In Brief

Dolch offers rugged removable hard disk drives for FlexPAC portable computer, New electrode may enhance efficiency of EVI's methanol-based fuel cell, MORE...

Dolch offers rugged removable hard disk drives for FlexPAC portable computer
Engineers at Dolch Computer Systems Inc. of Fremont, Calif., are adding a ruggedized removable hard disk drive to their FlexPAC multi-slot rugged portable computer. The 2.5-inch hard disk is shock mounted and packed in a steel and ally canister, Dolch officials say. Designers secure the drive with a quick-release thumbscrew, and subject the drive to extensive shock and vibration testing, company officials say. The drives come in 20- and 40-gigabyte sizes. For more information contact Dolch by phone at 877-347-4938, by e-mail at sales@dolch.com, by post at 3178 Laurelview Court, Fremont, Calif. 94538, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.dolch.com/.


New electrode may enhance efficiency of EVI's methanol-based fuel cell
Scientists at the Energy Visions Inc. (EVI) Fuel Cell Division in Ottawa say they made a major breakthrough in their direct methanol fuel cell ("DMFC") program with an experimental new electrode that promises significant improvements in power and efficiency. The DFMC converts the chemical energy of liquid methanol directly into electrical current without burning the methanol. Direct methanol fuel cells reportedly convert more than 34 percent of the methanol's energy content of the methanol into usable power. "The new electrode, when used in the advanced configuration of EVI's proprietary flowing electrolyte DMFC design, has produced a fuel cell that operates at a higher voltage than PEM [proton exchange membrane]-based DMFCs and has several times the power density than our earlier prototypes," says Douglas James, general manager of EVI's Fuel Cell Division. "We plan to embed this new electrode design in the prototype stack that we expect to demonstrate for the military," James says. "We believe this breakthrough places us in the forefront with the very best PEM-based DMFC designs — and with significant headroom for improvement in both performance and cost." For more information please contact EVI by phone at 613-990-9373, by fax at 613-990-9464, by post at Building M-16, 1500 Montreal Road, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0R6, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.energyvi.com.


DDC unveils synchro/resolver motion feedback PMC interface card for VME, CompactPCI
Designers at Data Device Corp. (DDC) in Bohemia, N.Y., are offering their SB-36410IX eight-channel synchro/resolver-to-digital PCI mezzanine card for applications in position feedback in military and industrial control applications. The module, based on DDC's 16-bit monolithic RD-19230 converter, measures synchro and resolver signals with eight independent digital channels. The card, which can parallel mount onto a host VME or CompactPCI carrier, enables designers to combine several different functions on one host card in one chassis slot, DDC officials say. The card offers an internal reference synthesizer that corrects inaccuracies from rotor-to-stator phase shift errors as large as 45 degrees, has built-in test and self-test checking and troubleshooting, and incremental optical encoder emulation. For more information contact DDC by phone at 631-567-5600, by fax at 631-567-7358, by post at 105 Wilbur Place, Bohemia, N.Y., 11716-2482, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.ddc-web.com.


Thales Raytheon to be prime contractor for French ACCS
Thales Raytheon Systems of Fullerton, Calif., won a contract worth about $99 million from the French defense procurement agency (DGA) to produce the first version of the mobile command and control center (C3M), which is the deployable component of France's Air Command and Control System. The procurement agency's aeronautical systems department (SPAe) chose Thales Raytheon Systems to renovate the existing system completely to strengthen the French Air Force's air command and control capability in external theaters of operations where allied forces may be required to conduct joint air operations. The objective for C3M is to achieve a high level of interoperability and to enable France to assume the role of framework nation in future multinational engagements.


Northrop Grumman to upgrade French AWACS fleet's radar
Officials at Boeing in Seattle recently chose Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector to supply four Radar System Improvement Program (RSIP) kits for the French Air Force's E-3F Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet. Northrop Grumman will provide most of the RSIP hardware, which will then be installed and tested by other members of the team. The RSIP upgrade enhances the operational capability of the E-3 radar against the growing threat from smaller targets, cruise missiles, and electronic countermeasures, while retaining all of the existing radar system's capabilities, Northrop Grumman officials say. It will also improve the French Air Force's AWACS man-machine interface and operational maintainability, company officials claim. The RSIP-modified E-3s spotted hostile aircraft and directed allied fighters in numerous successful engagements during NATO's war in Kosovo. The AWACS AN/APY-1/-2 surveillance radar system, designed and built by Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, provides the E-3 aircraft's lookdown capability, company officials say.


Boeing receives GPS IIF modernization approval
Boeing Space and Communications in El Segundo, Calif., won approval from the U.S. Air Force to start building satellites under the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) IIF Modernization program. "The Boeing GPS IIF is the next step in enhancing the capabilities to support the national infrastructure for Homeland Security and National Defense, and it will improve the system's capabilities for all GPS users," says Mike Rizzo, director of navigation systems for Boeing Space and Communications. The added capabilities include a new signal for civilian users and critical, secure Operational M-codes for the warfighter. The new civilian signal, in the protected Aeronautical Radio Navigation System frequency band, provides redundant safety of life services for civil aviation users and increased accuracy for a host of other users worldwide.


Green Hills unveils version 4.0 of the Integrity real-time operating system
Leaders of Green Hills Software in Santa Barbara, Calif., March 13 announced version 4.0 of their Integrity real-time operating system (RTOS) that supports PowerPC, ARM, MIPS, and XScale processors. Integrity 4.0 has memory protection and delivers sub-200-nanosecond interrupt response and sub-microsecond context switching (as measured on a 233-MHz processor). The RTOS has a high-availability API, multi-chassis, multitasking/multiprocessor debugging, and the EventAnalyzer tool for real-time event trace. Integrity is a secure, fast, deterministic, real-time operating system optimized for embedded applications that place a premium on reliability, real-time performance, and testability, company officials say. For more information on Integrity 4.0, contact Green Hills by phone at 805-965-6044, by fax at 805-965-6343, by e-mail at support@ghs.com, by post at 30 West Sola St., Santa Barbara, Calif. 93101, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.ghs.com.


Intelsat to acquire Lockheed Martin World Systems
Intelsat Ltd. in Hamilton, Bermuda, will acquire Lockheed Martin's World Systems and COMSAT Digital Teleport, Inc. (CDTI), businesses. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition, subject to regulatory approval, should close by year's end, officials say. Intelsat will acquire World Systems' satellite tracking, telemetry, command, and monitoring facilities in Clarksburg, Md., and Paumalu, Hawaii, and the Clarksburg, Md., digital teleport. World Systems and CDTI originally were part of COMSAT Corp, which Lockheed Martin acquired in 2000 through its Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications (LMGT) business. Lockheed Martin officials quit the global telecommunications services business in December 2001, and offered for sale telecommunications assets such as World Systems and CDTI.


Rockwell Collins avionics featured on Boeing demonstrator
Rockwell Collins is featuring its newest avionics onboard the Boeing Technology Demonstrator, a new 737-900 jetliner outfitted with new and emerging flight-deck technologies. The Rockwell Collins systems include Head-up Guidance System (HGS), Surface Guidance System (SGS), Synthetic Vision System (SVS), and a Multimode Receiver (MMR) with GPS Landing System capabilities (GLS). The avionics enhances pilots' situational awareness by providing flight-critical information in a concise, integrated, and easy-to-view format.


ATK to develop electronic time fuze for Army and Marine Corps mortars
U.S. Army artillery experts needed a new electronic fuze for detonating infantry mortars. They found their solution from ATK (Alliant Techsystems) in Minneapolis. Leaders of the Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal N.J., awarded ATK a 5-year $14 million contract to design and build the Electronic Time Fuze for Mortars — otherwise known as the ETFM. The electronic fuze improves timing accuracy, enhances safety, and can be set by hand without external illumination, ATK officials say. The ETFM will go into U.S. Army and Marine Corps airburst illumination and smoke cartridges for 60mm, 81mm, and 120mm mortars. Work will be at the ATK Precision Fuze Co. in Janesville, Wis., and at the ATK design and development center in Hopkins, Minn. Production will be at the company's manufacturing plant in Janesville. For more information contact ATK Precision Fuze Co. by phone at 608-752-4053, by post at 2643 W. Court St., Janesville, Wis., 53545-3357, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.ATK.com.


Boeing and NASA to use C-17 aircraft for intelligent vehicle research project
Experts at Boeing Phantom Works in Seal Beach, Calif., are to modify a C-17 Globemaster III flight test aircraft as part of the Intelligent Vehicle Research Initiative. The work is part of a $50 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract from the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Boeing will establish a Research Flight Control System (REFLCS) to look into such potentially life-saving technologies as intelligent flight controls to keep damaged aircraft controllable. Flight tests of engine monitoring systems began at Edwards in October. REFLCS will be installed on the C-17 next year, with flight tests scheduled during the third quarter. In early 2003, Dryden will begin C-17 flight tests to demonstrate damage adaptive technologies and the transition of NASA technologies to operational aircraft. The first generations of prognostic sensor groups already have been installed on the C-17 test aircraft's number three engine to monitor potential ingested debris and engine distress. Other systems tests will monitor high frequency vibration, stress wave analysis and wireless sensing.


Ground station that controls SBIRS missile-tracking satellite network goes on line
A new station that operates the nation's network of missile-tracking satellites used to detect and track missile launches around the world has achieved initial operating capability, U.S. Air Force officials announced in January. The Mission Control Station (MCS), located at Buckley Air National Guard Base in Aurora, Colo., is the first major phase to be fielded of the three increments in the Air Force Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) — an important element of the country's missile defense system. The MCS, built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Northrop Grumman, consolidates three old ground stations into one SBIRS ground station. It establishes the foundation for the SBIRS High and Low satellite constellations, which when deployed defense leaders of missile launches twice as fast as the current Defense Support Program (DSP) system, Lockheed Martin officials say. SBIRS will provide new worldwide missile detection and tracking capabilities using several different space components and an evolving ground element, Lockheed Martin officials say. SBIRS High will add four satellites in geosynchronous earth orbit and two sensors in highly elliptical orbit. SBIRS Low will add 20 to 30 satellites in low earth orbit to provide mid-course missile tracking.


Raytheon set to upgrade internal components of AN/PSC-5 Spitfire radio
Communications engineers at Raytheon Co. in Largo, Fla., are making plans to repair and overhaul the Army and Marine Corps AN/PSC-5 Spitfire lightweight, Demand Assigned Multiple Access (DAMA), manpack, line-of-sight and tactical satellite communications radio. Raytheon engineers are working under terms of a contract worth as much as $6 million awarded from officials of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command at Fort Monmouth, N.J. Army officials are asking Raytheon to repair and overhaul the Spitfire's electric control panel, receiver-trans control, frequency-electric synthesizer, radio receiver, amplifier-converter, radio transmitter, security module, communication-modem-power regulator, and printed circuit board. Work is to be finished in late 2006. Spitfire, which has been in the U.S. military inventory since 1998, is a primary command-and-control single-channel radio for Army and Marine Corps Marine air-ground task forces. The radio provides tactical communications down to the battalion level to transmit intelligence information. For more information contact Raytheon Radios and Terminals business unit by phone at 219-429-5416, by fax at 219-429-4442, by e-mail at commsys@ftw.rsc.raytheon.com, by post at 1010 Production Road, Fort Wayne, Ind. 46808, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.raytheon.com.


DARPA program uses Carnegie Mellon researchers to find new ways of controlling aircraft
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University of Pittsburgh are looking into new ways to control manned and unmanned aircraft under terms of a $2.5 million contract. The four-year, "Mixed Initiative Probabilistic Control of Teams of Unmanned Vehicles in Adversarial Environments," came from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Information Directorate in Rome, N.Y. The project, which comes under supervision of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., is part of DARPA's Mixed Initiative Control of Automa-teams (MICA) program. The MICA program will develop the theory, algorithms, software, modeling, and simulation technologies to coordinate multi-level planning, assessment and control of distributed semi-autonomous forces with collective objectives through the hierarchical application of systems and control theoretic methods, Air Force officials say.


Sky Computers, SensorComm to provide signal processing for Navy acoustic system
Sonar experts at the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock Division in Bethesda, Md., needed integrated computer subsystems for the Acoustic Trials Measurement System — better known as ATOMS. They found their solution from a team of Sky Computers of Chelmsford, Mass., and SensorComm of Annapolis, Md. ATOMS is a structureborne and self-noise measurement unit that acquires and processes noise data in real time, Sky officials say. ATOMS measures noise during ship acoustical trials and uses that information to verify that ships meet their acoustical goals. The system also can help diagnose acoustical problems. Sky and SensorComm engineers have delivered four 6U PowerPC-based computing subsystems for the ATOMS program. Navy officials plan to use ATOMS in acoustic measurement systems on all future Virginia-class new attack submarines, Sky officials say. For more information contact Sky Computers by phone at 978-250-1920, by fax at 978-250-0036, by post at 27 Industrial Ave., Chelmsford, Mass. 01824, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.skycomputers.com.


Military semiconductor sales are up at Satcon Technology subsidiary
Semiconductor sales to the military are up at Satcon Technology Corp. in Cambridge, Mass., company officials reported. In recent weeks, the division has seen its military component backlog increase from 50 percent to 70 percent, officials say. SatCon, under its FMI product lines, manufactures components for the cruise missile video electronics, phased array radar, satellite uplinks, and the "heads up" display, for the U.S. F-16, F/A-18 and F-22 jet fighters, company officials say. Satcon's recently consolidated Semiconductor Products businesses in Marlborough, Mass., is producing specialty electronics for several major military suppliers, officials say. For more information contact Satcon by phone at 617-661-0540, by fax at 617-661-3373, by post at 161 First St., Cambridge, Mass. 02142, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.satcon.com.


Parvus unveils improved PC/104-based avionics system
Electronics designers at Parvus Corp. in Salt Lake City are displaying an enhanced Improved Operator Control Panel (IOCP) at the Sea Air Space Exposition in Washington. The IOCP unit, developed as part of the U.S. Navy's AN/USQ-113 communications upgrade for the EA-6B Prowler electronic defense warfare aircraft, has several enhancements from its 1998 design, including night-vision backlighting, MIL-STD-1553 communications protocol compatibility, and a non-glare lexan screen, Parvus officials say.

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