Product Application Design Solutions

Aug. 1, 2001
Enabling technologies for military & aerospace electronics engineers

Enabling technologies for military & aerospace electronics engineers

Computer peripherals
Air Force missile testers choose data recorder from Metrum-Datatape
U.S. Air Force weapons experts needed a real-time digital recorder to capture data during tests of the AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile and the Tomahawk cruise missile. They found their solution from Metrum-Datatape Inc. of Monrovia, Calif.
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Leaders of the Air Force Air Armament Center (AAC) at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., are negotiating with Metrum-Datatape officials to buy a Metrum-Datatape Model 64 digital recorder along with a set of required systems under test configuration/integration components.

The Metrum-Datatape Model 64 is a high-speed International Radio Instrumentation Group (IRIG)-standard digital cassette-based instrumentation recorder capable of supporting data rates as fast as 64 megabits per second and record data on S-VHS cassettes at capacities as large as 27.5 gigabytes at a linear packing density of 100,000 bits per inch.

This digital recording hardware is an upgrade of a vital part of the Air Force Freeman Computer Sciences Center's data collection, recording, extraction, reduction, analysis, and reporting capability that supports developmental and operational test and evaluation the AAC, Air Force officials say.

The Air Force will award a sole-source contract to Metrum-Datatape for the digital recorder, AAC officials announced. The date and amount of the contract award was not disclosed. — J.K.

For more information contact Metrum-Datatape by phone at 626-358-9500, by fax at 626-358-9100, by post at 605 East Huntington Drive, Monrovia, Calif. 91016, or on the World Wide Web at

Integrated circuits
Fibre Channel supplier Emulex turns to QuickLogic for bus controller
Engineers at Fibre Channel supplier Emulex Corp. of Costa Mesa, Calif., needed a way to provide PCI-to-SBus functionality in the company's LightPulse LP8000S SBus Fibre Channel host bus adapter (HBA). They found their solution in the QuickPCI QL5064 controller from QuickLogic Corp. in Sunnyvale, Calif.

"We selected the QuickPCI device because it provides the flexibility we needed to achieve performance and time-to-market requirements," says Mike Smith, executive vice president of worldwide marketing at Emulex.

Emulex, a supplier of Fibre Channel host adapters, produces hardware and software networking solutions that provide support for up to 2-gigabyte-per-second Fibre Channel data transfer rates. Emulex's SBus LP8000S HBA is for SBus servers from Sun Microsystems.

QuickLogic's PCI controller offers three 64-bit buses through programmable logic and provides data transfer rates as fast as 528 megabytes per second for busses running at 66 MHz. At the maximum speed of 75 MHz, QuickPCI devices can move data as fast as 600 megabytes per second, company officials say. — J.K.

For more information contact QuickLogic by phone at 408-990-4000, by fax at 408-990-4040, by post at 1277 Orleans Drive, Sunnyvale, Calif. 94089-1138, by e-mail at [email protected], or on the World Wide Web at

Litton to provide inertial measurement unit for future Europa deep-space probe
Spacecraft designers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., needed an inertial measurement unit (IMU) for the Europa Orbiter Spacecraft. They found their solution in the second-generation hemispherical resonator gyro (HRG) space inertial reference unit from the Litton Industries Guidance & Control Systems Division in Goleta, Calif.

JPL officials awarded Litton a $13.7 million contract to design an IMU for Europa, which is to explore Jupiter's moon Europa. The Litton IMU is a key element of the spacecraft's attitude control subsystem, typically complemented with a star camera and/or other optical reference sensors, Litton officials say.

The Europa mission includes critical maneuvers such as placing the spacecraft into orbit about the Jupiter moon, in which the IMU becomes the sole sensor for propagating spacecraft attitude.

The contract is a follow-on to a study program started in May 1999 to identify an IMU that can withstand Europa's harsh radiation environment and fit within all of the other constraints and goals for spacecraft components.

Litton's second-generation hemispherical resonator gyro (HRG) space inertial reference unit (Scalable SIRU) was found to be an enabling technology for the Europa mission.

It provides improved capabilities over the first-generation HRG-based SIRU in helping to enable the current generation of long-life 3-axis stabilized geostationary communication and deep space exploratory spacecraft missions.

The IMU is part of the new Scalable SIRU inertial product family addressing the expanding commercial, NASA, and military high-reliability mission needs over a broad performance range, Litton officials say. — J.K.

For more information contact the Litton Guidance and Control Systems Goleta facility by phone at 805-961-6000, or by post at 6769 Hollister Ave., Goleta, Calif. 93117-3001. Also contact the Litton Guidance main office by phone at 818-715-4040, by fax at 818-715-4467, by post at 5500 Canoga Ave., Woodland Hills, Calif. 91367, or on the World Wide Web at

DRS to provide improved infrared sights for Army combat vehicles
U.S. Army leaders needed up-to-date infrared sighting systems for a variety of combat vehicles. They found their solution in second-generation forward-looking infrared sighting systems from DRS Technologies Inc.

Officials of the Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) in Fort Monmouth, N.J., awarded contracts worth about $40 million to the DRS Sensor Systems unit in Torrance, Calif., and DRS Optronics unit in Palm Bay, Fla., company officials announced.

The DRS systems are part of the Army's Horizontal Technology Integration Second Generation Forward Looking Infrared (HTI SGF) program. The sensors apply common night vision technology across several land platforms, including the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank system enhancement package (SEP), the Bradley M2A3 fighting vehicles, and the M1025 and M1114 high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs).

The HTI initiative is central to the Army's modernization strategy for the digitization of the 21st century battlefield and contributes significantly to the power projection capabilities of ground forces, DRS officials say.

HTI SGF has a common electronics unit and opto-mechanical assemblies called the B-Kit. The B-Kit is incorporated in the Bradley M2A3 improved acquisition system (IBAS) sight. The M1A2 SEP uses the same B-Kit in a thermal receiving unit and a biocular image control unit for the upgraded thermal imaging system (TIS), which mounts in the gunner's sight.

DRS-produced HTI components also are used in the HMMWV Long-Range Advanced Scout Surveillance System (LRAS3) for scout vehicles. DRS's HTI SGF system enables ground vehicle crews to detect, identify, and engage tactical targets during the day or night.

HTI SGF also enhances the surveillance ranges for identifying threats, increases target acquisitions, and significantly reduces fratricide, DRS officials say. The system uses a MIL-STD-1553 data bus and is a digital port for trackers and display units. — J.K.

For more information contact DRS Sensor Systems by phone at 310-750-3200, by fax at 310-750-3197, by post at 3500 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, Calif. 90503, or on the World Wide Web at Also contact DRS Optronics by phone at 321-984-9030, by fax at 321-984-8746, by post at 2330 Commerce Park Drive Northeast, Suite 2, Palm Bay, Fla. 32905, or on the World Wide Web at

Navy chooses Intergraph display for aircraft carrier deployment
U.S. Navy officials needed a ruggedized 24-inch flat-panel display for use aboard the aircraft carrier USS Truman. They found their solution in a recently introduced display from the Intergraph Corp. Government Solutions subsidiary in Reston, Va.

Intergraph offers this ruggedized display for harsh environments such as shipboard bridge consoles, field deployments, and oil platforms, company officials say.

"The 24-inch flat-panel display provides a space-efficient display with the high resolution needed to depict large amounts of engineering data, while offering the additional utility of simultaneously displaying high-fidelity video monitoring of unmanned spaces for better situational awareness with reduced manpower," said Dave Dragun, group manager for the Enabling Technologies Group at the Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station (NAVSSES) Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division in Carderock, Md.

The wide-format display is for use with Intergraph TD-R or compatible workstations. Intergraph also offers a commercial-grade version of the same display. A ruggedized wall-mount version will be available this summer.

Intergraph's display is a ruggedized Samsung SyncMaster 240T 24-inch TFT active-matrix monitor, which has 1,920-by-1,200-pixel resolution and 85-degree viewing angle. — J.K.

For more information contact Intergraph Government Solutions by phone at 703-264-5600, by fax at 703-264-5720, by post at 1881 Campus Commons Drive, Suite 410, Reston, Va. 20191, or on the World Wide Web at

Vermont Composites designs lightweight console for Airborne Laser Program
Officials at ARGOSystems in Sunnyvale, Calif., a subsidiary of Boeing in Seattle, needed eight composite operator work consoles for support of the U.S. Air Force's Airborne Laser (ABL) program. They found their answer with a console design from Vermont Composites in Bennington, Vt.

The ABL is designed to shoot down theater ballistic missiles while they still are over the launch area. The laser weapon system will operate at altitudes above the clouds where it can acquire and track missiles in boost flight, and then accurately point and fire the high-energy laser until the missile is destroyed. The ABL team is comprised of experts from Boeing, TRW in Redondo Beach, Calif., and Lockheed Martin in Bethesda, Md.

As a subcontractor to ARGOSystems, Vermont Composites engineers performed analysis, design, and fabrication of the console and all related tooling, Vermont Composites officials say. The ABL operator console houses a configurable computer, display monitor, and keyboard where the system operators can custom configure the console to their individual tasks, they explain.

The ABL console offers a 40 percent structural weight savings over conventional aluminum consoles, Vermont Composites officials claim. The savings can enable additional equipment or fuel to be placed onboard the aircraft to increase the operational capability of the ABL system, they add.

Vermont Composites experts performed finite element analysis and structural testing on the console for verification of airworthiness requirements from Boeing. Composite electronics enclosures such as the ABL console also provide EMI (electro magnetic interference) shielding and lower maintenance costs, Vermont Composites officials say. — J.M.

For information on Vermont Composites contact the company by phone at 802-442-9964, by fax at 802-447-3642, by mail at Vermont Composites, 139 Shields Drive, Bennington, Vt. 05201, by email at [email protected], or on the World Wide Web at http://www

MultiGen-Paradigm and Silicon Graphics help upgrade Air Force jet fighter simulators
U.S. Air Force simulator experts needed new graphics computers to upgrade the F-16 flight simulators at the Network Training Center facility at Luke Air Force Base near Glendale, Ariz.

They found their solution in the Silicon Graphics Onyx2 visualization system with InfiniteReality3 graphics subsystem from Silicon Graphics Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., as well as real-time 3D software tools from MultiGen-Paradigm Inc. of San Jose, Calif.

Silicon Graphics officials say systems designers from prime contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. are using the Silicon Graphics computers and Multigen-Paradigm software for a project Lockheed Martin is doing for the Air Force Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and the Air Force Research Laboratory in Mesa, Ariz.

Silicon Graphics, MultiGen-Paradigm, and Lockheed Martin Services Inc. in Phoenix have integrated the new displays, projectors, and image generator for Luke's F-16 Networked Training Center simulators.

"This new upgrade will dramatically increase our ability to add more training tasks to those that are already trained in the F-16 simulators, ultimately saving AETC and the U.S. Air Force lots of training dollars," says Lt. Col. Doug Dal Soglio, chief of the F-16 Training Systems division at Luke Air Force Base. "There are currently two dodecahedron F-16 simulators in our training facility, and AETC plans to upgrade the second simulator."

Located about 20 miles northwest of Phoenix, Luke Air Force Base is home to the largest fighter pilot training base in the world, Silicon Graphics officials say. Its mission is to train F-16 fighter pilots for the U.S. Air Force and its allies. Approximately 1,000 students annually receive training at Luke, which has trained more U.S. fighter pilots than any other Air Force base. — J.K.

For more information contact MultiGen-Paradigm by phone at 408-261-4100, by fax at 408-261-4103, by post at 550 South Winchester Blvd., Suite 500, San Jose, Calif. 95128, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.multigen. com/. Also contact Silicon Graphics by phone at 650-960-1980, by fax at 650-932-0661, by post at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, Calif. 94043-1351, or on the World Wide Web at

Integrated circuits
National Semiconductor chooses 3DSP for next-generation wireless communications chips
Integrated circuit designers at National Semiconductor Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif., needed configurable digital signal processor (DSP) cores for their third-generation (3G) wireless requirements.

They found their solution in DSP cores and development tools from 3DSP Corp. of Irvine, Calif., National officials announced.

National designers are using 3DSP cores and tools inn designing a new architecture for low-power and configurable system-on-a-chip (SoC) products.

"The partnership with 3DSP provides National Semiconductor with a state-of-the-art DSP capability that will enable it to expand on its wireless experience to move quickly in producing third-generation cellular products," says Will Strauss, president of DSP analyst Forward Concepts of Tempe, Ariz. "3DSP's unique configurable DSP architecture appears to be a very good match for National's future products."

"The requirements for next-generation wireless baseband chips are very demanding. Only a new approach to baseband architecture will meet the data rate and power needs of 3G wireless connectivity," says William Stacy, vice president of National Semiconductor's wireless product line.

"We have designed a new communication signal processing architecture and chosen a 3DSP core as part of the architecture because of their industry-leading, high-performance technology and their dedication to providing outstanding support."

The highly competitive 3G wireless sector is projected to be a $9.2 billion market by 2005, 3DSP officials say. Using HiFI to develop DSP-based systems-on-a-chip helps speed time-to-market. — J.K.

For more information contact National Semiconductor by phone at 408-721-5000, by fax at 408-739-9803, by post at 2900 Semiconductor Drive, Santa Clara, Calif. 95052-8090, or on the World Wide Web at http://www

Also contact 3DSP Corp. by phone at 949-260-0156, by fax at 949-260-0151, by e-mail at [email protected], by post at 16735 Von Karman, Suite 100, Irvine, Calif. 92614, or on the World Wide Web at

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