Case Studies

3U VPX High Performance Electronic Warfare Platform

January 08, 2015

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Electronic Warfare applications are more diverse and more demanding than ever requiring the latest technology within a reduced size, weight and power (SWaP) constrained system. These applications require systems to have substantial low latency processing performance tied to multiple high-resolution channels capable of input in gigasamples per second (GSPS) range.

To make this possible, DSP-centric Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) components are utilized, allowing a wide range of high-speed algorithms to be integrated at the hardware level. In addition, the flexible open architecture hardware allows for the buildup of Software Defined Radio (SDR) system capabilities which pave the way for bidirectional encrypted communication systems.

System

In order to provide the right combination of low SWaP and high performance, the 3U VPX form factor was leveraged as the core to this Electronic Warfare Platform. Knowing that this solution would then have to meet the harshest of aerospace and defense standards, the MPMC-9321 rugged computer packaging was leveraged providing a compact, qualified, IP67-rated product. This rugged COTS system does not compromise on features and is ideal for a variety of electronic warfare and mission computing applications. A rugged, compact, and sealed 3U VPX chassis protects the electronics from adverse environmental conditions while providing optimal cooling paths for conduction or baseplate systems.

This variant of the MPMC-9321 features two key Curtiss-Wright manufactured module boards: the VPX3-1257 and the VPX3-530. The VPX3-1257 Single Board Computer (SBC) module acts as the central processor featuring a 2.1 GHz Intel 3rd Generation Core i7 quad-core processor with 16 GB SDRAM, 16 GB of NAND Flash, Gen2 PCI Express (PCIe) fabric interfaces, and XMC expansion. The VPX3-530 module provides the high speed data interface and programmable processing throu 8GB of onboard Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory (SDRAM).

To facilitate and help with development time, Curtiss-Wright also provides a development package called FusionXF, allowing developers to quickly build reusable code while leveraging existing FPGA HDL code interfacing via APIs to the I/O interface on each board. The software is built for cross-platform support on VxWorks, Linux, and Windows and provides useful utilities such as error and status logging.

Results

The MPMC-9321 system provides a configurable, high bandwidth, low latency data path in a compact low power form factor. It satisfies the most demanding field applications for unmanned aerial and ground vehicles, and is a fully qualified and packaged system solution with a range of flexible and rugged processing systems. Overall development time was significantly reduced by using proven rugged COTS technology, combined with Curtiss-Wright's FusionXF development software, which ultimately resulted in a faster time for deployment in the field.

Overall, Curtiss-Wright develops systems that can be readily configured to meet the needs of any military or aerospace requirements, including harsh avionics and vehicular environments, while providing complete hardware and software solutions.

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