Air Force uses COTS displays, video mixers in ABL program

The U.S. Air Force`s Airborne Laser, or ABL, requires a wide variety of data to perform its mission of automatically detecting and tracking missiles at launch.

Dec 1st, 1999

The U.S. Air Force`s Airborne Laser, or ABL, requires a wide variety of data to perform its mission of automatically detecting and tracking missiles at launch.

Engineers from prime contractor Boeing Co. in Seattle were able to use commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology from Barco in Duluth, Ga., for the conduction-cooled digital video mixers and the 20.1-inch color flat panel displays.

Boeing designers are now integrating the Barco FlexiVision video windowing subsystem and the Barco FD251 liquid crystal display (LCD) color displays with the ABL aircraft`s Model 960 computers from Raytheon Computer Products in Marlborough, Mass.

Driving home the magnitude of the display task is the complexity of the ABL functions: infrared surveillance, detection and tracking of several different targets, target typing and prioritization, distributed predictive avoidance, mission planning, communications, crew/system interface, and theater interoperability.

The Barco video mixer is a 6U VME card set that can simultaneously embed the outputs of as many as 10 video sources into a master RGB video source.

Rich Flanders, an integrated product team leader for ABL at Boeing, says he conducted trade studies for the video mixer and the flat panel. "The Barco FlexiVision video mixer card set was chosen for ABL because it was able to interface with the conduction-cooled system and process at least four windows of information simultaneously," he says. "The FD251 color LCD was the only display that was form, fit, and function [compatible] and, most importantly, met the majority of the aircraft`s rugged avionics environmental specifications." — J.R.

For more information about the Barco displays, contact the company by phone at 678-475-8000, by fax at 678-475-8100, by post at 3059 Premier Parkway, Duluth, Ga. 30097 or on the World Wide Web at http://www.barco.com/.

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