Electronics & Computers

Beyond VMEbus A New Concept

Deployability and life-cycle management of large and disparate collections of weapons, combat and C4ISR computing systems is one of the most critical challenges facing the Department of Defense today. Numerous defense programs, each defining separate, and oftentimes unique system architectures, configurations, and compositions, result in a wide range of processing and control systems that create complexity and drive excessive lifecycle costs.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Electronics & Computers

Taming the Thermal Behavior of Solid-State Military Lasers

Laser diodes and laser diode arrays (LDAs) are widely used throughout military systems, for sighting and range finding, but also at high power levels as offensive and defensive weapons. In companion with much higher-power chemical lasers, these high-power optical sources can generate kilowatts of optical power (as arrays) for use in neutralizing incoming missiles, rockets, and armaments and for long-distance offensive strikes. But laser diodes are also still inefficient, and a great deal of the energy supplied to a laser diode or an LDA is converted into heat, which must be safely dissipated to ensure a long operating lifetime for the solid-state devices.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Thermal Management, Ceramics, Materials, Metals, Packaging, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics, Photonics, Semiconductors & ICs

Surviving the Challenge of Thermal Design in Aerospace Electronics

The aerospace sector places some uniquely challenging demands on electronics designers. For a start, the environments that the electronics are exposed to are much harsher than in almost every other scenario. Moreover, the life expectancy of the products is much higher, while the accepted failure rate is easily an order of magnitude lower than typical commercial products.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Electronics, Thermal Management, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Simulation Software, Software

New Technologies Tackle UAV Challenges

Unmanned vehicles for air, land, and water represent an increasingly-important capability for virtually all military services worldwide. Because each new generation of device technology promises capabilities and higher levels of overall performance for unmanned vehicles of all types, military customers expect these benefits in the latest UAV offerings. To meet these expectations, systems engineers must deal with increasingly difficult problems of thermal management, power budgeting, EMI emissions and susceptibility, weight, size, cabling, connectors, antenna management, and command/control functions. Several new technologies and innovative packaging concepts now provide better solutions to these issues.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Communications, Wireless, Data Acquisition, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Thermal Management, RF & Microwave Electronics, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Software

Protecting Critical Data on Unmanned Underwater Platforms

Emerging mission requirements from global defense forces are driving new programs and applications for Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) platforms. Like their airborne counterparts, UUVs are ideal for deploying Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) mission payloads. To speed the development of these autonomous vehicles, system designers are turning to small form factor (SFF) Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) technologies previously proven in Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) deployments. These low-power SFF subsystems, including miniature network switches and mission computers, are ideal for use in UUVs for which any additional weight or power consumption can have significant detrimental effects on mission distance and duration. By selecting proven rugged COTS solutions, already tested and qualified to the extreme demands of MIL-STD-810G, MIL-STD-461, MIL-STD-704 and/ or RTCA/DO-160G standards for environmental, power, and EMI compliance, UUV system developers have found that they can greatly accelerate their program integration and reduce overall risk.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Data Acquisition, Computers, Electronics & Computers, Data Acquisition, Sensors

Educating UGVs

Advancements in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) are accelerating as the technology matures from being research-orientated to being deployed in a wide range of products and services, such as autonomous vehicles. While Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) were first described in the 1950s, the technology remained an academic concept until the availability of large training data sets and powerful Graphics Processor Units (GPUs), a processor architecture ideal for the heavy math computational demands associated with neural network processing. Once scientists had low-cost and high-performance platforms, the technology exploded for many commercial uses. Military use is more challenging due to the lack of large data sets, but that is changing too as areas including thermal imagery are starting to be used.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Data Acquisition, Computers, Electronics & Computers, PCs/Portable Computers, Thermal Management, Imaging, Machine Vision, Visualization Software, Machinery, Data Acquisition

Communications in Space: A Deep Subject

Transmitting and receiving radio signals between spacecraft in deep space is a snap compared with getting those signals back to Earth, especially when the spacecraft is 120 billion miles away.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Electronics & Computers, Imaging, Optics, Photonics, RF & Microwave Electronics

Nett Warrior

Nett Warrior is the US Army's next generation US integrated soldier system that replaces Land Warrior. It is designed to be an integrated dismounted situational awareness and mission command system for use during combat operations that enables fast and accurate decision-making during tactical operations.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Defense, Board-Level Electronics, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Composites, Materials, Metals

Loop Thermosyphons

Two-phase cooling has been utilized in the electronics cooling industry for many decades, with possibly the most well-known adaptation being the heat pipe. Heat pipes are capillary-driven, two-phase devices that rely on the boiling and condensation of a working fluid to transfer heat significant distances with minimal temperature gradient. The flow of the working fluid inside of a heat pipe is facilitated by a capillary wick structure that relies on surface tension to return the condensed liquid to the heat generating components. Heat pipes have found their way into a large number of industries and applications because of their high performance, high reliability, and low cost. Unfortunately, as the electronics industry’s insatiable quest for smaller, higher-powered devices soldiers on, the discrete cooling power of the heat pipe approaches obsolescence.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Board-Level Electronics, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Power Supplies, Thermal Management, Design processes, Electronic equipment, Thermal management

CompactPCI Serial Space

There are a few open specifications in the embedded industry that have been used in the extreme environments of space over the years. These include VME, CompactPCI, OpenVPX, and MicroTCA. But, prime contractors such as Airbus and others desired a high performance and versatile architecture that was relatively simple and cost-effective. The CompactPCI Serial Space specification was ratified in 2017 to address these requirements, resulting in a compelling architecture for defense and space-based projects.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Defense, Board-Level Electronics, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement, Architecture, Embedded software, Satellites, Spacecraft