Belobox network helps link Navy Sea Sparrow missile systems

Systems integrators at Raytheon Co. in Lexington, Mass., are using networking hardware from Belobox Networks of Irvine, Calif., to tie together U.S. Navy ship-based Sea Sparrow anti-air missile assets.

By John McHale

IRVINE, Calif. — Systems integrators at Raytheon Co. in Lexington, Mass., are using networking hardware from Belobox Networks of Irvine, Calif., to tie together U.S. Navy ship-based Sea Sparrow anti-air missile assets.

Raytheon designers are ordering the Belobox AmpNet V2000 VME network interface card to replace Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) hardware onboard Navy warships.

The AmpNet V2000 is based on the company's Advanced MultiProcessor Network technology — hence the name AmpNet. The AmpNet V2000, which is a real-time middleware network architecture designed for system area networks (SANs), offers fault and damage tolerance with sub-millisecond self-healing and no loss of data, says Larry Wilbur, president and chief executive officer of Belobox. It is based on Belobox's middleware distributed kernel, the AmpDK, he adds.

Belobox officials have a 10-year agreement with Raytheon and the Navy to provide complete, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) networking solutions based on AmpNet technology, including hubs and network interface cards. The Belobox technology performs 10 times faster than the FDDI technology it replaces, Wilbur claims. Wilbur would not specify which ships will be retrofitted.

The contract initially addresses three Navy warships and could include retrofitting as many as 30 ships throughout the life of the contract. With options, Belobox officials say the contract could earn them as much as $10 million.

The V2000 card has onboard processor, local memory, boot device, self-diagnostic capabilities, and direct-memory-access (DMA) engine with 32-bit error protection to enhance data throughput and integrity.

The V2000 uses a Motorola Coldfire 5102 32-bit microprocessor running at 40 MHz. The device can hold 2 to 8 megabytes of SRAM or 16 to 256 megabytes of SDRAM network cache memory.

The device supports as many as four fiber-optic network connections, which can be configured to form a single-path, non-redundant SAN or a multi-path redundant SAN with dual, triple, and quad gigabit links. AmpNet SANs are targeted at industrial control, military, aerospace, and other high-end industrial applications, Belobox officials say.

The Belobox device has large-scale field programmable gate arrays — FPGAs — from Lucent Technologies in Murray hill, N.J.. Gigabit network products built on soft logic core to protect hardware investments long into the future, they continue, Belobox officials say. The device supports standard copper and fiber-optic media.

AmpNet can detect faults and reconfigure broken network paths in less than a millisecond, Wilbur says. If one node fails, the Control Group feature automatically moves applications to other nodes, Wilbur explains.

For more information on AmpNet technology, contact Robert Smith by phone at 949-727-4115, by e-mail at robertsmith@belobox.com, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.belobox.com

More in Computers