Product Applications

Sep 1st, 2003

DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT TOOLS

BAE Systems chooses Mentor Graphics for automated engineering design infrastructure

BAE Systems Avionics Group in Basildon, England, has called on Mentor Graphics Corp. in Wilsonville, Ore., to create an automated engineering design infrastructure.

That infrastructure, named AvAILability, is reducing purchasing and manufacturing costs and time-to-market for BAE Systems products, as well as helping more than 1,000 BAE electronics designers work more efficiently than they could before using AvAILability, Mentor officials say.

Mentor's AvAILability is helping BAE officials cut the cost and time of creating, maintaining, and buying electronic design automation (EDA) library parts while increasing the reliability of the processes involved. Before AvAILability, the part-creation methods at each BAE Avionics site were different, and no common repeatable process was in place to minimize errors.

To change this, key contributors from all major BAE Systems Avionics sites met with consultants from Mentor Graphics to create a common library specification. Mentor experts then used the specification to create AvAILability's automated part development environment — the Avionics Advanced Integrated Library (AvAIL), which centers on the Mentor Graphics Data Management System (DMS), Enterprise Librarian Flow, WorkXpert process management tool, and Geom Genie and AXEL part view compiler technology.

The new environment supports a range of EDA tools from Mentor Graphics and other vendors, and combines best-practice design process encapsulation and automation for printed circuit board (PCB) development, resting on the foundation of the common AvAIL library specification, Mentor officials say.

With AvAILability, "everybody in the company, whichever site they're at, knows which parts exist and which don't," says David Ludlow, EDA tools and process specialist at BAE Systems. "All parts appear automatically on the central database to which all sites have access, even if the part-creation process has only just started. This prevents duplication of part-creation work, which was frequent in the past, when parts were built and named differently by different sites. It also means that the librarian doesn't have to call round the other site librarians to find out if the part exists."

Ludlow says BAE experts can reduce costs significantly by encouraging use of preferred parts across several different product designs. "The DMS parametric search capabilities let us move away from blind component searches," he explains. "Design engineers have many criteria for a desired part and can now research these instantly on the system. They can search by technical characteristics of the part, whether it has been used in other in-house designs and whether it's a preferred part. Full symbol and geometry views for preferred parts are automatically available so designers don't have to wait for a new part to be created."

This ability is particularly important in avionics designs that use ever-growing numbers of complex and expensive parts," Ludlow says. "Substantial savings can be made if multiple engineers on several projects use the same part," he continues. "If you're talking about a major FPGA rather than a resistor, the cost of creating the part can be substantial. AvAILability ensures that we only do this once anywhere in BAE Systems Avionics and that part is then available to all our engineers everywhere. On expensive parts like this, the consolidated ordering benefit can be very large if the resulting volume takes us into a higher price-per-part discount level with the supplier."

There are already about 1,600 parts in the new system and BAE engineers say they like having many of the parts they want available for them to drop into their designs.

For more information contact Mentor Graphics by phone at 503-685-7000, by post at 8005 SW Boeckman Road, Wilsonville, Ore. 97070, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.mentor.com/.

BOARD PRODUCTS

Synergy single-board computer to fly on Predator UAV

Experts at Raytheon's Space and Airborne Systems in El Segundo, Calif., recently selected single-board computers from Synergy Microsystems in San Diego for the Multi-Spectral Targeting System (MTS) for the Predator, the high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is served as a vital "eye in the sky" for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The MTS, which includes electro-optical and infrared sensors plus a laser target designator, provides the Predator UAV's remote operators with the ability to search for, identify, and then designate hostile targets to enable precision guided weapons, such as laser guided missiles, to be used against the threat, Synergy officials say.

Due to its ability to remain "on station" over designated terrain for continuous 24-hour periods to provide real-time surveillance without exposing its remote operators to danger, the Predator is a low-cost, minimal-risk system for information gathering for the U.S. Air Force, company officials say. Not only does it reduce coalition troop losses, its ability to pinpoint targets in real-time greatly reduces the possibility of collateral damage to civilian populations and facilities. The increased use of Predator and other UAVs in zones of military volatility points to the emergence of a new strategic platform in the United States' growing arsenal of remotely controlled systems.

For more information on Synergy Microsystems contact the company on the World Wide Web at http://www.synergymicro.com.

SOFTWARE

Boeing selects Green Hills Software's MULTI Development Environment for underwater mine reconnai

Experts at Boeing in Seattle recently selected the MULTI Integrated Development Environment (IDE) from Green Hills Software, Inc. in Santa Barbara, Calif., for the company's Long-term Mine Reconnaissance System (LMRS). MULTI will be used to develop the PowerPC-based data acquisition and image-processing software that detects and identifies mines at sea.

The LMRS is a clandestine mine reconnaissance system that employs unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) capable of launch and recovery from SSN 688 and NSSN class submarines. The LMRS provides an early, rapid, and accurate means of surveying potential mine fields, Green Hills officials say.

The LMRS consists of two components. The first component is a torpedo-like acoustic sensor that acquires data, forms images, and locates mines. The second component is a submarine-based imaging system that performs final classification.

The software for the acoustic sensors runs on a Motorola PowerPC processor. This software, developed using Green Hills Software's MULTI, is written almost entirely in C++, using the PowerPC's Altivec instructions to process compute-intensive signal and image processing functions, Green Hills officials say. The software is compiled using MULTI's optimizing C/C++ compiler, which uses the Altivec SIMD (single instruction multiple data) parallel processing facilities.

MULTI, together with Green Hills Software's family of optimizing C, C++, EC++ and Ada95 compilers, automates all aspects of embedded software development for multiprocessor PowerPC systems, company officials claim. Featuring a window-oriented editor, source-level debugger, graphical program builder and run-time error checker, MULTI includes a version control system, performance profiler, CodeBalance speed/size optimizing profiler and real-time EventAnalyzer. MULTI also provides an instruction-set simulator that allows programmers to develop their PowerPC code on a Windows PC or Unix workstation without target hardware.

The MULTI debugger is RTOS-aware, enabling designers working with an RTOS to debug, monitor, and tune their applications at the task level. MULTI users can simultaneously debug multiple tasks, whether those tasks reside on a single processor or are distributed across multiple processors. They can also set task-specific and system-wide breakpoints, and monitor/record I/O and interprocess communications, in addition to execution profiling at the process or system level to precisely pinpoint performance bottlenecks.

For more information on the MULTI IDE contact Green Hills Software on the World Wide Web at http://www.ghs.com.

SENSORS

Navy looks to Northrop Grumman for jet aircraft inertial navigation systems

U.S. Navy officials needed up-to-date inertial navigation systems for their fleet of Boeing F/A-18E/F Hornet jet fighter-bombers and Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye carrier-based surveillance aircraft.

The LN-92 aircraft inertial navigation systems (INS) from the Northrop Grumman Corp. Navigation Systems Division in Woodland Hills, Calif., met their needs.

Northrop Grumman recently won a $9 million Navy contract to build 550 LN-92s to help give the Hornet and Hawkeye aircraft position and targeting information for aircraft carrier-based operations.

The self-contained LN-92 INS provides aircraft position, velocity, acceleration, heading, and attitude information.

"The LN-92 performed superbly in Operation Iraqi Freedom," says Louis Patalano, Northrop Grumman LN-92 program manager. "Our customers continue to be pleased with its performance, which exceeds current contract requirements and demonstrates the high reliability of the LN-92."

Inertial navigation system deliveries will be from August 2004 to July 2005. The contract contains an option for 50 additional systems. More than 2,122 LN-92s have been ordered and 1,950 have been shipped under three previous contracts, company officials say.

Based in Woodland Hills, Northrop Grumman's Navigation Systems Division provides situational awareness for defense and commercial applications. The Navigation Systems Division is part of the company's Baltimore, Md.-based Electronic Systems sector.

For more information contact Northrop Grumman Navigation Systems on the World Wide Web at http://www.nsd.es.northropgrumman.com/.

TEST AND MEASUREMENT

Boeing selects Teradyne for next-generation test solution

Officials at Boeing in Seattle needed a core test solution for their new automatic test system (ATS) for airplane avionics components. They found their answer with the Spectrum 9000-Series functional test system from Teradyne in Boston.

The Next Generation (NxGen) ATS is designed to reduce the cost of component testing for airlines while ensuring test quality and reliability. It replaces the current ATS-182 for testing 737, 747, 757, and 767 components and the ATS-195 for 777 components.

The NxGen ATS's open system architecture ensures low maintenance costs and provides an easy upgrade path for airline customers, Teradyne officials say. The flexibility built into the system allows customers to tailor the test system to their needs and to host Boeing and non-Boeing components.

"The NxGen test system provides an innovative and flexible test solution to minimize risk and reduce testing costs," says Jack Trunnell, director of Maintenance Support Engineering in Boeing Commercial Aviation Services. "It gives airlines and MROs a test solution that supports their needs today and long into the future."

For more information on test systems from Teradyne contact the company on the World Wide Web at http://www.teradyne.com.

COMPUTERS

Coast Guard chooses wearable computer and imaging system from Xybernaut and Anteon

Officials of the U.S. Coast Guard needed wearable computers and integrated photographic equipment for ship boardings and inspections. They found their solution from an industry team of Xybernaut Corp. and Anteon International Corp., both based in Fairfax, Va.

Team leaders are combining Xybernaut's mobile and wearable computing technologies with the Anteon On-Scene Photographic Documentation Kit — otherwise known as OSPDK — for first responders and homeland security applications.

Under the teaming relationship, Anteon is the systems integrator for OSPDK and other joint deployments. Both companies have worked together to develop and deploy the integrated platform, officials say.

The wearable OSPDK system runs on the Xybernaut Mobile Assistant V (MA V) and Atigo wearable computers. The complete kit consists of a digital camera with built-in CF global positioning system unit, the Xybernaut MA V computer running image capture/transfer software, a wireless network for transferring captured images, and Web-based resources for viewing and managing the captured images.

Company experts are concentrating on military, intelligence, and government applications, such as the U.S. Coast Guard, where field force technicians are expected to see increased accuracy and quality if mobile computing devices are deployed to support their day-to-day operations.

"The mobility and point-of-task computing power afforded by the joint Xybernaut-Anteon solution allows first responders increased flexibility and greater accessibility to knowledge at critical moments," said Joe Kampf, president and chief executive officer at Anteon.

An OSPDK operator can be dispatched to an incident scene where he can capture GPS-referenced digital images using the digital camera, Kampf says. "The camera then feeds these images to a software utility running on the wearable computer that transfers these images to an Internet FTP site residing on a remote commercial web server."

For more information contact Anteon by phone at 703-246-0200, by post at 3211 Jermantown Road, Suite 700, Fairfax, Va. 22030, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.anteon.com/. Also contact Xybernaut by phone at 703-631-6925, by post at 12701 Fair Lakes Circle, Suite 550, Fairfax, Va. 22033, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.xybernaut.com/.

INTEGRATED CIRCUITS

Actel FPGAs Improve Graphical Control for C-Map's Marine Navigation

Systems designers at C-Map/USA, a supplier of electronic marine maps and charts in Mashpee, Mass., needed programmable devices to control graphics and drive displays in the C-Map navigation system. They found their solution in field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) from Actel Corp. in Sunnyvale, Calif.

C-Map officials are using Actel's A54SX32A FPGA as a graphics controller and display driver to enable different resolutions, black-and-white or color displays, and a variety of other features, such as animated forecasting against vessel positioning.

C-Map officials say they chose the SX-A FPGA for its secure and reliable operation in the rugged and harsh environments of alternate cold and heat and intense humidity in which the marine navigation equipment operates.

"Our immediate need was to find a programmable device that would meet the high-reliability standards required in the unforgiving marine environment," says Duilio Lagomarsini, technical manager at C-Map. "Actel's A54SX32A met this need perfectly, while offering the additional advantages of high performance, low power consumption, and design security. Furthermore, it was possible to integrate all the digital functions into one FPGA, obtaining an 80 percent reduction in the number of components used, providing significant space and cost savings."

The Actel SX-A family of FPGAs offers devices with as many as 108,000 system gates and speeds as fast as 250 MHz. The line of FPGAs offers a fine-grained antifuse architecture similar to a masked gate array.

For more information contact Actel by phone at 408-739-1010, by post at 955 East Arques Ave., Sunnyvale, Calif. 94086, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.actel.com/.

COMPONENTS

Elma's Rugged Chassis Solution Chosen for Missile Defense

A top military contractor for an electronic packaging design solution for the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) program chose Elma's 12R2 Rugged COTS chassis. The THAAD ground unit was used for data acquisition in targeting and intercepting long-range theater-class ballistic missiles.

The Mobile Ground Unit required a 9U high by 22 inches deep rugged chassis for data acquisition. Elma's 12R2 Rugged enclosure line was chosen as the basis for the design.

The THAAD Mobile Ground Unit specializes in acquiring high altitude or downrange missiles from the intended target. This provides time for multiple-shot opportunities and to destroy targets at higher altitudes or from safer distances.

This is especially important if the missiles are carrying weapons of mass destruction. For such a critical application, downtime is not an option. The objective in the system design was not to have any single-points-of-failure. Therefore, the unit was designed with dual systems.

Two independent systems with 6-slot CompactPCI (and later VME64x) backplanes, 2 by 400-watt power supply units (standard 6U x 160mm size), in shock-isolated platforms. If one system goes down, the unit has a whole independent and isolated 2nd system as a backup. This greatly reduces MTBF (mean time between failures). Further, MTTR (mean time to repair) was substantially reduced with pluggable power supplies, and fan trays.

A key feature of this unit is the shock isolation platform to withstand the harsh demands of a military environment. Elma uses various options of rope-coil isolators, air springs, and elastomeric isolators for shock and vibration. Standard CompactPCI cards typically can withstand 5-10 Gs of shock force. The THAAD unit used a shock-isolated platform, which allowed 25 Gs of force to be applied per MIL STD 810E, and dampened it to the acceptable 5-10 G level. Like all Elma's 12R2 line, the chassis was designed, manufactured and tested to meet the demands of military, aerospace and defense markets and MIL-S-167, MIL-S-810E, MIL-S-461D and MIL-S-901D standards.

For more information on the THAAD program or Elma's electronic packaging solutions, contact Elma by phone at 510-656-3400, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.elma.com/.

SOFTWARE

Navy chooses NewMonics for real-time Java software

U.S. Navy officials needed real-time Java software for the Navy Open Architecture Computing Environment — otherwise known as NOACE. Java software from NewMonics Inc. in Tucson, Ariz. met their needs.

Navy officials awarded NewMonics a contract to integrate hard- and soft-real-time Java components for the large software systems for NOACE. The Navy Open Architecture (NOA) is to evolve Navy surface ship warfighting systems toward a common computing environment such as NOACE.

"The goal of Navy Open Architecture is to reuse the same code across many different platforms, including special-purpose processors, the full spectrum of modern commercial off-the-shelf processors, and yet-to-be-invented future processors," says Kelvin Nilsen, chief technology officer at NewMonics. "Real-time Java components integrate with a variety of different real-time operating systems in both dedicated and multi-functional systems."

Navy support of real-time Java "allows NewMonics to expand the reach of Java to performance and footprint critical domains previously dominated exclusively by Ada and C," says David McCrabb, chief executive officer at NewMonics.

For more information contact NewMonics by phone at 520-323-9011, by fax at 520-323-9014, by post at 877 S. Alvernon Way, Suite 100, Tucson, Ariz. 85711, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.newmonics.com.

DISPLAYS

French air controllers choose displays from Barco

Air traffic controllers in France needed new color displays to help control commercial air traffic in Europe. Graphical workstations from Barco Orthogon AG in Kortrijk, Belgium, met their needs.

The French STNA (Service Technique de la Navigation AÈrienne), the technical division of the French Civil Aviation Authority, to deliver at least 150 graphical workstations for ATC (Air Traffic Control).

Under this contract STNA has an option to buy as many as 350 additional graphical workstations for control centers under the French Civil Aviation Authority DGAC (Direction GÈnÈrale de l'Aviation Civile).

The initial order comprises 85 systems, which will be installed at the control center in Bordeaux and also at STNA in Toulouse. Early in 2003, the Center at Brest will be furnished with 60 additional graphical working positions.

The graphical workstation is based on a Linux PC, equipped with a new generation of high-resolution graphics boards. These graphics cards provide the foundation of real-time ATC display processes.

A special mini-keyboard with 83 buttons instead of the standard 105 buttons will help create additional working space. The configuration of the working position will also support the recording and replay of air traffic control events. For more information contact Barco on the World Wide Web at http://www.barcoview.com/

More in Computers