Navy chooses PCI Express cards from Ballard to connect MIL-STD-1553 systems to PCs

RIDGECREST, Calif., 15 May 2014. U.S. Navy aviation experts needed a way for PC computers to communicate with military avionics systems based on the MIL-STD-1553 databus. They found their solution from Ballard Technology Inc. in Everett, Wash.

Navy airborne weapons experts announced their intention this week to buy PCI Express 1553 interface cards and cables from Ballard. The value of the upcoming order has yet to be negotiated. Although Navy officials intend to buy from Ballard, they say they are open to offers from other companies.

Officials of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at China Lake Naval Weapons Station in Ridgecrest, Calif., say they will buy the Ballard LE1553-5 PCI Express 1553 interface card, as well as the Ballard 16037 cables that connect PC computers to 1553 systems.

Navy officials say they will award a sole-source order to Ballard due to compatibility with existing software code and proprietary data. The purchase will involve four interface cards and eight cables.

Related: Navy chooses rugged embedded computers from Ballard Technology for LCS ship modules

The Ballard LE1553-5 is a personal computer expansion card for communicating with MIL-STD-1553 systems. These interfaces provide programmable data buffers and deep built-in memory.

The cards offer one to four dual-redundant MIL-STD-1553 channels, 16 I/O avionics level discretes, and IRIG time synchronization and generation. MIL-STD-1553 capability includes BC, RT, and monitor. Avionics discretes can be used as general-purpose I/O or linked in hardware to 1553 databus activity as triggers or syncs.

The cards support maximum data throughput on all 1553 interfaces, Ballard officials say. Each channel is independently configurable as bus controller, remote terminal, or bus monitor.

Related: New Ballard USB interface for databus protocols released

Messages can be captured by a sequential monitor for all channels, or via RT map monitoring. Notification of databus activity is handled through the on-board Event Log, which can be processed by polling or via an interrupt. The sequential monitor has a DMA mode that automatically moves records to host memory through PCI and PCI Express bus mastering.

The Ballard 16037, meanwhile is a 60-pin Molex LFH connector on a 3-foot cable that attaches to four MIL-STD-1553 twinax cables and one D-Sub connector.

Companies whose leaders believe they could provide identical technology at a competitive price should email the Navy's Susan Wigfield at susan.wigfield@navy.mil. For questions or concerns phone Wigfield at 760-939-4134.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/DON/NAVAIR/N68936D2/N6893614T0120/listing.html.

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