New microprocessor in town for embedded computing

Click to Enlarge By John Keller
Editor in Chief

Competition for microprocessor preference in the aerospace and defense embedded computing industry is heating up with the introduction of a next-generation Power Architecture processor by Freescale Semiconductor Inc. in Austin, Texas, as an alternative to the 2nd Generation Core i7 processor by Intel Corp. in Santa Clara, Calif.

Freescale’s new QorIQ Advanced Multiprocessing (AMP) series brings back floating-point processing that had been standard in previous generations of Freescale AltiVec processors popular for aerospace and defense digital signal processing (DSP) applications, such as radar, sonar, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence. Freescale had abandoned the AltiVec floating-point engine in its QorIQ microprocessors a few years ago because of a perceived lack of interest from core target markets, which served to alienate many of the company’s aerospace and defense customers, who had come to depend on the AltiVec architecture as one way to avoid using dedicated DSP chips in signal processing-intense applications.

Intel Corp. in early 2010 introduced its Core i7 microprocessor architecture, which offered floating-point capability largely for graphics-intensive personal computer applications. Aerospace and defense embedded computer manufacturers quickly realized the Core i7 helped fill the void left by the discontinued AltiVec, and jumped onto the Intel developmental roadmap.

Now Freescale is back, with Alti- Vec and floating-point processing. The big question is whether Free- scale’s renewed support for the kind of floating-point processing that aerospace and defense embedded computing needs is too little, too late.

The big military and aerospace embedded computing suppliers, including Mercury Computer Systems in Chelmsford, Mass., Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing in Ashburn, Va., GE Intelligent Platforms in Charlottesville, Va., and Extreme Engineering Solutions Inc. (X-ES) in Middleton, Wis., are heavily supporting the Intel Core i7 in their products. Will the embedded computing heavy hitters support the latest Intel and Freescale microprocessors in equal measure? The market has not yet given us a clear indication.

For now, all the major aerospace and defense embedded computing manufacturers are expected to offer products based on the QorIQ AMP processor, which will have four times the processing performance of the previous generation of Freescale processors, says Glenn Beck, Freescale’s segment marketing manager for aerospace and defense.

Each core in the multi-core QorIQ AMP has an AltiVec processing engine, and each core is dual-threaded. The chip is based on 28-nanometer technology, as opposed to 45-nanometer technology for previous versions of Freescale’s microprocessors. The first microprocessor in the QorIQ AMP family will be the T4240, which should sample in early 2012.

The new processors are designed to support heavy network traffic. “Network traffic is increasing dramatically—voice, data, and video,” Beck says. “Most military air platforms are moving to being unmanned, and from generation one to generation two of these platforms, the amount of sensing capability has exploded in the amount of data to be processed. Military users have a need for autonomous decision making at the point where the data is generated.”

Freescale engineers are certifying the QorIQ AMP processor with the National Security Agency (NSA) for resistance to theft of data, theft of intellectual property, and attempts to counterfeit the device, Beck says.

It remains to be seen how attractive the new QorIQ AMP processor will be in aerospace and defense applications. What we do know is there’s a new chip in town.

More Military & Aerospace Electronics Current Issue Articles
More Military & Aerospace Electronics Archives Issue Articles

Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

Printed Circuit Board Assembly

Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCB ASSY) is as critical a process as circuit board manufacturing.

XPand6020 | Small Form Factor (SFF) System Featuring XPedite5205 Running Cisco IOS® and XPedite7450

The XPand6020 is a Small Form Factor (SFF) system that features an XPedite5205, which runs Cisco ...

General Micro "Horizon" C299

The C299 Horizon is a third generation, 6U cPCI SBC module based on GMS’ upgradable CPU technolog...

RR2P Removable Canister RAID System

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

General Micro "Atom" XPC40X Rugged, Ultra-Small, Ultra-Low-Power Intel Atom™ CPU SBC

The XPC40X Atom is a rugged, low cost, ultra-low power, lightweight, Atom™ based computer system....

General Micro's VS295 Eclipse

The VS295 Eclipse is fifth generation, VME SBC module based on GMS, upgradable CPU technology. It...

DSP280 - Rugged Dual Socket 2nd Gen Intel Quad Core i7 Multiprocessor

The DSP280 is a rugged, 6U OpenVPX dual socket Intel 2nd generation Quad Core i7 multiprocessor d...

ADEPT3000 Automatic Video Tracker

GE Intelligent Platforms ADEPT3000 is a cost-effective SWaP optimized automatic video tracking so...

6U OpenVPX HPEC Starter System

GE Intellligent Platforms new HPEC Application Ready Platforms (HARP) products respond to governm...

XCalibur4530 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor-based 6U VME module

The XCalibur4530 is a high-performance 6U VME single board computer that is ideal for ruggedized ...

Related Companies

DiCon Fiberoptics Inc

Offers fiber optic switches, tunable filters, and VOAs. Founded in 1986, the company is a US based, AS9100 certified,...

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...

Harris Corporation

Harris provides advanced, technology-based solutions that solve government and commercial customers' mission critical...

Innovative Integration

  Since 1988, Innovative Integration has grown to become one of the world's leading suppliers of DSP and data ac...

General Micro Systems Inc

Since 1979, General Micro Systems has been providing the most diverse line of single-board computers in the industry....

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 ...


Provides a lightweight, compact aluminum connector. M-series connector is focused on the design that requires a MIL-3...

GE Intelligent Platforms

Provides embedded computing solutions. Products include single-board computers, networking products, avionics interfa...

Omnetics Connector Corp

Omnetics Connector Company is a privately held, world class connector design and manufacturing company with over 25 ...
Wire News provided by   

Press Releases

Model INCX-4001

The INCX-4001 consists of a high quality audio transceiver specifically designed to implement a complete fiber optic intercom.

Model PS-1210

The PS-1210 is a 1A, 12VDC stand-alone or rack mountable non-switcher (no RF noise) power supply.

Model OS-3121

Optical switches are utilized to disconnect, bypass and reroute fiber optic communications. All of these optical switches are purely optical path, there is no optical to e...


New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors

Mil & Aero Magazine

July 2015
Volume 26, Issue 7

Download Our Apps




Follow Us On...


Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.

Embedded Computing Report

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

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles