rewarding to help troubleshoot and
sort out technical challenges.
Making the connection
The need for speed is influencing
interconnect decisions throughout
aerospace and defense designs, at
the board, chassis, and system levels.
High-speed serial links are replacing virtually any bus, explains
Rodger Hosking, vice president of
Pentek Inc. in Upper Saddle River,
N.J. “Gone are the parallel
bus architectures previously
used to interconnect virtually
all embedded system elements. This not only applies
to devices on the same boards
but also between boards
“The benefits of fewer
lines, less real estate, and
smaller connectors are often well
worth the added design challenges
of higher bit rates and more sophis-
ticated interfaces,” says Hosking,
who is witnessing a move from cop-
per to optical connections.
“Spurred by the shift from paral-
lel to serial links, optical interfaces
are especially attractive for deliv-
ering high-bandwidth data over
longer distances and where cable
size, weight, and signal integrity
are critical,” Hosking continues. In
fact, engineers are on the hunt for
products capable of handling higher
signal frequencies and bandwidths
for their software radio communica-
tions and radar systems.
“Most new high-bandwidth A/D
and D/A converters have abandoned
simple parallel low-voltage differ-
ential signaling (LVDS) interfaces
in favor of more complex JESD204B
gigabit serial links, invariably
implemented with cus-
gate array (FPGA) engines,”
Hosking explains. “Not only
must the FPGA accommo-
date the complexity of the
JESD204B interface, but it
must also handle data rates
up to 9. 6 gigabytes per sec-
ond. As the sampling rates
The use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies for aerospace
and defense applications has moved into the safety-critical realm.
Engineers are eager to leverage COTS modules to support safety-critical applications to RTCA DO-178 Software Considerations in Airborne
Systems and Equipment Certification and DO-254 Design Assurance
Guidance for Airborne Electronic Hardware Design Assurance Level
(DAL) C and higher, and meet the need for mixed assurance graphics.
Interest in certifiable COTS modules continues to grow, says Greg
Tiedemann, product line director of Mercury Mission Systems in Phoenix.
Aerospace and defense engineers across a wide range of applications are
interested in Mercury’s safety-critical COTS product line, he says.
“The interest is fueled by the constraints on budget and schedule
that doesn’t allow for custom developments, as has been the case in
the past,” Tiedemann says. “We are seeing multiple applications for
high-definition (HD) video streaming to cockpit displays and around the
aircraft,” Tiedemann explains. The trend toward glass upgrades in aircraft cockpits is driving the demand for mixed safety assurance graphics, and has generated some distinct challenges, he says.
Mercury was selected to provide safety-critical video server subsys-
tems, which will perform encoding/decoding and switch multiple HD
video streams, for a military airborne platform. “The challenge is always
to provide a mix of boards at different safety-critical levels, within a single
Modular Open Systems Architecture that can be easily configured for dif-
ferent sensors and upgraded for future capabilities,” Tiedemann says.
Mercury engineers leverage a large portfolio of safety-certifiable
processing and I/O building blocks and pre-integrate them into adaptable, pre-engineered avionics chassis, he says. For example, the company’s ROCK pre-engineered, safety-certifiable chassis features multiple
safety zones that support mixed assurance graphics and other applications requiring more than one level of safety certification.
Mercury personnel are also integrating safety-certifiable graphics
libraries from Richland Technologies, an automotive and defense safety
company it acquired, into the Mercury portfolio to expand its video
server capabilities and safety-certifiable COTS offerings. Automotive
electronics and software technologies are advancing rapidly in response
to increased investment by top technology leaders, particularly in
autonomous vehicles like self-driving or driverless cars. “Increased
demand for automotive safety capabilities is influencing defense appli-
cations,” Tiedemann explains. “The investment in Richland enables
Mercury to integrate automotive technology for certifiable processing
and graphics technologies into defense applications.”
Technology transfer is growing among the automotive, Internet of
Things (Io T), and aerospace/defense communities. Read more online
about autonomous vehicle and Io T hardware and software innovations
applicable to aerospace and defense applications from defense suppliers,
such as Wind River, Crystal Group, and others at http://bit.ly/2eXAidS.
Crystal Group RS363S15F Rugged 3U Server with a depth
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