In Brief

May 1, 2000
Rockwell designs large IR detector for astronomy; Software companies launch DO-178-B certification program; Swiss military to spend $700 million on arms procurement; And more

Rockwell designs large IR detector for astronomy

Engineers at the Rockwell Science Center in Thousand Oaks, Calif., designed what they claim is the world's largest infrared sensor for deep-space astronomy. The sensor is to detect the small amounts of heat radiated from distant celestial bodies. Rockwell's sensor includes next-generation telescopes and is part of a 2-year program that has financial backing from a consortium of observatories led by the University of Hawaii. The IR detector has 4.2 million picture elements, and more than 13 million transistors - which exceeds the number of transistors found on most of today's state-of-the-art computer chips, according to a Rockwell announcement. A key element of the sensor involves its complementary metal oxide semiconductor electronics that can read the infrared light from each detector element and convert it to a usable signal. - J.K.

Software companies launch DO-178-B certification program

Virtual Prototypes in Montreal and Datel Defence Ltd. in Manchester, England, are teaming to launch a DO-178B certification for their suites of graphical development tools - VAPS and Qualified Code Generator, otherwise known as QCG. The RTCA DO-178B standard - Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification - establishes guidelines and requirements for the validation of entire avionics systems and ensures code and operational safety. A problem with the standard, however, is the complexity and time-consuming nature of meeting its guidelines. Virtual Prototypes and Datel Defence officials say they plan to integrate features in their software tools to help avionics designers automate the processing of meeting DO-178B. For more information contact Virtual Prototypes by phone at 514-341-3874, or on the World Wide Web at - J.K.

Another version of real-time Linux hits the market

TimeSys Corp. of Pittsburgh is releasing a new real-time version of the Linux operating system called TimeSys Linux/RT. This product extends the Linux kernel, rather than adding a proprietary non-Linux real-time operating system as an abstraction layer between Linux and the system hardware, explains Raj Rajkumar, the TimeSys chairman. TimeSys engineers crafted Linux/RT so that if one real-time processes crashes, the rest of the processes and the kernel will still run. For more information, contact TimeSys by phone at 412-681-6899, by fax at 412-681-5522, by post at 4516 Henry St., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15213, by e-mail at [email protected], or on the World Wide Web at - J.K.

Swiss military to spend $700 million on arms procurement

Leaders of the Swiss government plan to spend about $700 million for arms procurement this year. The Swiss army will buy 186 Swedish-built CV-9030 armored personnel carriers (APCs), 120 battlefield command cars, and some mine-clearing plows that fit on armored personnel carriers. The CV-9030s will replace U.S.-made M113 APCs, which on the battlefield cannot keep up with the Swiss army's Leopard-2 main battle tanks. The battlefield command cars will be built by Mowag in eastern Switzerland, and are based on the chassis of the widely used U.S. High-Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicle - better known as the "Hum-Vee." A report from Swiss Radio International says the current budget is the lowest in Switzerland is the second smallest in 15 years. - J.K.

New technologies take center stage in training and simulation

Cutting-edge technologies are finding their way into military training and simulation applications, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan in San Antonio, Texas. The new report, "U.S. Military Training and Simulation Markets," says the domestic training and simulation market was worth more than $1 billion in 1999, and will continue to grow in the coming years, according to a Frost & Sullivan announcement. Helping to drive simulation and training designs is networked simulation, which enables military personnel in widely spaced locations to train together by linking their simulators over optical fiber. Another key technology is photo-rendered imaging, which gives simulation unprecedented levels of graphic detail. For more information, contact Frost & Sullivan's Rolf Gatlin by phone at 210-348-1017, by fax at 210-348-1003, by post at 7550 IH 10 West, Suite 910, San Antonio, Texas 78229, or on the World Wide Web at - J.K.

Litton upgrades aircraft carrier steering equipment

Specialists from Litton Marine Systems in Charlottesville, Va., finished upgrading the steering control system for the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) during an extended selected restricted availability period at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va. Litton engineers provided new helm and lee helm stations, in which they installed flat-panel displays that meet Electronic Chart Display and Information System-N standards. They also installed new human-machine interface controls mounted in small "futuristic" pedestal stands, according to a Litton statement. The networked control system electronics are rack mounted for installation below decks away from the bridge, which helps the Enterprise watch team with situational awareness, while conserving space, eliminating maintenance work on the bridge, and reducing topside weight. - J.K.

Interstate demonstrates GPS receiver for artillery shells

Designers at L-3/Interstate Electronics Corp. in Anaheim, Calif., tested a prototype global positioning system (GPS) receiver to 20,000 Gs - or 20,000 times the Earth's gravitational pull - for use in guiding smart artillery munitions. The GPS hardware, called the selective availability anti-spoofing module - or SAASM, is part of the L-3/IEC Xcaliber projectile receiver. SAASM is a multichip module with core logic devices for a P(Y) code GPS receiver. It has RF downconverter and I/O logic, which form the complete GPS receiver. Program managers at the U.S. Army mandate that the L-3/IEC hardware must survive gunshot acceleration forces of more than 15,000 Gs while maintaining exacting performance requirements that include precision timing to within 10 microseconds. For more information contact Greg Martz at L-3/IEC by phone at 714-758-0500, by fax at 714-758-4148, or on the World Wide Web at - J.K.

CECOM looks to Electric Fuel for battery buy

Contracting officials for the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) at Fort Monmouth, N.J., are choosing the Defense and Safety Products Division of Electric Fuel Corp. of Iselin, N.J., for a $250,000 purchase of advanced primary zinc-air battery packs. CECOM is buying 50 prototype battery packs this year, which Army officials will test in the laboratory and in the field. Electric Fuel's batteries will be configured as 24-volt 30 amp forward field chargers that will enable soldiers to extend mission time by repeatedly field-charging batteries for portable communications units, company officials say. Electric Fuel engineers will manufacture the battery packs at the company's factory in Auburn, Ala. For more information contact Electric Fuel by phone at 732-635-7100, by fax at 732-635-7101, by post at 120 Wood Avenue South, Suite 300, Iselin, N.J. 08830, by e-mail at [email protected], or on the World Wide Web at

Opportunities seen in proprietary software market

Military and aerospace systems designers are among the most likely software developers to shift from proprietary operating systems to commercially developed operating systems, according to a recent study by Venture Development Corp. (VDC) of Natick, Mass. A VDC survey found that 52 percent of systems developers still roll their own operating systems by using either proprietary operating systems or something less than a full operating system, such as a kernel. "There are large opportunities for both commercial OSs and software development tools vendors to serve the latter group," states a VDC announcement. Among the industries that will most rapidly shift from proprietary operating systems to commercial operating systems are military/aerospace, telecommunications, automotive, industrial automation, and medical devices, VDC officials say. For more information, contact VDC's Nozomi Nishimura by phone at 508-653-9000, ext. 129. - J.K.

PEP unveils 3U Compact PCI Pentium II single-board computer

Designers at PEP Modular Computers Inc. in Pittsburgh are introducing a Mobile Pentium II-based 3U CompactPCI system controller called the CP302 for harsh environmental applications. The board has the Intel Mobile Pentium II microprocessor operating as fast as 500 MHz with a 256-kilobyte on-die L2 cache. The processor comes in a ball grid array package. The CP302 transfers data as fast as 264 megabytes per second, has 64 megabytes of soldered SDRAM, and as much as 256 megabytes of memory using a 144-pin SODIMM socket. For more information contact PEP Modular by phone at 412-921-3322, by fax at 412-921-3356, by post at 750 Holiday Drive, Bldg. 9, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15220, or on the World Wide Web at - J.K.

NEC offers 42- and 50-inch plasma displays

Designers at NEC Technologies Inc. of Itasca, Ill., are offering 42- and 50-inch diagonal plasma flat-panel displays for multimedia presentation and public display uses. The 42-inch display, the 42MP1, is for meeting or training rooms. The 50-inch display, the 50PD1, is for high-traffic industries such as transportation, retail stores, or museums, to deliver images and bigger-than-life displays. For more information contact NEC by phone at 630-467-5000, by fax at 630-467-5010, by post at 1250 Arlington Heights Rd., Itasca, Ill. 60143, or on the world Wide Web at - J.K.

Temic Semiconductor subsidiary earns QML certification

The MHS S.A. subsidiary of Temic Semiconductors in Nantes, France, has received certification for compliance with the U.S. MIL-PRF-38535 qualified manufacturing line (QML) standard for complementary metal oxide semiconductors in standard, radiation-tolerant, and radiation-hardened versions. MHS experts are to begin manufacturing electronic devices in class Q and class V QML versions. The QML-qualified parts that MHS will manufacture include application-specific integrated circuits, processors in standard, radiation-tolerant, and radiation-hardened versions, and radiation-tolerant memories such as static RAMs, dual-port RAMs, and FIFOs. For more information contact Temic's Veronique Sablereau by post at 3, avenue du centre - BP 309, 78054 St Quentiin-en-Yvelines Cedex - France, or on the World Wide Web at - J.K.

DARPA asks SiCOM to design fast wireless Internet connection

Engineers at SiCOM Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz., are developing a high-performance 622-megabit-per-psecond wireless connections for the so-called "SuperNet" fiber network of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va. Under terms of the $1.1 million contract, SiCOM experts will demonstrate ways to dynamically adapt signal waveform coding to changing weather. In this way, they can make the most of link throughput under all weather conditions. For more information contact Robert Putnam, SiCOM's executive vice president, by phone at 480-607-4838, by fax at 480-607-4807, by e-mail at [email protected], or on the World Wide Web at - J.K.

Vicor offers COTS DC-DC converters for military use

Designers at Vicor Corp. of Andover, Mass., are introducing a low-operating-temperature second-generation DC-DC converter. The new M-Grade devices are for military temperature ranges of -55 to 100 degrees Celsius. The Vicor M-Grade devices meet the MIL-I-45208 quality standard. The Vicor second-generation DC-DC converters, come in 48-volt, 300-volt, and 375-volt versions. Each device has three packaging choices - MaxiMod, MiniMod, and MicroMod. For more information, contact Vicor Corp. by phone at 978-470-2900, by fax at 978-475-6715, by post at 25 Frontage Road, Andover, Mass. 01810, or on the World Wide Web at - J.K.

Lockheed Martin to build new Navy acoustic processor

Systems engineers at the Lockheed Martin Federal Systems division in Owego, N.Y., are designing a new acoustic processor subsystem for the prototype SH-60R multi-mission helicopter. The processor, which is to be based on the PowerPC 603e/604e/740 microprocessor family, represents a shift from the special-purpose, custom-designed processors that Navy operators previously used for airborne sonar signal processing. The new processor will give the U.S. Navy the ability to upgrade sonar-processing capability to accommodate new technology without extensive reprogramming. The Lockheed Martin SP-103-A single-board computer also is the basis of the SH-60R multi-mission helicopter's flight and mission computers. - J.K.

Green Hills named MIPS preferred tools provider

Leaders of Green Hills Software in Santa Barbara, Calif., are teaming with MIPS Technologies Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., to port the Green Hills Multi 2000 software development environment to the new MIPS32 Jade and MIPS64 5Kc Opal 32- and 64-bit processor cores. In turn, MIPS will introduce Green Hills as a "MIPS Technologies preferred tools provider." The Multi 2000 environment, together with the Green Hills C, C++, EC++, and Ada 95 compilers, will automate all aspects of embedded software development for MIPS processors. For more information, contact Green Hills by phone at 805-965-6044, by fax at 805-965-6343, by post at 30 West Sola St., Santa Barbara, Calif. 93101, or on the World Wide Web at - J.K.

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