Product Application Design Solutions

March 1, 2001
Enabling technologies for military & aerospace electronics engineers

Enabling technologies for military & aerospace electronics engineers

Satellite ground terminals use CRI-ruggedized SGI workstations

Systems integrators at Aerojet in Sacramento, Calif., needed ruggedized and powerful computers for mobile satellite ground stations they are providing for the U.S. Air Force Space-Based Infrared System — otherwise known as SBIRS.

Silicon Graphics Onyx2 workstations, ruggedized by CRI, are part of the Space-Based Infrared System ground stations.
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They found their solution in the Onyx2 visual workstations designed by Silicon Graphics Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., and ruggedized by Computer Ruggedization Integration (CRI) of Austin, Texas.

Silicon Graphics engineers are providing 27 Onyx2 visual workstations and 18 Origin 2000 computer servers to Aerojet under their contract. The Onyx2 systems will graphically display data for U.S. military operators, and the Origin 2000 servers will be the front-end of the mission for the SBIRS satellite ground stations.

Engineers from CRI are ruggedizing the Onyx2 workstations. The Origin servers do not need to be ruggedized, Silicon Graphics officials say. Each of the SBIRS mobile satellite ground stations will include two Origin 2000 servers, and three Onyx2 workstations.

The mobile ground station phase of the SBIRS program complements the fixed ground station sites that are already in place around the world.

Aerojet is working on a team led by Lockheed Martin Corp. to build SBIRS. Aerojet engineers are working with Lockheed Martin to provide ground systems for satellite control, mission data processing, telemetry, and tracking.

The SBIRS is to replace the Defense Support Program satellites — otherwise known as DSP — which are 30 years old. SBIRS is to be the primary initial warning system for ballistic missile attacks on the United States and its allies. — J.K.

For more information contact Silicon Graphics by phone at 650-960-1980, by fax at 650-932-0661, by post at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, Calif. 94043-1351, or on the World Wide Web at Also contact CRI by phone at 512-386-7500, by fax at 512-386-7518, by post at 7901 E. Riverside Drive, Building 2, Suite 150, Austin, Texas 78744, or on the World Wide Web at

Delta chooses BFGoodrich infrared sensors to detect aircraft icing

Leaders of Delta Air Lines in Atlanta needed ground-based ice detectors to ensure their MD-80 aircraft are ready for safe takeoff during wintertime operations.

They found their solution in the IceHawk Wide Area Ice Detectors from BFGoodrich Co. in Charlotte, N.C.

BFGoodrich officials announced that Delta Air Lines has placed an order for the IceHawk, which Delta technicians will test to supplement the pre-takeoff deicing operations currently in place for Delta's MD-80 aircraft.

IceHawk provides real-time data indicating the presence of frozen contaminants on aircraft surfaces. With this order Delta Air Lines will have IceHawk systems in use at 10 major airports.

The IceHawk technology is based on an infrared light beam that instantly provides a picture of frozen contaminants, including snow, frost, slush, or ice, BFGoodrich officials say. IceHawk systems are available for deicing trucks using either open buckets or enclosed cabs, enabling the operator to obtain and analyze icing images without leaving the cab.

"We expect the IceHawk to have a positive impact on all aspects of our winter operations, from increased safety to savings in time and money," says Joe Ferrandini, Delta Air Lines deicing program manager. "Our goal is to update Delta's system-wide deicing plan as soon as possible, having the IceHawk approved to replace traditional, tactile inspections on our aircraft."

The IceHawk currently is the only wide area, pre-takeoff ice detector approved by the FAA to replace the required tactile inspection for ice, BFGoodrich officials say. The system is already FAA-approved for Delta's shuttle Boeing 727 aircraft, and Delta intends to seek approval for MD-80 aircraft before the next icing season.

The IceHawk system can detect frozen contaminants on any type of aircraft surface, and the detection range has increased from 25 to 60 feet, covering the span of an entire MD-80 wing in a single image, BFGoodrich officials say.

The IceHawk system also can "see through" materials such as deicing/anti-icing fluids, hydraulic fluids, and fuel to detect frozen contaminant build-up underneath these coatings, which often is difficult with traditional inspections, company officials say.

To operate the IceHawk, a ground operator points the device at the aircraft and transmits a beam of polarized infrared light. The system detects frozen contaminants based on the polarization of the reflected beam and displays them on a color monitor. The entire ice detection process takes about two seconds. — J.K.

For more information contact BFGoodrich by phone at 704-423-7000, by fax at 704-423-7100, by post at Four Coliseum Centre, 2730 W. Tyvola Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28217-4578, or on the World Wide Web at

Army looks to Raytheon for mobile air-surveillance radar sets

U.S. Army leaders needed a mobile air-surveillance and air-traffic-control system that soldiers could deploy quickly in the field at airfields near combat areas. They found their solution in the AN/TPN-31 from Raytheon Co. in Marlborough, Mass.

Systems designers at Raytheon are building seven AN/TPN-31 vehicle-mounted air-traffic-control systems for the U.S. Army under terms of a $16.5 million contract. This system is otherwise known as the air traffic navigation, integration, and coordination systems (ATNAVICS).

These systems mount on two Army Humvee all-terrain vehicles to provide rapid-response air traffic control services at Army airfields and tactical landing sites.

The system has an S-band air surveillance radar, L-band secondary surveillance radar/identification friend or foe, an X-band precision-approach radar, and Raytheon's AutoTrac air traffic management system. These systems provide surveillance out to 25 nautical miles and precision approach coverage out to 10 nautical miles in all weather conditions, Raytheon officials say.

"Thoroughly tested in the tactical air traffic environment, the ATNAVICS will provide the Army unprecedented levels of performance, safety and reliability well into the 21st century," says Lt. Col. Cory Mahanna, product officer for U.S. Army Air Traffic Control systems. "A true force multiplier, the ATNAVICS provides for expeditious air traffic flow by enabling continuous, unimpeded and integrated air traffic services during joint and combined operations within the Army Airspace Command and Control System."

Work will be at Raytheon facilities in Marlboro and Sudbury, Mass., Largo, Fla., and Waterloo, Ontario, and is to be finished in January 2003. — J.K.

For more information contact Raytheon by phone at 781-862-6600, by fax at 781-860-2172, by post at 141 Spring St., Lexington, Mass. 02421, or on the World Wide Web at

Cubic to supply PC-based aircraft training system to Dutch air force

Leaders of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) needed an electronic air combat training system to help their jet fighter pilots learn how to dogfight at close quarters. The Autonomous Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation (AACMI) system from Cubic Defense Systems in San Diego met their needs.

Netherlands air force officials awarded Cubic a $9.82 million contract for new air combat training technology, Cubic officials announced. The RNLAF system will enable Dutch pilots to fly training missions in virtually any military airspace without extensive infrastructure, Cubic officials claim.

The system will use 24 wing-mounted "EHUD" Global Positioning System-based training pods developed by subcontractor MLM, an Israel Aircraft Industries division. Dutch air force commanders will review details of missions, including "kill" data on Cubic's PC-based Display Systems, which allows monitoring from a desktop or laptop computer and provides "play-by-play" display of aircraft activity charted over time.

The Cubic AACMI technology will be compatible with training systems of allied air forces' programs being deployed around the world, company officials say. Similar technology is utilized in systems currently operating or soon to be deployed in Germany, Italy, Belgium, Turkey and the U.K.

Cubic's partners also include two Netherlands companies, Stork Aerospace and Fokker Space. Stork Aerospace will provide logistics, installation and maintenance and Fokker Space will provide display software maintenance. The National Aerospace Laboratory NLR of The Netherlands will also participate in the program. — J.K.

For more information contact Cubic by phone at 858-277-6780, by fax at 858-277-1878, by post at 9333 Balboa Ave., San Diego, Calif. 92123, or on the World Wide Web at

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