The Role of Engineering Simulation in the Evolution of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Across all domains (land, sea, and air), the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) has shown explosive growth and, as their value continues to be demonstrated, this growth shows no sign of slowing. However, the UAS industry must address a number of key challenges if it is to satisfy the future roadmap for UAS development and deployment outlined by its major client, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). These challenges include:

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, CAD / CAM / CAE, Defense industry, Systems engineering, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Optimizing High Reliability Power Distribution System Designs

As the performance requirements of avionics, military, and space electronic systems increase, so do the demands on the power supplies for these systems. Successful system designs demand the power distribution architecture be optimized for maximum efficiency with a minimum size and weight. Power system cost and development schedule must also be taken into consideration. One possible solution is to develop a custom power supply that meets all of the system load requirements. The downsides of this approach include long development time, high non-recurring engineering costs, and system flexibility limitations. Additionally, should the load specifications change during system development, then the power supply will need to be redesigned to accommodate changes, incurring even more time and cost.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Architecture, Avionics, Electronic control systems, Systems engineering

Transitioning Application Platforms to Sandy Bridge

Intel’s new Sandy Bridge microarchitecture is changing how software applications run and perform on server platforms. In order for applications to tap the full power of these new devices, developers will need to update not only their application software, but also the hardware platforms on which those applications run. Changes to Intel’s Xeon® E3 and E5 series of microprocessors include new instructions used to accelerate common encryption tasks and floating point calculations, as well as increased core counts and cache per CPU. Paramount to adoption is the critical thinking that developers need to consider to successfully transition to the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware

Strong-ARMing The Market

Embedded market applications have entered a new era thanks to extensive software support as well as the shrinking of borders between different processor technologies enabling the software ecosystem to expand to additional technology platforms. Consequently, the standard form factors at the board and module level must also be enhanced to fully realize the multiple interface options available with new processor platforms.

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

Wireless Power via Laser

Technology from LaserMotive (Kent, WA) converts electricity to light using lasers, and projects that light onto a specialized solar cell array, which then converts the light back into electricity. The “wireless extension cord” delivers thousands of watts at ranges up to many kilometers.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Lasers, Electric power

Vertical Take-Off and Landing UAV

The Air Force has announced that the MLB V-Bat Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) UAV from the MLB Company (Sunnyvale, CA) has been selected for a Phase II SBIR award. The military branch seeks a vehicle that has an 8-ft wingspan, 10-hour endurance, 55-lb gross take-off weight, and 70-mph cruise speed. The V-Bat’s combination of VTOL operational convenience with the safety of a shrouded fan and fixed-wing duration in a small UAV system will enable local situational awareness for UAV operations in confined areas. Last year, under a DARPA contract, MLB demonstrated precise emplacement of small payloads from the V-Bat, operating in hover mode under a vision-based control system.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Military aircraft, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Electronics Authentication Program

To deal with the crisis of counterfeit electronics flooding into the US defensesupply chain, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), a procurement and supply arm of the U.S. Department of Defense, is considering a mandate requiring defense contractors to use the authentication services of Stony Brook, NY-based Applied DNA Sciences (APDN). If a mandate goes into effect, DLA would require contractors to implement APDN’s SigNature® DNA marking program for microcircuits provided to the military. Defense contractors would have to prove that their microcircuits are marked with SigNature DNA.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Counterfeit parts