Product Application Design Solutions

Feb. 1, 2001
Enabling technologies for military & aerospace electronics engineers

Enabling technologies for military & aerospace electronics engineers

Chicago emergency communications center uses RGB visual system

City officials in Chicago needed to show images from several different displays in their 911 Office of Emergency Communications to enable city authorities to make quick and effective decisions, mobilize resources, and respond quickly to emergencies. The SuperView multi-input display processor from RGB Spectrum of Alameda, Calif., met their needs.

City officials in Chicago are using the RGB Spectrum SuperView to help them view several different images simultaneously in Chicago's emergency 911 center.
Click here to enlarge image

The emergency communications room receives and presents important time-critical data and visual information. It has two Electrohome DLV-1280 projectors, each fed by a SuperView processor. The SuperView units receive information from eight computers, several local TV stations, a satellite video feed from the Illinois State Police, one live video camera, and a VCR, RGB officials say. The control staff can manipulate and display visuals from all of these inputs simultaneously.

The RGB Spectrum SuperView processor "was a perfect fit," says Ernest Williams III, audio visual coordinator of the Office of Emergency Communications. "It gave us exactly what we were looking for. SuperView gives us all the image manipulation capability we need with optimum cost efficiency. It saved us from having to spend another $500,000 for extra projectors and AV equipment."

Two RGB Spectrum SuperView systems enable city officials to view as many as 10 images simultaneously in the emergency room. Decision makers can quickly see and evaluate situations with on-site views from different angles and sources, together with city maps, computer graphics detailing resource availability and response time updates, TV broadcasts, weather reports, and other important information.

"The SuperViews have made a dramatic improvement in the communications capability," Williams says. "Previously we were only able to display two images. Now we can display up to 10. What really sets the RGB Spectrum SuperView apart from anything else is how easy it is to manipulate the images, to enlarge or reduce, them put them anywhere on the screen, and to overlay these images on top of each other." — J.K.

For more information contact RGB Spectrum by phone at 510-814-7000, by fax at 510-814-7026, by post at 950 Marina Village Parkway, Alameda, Calif., 94501, or on the World Wide Web at

Test and measurement equipment
Navy turns to Engineered Support for avionics test equipment

U.S. Navy officials are awarding Engineered Support Systems Inc. in St. Louis an $11.1 million order for aircraft avionics testing subsystems for the Consolidated Automated Support Systems (CASS) Program.

The order includes 42 high-power device test subsystems and various operational test program sets as part of the Engineered Support High Power ATE Offload to CASS (HPOC) system.

The HPOC tests essential avionics and electronics equipment for military aircraft by enabling high-power radio frequency transmitters, high-voltage power supplies, and other important components of radar and electronic warfare systems on military aircraft to run at full power during testing.

Under these simulated operating conditions, technicians can quickly diagnose and replace damaged components or poorly functioning systems. Leaders of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps will deploy the HPOC system on aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, as well as in depots and flight training facilities. — J.K.

For more information contact Engineered Support by phone at 314-993-5880, by fax at 314-993-4615, by post at 201 Evans Lane, St. Louis, Mo. 63121, or on the World Wide Web at

Litton Marine to provide systems monitoring on U.K. auxiliary ship

Officials of the U.K. Ministry of Defence in London needed an alarm monitoring and condition assessment system for the auxiliary supply ship RFA Ft. Rosalie. They found their solution in the ISIS 2500 from Litton Marine Systems in Charlottesville, Va.

The new order follows the successful sea trials earlier this year of a similar system on the Ft. Rosalie's sister ship, Litton Marine officials say.

The system for the RFA Ft. Rosalie will include Windows NT workstations with distributed alarm units monitoring more than 650 sensor points throughout the ship, including the main engine, alternators, exhaust gas temperatures, bearing temperatures, lube oil pressures and temperatures, water pressures, and miscellaneous plant sensors, Litton Marine officials say.

The system will provide shipboard personnel with extensive trend analysis and performance monitoring, as well as real-time monitoring and alarms. The system is designed for easy expansion as needed, company officials say.

Litton officials say their engineers will complete the installation in less than seven working days, during which the ship will be in a four-hour readiness status. The scope of work will include removal of the existing system, installation and commissioning of the new equipment, technical support, and onboard crew training. — J.K.

For more information contact Litton Marine Systems at 804-974-2000, by fax at 804-974-2259, by post at 1070 Seminole Trail, Charlottesville, Va. 22901, or on the World Wide Web at

AASI looks to IBM CATIA software for aircraft design automation

Engineers from Advanced Aerodynamics and Structures Inc. (AASI) in Long Beach, Calif., needed design-automation software to help them build the future Jetcruiser 500 corporate aircraft. They found their solution in the IBM Corp. CATIA software system.

AASI leaders announced they have signed a licensing agreement with IBM of Armonk, N.Y., to use and maintain the CATIA software system. AASI also has engaged distributor INCAT Systems of Novi, Mich., to provide training and installation.

AASI officials say they will use IBM's engineering design system to enhance their engineering and manufacturing capabilities on their Jetcruiser 500, as well as on their future Stratocruzer 1250 twinjet program.

"After careful analysis, we selected the IBM CATIA system, which we believe is well-suited to support our future engineering growth and production requirements," says Carl Chen, chairman and chief executive officer of AASI. "Equally important, the IBM system can be easily linked to our recently launched Point.Man Enterprise Resources Planning system to dramatically enhance our manufacturing process," Chen says.

CATIA — short for Computer-Aided Three-Dimensional Interactive Application — is an engineering and computer-aided design system in use at many major aerospace companies, including Boeing and Airbus, AASI officials say.

The licensing and maintenance contract provides AASI with 20 design stations and 20 read-only floor stations to support aircraft manufacturing. It also includes five electrical seats and various software packages for kinematic simulation, shape design, structural analysis, composite design, sheet metal design, and other fabrication processes.

The Jetcruiser 500 is a high-speed single engine, corporate propjet aircraft that can accommodate first-class seating for six people, including the pilot. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney propjet engine, it will cruise near jet speeds of 345 miles per hour at altitudes as high as 30,000 feet. — J.K.

For more information on CATIA contact IBM on the World Wide Web at For distribution information on CATIA contact INCAT Systems by phone at 248-426-1482, by post at 41370 Bridge St., Novi, Mich. 48375, or on the World Wide Web at

Navy researchers choose Mercury processors for signals intelligence

Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Tactical Electronic Warfare Division in Washington needed multiprocessing systems for their signals intelligence program. Race++ Systems from Mercury Computer Systems Inc. of Chelmsford, Mass., fit their needs.

NRL experts are using 400 MHz Power PC G4 processor boards from Mercury for real-time processing wideband digital data with an eye toward developing an advanced receiver system, Mercury officials say.

"We are required to develop advanced tactical systems to detect, identify, and classify imposing weapons systems, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated," explains Ted Roberts, section of the information-extraction section at the NRL.

Mercury designs embedded real-time digital signal- and image-processing computers using the Raceway multiprocessing computer network fabric. — J.K.

For more information contact Mercury by phone at 978-256-1300, by fax at 978-256-3599, by post at 199 Riverneck Road, Chelmsford, Mass. 01824, or on the World Wide Web at

Design and development tools
Chinese engine designer chooses Unigraphics CAD/CAM/CAE software

Leaders of Shenyang Liming Aero-Engine Group Corp., China's first aero turbine jet engine manufacturer and also the research and production base of the large and medium-sized aero jet engines in China, needed computer-aided engineering software to help design jet engines.

They found their answer in a high-end integrated computer-aided design/manufacturing/engineering software suite from Unigraphics Solutions Inc. (UGS) in St. Louis.

Shenyang Liming Aero-Engine officials are purchasing more than $1 million worth of Unigraphics software, Unigraphics leaders announced. Shenyang Liming Aero-Engine is a major contributor to China's aerospace industry and is the largest manufacturer and technology institute for aero-engine and industrial gas turbines.

"As we enter the 21st century, we are at the threshold of a new era," says Guangcheng Song, secretary of the party committee of Shenyang Liming Aero- Engine Group Corp. "Similar to other state-owned enterprises, Shenyang Liming Aero-Engine Group Corp. is facing both information superhighway and globalization challenges and is making progress in migrating the traditional machine-based technology towards the era of information-based technology.

"We look forward to applying Unigraphics in the production process within Shenyang Liming Aero-Engine Group Corp. and making use of UGS' talented staff and its technological competitiveness," Song says. "One of the main reasons we chose UGS was because we were impressed by the world-class MCAD/PDM software and services the company provided. Additionally, the company prevailed over other software providers because UGS is well recognized in China and associated with dominant knowledge and technical capability." — J.K.

For more information contact Unigraphics Solutions by phone at 314-344-5900l, by fax at 314-344-4180, by post at 13736 Riverport Drive, Maryland Heights, Mo. 63043-4826, or on the World Wide Web at

Boeing chooses Smiths CPU for military avionics modernization programs

Aircraft systems integrators at the Boeing Co. in St. Louis needed central processing units for the company's military aircraft avionics modernization initiatives, including the KC-10 Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) program. They found their solution in the PowerPC-based Central Processing Unit from Smiths Industries in Grand Rapids, Mich.

"We've identified an affordable, flexible system architecture, which includes the Smiths Industries CPU, that gives best value to our customers," says Keith Hertzenberg, vice president of modernization and upgrade programs at the Boeing Military Aerospace Support business in St. Louis.

"As well, we have demonstrated that having that common architecture applied on multiple platforms drives lower total ownership costs for our customers," Hertzenberg says. "The Smiths Industries CPU offers the greatest capabilities and the best value of any available on the market."

For the KC-10 program, the Smiths Industries CPU will serve as the system processor and VMEbus controller in the Boeing-developed Data Concentrator Unit. The CPU hardware and software will be FAA-certified to level A, which is the highest possible criticality, Boeing officials say.

The KC-10 GATM program, awarded to Boeing in early 2000, is in design and development. Through the program, the KC-10 tanker fleet will comply with the international GATM standard of air navigation for commercial and military aircraft, which requires certain avionics, navigation and communication capabilities, Boeing officials say. — J.K.

For more information contact Smiths Industries by phone at 616-241-7000, by fax at 616-241-7533, by post at 3290 Patterson Ave. Southeast, Grand Rapids, Mich. 49512, or on the World Wide Web at

Communications equipment
DRS to upgrade communications systems aboard Venezuelan frigates

Military leaders in Venezuela are looking to DRS Flight Safety and Communications in Carleton Place, Ontario, to build and install digital communications systems aboard the country's Mariscal Sucre F-21 class frigate warships.

The Armada of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Caracas, Venezuela, is awarding DRS an $8.3 million contract for the networks, which are to upgrade the warships' maintainability and supportability, DRS officials say.

DRS engineers will install their company's Shipboard Integrated Communications systems 2100 — better known as SHINCOM 2100 — aboard four Sucre-class Venezuelan frigates, which support anti-air, antisurface, and antisubmarine warfare missions.

DRS will do the work at the Venezuelan naval base near Puerto Cabello with competitively selected local contractors that support the country's naval fleet, DRS officials say.

SHINCOM 2100 provides commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology and reliability for tactical interior, exterior, and secure circuits on board surface ships during complex joint operations, often involving communications with other airborne, surface, undersea, and satellite platforms, DRS officials say.

The SHINCOM 2100 will improve tactical voice communications through audio enhancements and provide an expanded capacity for integrated radio channels, access to public address circuits, and high-frequency (HF) e-mail communications, DRS officials say. SHINCOM 2100 operates with a range of radios, telephones, and recorders. — J.K.

For more information contact DRS on the World Wide Web at

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!