Military Embedded Systems

Daily Briefing: News Snippets


July 08, 2008

Alice Moss

Military Embedded Systems

A briefing on the latest military and aerospace events, including: Boeing sets a world record for UAVs, Curtiss-Wright scores FCS contract win, and Loral Space & Communications' subsidiary delivers its ProtoStar I satellite to French Guiana, among other news.

Northrop Grumman and U.S. Navy want more

Northrop Grumman recently decided that enough wasn't enough, then granted a second (low-rate) initial production Central Electronics Chassis (CEC) contract to VMETRO, Inc. The contract stipulates that VMETRO provides three more CECs for the U.S. Navy's Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS). CEC is a liquid-cooled ATR system, containing VMETRO's VPF1 quad processor payload cards and VITA 41 CSW1 switch cards. Meanwhile, the helicopter-deployed ALMDS program aids the U.S. Navy in spotting sea mines close to or at the surface of water by utilizing a blue-green laser and airborne light detection. Fifty-plus helicopter platforms are slated for ALMDS system outfitting.

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MicroTCA: Tough enough?

The debate of whether MicroTCA is really rugged enough - and for which apps - might be an open and closed case, according to Hybricon and Emerson Network Power. The closed case: Soon PICMG's MicroTCA.1 effort, which focuses on rugged industrial and commercial apps' shock, vibration, and extended temperature considerations, comes to completion. The open case: Work begins on the new PICMG Rugged MicroTCA.2 subcommittee, where Hybricon's Michael Palis serves as chair and Bob Sullivan takes on the secretary role, while Emerson's Stuart Jamieson is draft editor. Rugged MicroTCA.2 aims to address vibration and shock according to ANSI/VITA 47 for conduction- and air-cooled apps. The group will also focus on higher levels of harsh environment stressors than those covered by Rugged MicroTCA.1.

Lockheed Martin radar completes CDR

Getting critical isn't always a bad thing, particularly for military apps. A prime example is Lockheed Martin's (LM's) Enhanced AN/TPQ-36 counterfire target acquisition (EQ-36) radar, which has successfully completed its Critical Design Review (CDR). Consequently, the program's five radar systems are now set to start the initial production phase, with the first two systems slated for delivery to the U.S. Army by summer 2009, the third and fourth by fall 2009, and the fifth by early 2010. EQ-36 is touted to classify, detect, track, and determine locations of indirect enemy fire including artillery, rockets, and mortars in 360- or 90-degree modes. The EQ-36 will also replace outdated TPQ-36 and TPQ-37 medium-range radar, which offer only "limited" 90-degree operation. Total acquisition value could surpass $1.6 billion, LM reports.

Static analysis is improving, report reveals

With backing from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and as part of the government's Open Source Hardening Project, Coverity recently released its Scan Report on Open Source Software 2008. The report analyzes 55 million+ code lines from more than 250 open source projects utilizing the Coverity Prevent static analysis tool over a two-year timeframe. Projects analyzed include those implementing the Linux OS and Apache Web server, among others. Findings, related to the report's Scan site, indicated: There was a 16 percent drop in static analysis defect density; false positives detected by open source developers are less than 14 percent; and projects that have a large average function length are not more likely to have higher defect densities, among other findings. The free report can be downloaded at

Reducing SCA conformity risks

At the recent International Software Radio-Defence Conference held in London, Zeligsoft may have disproved the dangers of conformity. Case in point: Zeligsoft's new Code Generator v. 2.0 provides SCA device code generation, abstracting the physical radio hardware in compliance with SCA. This automated code production ensures that the platform continues to conform to the SCA specification during the full development cycle. Additionally, the company announced its SCA Core Framework (CF), an out-of-the-box solution comprising omniORB CORBA object request broker pre-integrated with the Zeligsoft CE system-centric development environment. Zeligsoft CE is geared toward software design for heterogeneous multiprocessor/multicore systems.

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SS/L sews up satellite modifications

Loral Space & Communications' subsidiary Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) recently delivered its tailored ProtoStar I satellite to Kourou, French Guiana. The satellite - spawned from an existing satellite purchased by ProtoStar - was altered to meet defined footprint/coverage and power requirements and deployed within 17 months of contract signing. ProtoStar I, operating on C-Band and Ku-Band, will offer two-way broadband Internet services to well-established and nascent Direct-To-Home (DTH) Asian market operators. The satellite is developed around SS/L's high-rel 1300 spacecraft bus and is anticipated to deliver 15+ service years. ProtoStar I, slated for launch onboard the Ariane 5 launch vehicle, is the first of several satellites on ProtoStar's docket.

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It's not a world record … or is it?

If the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) didn't see it, did it really happen? Boeing says so and has submitted their application to claim a world record to the NAA - the United States' sanctioning entity for the Fédération Aéronatique Internationale (FAI) - for a recent UAV flight. The A160T Hummingbird unmanned rotorcraft executed its 18.7-hour flight on May 14-15, thereby setting a world endurance record for its class (1,102 to 5,511 lbs or 500 to 2,500 kg), Boeing claims. "We didn't set out to establish a world record, but it was a great accomplishment," states Jim Martin, Boeing Advanced Systems A160T program manager. The flight occurred in southwestern Arizona at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground, where the aircraft transported an internal payload of 300 lbs at altitudes to 15,000 feet.

Curtiss-Wright scores FCS contract win

Forming one piece of an integrated puzzle, an $8 million contract was recently awarded to Curtiss-Wright Corporation by General Dynamics C4 Systems and Rockwell Collins, Inc. The contract specifies that Curtiss-Wright provides its General Processor Modules (GPMs) for utilization within the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems' (FCS') Integrated Computer System (ICS). The ICS synergizes 13 of 14 previously independent platforms within FCS, folding them into one secure, integrated computing environment. The initial order of GPMs is 1,000+ modules, expected to start shipping in Q2 2008.