When engineers at Honeywell Defense Avionics Systems in Albuquerque, N.M., started to develop a low-cost 4-by-4-inch color multifunction display system for the U.S. Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16 jet fighter, they faced a serious choice.
In designing the Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP), the company`s engineers had to choose between replacing the existing 1750A airborne computer, with all the attendant software costs, or finding a 1750-equivalent processor that would maintain binary compatibility with the existing software and still have sufficient power to do the task.
They chose a 1750A-equivalent processor from CPU Technology Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif. The CPU device increases the display system`s processing speed sixfold to 11 million instructions per second, or MIPS, while avoiding all the costs in time and money of redesigning the system and rewriting the software.
Marvin Most, the controls and displays engineer in the Air Force`s F-16 program office, estimates the value of the solution this way: "A compatible microprocessor solution represents tens of millions of dollars of cost avoidance for the F-16 program."
Adds Mike Steckbeck, the Honeywell program manager, "CPU Tech`s solution is not only the most cost-effective, but also carries the lowest level of risk of any of the approaches we studied."
This is particularly important for Honeywell`s CCIP effort, as a subcontractor to the Air Force`s prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems of Fort Worth, Texas. Lockheed Martin specialists must provide a common hardware and software avionics configuration to Blocks 40 and 50 of the F-16 fleet, nearly 700 aircraft in all that will involve the CCIP.
The program is to make one model of the F-16 interchangeable with another. Lockheed Martin specialists have already sold about 350 midlife upgrade kits for F-16s flown in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Norway. - J.R.
For more information on CPU Technology`s CPU1750A processors, contact Richard Comfort by phone at 925-224-9920, by fax at 925-227-0539, by post at 4900 Hopyard Rd., Suite 300, Pleasanton, Calif. 94588, by e-mail at r.comfort@ cputech.com, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.cputech.com.
Honeywell Defense Avionics is using new 1750A processors from CPU Technology for the color-programmable display generator in an upgrade program for the F-16 fighter.