Beam Irradiance on Target System (BITS)

The Beam Irradiance on Target System (BITS) is a high energy laser (HEL) sensor array that directly measures the beam irradiance profile of HEL weapons. The BITS is a sensor array composed of 105 sensors arranged in a hexagonal pattern over a circular area and it is designed to withstand direct exposure to continuous wave (CW) lasers at threat irradiance levels. The sensor array spatially and temporally samples HEL beam profiles and is the only reusable and direct (on target) measurement system of its type. The BITS represents the state-of-the-art in directed energy test and evaluation HEL sensors.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Lasers, Sensors and actuators, Military vehicles and equipment

Phoning It In: Making Smartphones Secure Enough for Tactical Communications

You suddenly find yourself pinned down by enemy gunfire. What do you do? Whip out your smartphone and call for an airstrike? Yes, if the U.S. Marine Corps has its way.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Cryptography, Cyber security, Wireless communication systems, Military vehicles and equipment

Designing Rugged, Standards-Based Embedded Solutions

It can be argued that small form factor design trends are paradoxical. As form factor size decreases, functionality requirements increase; as processing power requirements heighten, lower power consumption and thermal output is expected. Add to that the requirement for ruggedness to accommodate for the shock, vibration, humidity, and temperature extremes and variance inherent in mobile and outdoor applications, and designers are faced with a very complex soup.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Embedded software, Thermal management, Vibration, Reliability

Tips for Selecting or Designing a Membrane Switch

Membrane switches are known for standing up to tough environmental conditions. Flexible and durable, the membrane switch can be customized with embossing, backlighting, sealing, and electrostatic discharge (ESD) shielding. Membrane switches can be made with either tactile or non-tactile feedback and they can be integrated with LEDs and other components. To get the switch that works for your application, follow these simple guidelines.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Switches

Pursuing Agile Signals in a Crowded Spectral Environment

For the capable RF engineer, continuous- wave (CW) and predictably repeating signals are no great challenge. However, design and troubleshooting become difficult when dealing with agile signals, and the challenges grow when these signals exist in an environment densely populated with similarly agile signals. Examples include applications such as radar, electronic warfare, wireless connectivity, and wireless communications. Indeed, some engineering jobs must be performed where two or more of these technologies intersect — sometimes accidentally and sometimes deliberately.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Radar, Wireless communication systems, Systems engineering, Noise

Optionally-Piloted Aircraft (OPA)

The Centaur Optionally-Piloted Aircraft (OPA) from Aurora Flight Sciences recently flew from Virginia’s Manassas Regional Airport to the Emmen Military Airfield in Switzerland, piloted by an onboard crew.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Missile Defense System Signal Processor

The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system’s recently upgraded signal processor, designed and developed by Mercury Systems, enables the U.S. Navy to defeat more sophisticated ballistic missile threats and improve target identification capabilities. The technology includes an open architecture BMD computing suite that supports future insertion of off-the-shelf products and third-party components. Mercury’s application-ready subsystems (ARS) are integrated as core technologies in the second-generation Aegis BMD system.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Computer software / hardware, Satellite communications, Missiles