Electronic Design

Ultra-Fast Processing, Electro-Optics Trigger Military-System Advances

Two important technologies will drive the military/aerospace market over the next couple of years: high-throughput processing and advanced electro-optics sensor technology.

High-throughput processing is the catalyst for revolutionary advances in military systems. Fueled by commercial investments in semiconductor technology and focused through the DoD and industry developments, new systems capabilities are emerging that range from multipurpose, high-fidelity sensing systems to robust, autonomous cognitive systems.

Today's military computing systems feature open-system architectures that allow for rapid insertion of the latest technologies while protecting the system functionality implemented in software. Large, complex systems feature heterogeneous computing architectures that interconnect processing engines ranging from conventional CPUs to DSPs and FPGA-based processing accelerators. These processing engines are woven together with high-bandwidth interconnects and a distributed software architecture.

Most importantly, military computer systems must be designed to operate reliably, never missing a beat. And that's while executing complex tasks under stressing conditions that weren't envisioned when some of the basic technologies we rely on were invented.

Advances in electro-optics sensor technology will impact the market with both significant improvements to the war fighter and reductions in cost and maintainability. Two drivers will be uncooled IR sensors and flash ladar. In the short term, uncooled IR sensors enable long-wave IR sensing at room temperature using vanadium oxide and MEMS technology. Elimination of the cooling reduces systems size, weight, power, and costs. Cooled IR sensors will always exhibit superior sensitivity. Flash ladar creates high-resolution 3D images that enable robust target detection and identification with minimum collateral damage.

TAGS: Digital ICs
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