Thermal management challenges highlight content at 2007 Military Technologies Conference

March 6, 2007
BOSTON, 6 March 2007. U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and industry experts will discuss thermal and power management at the Military Technologies Conference (MTC) on 28 and 29 March 2007 in Boston.

By John McHale

BOSTON, 6 March 2007. U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and industry experts will discuss thermal and power management at the Military Technologies Conference (MTC) on 28 and 29 March 2007 in Boston. Those interested can register for the conference online at the MTC Website at

Thermal and power management are widely considered to be the crucial links in the ability to embrace high-performance computing technology in military systems designs. MTC presenters will discuss these challenges as well as lessons learned and potential solutions to thermal problems in legacy and new military electronics applications.

The conference module titled "Thermal & Power Management Trends for Military Electronics," will cover these discussions on the second day of the conference, March 28, at 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. James Robles, senior technical fellow at Boeing and a member of the Military Technologies Conference Advisory Council, will moderate the module.

Leading off the discussion will be John Nairus, chief of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Electrochemistry and Thermal Sciences Branch, who will speak on Air Force electrical power and thermal management challenges.

Bruce Drolen scientist, technical fellow at Boeing - Space & Intelligence Systems will give the second presentation, "Aerospace Thermal Management Challenges and Solutions, a Boeing Perspective." He will discuss how "the aerospace thermal management challenge is driven by:

-- the user's inexhaustible demand for greater processing capability for image exploitation (IE) applications, such as automatic target recognition (ATR) and moving target engagement (MTE), and for high data rate communications both on aircraft and spacecraft;
-- the move to more electric vehicles to reduce weight and power consumption by eliminating hydraulic actuation systems; and
-- the need for directed energy weapons (DEW).

This presentation will address trends in this area as well as selected potential solutions.

Following Drolen will be Jim Smith, lead mechanical engineer for Sechan Electronics. Smith will cover "a new fiber optic/digital intercommunication system (ICS) for the Navy's E-2 Advanced Hawkeye aircraft that is under development to replace the aging analog system.

This presentation discusses the methods employed to develop a satisfactory thermal design for the crew station without the fabrication of prototypes. Critical thermal management required an accurate prediction of the buoyancy-driven convective flow and radiation heat transfer.

Heat from the individual electronic devices is transferred to the chassis by conduction, utilizing custom-designed heat pipes and circuit card mounts. The thermal analysis was conducted in several stages: hand calculations, spreadsheet calculations, and computer simulation."

After a short break, Michael Gust, manager, mechanical systems analysis for the Defense Business Unit at Mercury Computer Systems and Rex Harvey, principal engineer, Advanced Cooling Systems Team, Parker Hannifin Corp. will present "Liquid Cooling Solutions in High Performance Applications."

Their talk will discuss how "military applications are demanding higher and higher compute bandwidth/hardware density. Unfortunately, current thermal management implementations are putting restrictions on the performance density than can be realized. Using liquid cooling can eliminate thermal restrictions that would otherwise force the user to comprise on system performance.

This presentation will focus on the proposed VITA 48.3 Ruggedized Enhanced Design Implementation (REDI)-Liquid Cooling, being developed by the VME Standards Organization (VSO).

It is the first major open standard for liquid-cooled COTS modules. In addition to highlighting the thermal benefits of liquid cooling, this presentation will also point out the capabilities of liquid cooling that include providing a viable upgrade path from conduction cooling to liquid cooling without the need to replace the chassis at each technology refresh, as well as its inherent wide-ranging design flexibility that covers the full spectrum from simple flow-thru to full spray-evaporative cooling."

The last speaker of the module, Trevor Landon, director of advanced technologies at TAG, will cover how today's designers of deployed rugged COTS computing technologies are faced with the continued escalation of thermal demands by current and future generation processors.

Recently released commercial processors are an obvious example of this trend with a thermal design powers in excess of 130 Watts and an allowed operating case temperature of only 70 degrees Celsius. The usage of this processor or any number of the other similar examples poses significant challenges for system designers faced with their use in extended thermal environments.

Engineers who face the extended thermal requirements of deployed rugged environments must have a firm grasp on the power per performance of the current generation processors to have a successful system design. Successful system design using traditional cooling technologies requires a firm understanding of the limits of forced air convection cooling, and the tools and techniques used to implement successful designs.

This presentation will review the current state of the art thermal design technologies, and detail the trade-offs that must be made when extended thermal operating environments are required."

Following the presentations will be a question and answer session with the audience.

In addition to the panel on thermal and power management, MTC 2007 also has two other focused modules led by industry leaders: Networking on the Move, which focuses on the design challenges in providing non line-of-sight communications to military units on the move, and Software Implementation for Open Architectures, which discusses how military program managers today adapting legacy code and legacy systems to modern open architectures that are independent of hardware.

Also be sure to check out the MTC Opening Session on the morning of March 27, which is highlighted by two talks on lead-free issues.

The first presentation is from Anthony J. Rafanelli, an engineering fellow at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems and Lloyd Condra, Technical Fellow at Boeing Phantom Works on "A Protocol for Reliability Testing of Aerospace and High-Performance Lead-Free Electronic Assemblies."

William Russell of Raytheon Professional Services LLC will also present "Methodology for Evaluating Data for 'Reverse Compatibility' Solder Joints." The other authors of this paper are Dennis Fritz - SAIC, Christian Navarro -- Purdue Calumet, Carol Handwerker -- Purdue, Lafayette, Gary Latta -- NAVSEA Crane, and Andrew Ganster -- NAVSEA Crane.

The conference will be at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. Register for the conference at the conference Website, For more information, please visit

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