Military Embedded Systems

Daily Briefings: News Snippets

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September 25, 2008

Sharon Hess

Military Embedded Systems

A roundup of recent military embedded technology headlines, including: Semiconductor sales: Against the economic trend; mission computer finds refuge, U.S. Navy selects GeneSiC - again, and more

Semiconductor sales: Against the economic trend?

While the U.S. dollar continues to struggle, the worldwide semiconductor market isn't facing the same challenges, according to a recently released Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) report. Findings indicate that worldwide semiconductor sales were at $21.8 billion in May 2008, a 7.5 percent rise from the $20.3 billion of May 2007. Meanwhile, May 2008 sales showed a 2.8 percent increase over the $21.2 billion of April 2008. "Despite reports of declining consumer confidence in the U.S., both disposable income and consumer spending rose in May. It is likely that the distribution of tax rebate checks to millions of Americans was a factor in increased consumer spending," says George Scalise, SIA president. The report also states that "until recently" about 31 percent of sales of PC units were U.S. based, but that today's emerging consumer markets leave the U.S. accounting for only 21 percent at present. Additionally, SIA predicts that in 2008, the U.S. will account for only 13 percent of cell phone unit sales, compared to 21 percent five years ago.

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U.S. Navy selects GeneSiC - again

Perhaps the U.S. Navy can't get enough of a good thing - or at least not enough of the Silicon Carbide (SiC) devices offered by GeneSiC Semiconductor Inc. Consequently, the U.S. Navy's Naval Surface Warfare Center, which chose GeneSiC for its Phase I SBIR project, has now chosen the vendor for Phase II SBIR. The project centers on multi-kV SiC device development for both power distribution systems and power conditioning within modern and legacy ship bus infrastructures. And there's more- the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) also granted GeneSiC its Phase I SBIR award, which focuses on novel SiC device fabrication and design for high-power, high-frequency radar applications.

Mission computer finds refuge

Hurt or helps those on the battlefield seeking shelter, anyway. Accordingly, Smiths Detection, provider of Chemical Biological Protective Shelters (CBPSs), recently granted a through-2016 IDIQ contract to Parvus to provide its DuraCOR 810 mission computers for Smiths' highly mobile, contamination-free shelters. The shelters are built to protect combat service support personnel and medical combat services, and the COTS DuraCOR 810 will serve as processor subsystem therein. The rugged COTS DuraCOR 810 is deployed in several manned and unmanned aircraft, naval installations, and ground vehicles. It also meets the harsh environment requirements of MIL-STD-810F and the voltage/power surge requirements of MIL-STD-1275D and -704E.

Bradley Combat System gets new SoC

Production kits for the battle-ready and -proven Bradley Combat System will soon feature the Acalis Multicore System-on-Chip (SoC). Chosen by BAE Ground Systems, CPU Technology, Inc.'s Acalis CPU420 field-programmable SoCs are low-power, highly integrated units configurable to system requirements. The SoCs contain several processors, controllers, interfaces, memories, and critical functions while reducing board count. Acalis CPU420 is scheduled for a 19-month delivery span.

New avionics safety groups take flight

Commercial airplanes and select military aircraft aren't the only ones flying in DO-178B (software) and DO-254 (hardware) avionics safety-standard style. Now two new industry groups, the DO-254 Industry Group and the DO-178 Industry Group, are ascending into the world of engineering - and looking for members. The groups are designed to provide a central repository and serve as a router to fill avionics sector needs and "energize and synergize avionics development." The groups unite vendors, developers, service companies, and tool providers in providing products, white papers, and training. Both nonprofit groups also have their own blogs at www.do178blog.com and www.do254blog.com. For more information, visit www.do178site.com or www.do254site.com.

PikeOS is a 'GO for the DIANA project

SYSGO was recently chosen to supply its PikeOS virtualization RTOS platform for the European DIANA (Distributed, equipment Independent environment for Advanced AvioNics Applications) project. Led by Skysoft and funded by the European Commission's 6th Framework Programme, the DIANA project's goal is defining an "advanced" AIDA (Architecture for Independent Distributed Avionics) platform to support object-oriented applications' execution over secure distribution services and virtual machines. PikeOS, an ARINC-653 and MILS-compliant RTOS, will support AIDA's Flight Management System (FMS) test application.

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U.S. Army sends signals

The U.S. Army recently enlisted Rohde & Schwarz's R&S SMB100M signal generators for duty. The contract between the two entities was initiated by the U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL. The agreement stipulates that Rohde & Schwarz provide 4,000 of its high-performance RF signal generators, along with optional support and service for seven years. The signal generators will be used for the Army's Test Equipment Modernization (TEMOD) program, which facilitates the replacement of obsolete general-purpose test equipment with off-the-shelf, state-of-the-art products. TEMOD's goal is to improve Army weapon systems readiness, reduce field equipment amounts, and cut costs of operations and support. The R&S SMB100M is a spin-off of the commercially available analog signal generator R&S SMB100A, which features a measurement range from 9 KHz to 6 GHz.

Do you see what I see?

Quantum3D Inc. recently got into the picture after QuantaDyn selected Q3D's Independence IDX 4000 Image Generator (IG) to provide upgrades to the U.S. Air Force's KC-135 Boom Operator Weapons System Trainer (BOWST). The BOWST training system helps prepare boom operators for service on the KC-135 Stratotanker, which provides in-flight refueling for Navy, Marine, Air Force, and allied nations' aircraft. Independence IDX 4000 will provide reflections on a 3D ocean, dynamic shadows, advanced weather effects, real-time lighting, alias elimination, and 8,192-pixel by 8,192-pixel shadow masks for BOWST as a result of Randolph Air Force Base's original request for upgrades. The upgraded BOWST's next stop is Altus Air Force Base.

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