are diligently working to bring the technology for these solutions to the mainstream. The VSO’s VPX architecture, based on Tyco Electronics’ MULTIGIG RT2 backplane connector as qualified to the VITA 46.0 standard, is the latest technology to be applied to rugged embedded computing. In addition to dealing with escalating processing, power, and cooling requirements of leading edge solutions, the VSO is now addressing the need to realize high bandwidth and high fidelity transmission via alternative media — e.g. fiber optic and coaxial wave guides. This technology is crucial in realizing the full potential of today’s cutting edge C4ISR gear, including RF intensive radar, SIGINT and IED defeat gear, as well as systems benefiting from fiber optics, including secure, long distance and high data rate communications lines.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Embedded software, Fiber optics, Waveguides, Reliability

Taking COTS to the Next Level in Vetronics Subsystems

Embedded vetronics (vehicle electronics) subsystems for rugged deployed ground vehicles have long benefited from the reduced risk, faster time to market, and long lifecycle support offered by COTS board vendors. Recent advances in open standards developments, namely the OpenVPX/VITA 65 specification that defines system-level interoperability profiles for VPX architecture boards and backplanes, promise to take the COTS model from the board to the subsystem level, enabling faster deployment of proven, standards-based fully integrated enclosures.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Electronic equipment, Integrated circuits

Characterization of High-Temperature Polymer Thin Films for Power Conditioning Capacitors

Wide bandgap semiconductors (e.g., silicon carbide) will enable operation of military systems at temperatures above 150 °C, which eases thermal management. However, such systems cannot be designed efficiently unless capacitors are available that can operate at similarly high temperatures.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Capacitors, Heat resistant materials, Polymers, Semiconductors, Military vehicles and equipment

RF Polymer Composites for Electromagnetic Systems

Design of polymer composites with specific engineered electromagnetic properties are of use in a variety of physical electromagnetic systems above 100 MHz. In physical electromagnetic systems such as GPS, radomes, WiFi, etc., proper choice of the material can be transformative in that it can yield considerably better performance. Of interest in this work is the possible development of low-loss magneto-dielectric composites. This project investigates various aspects of material systems, starting with possible composite designs, to design of measurement techniques, to development of finite element models for complex waveguide and conformal antenna configurations that use these materials.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Finite element analysis, Antennas, Waveguides, Composite materials, Materials identification, Polymers

Modeling Defects in Transparent Ceramics to Improve Military Armor

The dominant materials solution used for ballistic transparency protection of armored tactical platforms in commercial and military applications is low-cost glass backed by polycarbonate. Development of next-generation ceramics is critical to offering enhanced protection capability and extended service performance for future armored windows to the soldier. Among the potential ceramic materials considered for armor — sapphire, edge-form-growth sapphire, magnesium aluminate spinel, aluminium oxynitride — one was selected for the current pursuit: magnesium aluminate spinel (MgAl2O4).

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Windows and windshields, Failure modes and effects analysis, Ceramics, Occupant protection, Military vehicles and equipment

Validation of Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP)-Free Torque Seal Inspection Lacquer

The Army uses numerous adhesives and sealants, among other coating materials, that contain significant amounts of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). This work examines laboratory and field demonstration/validation of one sealant, Torque Seal. A HAP-free alternative to Torque Seal containing ethanol as the carrier solvent has been identified. Laboratory testing including adhesion, resistance to fluids, resistance to humidity, and drying time validated that the HAP-free sealant performs very similarly to the baseline Torque Seal containing methanol (HAP). Furthermore, a demonstration study at Fort Rucker, AL, using a UH-1 helicopter rotor, shows that the HAP-free sealant performed as well as the Torque Seal.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Air pollution, Adhesives and sealants, Performance tests, Test procedures, Military aircraft, Military vehicles and equipment

Wireless Network Cocast: Location-Aware Cooperative Communications with Linear Network Coding

In wireless networks, reducing aggregate transmit power and having even power distribution increase the network lifetime. The conventional direct transmission (DTX) scheme results in high aggregate transmit power and uneven power distribution. In conventional DTX, where mobile units directly transmit their information to a common destination, the distant mobile units require more transmit power to provide a comparable quality of service (QoS) to that of the closer ones. Consequently, high aggregate transmit power (the sum of all transmit power of individual mobile units) and uneven power distribution among the units exist in the network. These two issues result in low network lifetime, which is defined as the time until the first mobile unit dies. It is wellknown that diversity techniques such as time diversity, frequency diversity, and spatial diversity result in reduction of transmit power and thus can be used to improve network lifetime. Three location- aware cooperation-based schemes considered in this work are immediateneighbor cooperation (INC), maximal cooperation (MAX), and wireless network cocast (WNC) that achieve spatial diversity to reduce aggregate transmit power and even power distribution.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers

High Assurance Virtualization Engine (HAVEN)

Virtualization technology has been around since the late 1960s. Initially, it was conceived to maximize utilization of expensive hardware by running multiple instances of an operating system (OS) using virtual machines (VM). In the past decade, virtualization has become popular due to its cost and space-saving advantages.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Virtual reality, Architecture, Computer software / hardware

Memory-Based, Structured, Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC)

For air, space, and ground-based systems, there is a clear need for highperformance, lightweight, low-power, highly reliable computing on data-intensive applications. A data-intensive application is one in which there is a very large volume of data, which is often accessed in irregular patterns. Yet, despite the fact that application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) are becoming more memory- intensive, commodity memory and ASIC design and manufacturing technologies are still on divergent paths.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Integrated circuits, Data management, Fabrication

Solid-State, High-Energy Lasers Based on Rare-Earth Doped Gallium Nitride

Laser-based directed-energy weapons (DEW) are important components for future Army missile defense systems. The diode-pumped, rare-earth (RE)-doped, solid-state laser is a very promising path towards achieving a DEW-sufficient level of average power from a reasonably compact device. Even so, the extreme pump power densities, combined with the inevitable non-radiative losses in the pump-lase process, introduce severe thermal loading in the gain medium. Regardless of the sophistication of the heat removal technique and its efficiency, the gain medium itself is the bottleneck for non-distortive heat removal due to the low thermal conductivity of known gain media compared to that of heat-sinking materials. The bestknown laser hosts, e.g., yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG), possess thermal conductivities (10–11 W/(m-K)) that are ~1.5 orders of magnitude lower than those of known heat-sinking materials. In order to eliminate this technical hurdle, an innovative gain medium with a thermal conductivity on the same order as copper (~390 W/(m- K)) had to be engineered.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Lasers, Thermal management, Military vehicles and equipment, Missiles