Product Applications

July 1, 2002
Enabling technologies for military and aerospace electronics designers

Enabling technologies for military and aerospace electronics designers

SoftwareAir Force chooses Avexus software tool to aide in aircraft maintenanceAircraft repair experts at the U.S. Air Force Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, needed a software tool to help them create a "pull" maintenance, repair, and overhaul system based on the theory of constraints principles. Impresa software from Avexus Inc. in San Diego met their needs.
Air Force aircraft engine technicians are to benefit from the Avexus software tool.
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Ogden Air Logistics Center is one of the Air Force's largest technical repair centers for military aircraft. Ogden experts are using the Avexus Impresa software to create a maintenance system that they say is improving weapons system sustainability by reducing turnaround time and increasing efficiency.

Impresa is process-management software that enables organizations to schedule, plan, and manage the teardown, disposition, and rebuild cycle of high-value, complex assets.

"Impresa made it easier for us to transition to a 'pull' solution that includes delivery dates because the functionality is built into the Impresa application," says Dee Mackliet, production control chief for the landing gear division at Ogden.

"Impresa immediately helped streamline and synchronize our operations," Mackliet says. "Parts were ordered when needed, incoming work and work in progress were scheduled to avoid unfinished orders sitting on the shop floor, and labor and other operating functions moved more efficiently because delivery dates now had tangible time frames rather than estimates. We have seen a dramatic improvement in weapon systems supportability, which can be directly linked to implementing Impresa."

With Impresa, Ogden officials are able to track labor and materials more efficiently than they could before, which has resulted in an 89 percent accuracy in work-in-process inventory, a 50 percent reduction in operating costs, a 70 percent increase in on—time delivery, and an increase in its average billed hours from 4,000 to as high as 10,000 per week, Avexus officials say.

The implementation has provided such a vast improvement in Ogden's maintenance, repair, and overhaul capabilities that they are rolling out Impresa into other areas of aircraft maintenance at Hill Air Force Base, company officials say.

The "pull" system followed theory of constraints principles by effecting cross-functional integration of the organization's capabilities and by addressing the organization's constraints. This has resulted in Ogden's ability to deliver its services more reliably, more predictably, and more cost effectively, Avexus officials say.

Ogden provides worldwide item management, depot-level overhaul, and repair for Air Force aircraft landing gear, wheels, brakes, and tires. It is the world's largest landing gear facility, providing logistical and technical support for fighter, cargo, bomber, and attack/trainer aircraft. The Air Force relies on its speed and skill for weapons system sustainability, particularly during wartime.

In their previous attempt to create a streamlined MRO process, Ogden officials implemented more than eight separate software packages, which were a combination of third-party and homegrown applications. These packages only managed specific areas of the process, Avexus officials say.

Avexus specializes in maintenance, repair, and overhaul software relative old and complex systems. For more information contact Avexus by phone at 858-352-3300, by fax at 858-352-3301, by e-mail at [email protected], by post at 10182 Telesis Court, Suite 600, San Diego, Calif. 92121, or on the World Wide Web at

ComputersAirbus chooses Smiths Aerospace for integrated landing gear-control system on A380 jetAircraft designers at Airbus Industrie in Toulouse, France, needed an electronic control system for the landing gear on the future A380 Superjumbo passenger jet, which is set to enter service in 2006. Engineers at Smiths Aerospace in Cheltenham, England, met their needs.

Airbus officials are choosing Smiths Aerospace to supply the A-380's landing gear deployment system in a contract to be worth more than $300 million, Smiths officials say.

Smiths experts will design an integrated system to control the deployment and retraction of the aircraft nose, main, and wing landing gears, including sequencing and operation of the associated door components, company officials say.

Smiths engineers in Cheltenham, England, will work together with Smiths Aerospace experts in Whippany, N.J., and Yakima, Wash.

This is the fourth contract awarded to Smiths Aerospace on the new 555 seat Airbus A380; the company also has Airbus subcontracts for operation of wing flaps and slats, landing gear actuation, and fabricated assemblies for the wing structure.

For more information contact Smiths Aerospace Actuation Systems-Cheltenham by phone at 011-44-1242-277-577, by fax at 011-44-1242-221-155, by post at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL51 0TP, or on the World Wide Web at

Computer peripheralsArmy chooses TEAC airborne recorders for Apache attack helicoptersCommanders of the U.S. Army's 3-229 Aviation Regiment at Fort Bragg, N.C., needed airborne video tape recorders for their AH-64A Apache attack helicopters. The VSC-80B Hi-8mm airborne video recorders from the TEAC America Airborne Video Products group in Montebello, Calif., was their solution.

Army leaders awarded a contract to TEAC for 25 VSC-80B video recorders for the regiment's helicopters, as well as for two of the TEAC Integrated Debriefing Stations for immediate post-mission debriefings. The 3-229 regiment is the first U.S. Army unit to insert the TEAC Vertical Interval Time Code (VITC) card into the VSC-80B to place a digital GPS time stamp on every video frame, TEAC officials say.

The portable debriefing station plays, synchronizes, and displays video tapes from several different aircraft to provide immediate post-mission debriefings for after-action reviews. In training, the debriefing station provides simultaneous replay of training missions involving several different Apache helicopter engagements.

The high-resolution VSC-80B recorders combine TEAC's V-80AB-F Hi-8mm 525-line airborne video recorder with TEAC's digital scan converter. It produces a 60 percent improvement in image quality and resolution over the current recorders, company officials say.

The VSC-80B also will display images from forward-looking infrared sensors or daylight TV cameras at rates as fast as four frames per second. Images are viewable immediately on the cockpit display.

The deployable debriefing station has a 4-in-1 simultaneous screen display, time/event mark search, and synchronization. TEAC officials intend the system for forward- and rear-tactical mission debriefings.

The debriefing station includes four Hi-8mm playback decks, TEAC synchronization controllers, an audio mixer, quad-video splitter, 20-inch monitor, universal power supply, and an S-VHS VCR to duplicate the debriefing to VHS tapes, packaged in two rugged, shock isolated, portable cases.

TEAC's MC-3200 synchronization controller and infrared remote enables the debriefing station to do fast time code/event mark detection and synchronization. Optional Windows-compatible control software for PC laptop computers enables the user to select a "master" tape to sync all other videos. Debriefing station systems can link to synchronize videotapes from as many as 32 aircraft.

For more information contact TEAC Airborne Video Products by phone at 323-727-4866, by fax at 323-727-4877, by e-mail to [email protected], by post at 7733 Telegraph Road, Montebello, Calif. 90640, or on the World Wide Web at

Communications equipmentAirservices Australia chooses Honeywell to demonstrate GPS-based air traffic systemOfficials of Airservices Australia (AsA) in Canberra, Australia, needed avionics to demonstrate Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) for commercial and general aviation use in a region of Queensland, Australia. They found their solution from Honeywell Airport Systems in Phoenix.

Airservices Australia will buy ADS-B avionics and ground equipment from Honeywell that can enable radar-like air traffic services at a lower cost than a conventional radar system, Honeywell officials say. This program will demonstrate the viability of 1090 MHz (Mode S) datalink.

"AsA considers that ADS-B technology will open the possibility of cost effective Air Traffic Control (ATC) surveillance in areas of Australia where radars cannot be currently justified," said Airservices Australia's Greg Dunstone, ADS-B project manager.

Australia has many areas with limited or no air traffic surveillance coverage because of the high cost of installing ground-based air traffic control radars. ADS-B can enable aircraft pilots to use a global positioning system (GPS) receiver to determine the position of their aircraft, and then transmit that information over a datalink to air traffic control.

Honeywell's airborne ADS-B system has Bendix/King KT 73 panel-mount Mode S transponders, KLN 94 GPS navigators, and antennas. Providing ground stations data processing for the Honeywell avionics is Sensis Corp. of DeWitt, N.Y.

Honeywell experts will validate interoperability of the ground station and airborne components this summer and fall. They will then deploy the equipment for a three-year operational test in early 2003 for an initial period of three years.

For more information contact Honeywell Airport Systems by phone at 602-436-5599, by e-mail at lighting.webrequest@, by post at 21111 N. 19th Ave., Phoenix, Ariz. 85027-2708, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.

Board productsEDO Corp. chooses VME-based video recording system from PrimagraphicsSystems integrators at EDO Combat Systems in Chesapeake, Va., needed a video recorder system to record the high-resolution screen images generated by the command and control system display consoles onboard the offshore patrol vessels of an international coastguard. The Sentinel system from Primagraphics in Litlington, England, met their needs.

Sentinel is a commercial off the shelf device that records high-fidelity, high-resolution computer screen images directly onto a standard video cassette without loss of detail or legibility. Sentinel is available in desktop, 19-in rack-mount, or standard VME board versions.

The principal task of the coast guard, which Primagraphics officials will not name, is intercepting smugglers or other intruders in territorial waters. Sentinel helps provide visual evidence in court against the operators of intercepted vessels. EDO engineers will use Sentinel to record high-resolution 1280-by-1024-pixel screen images.

"It was imperative that the chosen system provided a precise record of exactly what the operator saw on the main console screen — scan-converted data from ship's radars, the output from an infrared sensor, as well as a 'tote' page — which provides summary data on the coast guard vessel's position, course, and speed," says Ernest Ladeveze, principal engineer and production manager for the coast guard program at EDO Combat Systems.

"The fact that Primagraphics' system recorded straight onto standard videotape was particularly convenient as many of the courts are already equipped with video replay systems," Ladeveze says.

EDO's coast guard customer is using the Sentinel version that is available as VME cards that fit into equipment racks that house the single-slot capture card and dual-slot replay unit.

The Sentinel system uses the Primagraphics pixel rate conversion technique, which maintains the original screen resolution by slowing the replayed content update rate.

For more information contact the Primagraphics U.S. sales office in Amherst, Mass., by phone at 802-362-4655, by fax at 603-908-6122, by e-mail at [email protected], by post at Webster House, 30 Boltwood Walk, Amherst, Mass. 01002, or on the World Wide Web at

ComponentsNorthrop Grumman selected to support federal communications gateway systemOfficials at the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington recently selected Northrop Grumman Corp. to provide enterprise messaging solutions for the Pentagon Telecommunications Service Center and other U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) agencies.

The award is intended to provide information technology-related enhancements and improvements to the Pentagon's existing Defense Messaging System (DMS). The company's California Microwave Systems (CMS) business unit in Belcamp will provide products and personnel with the expertise to design, develop, install, and maintain the DMS system. The company will also provide user systems and other computer-based training.

DMS enables the DOD and various federal agencies to effectively, efficiently, and securely communicate with one another through e-mail and other electronic messaging capabilities, Northrop Grumman officials say. California Microwave Systems is providing its messaging product called Decision Agent (DA) as a core component of DMS, which will eventually replace AUTODIN, the DOD's legacy messaging system, company officials say.

"The Decision Agent enables a fresh look at the requirements for the defense messaging system and a means by which government managers can access all of the functionality of DMS with limited resources and provide DMS to their domain users," says Marvin Owens, director of the Pentagon Telecommunications Service Center.

California Microwave Systems, a component of Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector in Baltimore specializes in airborne reconnaissance and surveillance systems, government ground-based satellite communications systems, communications gateway systems, and mission planning. The group's customers include the U.S. military services, other U.S. government agencies, and international defense organizations, Northrop Grumman officials say.

Northrop Grumman's DA features a communications gateway system, multifunction interpreter, multithreaded message security protocol, send and receive proxies, and a Web-based message preparation system, company officials say. These capabilities have been coupled with the Northrop Grumman Information Technology sector's LMDS MailRoom Technology and Engenium Corp.'s Semetric retrieval engine, a knowledge-based retrospective search and inference engine.

DA combines the functions of multiple systems on one platform, from small, powerful computers for the tactical arena to large, multiprocessor servers for organizations such as the Pentagon Telecommunications Service Center, Northrop Grumman officials say. These computers use the latest in Microsoft technology, which is scalable depending on message throughput and storage requirements. DA has also been selected as the enterprise solution for messaging by various intelligence organizations, company officials say.

For more information on Communications Gateway System contact Northrop Grumman on the World Wide Web at

Test and measurementArmy simulation experts look to Boston Dynamics for validation software toolsSimulation experts at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Mass., needed software test and measurement tools to validate the accuracy of their physics-based human simulation software called Digital Biomechanics. New tools from Digital Biomechanics developer Boston Dynamics of Cambridge, Mass., met their needs.

Soldier Systems Center officials awarded Digital Biomechanics a contract for the new tools, which follows on a contract the Army awarded Boston Dynamics earlier this year to develop Digital Biomechanics for virtual prototyping of next-generation soldier equipment.

Digital Biomechanics is a human simulator that models the effects of equipment on soldiers engaged in simulated tasks, from walking, running, and crawling, to completing a virtual obstacle course. Digital Biomechanics uses advanced control technology and physics-based models to provide human simulation that obeys the same laws of locomotion, balance, and loading as real people do in the physical world, Boston Dynamics officials say.

The validation process compares Digital Biomechanics' simulation results to results of experiments performed on live soldiers by the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM), which also is in Natick, Mass.

The goal is to ensure that the simulator accurately predicts key biomechanical parameters of soldiers performing dismounted warrior tasks. Virtual prototyping with Digital Biomechanics accelerates product development by shortening product development and acquisition cycles.

For more information contact Boston Dynamics by phone at 617-868-5600, by e-mail at [email protected], by post at 515 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, Mass. 02139, or on the World Wide Web at

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