Lockheed Martin selects embedded computers from GE Fanuc for air-defense system

Engineers from Lockheed Martin’s Radar Systems in Syracuse, N.Y., selected commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) electronics technology from GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms in Towcester, England, for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program.

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By John McHale

SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Engineers from Lockheed Martin’s Radar Systems in Syracuse, N.Y., selected commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) electronics technology from GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms in Towcester, England, for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program.

The program will use GE Fanuc’s DSP220 VXS multicomputer; an enhanced version of the company’s PPCM2 6U VME 2eSST dual PowerPC single-board computer; AXIS Advanced Multiprocessor Integrated Software environment; and other hardware as part of the radars that are major end items. The initial order is valued at approximately $10 million, and further orders are expected through the life of the program.

MEADS is a multinational joint venture program with participation from the United States, Germany, and Italy.

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The MEADS prototype Multifunction Fire Control Radar was demonstrated at Pratica di Mare airbase in Italy. The GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms 6U VXS-based DSP220 used for the MEADS program is derived from the VPX-based DSP230 and features four Freescale MP8641 processors, with Serial RapidIO and Gigabit Ethernet to all nodes, and VME 2eSST support (inset).
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“The requirements mandate that MEADS must dynamically integrate both MEADS and non-MEADS major end items into a task force,” explains MEADS international president Jim Cravens. “We have invested years of architectural and conceptual work to meet these requirements via an open, modular set of software that gives MEADS great flexibility to accommodate additional requirements.”

The rugged 6U VXS-based DSP220 is derived from the VPX-based DSP230 and features four Freescale MP8641 processors, with Serial RapidIO and Gigabit Ethernet to all nodes, and VME 2eSST support. Other hardware includes the CRX800 23-port VXS Serial RapidIO switch which is designed to support a wide range of multiprocessor system configurations and which exploits the 80 gigabits per second aggregate bandwidth of Tundra’s Ts578 third-generation switch. The GBX24 is a full Layer 2 and Layer 3 Managed Gigabit Ethernet switch.

MEADS is a mobile air and missile defense system being developed to replace Patriot systems in the U.S. and Nike Hercules systems in Italy and will supplement Patriot systems in Germany. MEADS will incorporate the PAC-3 missile in a system that includes 360-degree surveillance and fire control sensors, netted and distributed battle management/communication centers, and high-firepower launchers.

MEADS completed its System Preliminary Design Review (PDR), a major milestone in the program’s development. The MEADS team will now focus on detailed design work for the system, with the Critical Design Review (CDR) scheduled for 2009, leading to initial MEADS flight tests in 2011.

When completed, MEADS will be able to roll off tactical transports with the troops and begin operations almost immediately, Lockheed Martin officials say.

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