Military avionics retrofits to aircraft such as the B-1 Bomber are leveraging powerful commercial processors and high-speed networking in a distributed architecture to enable future capability upgrades. Meanwhile, safety concerns related to degraded visual environments are driving synthetic vision designs for rotary wing platforms.
Airborne maritime surveillance radars play a central role in the global homeland defense of more than 315,000 miles of worldwide coastline. While considered state-of-the-art, these radars continue to evolve to meet military customers' needs for persistent surveillance, automation, and continued tracking of targets as they move from sea to land.
As the type and number of military and national security threats increase, so does the sophistication and capabilities of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems needed to address those threats. The problem, however, is that developing and operating advanced ISR systems is costly, and in many cases a user does not have the time, resources, acquisition processes, or technological maturity to make an ISR procurement practical.
Missile systems, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) payloads, soldier radios, and other applications are seeing the benefits of miniaturization and enhanced performance in Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. However, GPS designs also require more elaborate anti-jamming techniques such as combining GPS with Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) to combat new, sophisticated threats. Meanwhile, DARPA researchers continue to reduce GPS footprints as they combine a tiny IMU and timing capability on one substrate.
Commercial smartphone technology, long thought to be too unsecure or not rugged enough for battlefield use, is gaining support among U.S. military program managers who see it as a cost-effective way to quickly get capability in the hands of warfighters.
As technology and requirements evolve, the U.S. Navy is leveraging commercial technology and open architectures to keep shipboard electronics relevant in the 21st century. This also serves to enhance capability for the warfighter in new platforms such as the Littoral Combat Ship and in new systems such as the Air and Missile Defense Radar.
OpenVPX brings together high-speed parallel processing FPGAs with the software capability of CPUs to meet the most challenging sensor processing applications for unmanned platforms.
Requirements for smart sensors that can see further and produce high-quality imagery in small, low-weight packages are driving Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) payloads development. Designers of these systems also face challenges such as balancing reduced Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) requirements while increasing performance, uncertain Department of Defense funding priorities, and data link bandwidth limitations.
The proliferation of unmanned vehicle platforms – in the air, on the ground, and in the water – has provided an unparalleled opportunity to expand intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations. Choosing the optimal blend of functionality, performance, reliability, and cost is the key challenge in optimizing the use of video. Meanwhile, key considerations include sensor processing location trends, video fusion, and video compression and bandwidth, in addition to Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP).
The fast pace of UAV/UGV/UUV evolution places an ever-increasing demand on size, weight, and power, while the range of use applications – from surveillance to air defense to communications relays – and interest from national security organizations beyond military continue to grow. To accommodate increasing requirements and diminishing budgets, public contractors and private vendors are moving to Size, Weight, Power, and Cost (SWaP-C)-savvy standards-based systems design, such as by utilizing the smaller envelopes of VITA 75 small form factors to replace existing 3U and 6U VPX technologies. This allows the integration of future payload capabilities into the space available in existing mobile platforms.