In Brief

May 1, 2004

DOD makes progress in setting biometrics system guidelines

Officials of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) have chosen the first of five planned sets of guidelines intended to ensure that biometrics security systems operate reliably. These guidelines, which apply to DOD and other U.S. government agencies, came from the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) in Gaithersburg, Md. Government agencies may buy only those biometrics systems that meet the NIAP guidelines. This first set of guidelines applies to biometrics systems performing mission support or administrative tasks, which DOD classifies as "medium-robustness environments." Guidelines for biometrics systems operating in four other types of environments are in the works. Biometric systems use technologies that positively identify an individual based on his measurable physical features or traits.

DSP board market to grow to $760 million by 2008

Analysts at Venture Development Corp. (VDC) in Natick, Mass., predict the DSP board market will grow to $760 million by 2008, with a compound annual growth rate of 5.7 percent between 2002 and 2008. The annual growth rate of slot cards will be 5 percent, mezzanine/daughter cards and plug-in modules 9 percent, and other platforms such as PC/104, stand alone, etc. will be 11.8 percent during the same period, VDC officials say. Mezzanine/daughter cards and plug-in modules using RISC processors represent the largest shares. Most of these are used in VME-based multiprocessing systems, particularly aimed at military/aerospace and medical imaging applications. Projected growth rates for embedded merchant boards, although respectable, are expected to remain in the mid-single digits for the foreseeable future, VDC officials predict.

Thales completes design review for JTRS Cluster 2 hand-held radio

Leaders at Thales Communications Inc. in Clarksburg, Md., completed the System Critical Design Review for the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Enhanced Multiband Inter/Intra Team Radio (JEM). The review is an important milestone on a program with the JTRS Joint Program Office to design the JTRS Cluster 2 hand-held radio. Thales will implement the JTRS Software Communications Architecture version 2.2 into the combat-proven, two-pound, multimode, multiband, software-defined AN/PRC-148 radio. The cipher text capability of the JEM uses the General Dynamics Decision Systems Advanced INFOSEC Machine (AIM) software reprogrammable encryption device. This is the first successful embedment of the NSA-endorsed AIM in a SCA-compliant platform.

Mercury ships RapidIO-based system to Micronic Laser Systems

Officials at Mercury Computer Systems Inc. shipped the ImpactRT 3100 RapidIO-based system to Micronic Laser Systems AB for use in the Swedish firm's laser pattern-generation equipment for flat-panel displays. Mercury delivered the initial development system this month and anticipates additional orders. The ImpactRT 3100 uses the embedded RapidIO switch fabric to increase data-transfer speed between boards and processors. Micronic's laser pattern-generation equipment uses multiple-exposure laser beams to create photomasks — design templates to manufacture semiconductor wafers and flat-panel displays. Micronic will use the ImpactRT 3100 in its latest generation of flat-panel display manufacturing equipment — the LRS15000 product family. The LRS15000 handles data in the latest generation of thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal-display (TFT-LCD) display photomasks. "The increasing demand for large-area, flat-panel display televisions is fueling the need for advanced photomask generators," says Ulf Sundstrom, senior vice president of corporate sales at Micronic Laser Systems. "Mercury's high-performance RapidIO-based system plays a major role in handling the very large data volumes required for state-of-the-art photomasks, providing Micronic with a competitive advantage in our markets. Mercury's system offers us a flexible processing solution that allows us to scale the performance to meet future application demands." For more information on Mercury Computer Systems go online at For more information on Micronic Laser Systems go to

Air Force launches upgraded GPS satellite

A U.S. Air Force Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite from Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Valley Forge, Pa. launched in March from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The satellite features an upgraded antenna panel to improve performance and power for GPS receivers. The launch represented the 50th GPS mission for the nation. GPS IIR satellites are to improve global coverage and increase overall performance. Lockheed Martin has delivered 21 of these satellites to the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Twenty-eight GPS satellites are on orbit, including 10 new GPS IIR spacecraft. U.S. Air Force Space Command at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., manages and operates the GPS constellation for civil and military users. Lockheed Martin is under contract to modernize eight existing GPS IIR spacecraft already built and in storage. These spacecraft, designated GPS IIR-M, will incorporate two new military signals and a second civil signal to provide military and civilian users of the navigation system with improved capabilities much sooner than previously envisioned, Lockheed Martin officials say. Lockheed Martin is performing GPS modernization at its Space Systems Company facilities in Valley Forge, Pa., and ITT Industries in Clifton, N.J. The first launch of a GPS IIR-M satellite is scheduled for March 2005. Lockheed Martin is also leading a team to develop the U.S. Air Force's next-generation Global Positioning System satellite, GPS III.

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