Smart Hoses Simplify Unmanned Aircraft Refueling

Icon Aerospace supplies refueling hoses to Tier-1 suppliers and air forces across the globe. The IconIC™ hose system secures power with telemetry cables and fiber-optics for data transfer. The technology provides a range of key control and communication functions to take place between a tanker and receiver aircraft while the receiver aircraft undergoes mid-air refueling.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Data exchange, Fiber optics, Telemetry, Hoses, Refueling

Solving the Power/Energy Paradox for High-Power Defense Applications

While often used interchangeably, power and energy are not the same. Energy is the capacity to perform and power is the rate at which that capacity is exercised — the rate at which energy is delivered. When measured, energy is an amount; power is a ratio. In relation to energy storage, a common misconception is that the larger the quantity of stored energy, the higher the potential rate of power. In fact, the opposite is true, rendering the following principles wholly counterintuitive to those unfamiliar with the nuanced mechanics of energy storage: when less energy is stored, a system is capable of producing high power and conversely, when more energy is stored, a system is capable only of producing low power. As a result, engineers are presented with a challenge in the manufacture of energy storage systems for highpower mobile applications with the highest energy density possible. In pursuit of this goal, modern research into lithium ion (Li-ion) electrochemistries is proving very promising.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Battery cell chemistry, Capacitors, Energy storage systems, Lithium-ion batteries, Electric power

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