Military Embedded Systems

Daily Briefing


January 13, 2008

Alice Moss

Military Embedded Systems

Associate Editor Sharon Schnakenburg reports on the latest news, trends, and people affecting change in today's military market.

Australian and U.S. governments give each other space

Or rather, the Australian and U.S governments are about to get into the same space: The U.S. Air Force has authorized Boeing to build a sixth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS), and the Commonwealth of Australia is funding the endeavor as part of an agreement between the two nations. In exchange, the Australian Defence Force gains worldwide WGS service access. The new WGS satellite will be a Block II version of the 702 model spacecraft, supporting Radio Frequency (RF) bypass data rates of up to 311 Mbps (200x faster than typical DSL or cable connections).

Patents: Yours, mine, or ours?

In the wake of a continuing barrage of technology patent disputes, some contentions are finally getting resolved: Artesyn Technologies - recently acquired by Emerson Network Power, as was Motorola's Embedded Communications Computing group - offered a successful defense on most of the 82 patent infringement claims lodged by Power-One, Inc. surrounding 4 of Artesyn's patents. A Texas jury found only one patent infringement on a product never sold by Artesyn, and the jury determined that infringement was unintentional. A fee of $100 in damages may be awarded to Power-One, Emerson reports.

Green Hills and its Padded Cell

Is security the problem or the remedy? "Many people believe that hypervisors are the solution to security problems. But existing hypervisors actually make security problems worse by providing another avenue for attack," says Green Hills Software founder and CEO Dan O'Dowd. Accordingly, Green Hills has announced what it calls "the world's first secure hypervisor" or the Padded Cell Secure Hypervisor, which operates on top of the company's EAL6+ compliant INTEGRITY separation kernel and compartmentalizes and virtualizes guest operating systems. Additionally, it implements separation among virtual machines: Its virtualization software operates as an application and therefore cannot circumvent the separation kernel's security policies.

Savi enters green scene

Not only is green a growing trend in the U.S. and Europe, it's also hot in Kuwait, as Lockheed Martin subsidiary Savi Technology is proving. Savi's engineers recently installed Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) signposts and solar panels at a key U.S. Army supply depot in Kuwait. The new technology reportedly reduces costs, is environmentally friendly, and removes any need for electrical infrastructure installation in remote areas. Plans are also in the works with the U.S. DoD to bring solar-powered technology to additional Middle Eastern regions, Savi reports.

Increased optimization in a reduced size

It's all in a day's work - or at least in a day's announcement - for Intel, which unveiled 16 new lead- and halogen-free products at the International 2008 Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Among the offerings announced are Intel's first 45nm processors for tucking inside Intel Centrino Processor Technology based laptops. The chips leverage Intel's new transistor formula and increase PC speed, prolong battery life, reduce power consumption, and are available in smaller packages.

VITA's VPX scores with ANSI

Nearly four years in the making, VITA's VPX base standard (ANSI/VITA 46.0-2007) and its "dot standard" VMEbus Signal Mapping for VPX (ANSI/VITA 46.1-2007) have received American National Standards Institute (ANSI) ratification. VITA 46.0 describes the full suite of VPX dot standards and VPX's physical features. Meanwhile, VITA 46.1 enables legacy and latest-generation VMEbus technology to converge under VPX. The VPX backplane standard accommodates several switch fabric protocols including PCI Express, Serial RapidIO, and GbE, among others.

Double duty for new CWCEC Senior VP

Multitasking is required at most jobs these days … particularly if you're Curtiss-Wright Controls' new Senior VP Tom Quinly, who is also continuing in his role as president of the company's Embedded Computing Division. Quinly received his recent promotion to SVP, according to Curtiss-Wright Controls president David Adams, because of his strong performance within the company. Quinly has 25 years of experience in the defense industry and became part of Curtiss-Wright Controls with its acquisition of his employer, Dy4, in 2004.

New iRobots to provide a theater of operations

More war fighters can stay out of harm's way, thanks to the U.S. Army's new $286 million xBot contract with iRobot Corp. The Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract stipulates that the Army can acquire up to 3,000 military robots, along with training, spare parts, and repair services within the next five years. As the new robots will largely be deployed for mission-critical general infantry force purposes, the contract indicates a departure from the Army's earlier strategy to only deploy robots to Explosive Ordnance Device (EOD) specialists.


Figure 1: iRobot




RTI and Northrop Grumman: CLIPping out military data issues

Northrop Grumman and Real-Time Innovations (RTI) recently joined forces to "CLIP" a new DDS-compliant interface into the U.S. Navy and Air Force Common Link Integration Processing (CLIP) system. Aimed at solving inherent incompatibility between the two branches' Tactical Data Links (TDLs), CLIP enables legacy platforms connection to IP-based systems. It also enables TDL processing for platforms without their own data link via bridging a new TDL radio/terminal to the legacy mission computer's software. CLIP's new DDS interface is Net-Centric Enterprise Solutions for Interoperability (NESI) compliant and purported to ease TDL integration.

Chassis Plans partners up

Some say "less is more," but Chassis Plans may beg to differ. The mission-critical COTS and custom computer systems manufacturer recently earned the title of Microsoft Certified Partner, which enables its access to additional training, software licensing, and technical support channels. Steve Travis, Director of Program Management at Chassis Plans, says, "Our customers can't afford downtime with these systems installed in Iraq and other mission-critical arenas. Gaining Microsoft Certified partner status fits within our ISO:9001 plan and shows our customers our commitment to quality in the products we ship them."

Fast path to DO-178B certification

Companies laboring for DO-178B certification might find a speedier route if they use DDC-I's mixed-language development environment OpenArbor, which now supports the FAA-certified LynuxWorks LynxOS-178 RTOS. Any developers utilizing OpenArbor in C, Ada, and Embedded C++ (EC++) or any combination thereof can reach DO-178B Level A certification by using the RTOS to deploy their mission-critical applications.

Cell phone-like device protects soldiers from chemical threats

General Dynamics has chosen biological subsystems and sensor chips producer Sionex Corporation to supply Differential Mobility Spectrometry (DMS) technology for use in its JUNO "cell phone-style interface" chemical detector. JUNO is part of a contract between General Dynamics and the U.S. DoD under the Joint Chemical Agent Detector (JCAD) program's Increment 2. JUNO can simultaneously monitor levels of exposure to chemical warfare agents, nontraditional agents, and toxic industrial chemicals. It also lets users know when decontamination efforts are successful.

Letter to the editor

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your article on the continued health of the Ada language and its market for safety-critical systems. In the Sept/Oct 2007 issue of Military Embedded Systems and your editorial, The "A's" have it, you mentioned new support for Wind River's VxWorks 653 Platform. AdaCore has supported this platform since 2002 when GNAT Pro was selected for both the KC-767 and C-130 AMP projects. This is the GNAT Pro High-Integrity Edition for DO-178B, which has been used to successfully develop certified avionics systems on multiple aircraft, and which continues to be used in this safety-critical domain. The High-Integrity Edition for DO-178B contains a certifiable runtime system, a full ARINC-653 API, along with various support tools to aid in safety-critical certification efforts. We are delighted to see the market for Ada and safety-critical systems continuing to expand with new vendors entering the market.


Greg Gicca
Director of Safety and Security Product Marketing