High-speed 1553: a promising technology wasted by the military

By John Keller
Editor in Chief

Most would agree in this day and age that the U.S. government—particularly the Department of Defense (DOD)—no longer can afford to waste money. Hundred-dollar hammers and thousand-dollar toilet seats simply MUST become things of the past. With federal budgets and the global economy as tight as they are, every dollar has to count.

Nevertheless, over the past several years, the U.S. Air Force walked away from a high-speed avionics databus program after spending millions. Almost everyone concerned with this program thought it was a great idea, but the Air Force killed the program anyway because it didn’t have high enough priority.

The project involved Air Force and U.S. Navy avionics researchers and avionics databus specialists at Edgewater Computer Systems in Ottawa. The idea was to develop a military-standard, high-speed version of the widely installed MIL-STD-1553 databus, which required little rewiring or other modifications to existing aircraft with 1553 already installed.

The program, called Extended 1553 (E1553), proposed to move data through existing 1553 wiring at speeds as fast as 200 megabits per second—a two-hundred-fold increase from 1553’s 1-megabit-per-second speed. You probably haven’t heard much lately about E1553 because the Air Force has pulled the plug on the program after spending in the neighborhood of $40 to $50 million.

This program wasn’t just sandbox research in its early stages. Scientists at Edgewater had flight-tested the technology with encouraging results aboard an Air Force F-16 jet fighter. The Navy also sponsored tests of E1553 aboard an F/A-18 fighter-bomber, also with encouraging results.

A competing high-speed 1553 technology from Data Device Corp. in Bohemia, N.Y., called HyPer-1553, had interest from the Pentagon, although it never received military backing as an official research program. DDC’s HyPer-1553 technology was demonstrated on a Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle jet fighter-bomber in 2006, but never received the necessary government funding or program of record to make it a viable product.

The beauty of E1553 and HyPer-1553 lies in the ease of installation, ease of maintenance, and economical costs of installing high-speed networking on a wide variety of military platforms—not only aircraft, but also others that use 1553, like the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank and other vetronics programs.

These two modes of high-speed 1553 require no rewiring to upgrade from conventional 1553 to high-speed 1553 because the data moves equally well over the same wiring. The high-speed databus on these platforms could function not only as a control bus, as 1553 was designed to be, but also as a high-speed data pipe carrying sensor data, imagery, and video.

This kind of technology potentially could lead to affordable sensor- fusion systems on legacy aircraft, such as the F-16, F/A-18, and F-15, similar to those in more modern aircraft, such as the F-22 and F-35. In armored combat vehicles, this technology could facilitate installing affordable self-protection systems to safeguard vehicles from threats, such as missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.

For the time being, it’s all about upgrading existing systems economically. Let’s face it, this is what the U.S. military faces over the next several years. There is very little money available for new starts like the F-35, and we’ve already seen the massive Future Combat Systems program cancelled due to budget issues and capability issues.

If the U.S. military is going to maintain itself as a viable fighting force over the next decade, technology insertion and systems upgrades to existing weapon systems will be crucial.

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


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."


Military & Aerospace Photos

Related Products

F-SIM-LDR ARINC 615A Data Loader

AIT's F-SIM-LDR, or Flight Simulyzer Loader, is a complete ARINC-615A Data Loader development kit...

cPCI-1760-SW-4

AceXtreme® Bridge Device - Smart Protocol Converter

DDC’s AceXtreme Bridge Device converts avionics messages in real time between Ethernet, MIL-STD-1...

Related Companies

CES - Creative Electronic Systems SA

Has been designing and manufacturing complex high-performance avionics, defense and communication boards, subsystems ...

Boker's Inc

Boker's, Inc. can manufacture your flat washers, spacers and shims with an outside diameter from 0.080" to 12" and ma...

DLS Electronic Systems Inc

Provides EMC/EMI & Environmental testing to MIL-STD 461-A-F, MIL-STD 810 & RTCA DO-160-C-G, Boeing, Airbus FAA AC20-1...
Wire News provided by   

Most Popular Articles

Webcasts

Digital signal processing for signals intelligence and electronic warfare

Military & Aerospace Electronics presents an expert Webcast on the latest hardware and software trends for high-performance embedded computing (HPEC) applications in demanding military signals intelligen...
Sponsored by:

Advantages of Intel Architecture Products and Wind River Solutions in Military & Aerospace Applications

This webinar explains the individual advantages of the Intel Architecture hardware, available for long-life supply, and the WRS software portfolio.  There are extraordinary advantages of combining such ...
Sponsored by:

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.

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