Recent trends in electronics testing for space missions are focused on rigorous testing with attention to the complexities of space weather and the impact on the component and system design.
Mil Tech Trends
Radiation immunity and signal processing requirements are increasing for spacecraft and satellite electronic systems as designers look to add more capability for government and civilian applications. Meanwhile, the U.S. military and commercial markets for space electronics remain flat, thanks to the slow global economy and government budget cuts.
Cloud computing has demonstrated huge cost savings and operational efficiency benefits for the private sector and now Department of Defense (DoD) IT managers are exploring the concept for enterprise and tactical applications. However, DoD planners are moving much more cautiously to assure they have plugged all the potential cyber security vulnerabilities inherent in something as nebulous as a virtual cloud.
The network is becoming increasingly crucial to the world's armed forces. Unsurprisingly, it uses the same technologies that are proven in the commercial world, with much of the equipment sourced by the armed forces being of COTS origin. But the military needs a level of security - anti-tamper, information assurance, data destruction, encryption - way beyond what the commercial world requires. COTS solutions have emerged that leverage the innovations driving the commercial mobile data industry while addressing specific military security concerns such as encryption.
Whether next to the sensor on a UAV payload, in a vetronics mission computer, or in a helicopter's avionics bay, computer architectures are shrinking, requiring smaller form factors with the same performance punch as larger designs. The embedded COTS community is offering various Small Form Factor (SFF) flavors - off-the-shelf or customized - while industry groups such as VITA are developing standards to provide some order to the growing SFF demand.
Virtualization trends in commercial computing offer benefits for cost, reliability, and security, but pose a challenge for military operators who need to visualize lossless imagery in real time. 10 GbE technology enables a standard zero client solution for viewing pixel-perfect C4ISR sensor and graphics information with near zero interactive latency.
The use of a Modular Open System Architecture (MOSA) can provide cost savings, and performance and upgrade flexibility gains, in digital receiver designs for use in Electronic Warfare (EW). Some approaches to employing MOSA in digital receivers are illustrated, as well as the benefits achieved.
High Performance Embedded Computing (HPEC) is rapidly becoming mainstream in the mil/aero embedded computing world, bringing with it the potential to solve increasingly challenging problems such as that of processing ISR and other signal processing data. The key for developers, however, is to make the right architectural and technology choices as mandated by the DoD's Modular Open Systems Architecture (MOSA) initiative - and then to exploit those architectures and technologies, rather than be constrained by them. To help accomplish this, software tools utilizing advanced modeling and optimization techniques are available to enable designers to analyze their MOSA-based implementations for maximum efficacy.
Radar and Electronic Warfare (EW) designers' thirst for more and more data is driving innovation at the signal processing level as embedded computing suppliers work magic with FPGAs and processors to create intelligent, fast sensor networks.
Big-screen biometric apps, stand aside: Off-the-shelf smartphones enable rapid suspect ID for warfighters, intelligence ops
In this Military Embedded Systems Q&A, Paul Schuepp of Animetrics unveils how off-the-shelf mobile devices are being equipped with biometric face recognition software to put facial recognition technology within seconds – and an arm's length – of the warfighter.