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Microelectromechanical Systems Inertial Measurement Unit Flight Test

AFRL and Boeing engineers conducted successful flight tests of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) inertial measurement units (IMU) on the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). They collected flight data and validated the MEMS IMU technology's capability to provide stable navigation performance and accurate weapon guidance, both with and without Global Positioning System (GPS) updates. Researchers will use this flight data to further refine MEMS IMU technology to enhance future capabilities of air-launched munitions.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Microelectricmechanical device, Navigation and guidance systems, Flight tests
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Fruit Flies

He refers to them as "nature's fighter jets" and has devoted his life's work and an entire lab to monitor their every move. Thus is the relationship existing between Dr. Michael Dickinson and the objects of his attention—fruit flies. Career pursuits aside, Dr. Dickinson's connection to the insects is one he predicts will eventually lead to the development of flying robots capable of performing various covert tasks, such as spying and surveillance.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Surveillance, Biological sciences, Robotics
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Active Flow Control Demonstrated on “Airborne Wind Tunnel”

AFRL engineers, collaborating with aerospace manufacturers and other Air Force groups, recently demonstrated the first-ever airborne active flow control system when they manipulated the airflow behind an F-16 external pod. They significantly altered the turbulent wake using small, electrically controlled, piezoelectric synthetic jet (PESJ) actuators. This demonstration is just one part of AFRL's multiphase Aeroelastic Load Control program aimed at reducing the weight, complexity, and signature of air vehicles through the introduction of active control technologies.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Aerodynamics
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Weapon Data Link Demonstration

One of the US Air Force's goals is to reduce the time needed to strike timesensitive targets, thus minimizing the adversary's perceived mobility advantage and leaving concealment as that enemy's primary defensive measure. One potential way to meet this challenge relies on a capability to redirect and update weapons with new target coordinates while they are in flight—a solution that requires weapons developers to outfit weapons with a data link enabling communications between warfighters operating in the air and on the ground. This Weapon Data Link (WDL) approach would allow the warfighter to directly communicate with and control air-launched weapons to strike moving or otherwise time-sensitive targets, while continually gathering information about the weapon's performance against those targets. The scenario could involve something as simple as a weapon communicating its position and system status back to the release aircraft, or something as complex as a weapon operating in the Global Information Grid (GIG), wherein a secondary ground/air controller assumes the weapon's control after a positive handoff from the release platform, with the weapon's sensor and video information autonomously distributed throughout the GIG.

Figure 1. Depiction of WDLAFRL engineers recently accomplished a critical step in demonstrating the WDL approach. Held at Langley Air Force Base (AFB), Virginia, the demonstration's primary objective was to show that two WDL terminals, connected to Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) laptop computers, could successfully transmit and receive J-series messages within a Link-16 network (see Figures 1 and 2). The network included a legacy Fighter Data Link (FDL) terminal provided by the 46th Test Squadron (Eglin AFB, Florida), two WDL terminals, and local aircraft equipped with Link-16 radios.

Engineers from AFRL and Rockwell Collins partnered to develop the 50 in3, software-defined WDL radio used in the demonstration. This radio provides multiple operators with the flexibility to port and upload communication waveforms. The device has three software waveforms loaded into its memory; the operator can switch between these waveforms as required. Although the test team limited this demonstration to Link-16 operation, future demonstrations will highlight the radio's capacity to receive and transmit ultra-high-frequency satellite communications and line-of-sight waveforms as well. The TACP Modernization program supplied the TACPCASS (Close Air Support System) software, laptop computers, and a trained operator. During the first part of the demonstration, one TACP computer generated target coordinates and transmitted them as J-series messages from one WDL terminal to the other. The TACP-CASS software on the second TACP computer interpreted and displayed the transmitted messages as target tracks. This test showed that messages generated by the TACP-CASS software could be correctly interpreted by the two networked WDL terminals and that this information could be shared between them. In the second phase of the demonstration, test engineers integrated the FDL terminal into the network. One of the TACP computers transmitted target information via Link-16 network protocol to the FDL terminal, which correctly interpreted and displayed the information on the Improved Multilink Translator and Display System (IMTDS). In the next phase, both computers correctly received, interpreted, and displayed target messages transmitted by the FDL terminal. In a final demonstration of system capability, several aircraft from Langley AFB joined the network for short periods of time, transmitting information that was subsequently displayed on both the TACP and IMTDS computers.

Figure 2. Setup of WDL demonstration equipmentAll demonstration participants gained valuable insight into using Link-16 networks for passing J-series messages between aircraft, weapons, and ground troops. The test team did not intend for the demonstration to provide an in-depth look at integrating weapons into battlefield networks. Rather, its purpose was to provide a rudimentary understanding of how an aircraft, weapon, and TACP could join and operate in an existing Link-16 network, while specifically demonstrating the capability of a software-defined WDL radio to transmit and receive J-series messages. The demonstration achieved its twofold purpose, both providing overall insight regarding the system and establishing the flexibility of a softwaredefined WDL radio in processing J-series messages within a representative network.

Ms. Michelle White, of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Munitions Directorate, wrote this article. For more information, contact TECH CONNECT at (800) 203-6451 or place a request at http://www.afrl.af.mil/techconn/index.htm. Reference document MN-H-05-14.

Reference

1 "China-America: The Great Game." Interview With Lt Gen Liu Yazhou. Eurasian Review of Geopolitics, Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso/Cassan Press-HK, Jan 05.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Data acquisition and handling, Personnel, Military aircraft
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RASCAL Facility

AFRL's Radiation and Scattering Compact Antenna Laboratory (RASCAL) enables researchers to develop and evaluate advanced aperture technologies that support electronic warfare, radar, communication, and navigation— technologies supplementing a variety of applications as the "eyes and ears" of the warfighter. Current research efforts are concentrated on developing relatively small and inexpensive broadband, multifunctional antennas, as well as conformal and structurally integrated antennas for manned and unmanned air vehicles. Using the RASCAL facility, researchers can perform the necessary fabrication, simulation, testing, and measurement of aperture technologies.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Antennas, Test facilities, Military aircraft
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Surface-Emitting Laser Arrays Bring Light to the Top

Laser diodes are an integral part of everyday life, incorporated into commonplace items as diverse in function as laser pointers, fiber-optic communications systems, and DVD players. Manufacturers make most laser diodes by layering specially doped semiconductor materials on a wafer. By slicing tiny chips from these wafers to attain two perfectly smooth, parallel edges, they create very thin (tens of microns) waveguides. These waveguides define a resonating cavity that causes stimulated light to combine in a way that embodies a "laser" and propagates its lasing action. Although this process represents a highly successful and wellengineered means for producing semiconductor lasers, the lasers do not produce an optimum beam. Beam emission occurs from the small rectangular opening at the end of the chip, a configuration that results in an elliptically distorted beam as well as the loss of output efficiency. In addition, the output aperture's relatively small size can lead to destruction of the cleaved and polished end facet during the laser's high-power operation. Laser diodes produced using this process are also susceptible to substantial fluctuations in output wavelength and beam quality as a function of temperature. Furthermore, since the chip emits beam output from an edge instead of its top or bottom surface, manufacturers experience difficulty both in packaging various diode configurations and in combining the output beams of multiple laser diodes.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Fiber optics, Lasers
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Current Loop Controller (CLC) Eases Industrial Automation Retrofits

Micronor Inc.’s (Newbury Park, CA) MR267 Current Loop Controller (CLC) option remotely controls a motorized potentiometer and/or rotary cam switch via current, voltage input, or external potentiometer.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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Hardware Debug Software Adds 64-bit JTAG, Flash Support

Macraigor Systems LLC (Brookline, MA) has added JTAG debug and Flash memory programming support for several Freescale PowerPC and MIPS processor support, in addition to existing ARM microprocessor support to its OCDemon debug suite.

Full JTAG debug and Flash programming support has been added for the Freescale MPC5200 rev. B processor and the Freescale 83xx PowerQUICC II Pro family of processors. Flash programming capabilities also have been expanded to include the Freescale MPC5500 and MAC71xx families of processors, as well as MIPS 5Kc-based, 64-bit processors, including the Phillips PR1900, Toshiba TX49, and Broadcom BCM1250 and BCM1125 processors. The Flash programmer is supported under Windows 98/ME, NT, 2000, and XP operating systems, as well as under Red Hat Linux versions 7.2 and 9.0. The software may work with other operating systems and versions, but has not been verified against such and is not guaranteed to work.

Macraigor also has added support for these processors to its pre-built GNU tools suite, including sample configurations for standard evaluation boards. These examples contain source, gdbinit, and make files for each board. The included demo program allows developers to easily build, download, and debug a small application via gdb. Macraigor’s JTAG interface devices are immediately available for the ARM7, ARM9, ARM11, and Intel XScale processor families. Fully installable versions of the GNU toolkits for both Windows and Linux are immediately available. These include demo programs allowing the end-user to be up and running within minutes of the installation.

Also available is a version of OCDRemote, allowing users to use other versions of the GNU toolset with Macraigor’s hardware. GCC, the GNU Compiler Collection, includes front ends for C and C++ ARM compilers. The GNU Assembler, part of the GNU Tools software suite, is the assembler used to convert ARM assembly language source code into binary object files.

Other recent additions to OCDemon’s supported processor list include the AMCC PowerPC 440GP, 440EP, and 440GX processors. Macraigor has also updated their GNU tools suite to include example configurations for the AMCC Bamboo, Yosemite, Ebony, and Ocotea evaluation boards. Other recent additions include AMD Geode low-voltage NX processor and Freescale i.MX31 and i.MX31L multimedia application processors.

The OCDemon family of debug tools is immediately available for the listed processors and functions. OCD Commander, an assembly-level software debugger, and OCD Remote, the GNU tools suite, are available at no charge from the Macraigor Web site.

For Free Info Visit http://info.ims.ca/5655-404

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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USB Digital I/O Board Enables High-Speed Digital Monitoring and Control

ACCES I/O Products (San Diego, CA) offers the Model USB-IIRO-16, featuring 16 Form C (SPDT) electromechanical relays and 16 optically isolated digital inputs. The board is designed to meet the needs of industrial systems monitoring and control. The industrial I/O market commonly uses electromechanical Form C relays due to their robustness and ability to withstand unexpected surge currents, allowing for increased flexibility in switching capability. These relays also are used where small reed relays are inadequate due to their susceptibility to contact damage.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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PLL/Synthesizer Includes VCO

Crystek Corporation’s (Fort Myers, FL) CPLL66 family is the company’s first foray into the PLL/Synthesizer market. Designed for digital radio equipment, fixed wireless access, satellite communications systems, base stations, personal communications systems, portable radios, and test instruments, the CPLL66 is a complete PLL/ Synthesizer that only needs an external frequency reference and supply voltages to operate the internal PLL (phase lock loop) and VCO (voltage controlled oscillator).

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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