Reaching the Benchmark in Secure Unmanned Vehicle Software

Security concerns currently dominate software thinking wherever sensitive or safety-critical information is potentially accessible. Embedded software is no exception. Security researcher Barnaby Jack demonstrated this in 2011 when he used a modified antenna and software to wirelessly attack and take control of Medtronic’s implantable insulin pumps. He demonstrated how such a pump could be commanded to release a fatal dose of insulin. Obviously, that vulnerability puts dependent diabetics at risk.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Antennas, Embedded software, Medical, health, and wellness, Cyber security, Autonomous vehicles, Military vehicles and equipment, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Submersion and Directed Flow Cooling Technology for Military Applications

As the US military shifts from boots on the ground to drones in the sky, there will be an increasing need for computing power on foreign soil, under the sea and in the air. Design objectives will be difficult to achieve with legacy technology. Electronic gear must be deployed by transport plane and require rapid setup once the destination is reached. Systems will need to be hardened to survive extreme temperatures, desert sand, salt air and pollution. Fuel logistics to serve remote locations can be difficult and expensive. Every kilowatt-hour of electricity converted to heat must be dissipated and, ideally, the waste energy should be recycled. For ground installations, it will be useful to consider distributing computing resources around rather than concentrating them at a single location that may be vulnerable to attack. Silent operation also is desirable.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Computer software / hardware, Electronic equipment, Military vehicles and equipment

Flying on Vegetation

Fuel is expensive for airlines. According to sources interviewed for this article, fuel accounts for 30 to 50% of operating costs, depending on the size of the aircraft. And fuel prices remain volatile.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Sustainable development, Alternative fuels, Biofuels, Jet fuel

Avionics Heat Up, in a Good Way

The common feature shared by recent aviation platforms is the high level of systems integration, and the way in which information is displayed or made accessible, allowing previously unimaginable levels of situational awareness to be available to pilots and ground controllers. This has greatly eased the pilot workload and enhanced flight safety, especially when flying in poor weather or operating in unfamiliar or hazardous terrain.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Avionics, Human machine interface (HMI), Reaction and response times, Displays

Airborne Antenna Considerations for C-Band Telemetry Systems

It is fairly well known within the aerospace community that telemetry is moving from the traditional L-band and S-band frequency ranges up to C-band. It is widely understood that the reason for this push to C-band is two-fold. First, traditional L and S frequency bands have been greatly reduced through reallocation for a variety of reasons by different markets, and second, the bandwidth required for most applications has seen exponential growth. This has not only been seen in military applications, but in civilian aerospace platforms as well.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Antennas, Telecommunications

Software-Designed System Improves Wireless Test Speed and Coverage

As wireless standards become more complex, the number of operational modes for these devices increases exponentially. As progression continues to the latest WiFi standard, new modulation schemes, more channels, more bandwidth settings, and additional spatial streams are added. Additionally, characterizing WLAN transceivers is especially challenging when faced with thousands of independent operational gain settings.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Design processes

Fully Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles

Lockheed Martin
Bethesda, MD

Lockheed Martin, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), successfully conducted a fully autonomous resupply, reconnaissance, surveillance and target-acquisition demonstration using its Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) unmanned ground vehicle, K-MAX unmanned helicopter and Gyrocam optical sensor.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Unmanned Demonstrator Flight Control Systems

North Atlantic Industries
Bohemia, NY

North Atlantic Industries (NAI) has been chosen by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® to provide navigation system solutions for the Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) demonstrator. Vehicle management computer (VMC) and actuator interface unit (AIU) requirements were met utilizing NAI’s commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) SIU6 chassis.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Flight control systems, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Autonomous Black Hawk Helicopter

Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
Stratford, CT

Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., is developing its first product to feature Matrix™ Technology by converting a retired UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter into an optionally piloted variant capable of a wide spectrum of missions. With the autonomous Black Hawk, Sikorsky plans to build on the success of its Matrix Technology and Manned/Unmanned Resupply Aerial Lifter (MURAL) autonomy programs to deliver a new level of mission flexibility to combat and logistic planners. The product will integrate autonomy and advanced fleet management technology with refurbishment experience to provide a cost-effective, dependable and sustainable system.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Autonomous vehicles, Rotary-wing aircraft

SRW Radio System

Thales Defense & Security
Clarksburg, MD

Thales Defense & Security, Inc. has been awarded an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract by the U.S. Army for its Soldier Radio Waveform Appliqué (SRW A) radio system: the AN/VRC 121 Vehicle Integrated Power Enhanced Rifleman, or VIPER.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Radio equipment