Boeing turns to FPGAs for missile signal processing

Engineers at Boeing North American needed a small, yet powerful device for missile guidance signal processing that was able to accommodate several changes during design and prototyping. So they chose several kinds of field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) from Xilinx Inc. in San Jose, Calif.

Apr 1st, 1997

Engineers at Boeing North American needed a small, yet powerful device for missile guidance signal processing that was able to accommodate several changes during design and prototyping. So they chose several kinds of field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) from Xilinx Inc. in San Jose, Calif.

"We liked the flexibility and density - or the number of gates available as compared with discrete solutions," explains Stan Czerniel, reliability component engineer at Boeing North American (formerly Rockwell Autonetics) in Anaheim, Calif.

Boeing designers in Anaheim are working on several tactical missile projects, most notably the Ground Based Interceptor for theater missile defense, a program under supervision of the Defense Department`s Ballistic Missile Defense Organization.

Czerniel and his team are using the XC4010, XC4013, and SC4025 FPGAs from Xilinx, which feature 10,000, 13,000, and 25,000 gates respectively. The primary task of these devices is digitally processing signals from missile seekers where routing and control is concerned. They are also using the Texas Instruments 320C30 digital signal processor for generic tasks in the seekers.

"We used to use all discrete logic, but its size was enormous," Czerniel explains. They just don`t fit in the small missiles."

The ability to change FPGAs in prototypes is also a key reason Boeing officials chose Xilinx. "During our design and development we tend to change the part internally without changing the board design. As long as our inputs and outputs remain the same, we can do it." - J.K.

For more information, contact Xilinx by phone at 408-559-7778, by fax at 408-559-7114, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.xilinx.com/.

More in Computers