Product Application Design Systems

Jan. 1, 2003

Integrated circuits

SEAKR Engineering and Xilinx to develop new radiation-tolerant solution for space-based applications

Engineers at SEAKR Engineering in Centennial, Colo., needed a radiation-hardened flexible field programmable gate array (FPGA) for their Reconfigurable Computing Board (RCC) that is used for such applications as hyperspectral image processing and satellite clusters employing space-based radar. They found their answer with Virtex radiation-tolerant FPGAs from Xilinx in San Jose, Calif.

"The RCC product enables a new level of flexibility and performance for designers of space systems," says Paul Murray, program manager at SEAKR. "Multiple processing-specific algorithms can be stored on-board, then selected for the desired application and loaded on the fly. This is only possible because of the reprogrammable nature and superior performance of Xilinx Virtex FPGAs."

The SEAKR RCC employs four one million gate Virtex FPGAs for implementing user-defined processing functions.

"Virtex series FPGAs provide a clear advantage over traditional ASICs [application-specific integrated circuits] by providing a flexible design platform, allowing for a substantial reduction in design time, and significantly less risk," claims Howard Bogrow, marketing manager for Aerospace and Defense products at Xilinx.

The Virtex-II IP-Immersion architecture enables integration of hard and soft intellectual property, enhanced system memory, and digital signal processor (DSP) performance, providing a platform for advanced digital designs, Xilinx officials say. Virtex series solutions have densities ranging from 40,000 to 8 million-system gates.

The SEAKR RCC offers an external PCI bus interface, which enables quick integration in a compact PCI system, Xilinx officials say. An on-board PMC slot allows flexible memory or I/O expansion using custom or commercial-off-the-shelf components. The RCC has a total ionizing dose tolerance of 100 kilorads, company officials say. Other uses for the RCC include DSP applications requiring high throughput.

For more information on Xilinx rad-hard FPGAs contact Howard Bogrow by phone at or on the World Wide Web at For more information on SEAKR's RCC contact Paul Murray by email at [email protected], or on the World Wide Web at

Design and Development tools

Lockheed Martin uses SGI visualization technology to fine-tune JSF design

Officials at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. recently purchased SGI visualization systems from SGI, Inc. in Mountain View, Calif., to power Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) flight simulation laboratory in Fort Worth, Texas. The SGI high-performance graphics systems will help the lab further refine the design of the fighter aircraft.

"The cornerstone of the F-35 is affordability, achieved in large part through a very high level of common parts and systems across the three versions of the aircraft," says Tom Burbage, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 JSF program general manager. "SGI visualization technology has helped us achieve that commonality through significant advancement in the design of the aircraft, and we will rely on that technology as we approach the JSF program's next milestone, Preliminary Design Review, which is scheduled for March 2003."

Lockheed Martin engineers have finalized the external design of the F-35 JSF, but will continue to tweak the internal design by leveraging the compute and graphics power of its SGI systems. The deal includes SGI Onyx 3000 series and SGI Onyx 300 visualization systems, as well as Silicon Graphics Octane2 workstations. Lockheed Martin engineers have finalized the external design of the F-35 JSF, but will continue to tweak the internal design by leveraging the compute and graphics power of its SGI systems, SGI officials say.

The F-35 "lines freeze" milestone was achieved, as scheduled, on June 27, 2002, SGI officials say. Finalized external design changes made with the help of SGI visualization technology include:

  • extending the forward fuselage by 5 inches to better accommodate avionics and sensors and moving the horizontal tail rearward by 2 inches to maintain stability and control with the newly extended forward fuselage;
  • raising by about 1 inch the top surface of the aircraft along the centerline, increasing fuel capacity by 300 pounds and extending range;
  • adding slightly more twist to the wing camber on the CV (aircraft-carrier) version to improve handling qualities and transonic performance; and
  • adjusting the positioning of the vertical tails slightly to improve aerodynamic performance, SGI officials say.

The next-generation F-35 is a stealthy (radar-evading), supersonic multirole fighter designed to meet the U.S. government's requirements for a new generation of transformational weapons, SGI officials say. The single-engine JSF will be manufactured in three versions: a conventional-takeoff-and-landing variant for the U.S. Air Force, an aircraft-carrier version for the U.S. Navy, and a short-takeoff/vertical-landing version for the U.S. Marine Corps, company officials say.

The F-35 is designed to replace aging fighter inventories.

For more information on SGI contact Greg Slabodkin by phone at 301-595-2618, by e-mail at [email protected], or on the World Wide Web at

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