Small Form Factor Computing in OpenVPX

The new OpenVPX™ (VITA 65) standard helps military system designers build compatible embedded systems by defining “profiles” to which vendors can adhere when designing boards, and system integrators can use to locate available COTS solutions. The market is seeing a proliferation of 6U VPX boards, which have numerous interconnect pins and are able to support many more simultaneous external connections with a single profile. In comparison, 3U VPX boards have fewer interconnect pins available, resulting in a far wider fragmentation of profile support, since vendors can support fewer external connections with a single 3U card profile. That makes it all the more important for designers of small form factor VPX systems to understand how to effectively use OpenVPX profiles.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Communication protocols, Embedded software, Switches, Defense industry

Using FPGAs to Improve x86 Processor I/O Flexibility

By offering the ability to update application functionality, provide a reconfigurable solution and enable easy design customization, Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology has long been known as a cost-effective design resource. Similarly, x86 processor architectures share many of the same extended ecosystem, installed base, and multi-functionality benefits as FPGAs.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Integrated circuits

Active Heat Sink Technology to Improve Thermal Performance of Military Systems

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has extended its contract with Thermacore to develop and commercialize active heat sinks that can be used with Micro-technologies for Air-Cooled Exchangers (MACE). The MACE program harnesses active micro-devices that greatly improve heat sink thermal performance and cool military electronic systems used for telecommunications, active sensing and imaging, radar, and other functions. Thermacore is partnering with the University of Minnesota, Lockheed Martin Company, and the Bergquist Torrington Company to develop the technology.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Electronic equipment, Imaging, Radar, Telecommunications systems, Thermal management, Military vehicles and equipment

Handheld Scanner Keeps USAF Planes Combat-Ready

Engineers at several United States Air Force (USAF) bases now use NVision's HandHeld laser scanner to reverse-engineer complex aircraft parts, which are then accurately machined and installed. Reverse engineering is often required for aircraft that were originally designed without computer aided design systems (CAD), and for which even blueprints can be very difficult to obtain.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Design processes, Lasers, Parts, Aircraft, Military aircraft

Maintaining Mobility

Fuel is one of the top three logistics drivers on the battlefield, along with water and ammunition. Fuel powers the vehicles that mobilize troops and keep communications and supply chains running, and is used in the generators that power forward operating bases. Transporting fuel to the front lines, however, has become extremely costly in both lives and dollars.

Posted in: Application Briefs, RFM Catchall, Logistics, Military vehicles and equipment

Multicore Tools for Embedded Systems — Staying Ahead of the Game —

Building a multicore system means dealing with non-determinism. Interactions between tasks running on different cores can occur in a different order, and at a different rate from one run to the next. This makes it harder to reproduce, find, and fix bugs. It also lowers the probability that validations and QA have caught all problems.

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

Redesigning COTS Servers for Military Applications

Military and ISR operations are inundated with vast amounts of data collected from an expanding network of sources, including sensor data from UAS, satellites, and remote monitoring stations. Critical information must be processed quickly and reliably, and delivered in real time to command centers and forces on the battlefield. Processing this plethora of information requires a multitude of computers, many of which are outdated or on proprietary platforms. To remain sustainable, systems used for enterprise computing, field operations, warfighting, and command and control, must be continually upgraded or replaced. Many of these systems need to be integrated, consolidated, and securely linked to multiple networks.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Computer software / hardware, Data acquisition and handling, Data exchange, Data management, Defense industry