Today, military and aerospace sectors have begun to accept and adopt commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based technologies. Attempts to enforce standardization to promote system interoperability often hinder creativity in the design and manufacture of system components.
As there are significant unavoidable performance requirements, system designers are replacing discrete systems and components with programmable counterparts. This is the trend throughout all aerospace and defense applications.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (technicalinsights.frost.com), Vetronics - Vehicle Electronic Systems, finds that the escalating demand for superior computing power is a key enabler for advances in vehicle electronic systems.
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“The military vehicles market traditionally had a low-electronics component; however, this is changing very rapidly as there is a surge in uptake of vetronics recently,” notes Technical Insights research analyst Sunanda Jayanth. “Vehicle management systems, tactical battle management systems, remote overhead weapon systems, observation screens and digital intercoms are all now using off-the-shelf elements.”
The emergence of cost-effective, upgraded and integrated vetronic systems will stoke growth in this market.
Customers in the military and aerospace domains are seeking turnkey systems manufactured by a single vendor rather than COTS from various manufacturers that are not custom designed to work cohesively and targeted at a particular functional application. Highly integrated solutions that work out of the box when the application layers on are the current requirement in this industry.
Faster digital signal processors (DSPs) coupled with a broader range of intellectual property (IP) cores and development tools for field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), are joining forces to form new DSP system architectures. Using these building blocks, board-level subsystems must quickly acquire and process massive amounts of data in real time.
As FPGAs evolve to ever-greater sophistication, complete systems integrate into one or more FPGAs. System developers can now build radar receiver systems with a higher instantaneous bandwidth. A wealth of FPGA board-level products are available and aimed specifically at this area.
With the growing need for mobility across many military applications, end-users now demand reduced size, weight, and power (SWaP) to ensure reliable portability. Multi-core technology addresses these issues by offering higher computing performance, reduced chip count and lower bill of material (BOM) cost. In turn, the added electronic subsystems heavily tax the heat management and power distribution systems on many vehicles. New, lower power, active and passive protection subsystems need to protect troops round the clock.
Power conversion assemblies in military vehicles face challenges due to the severe environment in which they operate and the mission-critical nature of their deployment. As they operate in remote areas, where maintenance is bound to be limited, unexpected failures could prove to be catastrophic. Next-generation military vehicles will utilize unprecedented levels of power and will require standardization.
“Conventional microelectronic design techniques are deficient in terms of power density, reliability and cost for these applications,” says Jayanth. “System designers must develop alternative design methods for highly reliable power conversions that will attain new levels of standardization and performance.”
Close cooperation between vehicle designers, power electronics engineers, component developers and system integrators will be required to enhance performance of vetronics. Open architectures, based on vehicle systems integration will promote cross-fleet commonality, which in turn will lead to savings generated by an anticipated reduction of costs.
Vetronics - Vehicle Electronic Systems, a part of the Technical Insights subscription, provides insights into the development of innovative vehicle electronic systems as well as details on adoption factors. Further, this research service includes detailed technology analysis and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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Vetronics - Vehicle Electronic Systems / D21A