Posted by John Keller
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md., 29 May 2013. U.S. military officials say they plan to buy as many as 2,800 obsolescent Xilinx Virtex-II field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) for infrared sensor processing in a variety of surveillance, reconnaissance, and fire-control systems.
Officials of the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Land at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., have announced their intention to buy between 700 and 2,800 Xilinx XC2V2000 Virtex II FPGAs, which they say is an essential component of the Advanced Video Processor (AVP) Circuit Card Assembly (CCA).
DLA officials say they plan to provide the FPGAs to AVP manufacturer Raytheon Co. as government-furnished material to build the AVP CCA, which is a major line item replacement in the Second Generation forward-looking infrared (FLIR) B-Kit.
The 2nd Gen FLIR B Kit has several parts, including the AVP CCA, and is used in several systems such as the Long Range Advanced Scout Surveillance System (LRAS3), M1A3 Abrams tank gunner's thermal imaging sight, the M1A2 Abrams comander's independent thermal viewer, and the M3A3 Improved Bradley Acquisition System.
DLA officials are working with a sense of urgency because Xilinx executives say they intend to shut down production of the XC2V2000 Virtex II FPGA once the company fills orders placed this month, DLA officials say.
-- Unmanned, sensor-laden, and ubiquitous
-- Army eyes mast-mounted infrared sensors able to detect and track humans and aerial drones
-- SAR imaging technology to match infrared pursued by Raytheon, Nuvotronics, BAE Systems.
Last November Xilinx issued a memorandum stating that the company will cease accepting incoming purchases and productions of the Xilinx Virtex-II family of FPGA chips this month. These chips are essential for the AVP CCA as designed.
Managers at the Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., estimate the life of the systems this FPGA supports is 20 years, and without this purchase, the government's inventory of this chip would run out in two years, DLA officials say.
Together with this justification and approval announcement to procure Xilinx Virtex-II FPGAs, the DLA in Columbus, Ohio, awarded an indefinite quantity contract to electronic parts distributor Avnet Inc. in Columbia, Md., to supply the Xilinx FPGAs. The contract, announced earlier this month, is for between $1.4 million and $2.6 million.