Microwave Radiometers Help Keep Aircraft Safe From Icing

One of the greatest dangers to aircraft — playing a role in numerous destructive and fatal accidents around the world — comes in the form of droplets of water. In clean air, cloud droplets can exist in liquid form down to temperatures as low as -40 °C. These subfreezing, liquid clouds are referred to as being “supercooled.” As soon as supercooled droplets contact an aircraft ascending or descending through the cloud cover, they form layers of ice on any unprotected surface, including the leading edges of wings and rotor blades, tails, antennas, and within jet engines. This ice accretion can cause engine damage and dramatically affect the aerodynamics of the aircraft. On the leading edge of a wing, an ice layer about as thick and rough as a piece of coarse sandpaper can be responsible for as much as a 30% decrease in lift and a 40% increase in drag. This can lead to reduced performance and even catastrophic loss of control.

Posted in: Application Briefs, RFM Catchall, Aircraft structures, Radar, Icing and ice detection, Aerodynamics

Architecture of the Air Force Satellite Control Network

The Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN) is a worldwide network of ground stations that supports a variety of users from NASA to the National Recon naissance Office (NRO). The network performs tracking, telemetry, and commanding (TT&C) for these users. Users, located at Satellite Operations Centers (SOCs), must compete for time on the AFSCN (see Figure 1).

Posted in: Articles, RFM Catchall, Aerospace, Architecture, Telemetry, Military vehicles and equipment, Satellites

Implementing PCI Express on PC/104-Size Modules

As PC/104 celebrates its 20th anniversary as an open standard this year, it continues to grow in terms of new design-ins, applications, and integration of the latest technology. In today’s fast paced, throw-away world, this is a remarkable achievement. PC/104 users typically demand a long product life cycle of seven years or more, so for two decades, these small, stackable, embedded computer systems have found applications in military, medical, industrial, transportation, communications, pipelines, mining, utilities and a host of other industries. However, as technology changes and becomes more powerful and complex, challenges arise in implementation. This has never been truer than for the different implementation strategies for PCI Express on PC/104 size modules.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software, Reliability

COM Express Revision 2.0: What’s new in the latest specification?

The COM Express specification was first released in 2005. Its main target was, and still is, to define the mandatory requirements of COM Express modules and carrier boards as far as it is necessary to ensure interoperability between the products of different vendors. Nevertheless, with continuous technical progress, there is also the need for adjustments of the common interface — that being the COM Express connector.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Connectors and terminals, Performance upgrades, Parts, Reliability


A broad operating temperature range, fuel resistance and long-term reliability are some of the unique properties of fluorosilicones that make them useful in aerospace applications. To demonstrate their effectiveness, NuSil recently compared fluorosilicones to standard dimethyl silicones in a series of tests.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Suppliers, Fluoride, Silicon alloys, Reliability, Performance tests

Silicone Cables: Silicone Encased Cables Make Military Robots More Reliable

Cicoil’s highly flexible and durable flat silicone cables are being used on unmanned ground based military robotic vehicles that require absolute reliability in mission critical and extreme environment conditions. Unlike bulky and stiffer round cables, flat silicone cables provide space and weight savings, enhanced flexibility, greater current carrying capacity, reduced skewing effects and better electrical characteristics.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Electric cables, Robotics, Silicon alloys, Durability, Autonomous vehicles, Military vehicles and equipment

AWACS Real-Time Operating System

LynuxWorks, Inc. announced recently that the Mission Systems and Sensors Division (MS2) of Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY, selected the LynxOS real-time operating system (RTOS) and Luminosity Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for use in conjunction with the United Kingdom’s (UK) Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS).

Posted in: Application Briefs, Computer software / hardware, Sensors and actuators, Suppliers