While budget cuts have slowed the pace of military acquisition, innovation in electronic design for embedded MAG (military/aerospace/government) applications continues unabated, with Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance partners using the 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor family to develop new commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products that emphasize component commonality and meet reduced Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP)


Here’s a few for instances:


Curtis Wright’s new CHAMP-AV9 (Fig. 1) is a rugged, high performance OpenVPX™ (VITA 65) DSP (digital signal processing) engine based on a pair of quad-core Intel® CoreTM i7-4700EQ processors. The CHAMP-AV9 combines the floating point performance of the Haswell  microarchitecture featuring updated AVX 2.0 instruction units and redesigned on-chip graphics execution units with the substantial bandwidth and system-enabling features of the 6U OpenVPX form-factor. According to the supplier, the CHAMP-AV9 offers a 2-4X performance improvement per size, weight and power over previous DSP modules. With up to 14 GB/s of data plane fabric and 32 GB/s of expansion plane performance the unit has the bandwidth required to effectively harness the power of the processors.


And speaking of the processors, in case you are just tuning in the 4th generation Intel Core i7 microarchitecture contains substantial advances over previous generations.

  • Double the CPU floating-point performance with a fused multiply-add AVX instruction Ability to load two and store one operand per clock
  • Double the L1 and L2 cache bandwidth vs. 3rd
    generation Intel® Core™ processors
  • A 2.4 GHz CPU clock


  Figure 1 The Curtiss Wright CHAMP AV-9




OpenVPX™ builds on the module-centric VPX specifications by providing a nomenclature of planes and profiles to enable system integrators,module designers and backplane providers to effectively describe and define the aspects and characteristics of a system. By following a system-centric approach and defining a number of standard system topologies, OpenVPX enables interoperable off-the-shelf modules and development platforms within the VPX marketplace. The OpenVPX framework defines the interoperability points necessary for integration between Module to Module and Module to Backplane and Chassis. In this way OpenVPX reduces the need for custom development of backplanes and chassis for every application.The major fabric protocols supported by OpenVPX include Ethernet, Serial RapidIO and PCI Express.



The CHAMP-AV9 engine has been upgraded to DDR3-1600 and Curtis-Wright says that it incorporates thermal management solutions that result in little to no CPU throttling at its benchmark 71oC air-cooled and conduction-cooled 85oC card-edge environments.


Processing systems for today’s military radar designs must be scalable, open architecture and capable of long term viability-- unlike consumer and commercial markets where technology turnover is often measured in months the lifetimes of many military systems is measured in years if not


Floating-point-intensive applications such as radar, image processing, and signals intelligence will benefit from the performance boost provided by the Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0 (Intel® AVX2) in the 4th generation Intel® Haswell microarchitecture. Intel AVX2 extends Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel AVX) by promoting most of the 128-bit SIMD integer instructions with 256-bit numeric processing capabilities. The upgraded vector-processing technology also introduces a fused multiply-add (FMA3) that effectively doubles the peak floating point throughput in comparison to the previous generation. Multiply-add workloads are a critical component of any image processing task.


Floating-point-intensive applications also benefit from the from the performance boost provided by the Intel AVX2 in the Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) XPedite7570, a high-performance, low-power, 3U VPX-REDI single board computer (SBC) based on the 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor. With two PCI Express Fat Pipe P1 interconnects and four Gigabit Ethernet ports, the XPedite7570 is ideal for the high-bandwidth data processing demands of today's military and avionics applications. The SBC can accommodate up to 16 GB of DDR3L-1600 ECC SDRAM in two channels to support memory-intensive applications.It also hosts numerous I/O ports, including Gigabit Ethernet, USB, SATA, graphics, and RS-232/422/485 through the backplane connectors.


The XPedite7570 can be used in either the system slot or peripheral slot of a VPX backplane. Wind River VxWorks and Linux Board Support Packages (BSPs) are available, as well as Microsoft Windows drivers. Three levels of ruggedization are available for X-ES [rpdicus (Fig. 2) supporting comeercial, extended temperature, and conduction-cooled applications. Products may be air-cooled or conduction-cooled depending on their end application.



Figure 2 Extreme environments demand extreme engineering solutions





Within a tight budgetary environment wherever possible program managers would rather upgrade than acquire and replace. Mercury describes its new HDS6502 module as a building block for its existing customers, enabling them to future-proof their legacy systems through targeted upgrades preserving their software and optimizing SWaP performance, so that more can be achieved with less.


Based on Intel's  Haswell microarchitecture Mercury’s HDS6502 module is OpenVPX-compliant and initially will support Serial RapidIO® Gen 2 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet via the company’s next generation, low-latency POET™ (Protocol Offload Engine Technology).  Full backward compatibility with software protocols is provided including ICS™ (interprocessor communication system) and MPI/OFED (message passing interface/open fabrics enterprise distribution).


Low I/O latency and reduced module power consumption is gained from the single die cache coherent memory architecture between the CPU and GPU resources. This is a required characteristic of multidimensional computing applications requiring high throughput, determinism and low latency such as SIGINT, IMINT (Imaging Intelligence), RADAR, EO/IR (electro-optic/infrared) and large data/graphics renderings.


HDS6502 modules will be available in this fall for deployment in air-cooled, air flow-by and conduction-cooled systems. Support for InfiniBand and 40 Gigabit Ethernet-based modules will follow, according to Mercury. Infiniband is expected to become the switched fabric technology of choice among military system suppliers for inverse FFTs computation in the intensive signal processing functions found in radar and electronic warfare.InfiniBand is said to be also well-positioned to handle tasks in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as well as for other surveillance, reconnaissance and ground mobile applications.



Learn More


Solutions in this Blog


Curtiss-Wright CHAMP AV-9


Xpedite 7570


Mercury Systems Ensemble® Series HDS6502


Wind River VxWorks



Related Topics:



Military, Aerospace, Government - Top Picks (blogs, white
papers, and more)



Performance- Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)


Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions is a General
member of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance


Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) is a General
Member of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance


Mercury Systems is a General Member of the Intel Intelligent
Systems Alliance


Wind River Systems is an Associate Member of the Intel
Intelligent Systems Alliance


Microsoft Corporation is an Associate Member of the Intel
Intelligent Systems Alliance


Murray Slovick


Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent
Systems Alliance