Product Applications

April 1, 2003
Radio astronomers choose hot-swap disk storage from Conduant Corp.

Computer peripherals

Radio astronomers choose hot-swap disk storage from Conduant Corp.

Radio astronomers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Haystack Observatory in Westford, Mass., needed extremely fast data mass storage systems to keep astronomical data. They found their solution in the Big River TK200 from Conduant Corp. in Longmont, Colo.

The Big River TK200 is a rack-mountable subsystem with two hot-swappable eight-drive modules for infinite duration recording and playback. The TK200 can record continuously without interruption.

"Our radio astronomy application requires very, very high data rates which was attempted using traditional magnetic tape recorders. However, when pushing tape media to the limits that we were, there were a lot of problems, and, it was expensive," says Dr. Alan Whitney, associate director and principal research scientist of the MIT Haystack Observatory.

"With Conduant's digital disk recording technology, we can study distant objects in the universe with very high resolution, equivalent to reading the print on a penny from across the United States," Whitney says. "Conduant's recorders consistently increase reliability, make our data management more efficient, and allow Haystack to use commercial, off-the-shelf media. We have no data loss and can record infinitely as well as use the same disks that are on everybody's desktop computer, which are now cheaper than the tape we used."

The TK200 supports as much as 1.6 terabytes of data storage per module, for a combined capacity of 3.2 terabytes. By recording to one module and then to the next and subsequently replacing filled modules with fresh modules in hot-swap mode, the system can record infinitely. The TK200 features a 5U rack mount PCI enclosure and uses PCI and FPDP (Front Panel Data Port) interfaces.

For more information contact Conduant by phone at 303-485-2721, by fax at 303-485-5104, by e-mail [email protected], by post at 1501 S. Sunset St., Suite C, Longmont, Colo. 80501, or on the World Wide Web at http://


NASA selects OSE real-time software for flight-control system

Engineers at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va., needed a reliable real-time-operating system (RTOS) for the development of a new adaptive flight control system. They found their answer with the OSE RTOS from OSE Systems, in San Jose, Calif.

The system will perform mission planning and management functions, incorporate built-in test and fault-detection algorithms, perform primary flight control functions as well as respond to faults and aberrant conditions to achieve autonomous, resilient flight control, OSE officials say. A small unmanned aerial vehicle will be used as an engineering test-bed and is itself designed with a robust, resilient architecture, company officials say.

"NASA's primary concern is to build a highly reliable flight control system" says Philip Ward, Guidance, navigation, and control systems engineer at the Wallops Flight Facility. "The flight manager needs to identify and make immediate adjustments for problems in the control links or for other conditions such as wind gusts. The successful completion of a mission depends on the ability to intelligently evaluate current conditions and make adjustments as needed."

"OSE understands safety-critical systems such as NASA's unmanned aerial vehicles where the loss of the telemetry link cannot precipitate loss of aircraft or mission," says Vance Hilderman, vice president of U.S. operations, at OSE Systems Inc., North America.

The OSE RTOS, designed for high-reliability and fault-tolerant conditions, provides the distributed, multicore organization needed for this flight-control matrix, OSE officials claim.

A series of control algorithms provide redundant commands to two Motorola PowerPC flight computers that ensure safe preflight automated tests, autonomous take-off, control of mission and landing, organized via a series of layers. The first layer, providing servo deflections based on sensed altitude, speed, and attitude errors, and second layer, involving relative location and speed with respect to desired waypoints, are monitored by a third that checks status of the two control loops, mission progress, fuel load and other pertinent sensor data. A fuzzy inference system detects anomalous conditions and makes adjustments, company officials say.

The OSE RTOS hosts the flight software on two PowerPC flight computers in a PC/104 footprint, OSE officials say. The OSE Link Handler together with the Altera programmable logic device will cross-strap the redundant servo command signals from the two computers to provide a reliable, fault-resistant environment, company officials claim.

For more information on OSE, contact the company by phone at 408-392-9300, by fax at 408-392-9301, by mail at 1731 Technology Drive, Suite 700, San Jose, Calif., or on the World Wide Web at


Army researchers select Ultra-Scan to build field-deployable biometric identification system

Officials at the U.S. Army Research Lab are using a biometrics identification system from Ultra-Scan Corp. in Amherst, N.Y., to build a new live-scan ultrasonic identification system for field military environments. Ultra-Scan develops ultrasonic fingerprint matching technology.

The Army contract, the second phase of a $1 million contract by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), is for work following Ultra-Scan's successful demonstration in initial testing, Ultrascan officials say. The DOD specifications are for an in-the-field accuracy rate of less (EER) than one error per million.

"Through this Phase II contract, the DOD has expressed its confidence in Ultra-Scan to build an ultrasonic-based next-generation biometric device that outperforms any existing biometric technology while operating in an outdoor field deployed environment," claims John K. Schneider, president and chief technology officer for Ultra-Scan.

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The technology performance requirements are not only demanding in terms of accuracy — 1,000 times more accurate than legacy biometric systems — and speed, but also the ability to withstand the rigors of any military field environment, Ultrasonics officials say.

The system being built is a live-scan ultrasonic identification system that can read two adjacent fingers in a single pass, company officials say. Ultra-Scan's capture of two images in a single pass, and the use of high-frequency ultrasonic sound wave technology, increases image quality and the accuracy rate of matches, Ultra-Scan officials say.

Ultra-Scan fingerprint technology uses high-frequency sound waves to create a digital representation of the fingerprint regardless of dirt, grease, newsprint, or other common finger contaminants that plague optical and capacitance scanners, Ultra-Scan officials say.

For more information on Ultra-Scan contact the company by phone at 716-832-6269, by mail at 4240 Ridge Lea Rd, Amherst, N.Y. 14226, by email at [email protected], on the World Wide Web at


Canadian navy chooses Sperry Marine ring laser gyros

Shipboard electronics experts in the Canadian navy needed inertial measurement units for their fleet of Iroquois class destroyers. They found their solution in ring laser gyros (RLGs) from the Northrop Grumman Corp. Sperry Marine business unit in Charlottesville, Va.

The inertial navigation systems, based on Sperry Marine's RLG systems technology, will provide precise position, velocity, heading, and attitude inputs for the fire control stabilization and weapons initialization systems aboard the Canadian Iroquois-class destroyers.

The new-generation systems will achieve significant improvements in accuracy, reliability, maintainability, operation, acquisition, and life-cycle costs, Sperry Marine officials say.

Under the $4.3 million contract, Sperry Marine will supply dual MK49 ring laser gyro systems for three of the destroyers, with an option for a fourth ship set. Deliveries are to be finished in early 2004. The scope of work includes equipment supply, engineering support, installation, and commissioning.

The new-generation ring laser gyro systems are part of a major upgrade program for the Canadian destroyers. Originally built in the 1970s as anti-submarine destroyers, the three Iroquois-class ships have been rebuilt with significant anti-air warfare capabilities.

Sperry Marine supplies more than 80 percent of the RLG systems at sea today, company officials claim. The MK49 is the standard RLG inertial navigation system for NATO ships and submarines. The AN/WSN-7 RLG navigator is standard equipment throughout the U.S. Navy surface and submarine fleets, and the exportable MK39 RLG system has been selected by more than 22 international navies for a variety of ship platforms.

For more information contact Sperry Marine by phone at 434-974-2000, by fax at 434-974-2259, by post at 1070 Seminole Trail, Charlottesville, Va 22901, or on the World Wide Web at

Design and development tools

Optomec technology aids engine design

Officials at the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) have chosen experts at Optomec Inc. in Albuquerque, N.M., to develop a solution for roll-over abrasion on T700 engine blisks, using the company's LENS technology as part of the Radian MILPARTS consortium.

Currently, the standard repair method for T700 engine blisks is replacement, which carries significant cost and lead-time penalties. LENS technology enables users to quickly and cost-effectively add a small amount of material to worn or fractured surfaces, Optomec officials claim.

LENS or Laser Engineered Net Shaping, provides an art-to-part capability for the manufacture of fully dense structures, layer by layer, directly from CAD files, Optomec officials say. Starting with the CAD information, a computer-controlled laser is focused on a metal substrate, creating a molten puddle on the surface of the substrate. Metal powder is then injected into the molten puddle in precise amounts to increase material volume. The deposition apparatus to create a shaped layer of finite thickness then scans the substrate. This procedure is repeated until the entire object represented in the three-dimensional CAD model is produced, company officials say.

The Radian MILPARTS consortium is made up of aviation organizations that manufacture and overhaul aircraft engine components, as well as technology organizations that specialize in advanced metallurgy. Requirements of the program include reverse engineering, CAD/CAM modeling, and requalifying (for flight) repaired T700 engine stage 1 and 2 blisks. The goal is to improve erosion resistance of the T700 compressor through application of wear-resistant materials along the leading edge of blisk airfoils.

Optomec delivers LENS systems that cost-effectively build metal structures from a wide range of alloys, including titanium, stainless steel, aluminum, and inconel, making it attractive for a variety of repair and low-volume manufacturing applications, Optomec officials say.

Similarly, Optomec's new M3D solution is an additive manufacturing approach for the production of Mesoscale (10-100 micron) structures such as microelectronic components, high-density interconnects, MEMS devices, flat-panel displays, fuel cells, and biosensors. Like LENS, M3D is directly driven from CAD data, and does not require the production of expensive mask sets that are needed for thick and thin film processing.

Customers include institutions in government and industry, such as 3M, Lockheed Martin, Delphi, Rolls Royce, NASA, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

For more information on Optomec contact the company by phone at 505.761.8250, by mail at 3911 Singer Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, N.M.87109, or on the World Wide Web at

Test and measurement equipment

Thales Avionics chooses Flomerics thermal analysis software for control cabinet

Electronics designers at Thales Avionics in Villacoublay Cedex, France, needed thermal analysis software to help them design an understair video control cabinet aboard Boeing 747 jetliner aircraft. They found their solution from Flomerics Inc. of Southborough, Mass.

Thales designers needed to adapt their video cabinet, designed for several new aircraft, onto existing versions of the 747, Flomerics officials say. The 747 retrofit design had to work within the boundaries of current cabin conditions and accommodate relatively old interfacing equipment.

"I was very pleased with the Thermal Design Services analysis not just because of the final results, but also because of their ability to deliver the results within a very short time frame," says Sam Suh, a senior mechanical engineer at Thales.

To do the job in a hurry, Thales avionics designers turned to the Flotherm thermal analysis software from the Thermal Design Services group of Flomerics. Design consultants at Flomerics used FLO/MCAD design tools to build an analytical prototype of the cabinet that Thales designers wanted.

The electronic geometry from Thales came as IGES files, which the Flotherm software was able to understand. The analytical model helped experts investigate the overall thermal performance of the system by predicting the overall temperature rise through the chassis, the general airflow patterns, and the partitioning of the flow between various intake vents, Flomerics officials say.

With the software design tool, and the analysis, Thales designers were able to verify that their design could do the job on the 747. Flomerics also was able to deliver the requisite compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations from a designated engineering representative, according to Federal Air Regulation 25.1301, 25.1309, Flomerics officials say.

For more information contact Flomerics by phone at 508-357-2012, by fax at 508-357-2013, by e-mail at [email protected], by post at 257 Turnpike Road, Suite 100, Southborough, Mass. 01772, or on the World Wide Web at

Communications equipment

General Dynamics looks to Rockwell Collins for networking capability

Systems integrators at the General Dynamics C4 Systems division in Taunton, Mass., needed networking capability for the U.S. Army Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, otherwise known as WIN-T. They found their solution from engineers at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

WIN-T, which will help Army experts create a seamless battlefield network, will use commercially developed components and standards to help soldiers communicate by voice, video, and data over wired or wireless systems. It handles battlefield communications from the theater level down to separate battalions.

The idea behind WIN-T is to enable the Army to concentrate combat power by means other than massing its forces, which officials say will make relatively small units more deadly and effective than they are today.

Rockwell Collins engineers will use the networking technology they developed for the Army's Multifunctional On-the-Move Secure Adaptive Integrated Communications program — better known as MOSAIC. Rockwell Collins developed MOSAIC technology for the Army Communications-Electronics Command at Fort Monmouth, N.J.

MOSAIC will ensure that important messages are ranked, transferred, and received throughout the tactical battlefield network, Rockwell Collins officials say.

One part of the Army's tactical battlefield network is the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Cluster 1 program, which uses the Wideband Networking Waveform, otherwise known as WNW.

Rockwell Collins is part of the Boeing team developing JTRS, and builds a JTRS-compliant software-defined radio that will help U.S., joint, and allied forces communicate effectively and without confusion.

For more information contact Rockwell Collins by phone at 319-295-1000, by fax at 319-295-5429, by post at 400 Collins Road NE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52498, or on the World Wide Web at


South Africa navy chooses shipboard windowing system from RGB Spectrum

Surface warfare experts from the South African navy needed multi-window graphic interfacing software for their MEKO A200S Corvette surface combatants that will enter service in 2004. They found their solution in visualization technologies based on the RGB/View 6000 multiple window display processor from RGB Spectrum in Alameda, Calif.

South Africa navy officials are supervising integration of an advanced electronic warfare systems for their Corvettes, which includes new operator control systems with optronic and radar tracking, as well as for ballistic weapons control.

In charge of the electronic warfare system are engineers from Reutech Radar Systems (Pty) Ltd in Stellenbosch, South Africa, C2I2 Systems (Pty) Ltd. in Cape Town, South Africa, and Systematic Designs, also in Cape Town.

"The Corvettes are equipped with a number of radar and video sensors," says Alastair Knight, director for C2I2 Systems. "The new tracking consoles are required to provide operators with real-time display of all incoming video sensor and radar tracking visuals in a compact, space saving design. Previous designs which incorporated multiple displays, multiple consoles, and video switches were too inefficient, bulky, and expensive."

Experts from C2I2 evaluated several different windowing technologies and chose RGB Spectrum's RGB/View 6000 "because of its superior multiple video windowing capability and its unique chroma-keying and overlaying functionality," Knight says.

Two RGB Spectrum RGB/View 6000 processors are installed inside the C2I2 Systems Tracker Radar Console (TRC), one for each of the console's two displays. The TRC provides a graphically-orientated, human-machine interface (HMI) for optronic and radar tracking and integrated ballistic weapons control.

The RGB/View 6000 system simultaneously displays video from several sensors providing optronic and radar output and overlays high-resolution graphics to facilitate searching for and tracking targets, company officials say.

One RGB/View 6000 processor receives three video inputs from the ship's video sensors, which include daylight video cameras with wide-angle and narrow fields of view, thermal imaging sensors, boresight cameras, and auxiliary cameras placed throughout the ship. The RGB/View 6000 processor simultaneously displays these signals in windows on one of the console's screens.

The second RGB/View 6000 processor receives video input from the ship's primary tracking video sensor and then overlays this video with the tracking and optronics radar symbologies.

A second video window displays the analog range trace information in PAL format. The RGB/View 6000 processor simultaneously presents the combined image on the console's second flat-panel display. Console operators interact with any of the display windows on either screen. The RGB/View 6000 windows can scale to any size, positioned anywhere on-screen, and overlayed with graphics, company officials say.

"We have been impressed with its excellent video quality and versatility to display multiple windows any size, anywhere on-screen as well as its very useful chroma-keying and overlay capabilities," Knight says. "The RGB/View 6000 processor provides the high-quality windowing display solution we were looking for. It reduces the amount of equipment and space needed, saves money, and delivers more responsive functionality to operators.

For more information contact RGB Spectrum by phone at 510-814-7000, by fax at 510-814-7026, by post at 950 Marina Village Parkway, Alameda, Calif. 94501, or on the World Wide Web at

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