Military Embedded Systems

Daily Briefing: News Snippets


October 15, 2008

Alice Moss

Military Embedded Systems

Daily Briefing: News Snippets

A roundup of the latest mil tech happenings, including: VME brings new life to Navy system, organic approach saves USAF costs, U.S. Army stays ahead of the game, VPX computing speeds up DARPA, and "Freedom" Littoral Combat Ship is delivered, among other headlines.

VME brings new life to Navy system

While some might say VME is a thing of the past, a recent U.S. Navy contract has VME in its future. The Navy's contract stipulates that Cornet Technology, Inc. develops Maritime Embedded Global Positioning System Adapters (MEGA) next-gen VME cards for the San Diego SPAWAR Systems Center. MEGA replaces end-of-life cards in the application module of the Navy's global positioning receiver system, and is part of the Navy's goal of upgrading its maritime GPS to reach Selective Availability Anti-Spoof Module (SAASM) compliance. SAASM is a component of the Space-based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing policy signed by President Bush in 2004. SAASM assures that U.S. enemies can't imitate true GPS signals or insert incorrect time or position information.

Figure 1: U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Ken J. Riley

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Organic approach saves USAF costs

Though "going organic" typically means higher prices, the U.S. Air Force believes the approach will lower theirs. Case in point: Officials at the U.S. Air Force Warner Robins Air Logistics Center decided to form their own internal or "organic" teams – instead of outsourcing to contractors – to conduct a C130 avionics software update. However, the USAF did enlist software developer DDC-I for assistance including training, services, and foundational products for the upgrade. "[The USAF is] creating their own 'organic' software teams to save costs and reduce turnaround times," says DDC-I president/CEO Bob Morris. In addition, the contract specifies that DDC-I provides its OpenArbor object-oriented, mixed-language IDE for safety-critical apps to replace the USAF's legacy MIPS and 1750A Ada compilers.

Figure 2: U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tony R. Tolley

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Boeing and Raytheon together again

Already onboard the Boeing-led industry team for the U.S. Navy's P-8A Poseidon, Raytheon recently joined Boeing's EP-X industry team. EP-X is a manned ISR and targeting aircraft slated to supersede the EP-3, a U.S. Navy SIGINT platform. Raytheon will provide EP-X's multi-intelligence integration and sensor integration, and play a major part in core mission systems. The EP-X $1.25 million "concept refinement contract" was awarded to Boeing earlier this year. Boeing expects to draw maintenance, logistics, support, relevant data, and training from P-8A Poseidon into the EP-X project. P-8A Poseidon is an ISR aircraft designed for anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare.

VPX computing speeds up DARPA

 hastens one of DARPA's field intelligence programs anyway. Accordingly, prime Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) recently chose Quantum3D, Inc.'s LibertyVPX High-Performance Embedded Computing (HPEC) system for subcontractor implementation for the DARPA Space-Time Adaptive Processing ("STAP Boy") contract. STAP Boy provides field environments with teraflop computing power, enabling fast, real-time, high-volume processing in order for soldiers and first responders to use space-time adaptive radar systems, high-resolution sensors, occupant tracking, and urban structure mapping during life-critical missions. LibertyVPX HPEC will provide STAP Boy's research and development program with Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), COMINT, SIGINT, and radar capabilities.

Figure 3

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'Freedom' in the U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy has long encompassed the value of freedom, but now it is embracing a more tangible form of Freedom: the first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) in the nation. The 378-foot Freedom monohull ship, aka LCS 1, was recently delivered to the Navy for service and commissioning by an industry team led by Lockheed Martin. Freedom can displace 3,000 metric tons, travels faster than 40 knots, and is touted to lend the Navy increased dominance in seaside battles. Additionally, LCS 1 will help the Navy overthrow maritime threats including surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and mine warfare. The combat vessel passed its sea trials in August and is slated for commissioning this November in Milwaukee, WI.

U.S. Army stays ahead of the game

While the ability to see the future is highly coveted, the U.S. Army is planning on the next best thing: One Tactical Engagement Simulation System (OneTESS). Enter AT&T Government Solutions, Inc., which recently chose Parvus as supplier of the simulation system's Vehicle Interface Control Unit (VICU). The VICU is based on Parvus' DuraCOR 810 COTS processor platform, designed for C4ISR apps and harsh mobile environments as specified by MIL-STD-810F. Meanwhile, OneTESS's operational capabilities are scheduled for FY08 use on vehicles including the Abrams M1A2 SEP and M109A6 SP and the Bradley M2/M3A3. Part of the Army's systems-of-systems, OneTESS will render realistic combat simulations for live participants, including Force-on-Target (FOT) and Force-on-Force (FOF) training to support tactical missions.

Figure 4

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