Lockheed runs F-16 and munitions simulation on REAL/STAR

Engineers at Lockheed Martin Electronics and Missiles in Orlando, Fla., needed a real-time computer and operating system for their F-16 flight simulator, and to check out a U.S. Air Force munitions dispenser.

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Engineers at Lockheed Martin Electronics and Missiles in Orlando, Fla., needed a real-time computer and operating system for their F-16 flight simulator, and to check out a U.S. Air Force munitions dispenser.

The REAL/STAR computer system running the REAL/IX PX operating system from MODCOMP Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., met their needs.

The MODCOMP system is part of the Air Force Wind Correction Munitions Dispenser, which attaches to the tail of an existing weapons system. It will dispense about 200 submunitions over a target, says Dick Bond, a simulation engineer at Lockheed Martin.

Previous munitions systems did not always hit their targets due to wind conditions. The Lockheed Martin system will help the weapon adjust to wind speeds and directions when dispensing the submunitions, Bond says.

Designers used the REAL/STAR system in the laboratory to create an environment to simulate the flight of the F-16 and the flight of the munitions dispenser.

The MODCOMP system is an excellent real-time device, Bond says. "During the simulation its operating system updates up to 400 times per second. The previous system only updated 60 times per second. The computer system is also very robust and doesn`t quit like certain commercial products."

While MODCOMP`s military customers insist on high performance, reliability, and ruggedness, they are increasing their push to buy commercial-off-the-shelf equipment, with a decreasing emphasis on ruggedness, explains Michael Duvall, sales and marketing manager of processor control and data acquisition at MODCOMP. The diminishing emphasis on ruggedness is not always for the better, he adds.

Many systems designers are calling for commercial software such as Windows NT, "mostly due to the marketing effort by Microsoft rather than NT`s technology," Duvall says. That creates problems because "NT has a tendency to die," he says.

MODCOMP has an advantage over NT because its REAL/IX PX Unix-based operating system can run continuously, Duvall says.

"Some designers, in an effort to save money, are placing desktop PC technology in a ruggedized enclosure," Duvall explains. This type of solution would be dangerous in a mission-critical situation, he says.

VME is the still the way military systems designers are leaning, but the 12-to-18-month wait for an Intel microprocessor suitable for a VME board becomes tedious, Duvall says.

MODCOMP officials solve this problem by using the Motorola 88110 processor, which Motorola no longer produces, in the REAL/STAR real-time computer systems that Lockheed Martin designers are using.

MODCOMP officials, meanwhile, still support the original version of REAL/ STAR, and offer a new version, the REAL/STAR II, which is based on the Intel Pentium and Pentium Pro processors and the REAL/IX PX operating system.

For industrial environments, REAL/ STAR II CompactPCI and VME based systems with single- or dual-Pentium processors are available. Twenty-slot PCI/ISA passive-backplane systems are available in 166, and 200 MHz configurations with as much as 256 megabytes RAM.

REAL/STAR II VME based single-board computers come with single- or dual-Pentium processors. As stand-alone board products, designers can use these processors to upgrade existing Motorola 68000- and 88000-based REAL/STAR systems.

Complete VME systems with 3, 6, 10, 12, and 20 VME slots come in varied configurations with peripheral mounting and redundant power options.

The REAL/IX PX operating system provides compatibility with existing REAL/STAR systems and scalability with the REAL/STAR II family. It was designed from the ground up as a fully preemptive real-time operating system, based on UNIX System V.

The REAL/IX PX operating system combines real-time performance with the benefits of the UNIX operating system to provide real-time, open-systems functionality.

Prices for basic systems, including the REAL/IX PX operating system, start at $4,000. REAL/STAR upgrades start at $9,400.

MODCOMP recently acquired a new owner - CSPI in Billerica, Mass., but will retain its identity and product line while functioning as a subsidiary of CSPI. - J.M.

For more information on REAL/STAR, REAL/IX and MODCOMP contact Michael Duval by phone at 800-322-3287, by fax at 954-977-1900, by post at MODCOMP, Inc., 1650 West McNab Road, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 33309-1088, by e-mail at info@modcomp.com, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.modcomp.com.

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The REAL/STAR computer system from MODCOMP Inc. in Fort. Lauderdale, Fla., runs an F-16 flight simulator and a check out simulator for a U.S. Air Force munitions dispenser.

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