Military Embedded Systems

Daily Briefing: News Snippets


February 10, 2009

Alice Moss

Military Embedded Systems

A news corner featuring the latest in military embedded technology happenings, including: Green Hills earns EAL6+, Turkish and U.S. Navies get some support, PrismTech's source code opens up, industry bids farewell to ACT/Technico, and DoD contracts protect troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other headlines.

Green Hills earns EAL6+

Is the Internet with its inherent lack of security a blessing or a curse to individuals, governments, militaries, nations? While some are postulating and even pontificating on the matter, Green Hills Software spent the past decade laying the groundwork to achieve what its execs say is the solution: the EAL6+ High Robustness certification of its INTEGRITY-178B operating system. The certification was spurred into action by the National Security Agency (NSA) and recently ratified by the NSA's National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) initiative. INTEGRITY-178B, the only COTS RTOS to have achieved EAL6+ status, provides users the ability to defeat hostile cyberattacks by foreign defense agencies, corporate spies, and sophisticated criminals and provides the enterprise with military-grade security. (Also see Editor's Choice section.)

Figure 1

(Click graphic to zoom by 1.5x)



Helicopter consortium speaks DGA's lingo

An industry consortium is speaking the French Defence Procurement Agency's (DGA's) language - to the tune of an additional 22 NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopters (TTHs). The agreement between the DGA and the NHIndustries consortium - an NH90 joint venture of Agusta Westland, Eurocopter, and Stork Fokker - requests the new crop of helicopters in addition to the 12 ordered by DGA last November. All 34 vehicles are slated for delivery to the French Army beginning in 2011, and will be manufactured at Eurocopter- Marignane, France locale. NH90 falls under the 9 to 10 metric ton umbrella, works in conjunction with anti-submarine combat and tactical transport fleets, and features forward-looking IR and weather radar. NH90, which flies as fast as 300 km/h, is touted as Europe's most complex military helicopter program, with 23 variants in production.

New standard hastens software porting, development time recently released its Embedded Power Architecture Platform Requirements (ePAPR) standard, which accelerates software porting and reduces development expenses for Power Architecture CPU-based embedded systems. ePAPR defines the interfaces between client programs and boot programs, including bootloaders, boot firmware, hypervisors, and OSs. Key to the equation is a device tree that lists characteristics and properties of a system's physical devices and is loaded into client program memory. Consequently, the system can dynamically detect and access system hardware that likely would be otherwise undetectable. The abstraction level thereby afforded also speeds the design process by shielding designers from the complexity often associated with the underlying hardware. ePAPR additionally stipulates mechanisms to boot a system comprising multiple Power Architecture CPUs.

Turkish and U.S. Navies get some support

What do the U.S. and Turkish navies have in common? For one thing, they are both beneficiaries of a recent $6.3 million U.S. Navy's Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) contract modification. The modification to 2004's Design Agent Contract stipulates that Lockheed Martin (LM) render engineering support services for its MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS), found on both the Turkish navy's MEKO Track IIA and IIB frigates and in the U.S. Navy's Ticonderoga Class guided missile cruiser's regime of modernization. The MK 41 VLS, incarnated in the 1980s by LM, has undergone many baseline improvements and system upgrades in subsequent years to lower ownership costs and utilize new missile technology. In the present day, the below-deck MK 41 multi-missile launcher helps militaries in ballistic missile defense, ship self-defense, and anti-submarine and anti-air endeavors. Twelve navies worldwide have 186 ships with MK 41 VLS systems on order or in service.

Figure 2



PrismTech's source code opens up

In today's economy, many will take what they can get for a good deal, or better yet: free. While either scenario appears dismal for the grantor, PrismTech just might see things differently: The company recently released its low-latency OpenSplice DDS software into the open source code arena under Lesser General Public License (LGPL). GPL permits users‚ commercially licensed applications to use the Open Source OpenSplice DDS without their applications becoming subject to the LPGL terms, according to information provided by PrismTech. The reasons behind OpenSplice DDS's transfer to open source include customer demand for product uptake in new industry sectors and applications, along with the ability to fast-track user-led innovation and conquer the innate risks of mission-critical deployments. OpenSplice DDS will be downloadable in early Q2 2009; however, immediate evaluation opportunities are also available by contacting PrismTech at

One-stop-shop increases its scope

One Stop Systems, Inc. recently bought from Ciprico, Inc. the sole rights to manufacture three of the data storage company's product lines: Talon 4, DiMeda, and MediaVault. Ciprico, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last July, will also transfer the three product lines' existing inventory and order backlog to One Stop Systems. Talon 4 is a rugged military RAID system suitable for C4ISR streaming data acquisition; DiMeda is a Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliance designed for the digital cinema market; and MediaVault is a direct attached storage device that fares well in video imaging and commercial TV and radio broadcasting apps.

Industry bids farewell to ACT/Technico

Many industry participants would agree that the adage "all good things must come to an end" is true for ACT/Technico, recently acquired by Elma Electronic. The 30-year-old ACT/Technico now joins Elma's nomenclature, and the move melds Elma's electronic packaging know-how with ACT/Technico's repertoire of embedded integration knowledge. In a statement to the media, ACT/Technico's VP, Ken Grob, said, "By providing a more extensive set of computing products and services, our combined companies can further assist our customers in developing completely integrated system platforms." Meanwhile, commonality between the now-unified companies (or really, company) includes their VITA- and PICMG-based savvy in the defense and communications markets.

Figure 3

(Click graphic to zoom by 1.2x)



DoD contracts protect troops in Iraq, Afghanistan

The U.S. DoD and Boeing recently put pen to paper once again, signing two contracts aimed at keeping soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq out of harm's way. The first contract totals $106.9 million and orders continued (Lot 13) production of Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits to be delivered to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force in 2010 and 2011. Meanwhile, the second contract stipulates that Boeing continue to provide the U.S. Air Force with more than 2,500 Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs) and their carriages in 2010 at a price tag of $110.2 million (Lot 5 production). The low-cost JDAM guidance kits transform existing unguided 500, 1,000, and 2,000 pound free-falling bombs into smart guided weapons. In contrast, SDB is known for its size and accuracy, multipurpose warhead, and standoff range of more than 40 nautical miles, Boeing reports.