Product Applications

April 1, 2002
Enabling technologies for military and aerospace electronics designers

Enabling technologies for military and aerospace electronics designers

SensorsU.S. Army to use DRS infrared sighting systems for combat ground systemsOfficials at the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command recently chose Horizontal Technology Integration Second Generation Forward Looking Infrared (HTI SGF) sighting systems from DRS Technologies' Optronics unit in Palm Bay, Fla., for use in three different ground platforms.

The DRS systems will provide critical common night vision technology to the Army's Abrams Main Battle Tank M1A2 SEP (System Enhancement Package), Bradley Fighting Vehicle System M2A3, and Long-Range Advanced Scout Surveillance System (LRAS3), DRS officials say.

For this contract, the company will provide B-Kit sensors, spares and testing for the HTI SGF program, DRS officials say. The HTI SGF system enhances the engagement and surveillance ranges for the identification of threats, increases target acquisitions, and significantly reduces fratricide, company officials claim. The HTI SGF technology enables ground vehicles to detect, identify, and engage tactical targets during the day or night, company officials say.

"This significant award on the HTI program enhances our position as a leading U.S. defense technology supplier of advanced military ground vehicle sighting systems and fully qualifies DRS to build complete B-Kits," says Mark S. Newman, DRS Technologies' chairman, president and chief executive officer.

"The use of these systems across several ground platforms has provided the Army with the opportunity to leverage resulting economies, while exploiting the capabilities of the latest technology in night vision systems. 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."

HTI SGF is comprised of a common electronics unit and opto-mechanical assemblies known as the B-Kit. The B-Kit is used in the Bradley M2A3 Improved Acquisition System (IBAS) sight of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle System M2A3. The Abrams M1A2 SEP uses the same B-Kit within a thermal eceiving unit and a biocular image control unit for the upgraded Thermal Imaging System (TIS), which is mounted in the gunner's sight, DRS officials say. DRS-produced HTI components also are used in LRAS3 for scout vehicles.

For more information 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

SoftwareAthena uses Green Hills MULTI 2000 IDE for advanced flight control and navigation systemOfficials at Athena Technologies in Manassas, Va., are using the MULTI 2000 Integrated Development Environment (IDE) from Green Hills Software in Santa Barbara, Calif., to develop flight control and navigation system software for Athena's GuideStar GS-111 advanced flight control system.

GuideStar, equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, is a fault-tolerant, miniature flight control system that enables aircraft and ground vehicles to monitor their position, flight attitude, and speed relative to the Earth. GuideStar is used in a variety of vehicles, such as fixed-wing aircraft, stealthy turbojet aircraft, and vertical takeoff and landing vehicles.

"The MULTI IDE greatly simplified the development of the high-availability code we needed for our GuideStar system," says Chris Brown, a software engineer for Athena Technologies. "The MULTI debugger's tight integration with the [real-time operating system] and its support for task-level debugging were particularly helpful."

A Motorola MPC555 processor powers the GuideStar system, Green Hills officials say. The MULTI IDE is used to develop PowerPC software that enables GuideStar to correlate data from rotational rate sensor, accelerometers, magnetometers, and a GPS receiver to determine position, speed, and flight attitude of the vehicle, company officials say. It uses position, speed, and flight attitude to either autonomously navigate preplanned routes or follow a pilot's inputs. It communicates its status along with a video signal to a remote ground station.

"Excellent service was also a key factor in our selection of Green Hills Software," adds Leslie Farkas, a software engineer with Athena Technologies. "In addition to assisting us in developing bootstrap code, Green Hills provided a new debug server before it was released to the general public."

"The MULTI IDE is fast emerging as the preferred development environment for high-availability applications like GuideStar," claims John Carbone, vice president of marketing for Green Hills. "MULTI is designed from the ground up to support the large programming teams working on high-availability applications like navigation systems, and its advanced [real-time operating system] integration makes it the preferred choice for high-availability applications."

MULTI, together with Green Hills Software's family of optimizing C, C++, EC++, and Ada95 compilers, automates all aspects of embedded software development. Featuring a window-oriented editor, source-level debugger, graphical program builder, and run-time error checker, MULTI also includes a version control system, instruction set simulator, performance profiler, and real-time EventAnalyzer, Green Hills officials say.

The heart of the MULTI IDE is the MULTI source-level debugger, company officials say. The debugger supports process- and system-level debug, provides a separate window for each process, supports mixed assembly and high-level language formats, and includes a language-sensitive expression evaluator. The MULTI debugger also features incremental debug capability, a graphical memory viewer, and specialized support for C++, including an object oriented class browser, namespace support, and C++ function navigation. MULTI's debugger is fully real-time operating system (RTOS) aware, which enables designers working with advanced real-time software such as INTEGRITY and ThreadX, to debug, monitor, and tune their applications at the task level.

For more information on the MULTI 2000 Integrated Development Environment or Green Hills Software, contact the company by phone at 805-965-6044, by e-mail at [email protected], or on the World Wide Web at For more information on GuideStar or Athena Technologies contact Ben Motazed by phone at 703-331-1068, by e-mail at [email protected], or on the World Wide Web at

Test & measurement equipmentArmy Tank-Automotive Command chooses virtual-prototyping software tools from Mechanical DynamicsU.S. Army combat vehicle designers needed virtual prototyping software tools to help them develop new truck and battle tank technology, as well as help them tap into new technologies developed for the commercial automobile industry. They found their solution in the ADAMS virtual prototyping software from Mechanical Dynamics Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mich.

Officials of the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) National Automotive Center (NAC) in Warren, Mich., are adopting the Mechanical Dynamics Functional Digital Car solution to strengthen their collaborative relationships with automotive manufacturers on innovative future combat systems development, company officials say.

The Functional Digital Car solution is a standard set of Mechanical Dynamics virtual prototyping tools that enables systems integrators to use a common set of models with which to create virtual prototypes of entire automotive systems.

The NAC, an element of TACOM, is the U.S. Department of Defense lead in developing dual-needs automotive technologies in partnership with companies, colleges, and government agencies by integrating commercial and military research to improve the performance of military ground vehicles.

"It's critical for the Army to leverage the best technology available, and within the auto industry, ADAMS is the dominant software package for virtual prototyping," says Dennis Wend, executive director of NAC.

"We want to work more efficiently and effectively with OEMs and suppliers, and the adoption of ADAMS will help us do that," Wend says. "Working from the same models, we will jointly be able to test out new ideas, simulate the effects of design changes, and gain the benefits of lower development costs and cycle times."

Several NAC programs are using virtual prototyping, such as the Commercially Based Tactical Truck (COMBATT), to adapt a modified commercial pick-up truck to perform light tactical wheeled vehicle (LTWV) missions.

Using modified Dodge 2500/3500 and Ford F-350 vehicles to improve off-road mobility and payload capacity, COMBATT is to reduce the cost of developing and procuring a new LTWV by using commercial technology for military needs, taking advantage of high-volume commercial production lines and reducing overall design and development costs, Mechanical Dynamics officials say.

Another program, the 21st Century Truck Initiative, seeks to develop commercial truck and propulsion systems that dramatically cut the fuel use and emissions of medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses while enhancing safety, affordability, and performance.

Fuel constitutes 70 percent of the bulk tonnage needed to sustain a military force on the battlefield, equal to approximately 600,000 gallons per day, company officials say.

TACOM leaders bought several different seats of the ADAMS Full Simulation Package, ADAMS/Car, ADAMS/Flex, and ADAMS/Tire, as well as ADAMS/Insight for web collaboration and ADAMS modules for durability, vibration, controls, and animation, company officials say.

ADAMS software enables engineering teams to build and test virtual prototypes of complex mechanical designs by simulating full-motion behavior on their computers. This helps manufacturers produce solid products quickly and inexpensively

For more information contact Mechanical Dynamics by phone at 734-994-3800, by fax at 734-994-6418, by e-mail at [email protected], by post at 2300 Traverwood Drive, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48105, or on the World Wide Web at

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