Product Applications

Army chooses PC-based helicopter flight simulator imaging capability from Evans & Sutherland, Army asks Quantum Magnetics to improve buried landmine detection system, MORE...

Dec 1st, 2001

Enabling technologies for military and aerospace electronics designers

Displays
Army chooses PC-based helicopter flight simulator imaging capability from Evans & Sutherland

The U.S. Army chose simFUSION PC image generators from Evans & Sutherland Computer Corp. (E&S) in Salt Lake City for the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter simulator visual system.

The OH-58D simulator is at the Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences (ARI) at Fort Rucker, Ala., where it helps researchers evaluate PC-based image generation technologies for low-cost flight simulators.

"We selected simFUSION again because it provides advanced features at a comparatively low cost," says William Howse, research psychologist at ARI's Rotary Wing Aviation Research Unit (RWARU).

ARI's OH-58D full-mission simulator has a training cockpit, three out-the-window channels, and two channels for sensor imaging. The system networks with other simulators for large-scale training exercises, and uses Carmel Applied Technology Inc. (CATI) software.

"Selectable screen resolution, up to 1,280 by 1,024 pixels, is useful in evaluating tradeoffs between field of view and resolution. ChanLock allows the use of multiple units to be synchronized without the distraction of stepping in a single channel," Howse says. "In addition, the antialiasing and microtexturing provide important visual stability and detail for hovering tasks. Evans & Sutherland's ability to provide on-card forward-looking infrared (FLIR) imagery was also key to our selection of simFUSION.

"Image generators for flight simulators used for both development and training must support rapid modification of terrain databases," Howse says. "simFUSION's compliance with OpenGL and its compatibility with OpenFlight and CATI's X-IG run-time software ensure that our Kiowa Warrior simulator can be used in networked tactical training simulation exercises."

simFUSION is the newest line of PC-based image generators from E&S. Key features include GigaPixel-range fill rates, OpenGL compliance, hardware-based simulation functions such as order-independent, full-scene subpixel antialiasing, pixel rate fog and lighting effects, and sensor capability.

For more information contact Evans & Sutherland by phone at 801-588-1000, by fax at 801-588-4500, by post at 600 Komas Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.es.com.


Sensors
Army asks Quantum Magnetics to improve buried landmine detection system

U.S. Army researchers are trying to find sensors that detect buried land mines without an undue number of false alarms. They found their solution from the Quantum Magnetics Inc. subsidiary of InVision Technologies Inc. in San Diego.

Quantum Magnetics won a U.S. Army contract for $729,000 to develop an innovative magnetic gradiometer to be used to detect landmines and unexploded ordnance, company officials announced. The contract follows an Army research project to develop technology to detect mines and unexploded ordnance with significantly reduced false alarms rates than is possible today.

This system would complement the quadrupole resonance-based system that Quantum is developing to detect landmines under previously announced contracts with the U.S. Army and Office of Naval Research, company officials say.

Quantum's proposed magnetic gradiometer detector is to be one sensor that blends passive magnetometry and active electromagnetic detection capabilities.

"Current technologies for mine and ordnance detection are slow and unreliable, largely because they are unable to adequately discriminate between hazardous objects and non-hazardous metal clutter," says Lowell Burnett, president and chief executive officer of Quantum Magnetics.

"When this project is completed, Quantum's magnetic gradiometer should be able to detect unexploded ordnance and landmines in varied real-life conditions more accurately, and more quickly, than present-day systems," Burnett says.

"The magnetic gradiometer system would complement our quadrupole resonance technology which detects the explosive charge inside landmines and unexploded ordnance," adds Burnett.

As previously announced, Quantum's quadrupole resonance technology can detect the vast majority of all landmines deployed worldwide. During field trials in 1999, one of Quantum's quadrupole resonance systems detected 100% of antipersonnel and antitank landmines with no false alarms.

InVision develops explosives-detection systems based on advanced computed tomography for civil aviation security. Quantum develops and commercializes patented and proprietary technologies such as quadrupole resonance licensed from the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington.

For more information contact Quantum Magnetics by phone at 858-566-9200, by fax at 858-566-9388, by e-mail at info@qm.com, by post at 7740 Kenamar Court, San Diego, Calif. 92121, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.qm.com.


Displays
Microvision delivers helmet-mounted display prototype to U.S. Army

U.S. Army helicopter experts are taking delivery of a prototype helmet-mounted display (HMD) system from Microvision Inc. of Bothell, Wash., as part of the Army's Virtual Cockpit Optimization Program — better known as VCOP.

The Microvision high-brightness color helmet-mounted display system could augment helicopter instrument panels, Microvision officials say.

Microvision's prototype HMD went to The Boeing Co. helicopter factory in Mesa, Ariz., where engineers will integrate it with VCOP system including the Rotorcraft Pilot's Associate mission-management software.

After testing, the complete VCOP system will go to the U.S. Army's APEX laboratory — short for Advanced Prototyping Engineering and Experimentation — in Huntsville, Ala., for further evaluation.

VCOP is the Army's vision of a virtual helicopter cockpit. It includes a "what you see depends on where you look" concept that uses Microvision display technology.

As the pilot looks up and out of the cockpit, various types of targeting, navigational, or terrain overlays appear on his helmet display. When the pilot looks into the cockpit, he may see "virtual" instruments projected onto his eye that literally replace many of the existing dials and multifunction displays that are in cockpits today.

"Existing instruments can be cumbersome and hard to maintain, and, as new capabilities arise, upgrading this hardware without replacing or re-wiring everything is an expensive procedure," says Matt Nichols, director of communications for Microvision.

"A virtual cockpit, however, is small, lightweight, and can be readily upgraded just by changing the software," he says. "We've seen estimates that upgrading a VCOP system might be only one fifth of the cost of upgrading all the integrated software and supporting elements in an existing helicopter's avionics suite."

Army experts will test Microvision's display in operational aircraft and in flight simulators. Instrument panel designers will try out new concepts and perform engineering trade studies on future pilot/machine interface concepts using the VCOP prototype.

For more information contact Microvision by phone at 425-415-6847, by fax at 425-415-6600, by e-mail at sales@mvis.com, by post at P.O. Box 3008, 19910 North Creek Parkway, Bothell, Wash. 98011-3008, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.mvis.com.


Integrated circuits
Targa chooses Flash memory from BiTMICRO for data-acquisition system

Mass storage systems designers at Targa Electronics Systems Inc. in Matthews, N.C., needed flash disk memory for the new Targa removable Series 4 Data Transfer System (DTS) for military and aerospace high-reliability rugged applications that need removable data storage. They found their solution from BiTMICRO Networks in Fremont, Calif.

Targa designers are using the DTS flash disk storage component from BiTMICRO in the DTS system that Targa introduced in October.

The Targa Series 4 DTS meets MIL-STD-810 and RTCA DO-160, comes in capacities larger than 5 megabytes, transfers data at 18 megabytes per second, and is for demanding military and aerospace applications, such as map displays, imaging, and mission loads.

"We chose the BiTMICRO technology because it helps us meet our customer's system requirements," says Joe Fronsee, Targa's vice president of marketing and sales.

Targa's Series 4 DTS, consisting of a Data Transfer Unit (DTU) and removable Data Transfer Device (DTD), provides a compact self-contained system to store and retrieve data from Targa's 2.5-inch SCSI Flash Disk Drives. The DTS disk carrier connector is rated at greater than 100,000 insertion/removals. The clamping mechanisms are designed to withstand intense shock and vibration.

The device is designed as a panel-mount (DZUS rail) unit, supports input power of 28 volts DC or 5 volts DC, and is equipped with a locking access door.

It features SCSI-2 or SCSI-3 interfaces and has access time to less than 0.1 microseconds. The Series 4 DTS is compatible with Linux, Solaris, Windows, MacOS, and LynxOS operating systems using standard drivers. It also supports AIX, FreeBSD, HP-UX, IRIX, NetBSD, OS/2, QNX, VxWorks, SCO Unixware and OpenServer, Solaris x86 and Tru64.

For more information contact BiTMICRO Networks by phone at 510-623-2341, by fax at 510-623-2342, by e-mail at info@bitmicro.com, by post at 45550 Northport Loop East, Fremont, Calif. 94538-6481, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.bitmicro.com.


Software
Northrop Grumman software used in missile flight test

Engineers from Northrop Grumman Information Technology provided the ground command and control software for a flight test of Boeing's booster for the ground-based Midcourse Defense Segment (GMDS) program, formerly the National Missile Defense program. The launch took place late this summer from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

This was the first flight test of Boeing's commercial-off-the-shelf booster and the Northrop Grumman-developed software that controls the booster launch, Northrop Grumman officials say. The test successfully demonstrated the capabilities of the booster and the ground launch system.

GMDS is designed to protect the United States against attack by Intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs. Boeing, the GMDS prime contractor, selected Northrop Grumman's software to plan the intercept trajectory, command the booster, and monitor its status, Northrop Grumman officials say. The software communicates with the booster during prelaunch checkout until the time it commands the booster to launch.

"We are pleased with our software's performance," says Christine Reynolds, vice president, C3I Systems, for Northrop Grumman Information Technology (IT). "This flight test was a significant step towards the development of a missile defense system that will protect the United States."

Northrop Grumman also provides GMDS systems engineering and simulation development support in addition to the command and control development work. This end-to-end system simulation is used to evaluate GMDS performance under potential attack scenarios.

Work on the program is performed in Anaheim and San Pedro, Calif.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Arlington, Va.; and Huntsville, Ala.

For more information on Northrop Grumman Information Technology contact the company on the World Wide Web at http://www.northropgrumman.com.


Board products
ITT Gilfillan chooses Mercury multicomputers for U.K. precision-approach radar system

Radar systems designers at the ITT Industries Gilfillan Division in Van Nuys, Calif., needed embedded real-time multicomputers for the ITT PAR-2000 precision approach radar. They found their solution from Mercury Computer Systems in Chelmsford, Mass.

ITT is awarding Mercury a $1.7 million contract to provide RACE signal processing systems for the PAR-2000, Mercury officials announced. Leaders of the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence in London will use the PAR-2000 radar to modernize military air traffic control radar systems.

"We selected Mercury for this program because they have consistently exceeded our embedded computing requirements. Mercury's systems provide the results we need today with a reliable upgrade path into the future," says Tom Kennedy, director of air traffic control at ITT Gilfillan.

The PAR-2000 radar is for demanding environments where extreme weather conditions may affect the ability of an airplane to complete a safe landing. Mercury embedded multicomputers will enable the radar to process vast amounts of data instantaneously to provide precision-approach coverage out to a range of 20 nautical miles in heavy winds and other adverse weather conditions, Mercury officials say.

Mercury's corporate purchase agreement with ITT Industries, Gilfillan Group covers Mercury's entire line of RACE Series PCI and VME high-performance multicomputer systems.

ITT Gilfillan provides air-defense, surveillance, multifunction and air traffic control radar systems for U.S. and international land and maritime applications, as well as miniaturized active-array antenna modules and subsystems for sensor and communications applications.

For more information contact Mercury by phone at 978-256-1300, by post at 199 Riverneck Road, Chelmsford, Mass. 01824, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.mc.com.


Test & measurement equipment
Agilent chooses Spectrum Signal Processing's flexComm modules for government signal monitoring applications

Officials at Agilent Technologies in are integrating flexComm modules from Spectrum Signal Processing in Burnaby, British Columbia, into their new wireless receiver system for use in government signal monitoring applications.

Spectrum officials will begin shipping their flexComm ePMC-PPC and ePMC-MEM signal processing modules, which use the company's Solano Communications Integrated Circuit (IC) and Motorola's AltiVec PowerPC processor chip to Agilent Technologies later this year, Spectrum officials say. Shipments of the flexComm ePMC-PPC and ePMC-MEM PowerPC modules and the Solano Communications IC are expected to continue for five years, Spectrum officials say.

"Agilent has a long-standing relationship with Spectrum based on the innovation and quality of its products," says Craig Short, marketing manager for Surveillance Solutions at Agilent Technologies. "Spectrum was able to rapidly design two modules around the PowerPC processor and Solano Communications IC that met our complex design and timing requirements,' he adds.

"Spectrum signed a five-year agreement with Agilent in the fall of 2000 for the delivery of the Solano Communications IC and the flexComm Solano Communications IC-based modules," says Brian Lowe, vice president of sales and business development for Spectrum's Wireless Systems group. "The combination of our Solano Communications IC and the PowerPC processor on our flexComm ePMC modules provides superior communications speeds compared to other solutions on the market today."

The Solano Communications IC embedded in the flexComm ePMC-PPC and ePMC-MEM modules will also be embedded into Agilent's own carrier board in the receiver system, Spectrum officials say. The Solano Communications IC solves critical bottleneck problems inherent in processors such as the PowerPC by improving interprocessor communications. By deploying the PowerPC and Solano Communications IC-based modules, and integrating the Solano Communications IC into its own boards, Agilent will increase system performance and expand system capabilities, Spectrum officials claim.

Spectrum's flexComm PowerPC line of modules was created to meet increased customer demand for modules featuring the PowerPC's superior processing speeds and supporting software tools, company officials say. Spectrum engineers integrated the PowerPC processor into flexComm modules to take advantage of the PowerPC's floating point technology that makes it easier and less time consuming to develop application-specific algorithms, Spectrum officials say.

The flexComm ePMC-PPC module is appropriate for applications such as signal monitoring and surveillance, direction finding, beam forming, cellular base stations, and satellite earth stations, Spectrum officials say. Its features include: 500 megabytes per second sustainable I/O bandwidth on a 100 MHz 60x bus, a choice of one or two Motorola MPC7410 PowerPC processors with Altivec technology running as fast as 500 MHz, and four Solano-link ports, each providing 400 megabytes per second throughput for an aggregate bandwidth of 1600 megabytes per second, Spectrum officials say.

For more information on flexComm and Spectrum Signal Processing contact Annette Colligan by phone at 604-421-5422 ext. 150, by e-mail at annette_colligan@spectrumsignal.com, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.spectrumsignal.com.


Design & development tools
Canadian defense department uses Engenuity Technologies' tools for helicopter simulation

Officials at Xwave in Halifax, Nova Scotia, needed software development tools for the Canadian defense department's Tactical Aviation Mission System Simulation (TAMSS) project. They found their answer with tools from the Virtual Prototypes division of Engenuity Technologies.

The three-year project for Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC), an agency of the country's national defense department, is to develop a wide area distributed simulation facility for improved modeling and simulation capabilities. The project supports system acquisition, mission rehearsal, human factors assessments, and training using the Griffon Tactical Helicopter as the core simulation environment, Engenuity officials say.

"Xwave, as prime contractor, selected Engenuity's tools to meet the stringent simulation needs of the project," says Ranald McGillis, vice president of Xwave's central business unit. "These tools will allow the team to generate a high-fidelity tactical environment, cockpit display simulation, and aerodynamic model of the Griffon helicopter."

The tools chosen include STAGE (for the development of the tactical environment), HELISIM (for the production of the Griffon high-fidelity aero model) and VAPS (for the simulation of cockpit displays). The contract also includes consulting services provided by Virtual Prototypes, Engenuity officials say.

"It is significant that all of our commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) tools come fully integrated to provide a unique and complete development environment that is ideally suited for this type of program," says said Philippe Collard, president and chief executive officer of Engenuity." I believe that it is this factor, together with the fact that our tools are easy to use, that proved to be the major reason why our technology was selected for this application."

For more information on Engenuity's simulation development tools contact the company on the World Wide Web at http://www.engenuitytech.com.


Computer peripherals
Lawrence Livermore selects BlueArc storage systems for computing initiative

Officials at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) needed storage systems with fast data access time and reliability for the laboratory's Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI). They found their answer with five BlueArc Si7500 storage systems from BlueArc Corp. in San Jose, Calif.

"BlueArc has solved exactly the right problems in storage," says Mark Seager, assistant department head for Terascale Systems at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "Lawrence Livermore's computing environments demand and get the latest and best solutions available. Where others couldn't deliver, BlueArc provided at least three to five times the performance of any competing system and yet remained less costly. It was a very clear choice for us."

The BlueArc Si7500 Storage Systems will be used with LLNL's high-powered computing simulations, BlueArc officials say. Four of the five systems shipped to LLNL have a combined storage capacity of seven terabytes, and will be used as a central part of two Linux clusters with a total of 216 nodes and with 432 Pentium 4 processors with a peak of 1.5 teraFLOPs per second. The four systems will provide LLNL's high-powered computer simulations with a global file system for LLNL's Parallel Capacity Resource, company officials say.

The first simulation or science run planned with Si7500 will be a "National Ignition Facility (NIF) laser beam" modeling one of the 192 NIF laser beam transport from creation to impingement on a NIF deuterium target, BlueArc officials say. There are many stages in this simulation: beam amplification, calibration, reflection, and focusing. The results of these simulations will give NIF scientists a better understanding of beam quality at the target, BlueArc officials explain.

The BlueArc Storage Systems will periodically store and checkpoint progress made on computer simulations that run, in certain cases, for weeks or months. In the event of a computational system failure or interruption, the simulation can be restarted from the last checkpoint, avoiding the costly and time-consuming event of "starting over from scratch," BlueArc officials claim. In addition, LLNL scientists will visualize the results of the calculation while it progresses, determining progress and understanding of the simulation as it advances, company officials say.

The fifth BlueArc Si7500 Storage System includes four terabytes of storage capacity to be used to support LLNL's center-wide high performance NFS services, specifically LLNL's /nfs/tmp directories — where delivered performance from hundreds of clients simultaneously writing is a mission-critical resource, BlueArc officials say. Virtually every computer on the campus for temporary storage of large simulation data sets will touch the system, company officials claim.

"We could not have asked for a better industry validation for BlueArc technology and support. The Lawrence Livermore win points out that system performance is crucial," says Enrico Pesatori, chief executive officer of BlueArc. "BlueArc's performance is unmatched yet it also lowers total costs, creating a winning solution for any type of business."

For more information on BlueArc storage systems contact the company on the World Wide Web at http://www.bluearc.com.

More in Communications