Creeping system complexity drives growing use of EDA tools for aerospace and defense electronics

Click to EnlargeBy Courtney Howard

Product intelligence -- The aerospace and defense industry uses electronic design automation (EDA) tools pervasively to design electronic components, explains Todd Cutler, senior manager of planning, marketing, and services at Agilent EEsof EDA in Santa Clara, Calif.

“The benefit of EDA is that engineers can design better products faster,” Cutler explains. “‘Better’ means higher performance -- critically important when lives are at stake. ‘Faster’ means that each design prototype is designed in less time due to automation such as circuit synthesis and optimization, and fewer prototypes are needed due to the accurate performance prediction of high-performance simulation.”


System complexity often is the driving force behind the growing use of EDA tools in aerospace and defense applications. “Adoption of EDA tools is growing because the complexity of the customer requirements, harshness of the operating environment -- mobility as well as passive and active interference -- and resulting sophistication of the intellectual property being created to meet these challenges is moving beyond what engineers are capable of developing by hand,” says Jon Friedman, aerospace and defense industry marketing manager at The MathWorks in Natick, Mass. “As with every modern system, military and aerospace electronic system suppliers are looking for ways to deliver better and more innovative products (and IP), faster to the market, in a cost-effective manner that serves the needs of the modern warfighter.

“As the amount of custom hardware is increasing, the need for and use of EDA tools is increasing as well to ensure that the hardware designs are completed in a timely and cost-effective manner,” Friedman continues. “Take, for example, a modern communications program, such as the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS). There are a number of waveforms that the system must be capable of transmitting and receiving with a significant variation in the form factor for the transceivers. To create, test, and deploy these types of systems, engineers are turning to modern EDA tools that focus on creating and testing models and prototypes before final hardware implementations to save time and money.”

Friedman says tools from The MathWorks, such as MATLAB and Simulink, help engineers develop modern electronic systems more effectively by enabling them to explore more of the algorithm design options and performance tradeoffs within a modeling environment, rather than in prototype hardware.

For example, he says, engineers may want to understand the influence of a lower-power component within a design. “Traditionally, components were specified based on a budget of worst case performance stack up that could be tolerated by the system. Using executable models and simulations, engineers can refine their designs by assessing the impact of a design change at the system level, resulting in potential weight and cost savings while delivering higher-quality results.”

Perhaps no EDA application is stronger than in the design of radar and communications systems, where high-performance systems are critical to mission success, Cutler says. “Agilent EEsof EDA is seeing an increase in adoption because of the performance gain and cost reduction that are achieved when advanced tools are applied to challenging design problems.” Another example is in the area of signal intelligence, particularly the need to detect and jam IEDs, where high-performance tuned receivers and sophisticated signal processing are needed to intercept and eliminate threats. “Designing such equipment cannot be done with point-tool methods and requires analysis software that combines radio-frequency (RF) analysis with baseband digital signal processing (DSP). There is simply no other way.”

Agilent EEsof EDA supplies electronic design automation software for microwave, RF, high-frequency, high-speed digital, RF system, electronic system level, circuit, 3D electromagnetic, physical design, and device-modeling applications. Agilent EEsof EDA radar and communications product design software enables designers to optimize and trade-off between DSP and RF in applications such as pre-distortion or equalization, says Cutler. “Predictive co-design results in higher performance systems than can be achieved using point tools.”

EDA software tools are increasingly being employed for myriad military and aerospace applications, and resulting in reduced time to market, cost and time savings, and effectively tested and verified electronics systems. Visit the technology firms listed to learn more about EDA software and its applications and benefits.

EDA company list

Agilent Technologies
Santa Clara, Calif.
408-345-8886
www.agilent.com

Aldec
Henderson, Nev.
702-990-4400
www.aldec.com

Altera Corp.
San Jose, Calif.
408-544-7000
www.altera.com

Atego
San Diego
888-912-8346
www.atego.com

Autodesk Inc.
San Rafael, Calif.
800-538-6401
www.autodesk.com

BittWare Inc.
Concord, N.H.
603-226-0404
www.bittware.com

Cadence
San Jose, Calif.
408-943-1234
www.cadence.com

Magma Design Automation
San Jose, Calif.
408-565-7500
www.magma-da.com

The MathWorks
Natick, Mass.
508-647-7001
www.mathworks.com

Mentor Graphics
Wilsonville, Ore.
503-685-7000
www.mentor.com

Synopsys Inc.
Mountain View, Calif.
650-584-5000
www.synopsys.com

Vector CANtech Inc.
Novi, Mich.
248-449-9290
www.vector.com

Zuken Inc.
Westford, Mass.
978-692-4900
www.zuken.com


Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.


The Innovation That Matters™ Quiz

Innovation is one of the key drivers in the Defense industry. View this short video of Leon Woo, VP of Engineering at Mercury Systems, on the role of innovation. Then, answer 3 simple questions correctly to be entered into a drawing to win an Eddie Bauer fleece jacket!

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR TWO MOST RECENT WINNERS. "Nick from SPARWAR" and "Bridget from AOC."


Featured Slideshow

Evolution of the American soldier

The American soldier has come a long way since the beginning of the Republic 237 years ago. While uniforms for early soldiers were based on cost and utility, soldiers' clothing eventually considered ballistic protection, increasing storage space, protection from poison gas and other contaminants.

Related Products

RR2P Removable Canister RAID System

Transportable data storage for mobile field use aboard planes, ships and ground transport. 2U, du...

Sensors Unlimited GA1280JSX High Resolution, Mil-Rugged, Extended High Sensitivity InGaAs SWIR Camera

Manufactures a high resolution, mil-rugged, extended high-sensitivity 0.9 Mpixel InGaAs SWIR came...

M1U20xx 1U Military-Grade Computer System

The M1U20xx Military-Grade Rack Mount System is a reliable high-performance mil-spec 1U solution ...

Related Companies

Winchester Systems Inc

At its founding in 1981, Winchester Systems introduced its first 5 MB disk system for Intel development system users....

Extreme Engineering Solutions Inc (X-ES)

 Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) is a leader in the design, manufacture, and support of standard and ...

American Infrared Solutions (AIRS)

Wire News provided by   

Most Popular Articles

Webcasts

On Demand Webcasts

Engineering the VPX high-speed data path for physical and signal integrity

Join Arrow Electronics and TE Connectivity, for an overview webinar of the standards, technologies and trends involving VITA and TE.

Design Strategy Considerations for DO-178C Certified Multi-core Systems

Join Wind River to learn how system architecture and design choices can minimize your DO-178C certification challenges.

Sponsored by:

Flying, Sailing or Driving - The Rugged, Embedded Intel-based Server that goes where you need it!Flying Sailing or Driving

Leveraging the power of server-class processors is no longer relegated to the confines of data centers. Through several innovations, Mercury Systems has ruggedized Intel’s server-class chips for deployment. ...
Sponsored by:

social activity

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

February 2014
Volume 25, Issue 2
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE