Rapid Deployment SIGINT Sensor

VStar Systems (San Diego, CA) announced the addition of a pod version of its MA-C SIGINT Sensor, the MA-C MiniPod™. Two active high frequency (HF) antennas allow for intercept and copy of land mobile radios from both direct Line of Sight (LOS) as well as Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS) signals for Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) communication methods. The MA-C MiniPOD can be installed on most standard airborne racks/missile launchers for integration on a wide variety of platforms.

Features include signal demodulation and copy of 160 simultaneous analog and digital channels, patent-pending buffered copy operation with over 100 buffered channels, and providing frequency coverage in the HF/VHF and UHF bands. The MA-C MiniPod weighs only 40 lbs., allowing installation without any support equipment. It also includes VStar's proprietary AutoTune and SmartDF Software Algorithms.

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Measurement Software

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (North Kingstown, RI) has launched PC-DMIS 2018 R1, the latest edition of their measurement software. PC-DMIS 2018 R1 allows users to easily convert AutoFeatures to points or quickly use the measured hits for new Constructions and Dimensions, available for Plane, Circle, and Cylinder AutoFeatures. By converting each hit to a vector point, Optimize Path can be used to enhance the order of point measurement, reducing the number of probe tip changes and overall measurement time.

New support for Q-DAS Traces enables easier analysis of PC-DMIS data. The new QuickSet control allows users to use both QuickFeature and GD&T Selection and still have the ability to modify measurement strategies. Enhanced speed of QuickFeature measurement enables users to create multiple circles and cylinders with just one click, optimized for bolt hole patterns or whenever surfaces contain multiple features of the same size and shape. The latest edition also introduces improved Flush and Gap AutoFeature workflow for point cloud inspection. INSPECT has also been improved to include CAD and LIVE views from PC-DMIS and the ability to create Playlists including one or more routines to be executed a specified number of times.

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Hands-Free Robotic Controls

Charles River Analytics Inc. (Cambridge, MA) has announced a follow-on contract to build a hands-free human-machine interface (HMI) for the US Army. The Supervisory HMI Enabling Practical Autonomous Robot Direction (SHEPARD) effort fuses multiple proven robot control technologies to provide a natural and reliable hands-free HMI for soldiers operating in diverse environments.

Unmanned vehicles (UxVs) are vital to military operations, although their widespread integration faces significant barriers. Most current UxV systems require active remote control or teleoperation, where a commander orders a trained human operator to control the robot to carry out a task. SHEPARD offers more natural and reliable communication so commanders can issue instructions directly to UxVs. The hands-free HMI will combine speech and gestures to enable reliable command and control of multiple unmanned vehicles. SHEPARD will use smart devices—like a watch—for easy communication with military robots.

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Shielded Surface Mount RF Inductors

Gowanda Electronics (Gowanda, NY) has expanded its SML32S series of wirewound, shielded, molded RF surface mount inductors in the “1210” style. This expansion increases the number of individual parts in the series by more than 20% and broadens the inductance range by adding values from 120 μH to 470 μH. The performance range provided by the expanded SML32S series includes inductance from 0.1 μH to 470 μH, DCR ohms max from 0.15 to 25 and current rating mA DC from 91 to 1175. There are two core types in the series (powdered iron and ferrite). The series operating temperature range is -55°C to +125°C.

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Hybrid Invar-Composite Molds

Ascent Aerospace (Santa Ana, CA) recently introduced HyVarC®, a patentpending Hybrid InVar and Composite mold. HyVarC combines a thin Invar backup structure and facesheet with a bonded, high-temperature composite working surface. The resulting tool is 50% lighter with a 20% shorter lead-time than a traditional Invar layup mold, while maintaining the same superior vacuum integrity and dimensional precision.

At half the thickness of a traditional Invar mold, the thin Invar backup structure takes less time to weld and manufacture. It serves as both the master mold and the deliverable mold, eliminating the time and cost of creating a second composite backup structure. The machined composite working surface offers better dimensional accuracy than net-mold composite tooling, while the Invar structure provides vacuum integrity and durability. Thin Invar, and the resulting lighter weight, is easier to handle when transporting the tool within the facility.

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Semi-Autonomous Software

Combat missions are a manual, coordinated effort by operators and pilots using a combination of manned and unmanned vehicles, sensors, and electronic warfare systems that rely on high-availability networks such as satellite communications and tactical data links. When those networks are interrupted, it leaves warfighters with the inability to effectively communicate and avoid threats during their missions. To solve this challenge, BAE Systems (Nashua, NH) developed semi-autonomous software in a category called Distributed Battle Management (DBM), which provides timely and relevant information to operators and pilots when communication is not assured, so they can better manage and control air-to-air and air-to-ground combat in contested environments.

Anti-Access Real-time Mission Management System (ARMS) is a distributed adaptive planning and control software that provides near real-time mission capabilities allowing warfighters to engage air-to-air and air-to-ground targets and search airspace. Contested Network Environment Situational Understanding System (CONSENSUS) is a distributed situational understanding software that provides pilots and operators with weapon targeting guidance and mission awareness through a common operational picture by fusing raw data from multiple platforms and sensors.

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Robotic Gas Turbine Blade Polishing

AV&R Aerospace (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) has commercially launched its gas turbine blade's robotic polishing solution. This solution includes polishing the gas turbine blade's foil, platform, and fillet radius, all according to customer specified tolerances and surface finish requirements. Developed in the software BrainWave, the system allows an operator with no robot programming knowledge to create parameters related to the robot path. In addition, this software allows complete offline programming.

Several options can be added to an AV&R Aerospace polishing machine including: ultra-polishing, creating a mirror surface finish; part cleaning after the polishing operation; an integrated dust collector; and automatic tool changing.

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3U VPX FMC+ FPGA Carrier

Abaco Systems (Huntsville, AL) announced the VP889 high-performance FPGA processing board, which features Xil-inx®'s latest Ultrascale+™ device, together with Zynq® Ultrascale+ technology for advanced security. The VP889 delivers a form, fit and function upgrade for the VP881. With FMC+, the VP889 offers up to 300 Gbits/second digital serial bandwidth to and from modular I/O devices. The embedded Zynq ARM® Processor included on the VP889 eliminates the need for a single board computer in many systems, reducing system size, cost, and power consumption.

The FMC+ site supports all Abaco FMC cards as well as third party solutions that comply with VITA 57. The VP889 can be populated with I/O capable of greater than 5 GSPS data rate or modules with up to 16 channels per card.

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CAM Software

OPEN MIND Technologies AG (Needham, MA) has introduced hyperMILL® 2018.1, a new version of its advanced, comprehensive CAM software. hyperMILL® 2018.1 has a range of new features and enhancements including greater blending capabilities, 3D-optimized roughing, global fitting, rotational abilities for CAD electrode applications and totally new to the industry — virtual machining simulation.

New hyperMILL® 2018.1 functionality includes an enhancement to the “soft overlap” feature for blending machining marks found between steep and flat areas, or located at the boundaries of rest machining regions. The 3D-optimized roughing cycle has been enhanced for applications with high feed cutters. The step-over distance can be calculated from the scallop height measured against the high feed cutter geometry. A new “global fitting” feature can simplify the definition of complex surfaces or patches of surfaces. hyperCAD®-S Electrode automates the construction and manufacturing of electrodes for die-sinking.

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High-Density 4U Chassis

Mercury Systems, Inc. (Fremont, CA) has introduced HDslim, a new sub-rack form factor for its RES High Density (RES-HD) server product line. Less than ten inches wide and twenty inches deep, the first 4U HDslim chassis is now available. Only 9.9” (25.1 cm) wide, 20” (52.6 cm) deep, and 4U (17.5 cm) high, the HDslim can be carried aboard commercial airliners. The system can be powered by two 1200W AC, two 1100W 48V DC, or two 800W 28V DC power supplies. Typical system weight is 40lbs.

The system can accommodate up to 264 TB of storage with 24 direct attached HDD/SSD drives. The HDslim also accommodates existing and upcoming rear I/O RES-HD modules. With six processor, storage, high-speed switch, global fabric extension, and system management modules, users can configure and reconfigure the system according to application needs. The unit is designed to operate from 0°C to +50°C, with greater temperature extremes available for special configurations.

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Aerospace & Defense Technology Magazine

This article first appeared in the May, 2018 issue of Aerospace & Defense Technology Magazine.

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