The Inside Track | February 2017

US Navy Taps BAE Systems to Modernize USS Roosevelt

The U.S. Navy has awarded BAE Systems a $51.3 million contract for the maintenance and modernization of the USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer. The full value could reach $68.4 million if all options are exercised. Under the competitively awarded, depot maintenance availability contract, BAE Systems first will dry dock the ship at the company’s shipyard and then complete the work at Naval Station Mayport, both located in Jacksonville, Florida. The work is expected to begin in April and be completed in April 2018.

Figure 1. The USS Roosevelt is the 30th ship in the Arleigh Burke class and was commissioned in October 2000.

The USS Roosevelt is the 30th ship in the Arleigh Burke class and was commissioned in October 2000 (Figure 1). BAE Systems is a leading provider of ship repair, maintenance, modernization, conversion, and overhaul services for the Navy, other government agencies, and select commercial customers. The company operates five full-service shipyards in Alabama, California, Florida, Hawaii, and Virginia, and offers a highly skilled, experienced workforce, dry docks and marine railways, deep water access, and significant pier space and ship support services.

BAE Systems
Arlington, VA
(703) 312 6100


AUDS Counter-Drone System Achieves DoD TRL-9 Status

The AUDS counter-UAS defense system is the first fully integrated system worldwide to achieve TRL-9 status. This follows the successful mission deployment of the AUDS system with United States Forces. The AUDS system—developed by Blighter Surveillance Systems, Chess Dynamics and Enterprise Control Systems—can detect a drone six miles (10km) away using electronic scanning radar, track it using precision infrared and daylight cameras and advanced video tracking software before disrupting the flight using a non-kinetic inhibitor to block the radio signals that control it (Figure 2).

Figure 2. The AUDS system can detect a drone six miles (10km) away using electronic scanning radar and track it. It can then disrupt the drone’s flight using an inhibitor to block its control signals.

TRL-9 is the very highest technology readiness level or maturity that a technology system can attain. TRL-9 signifies that a technology system or product is in its final form and that the actual system is proven through successful mission operations. Over the last 18 months, the AUDS system has been heavily evaluated and tested by military and government organizations. Through this process, AUDS consistently exceeded the mission requirements, simultaneously providing ground and air surveillance against possible threats.

Blighter Surveillance Systems
Saffron Walden, UK +44 1223 491122


DARPA Teams with Flex Logix to Develop FPGA IP for Gov Projects

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has signed an agreement to work with Flex Logix to develop Flex Logix’s EFLX embedded FPGA technology for use by any company or government agency designing integrated circuits for the US Government. As part of the agreement, Flex Logix will make available EFLX arrays in the TSMC 16FFC process node from 2.5K to 122.5K LUTs so that these companies and agencies can reconfigure RTL at any point during the design process. Having this flexibility will enable chip designers to increase performance, reduce power and lower the size/weight of their critical systems.

The EFLX platform will also allow companies to customize one chip in software for numerous applications; or even upgrade the chip when already deployed in the field. Flex Logix is already engaged with additional IC designs under this agreement with DARPA, and it also provides the software for programming the embedded FPGA. The EFLX-2.5K Logic and DSP IP cores are also available for license to any commercial customer directly from Flex Logix. Flex Logix provides an EFLX-2.5K Logic IP core and EFLX-2.5K DSP IP core which are the building blocks for almost 50 different sized arrays.

Flex Logix Technologies
Mountain View, CA


Boeing Secures $2.1 billion Deal for 15 KC-46A Tanker Aircraft

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing $2.1 billion for 15 KC-46A tanker aircraft, spare engines and wing air refueling pod kits. This order is the third low-rate initial production lot for Boeing. The first two came in August 2016 and included seven and 12 planes, respectively, as well as spare parts. Boeing plans to build 179 of the 767-based refueling aircraft for the Air Force to replace its legacy tanker fleet. Tanker deliveries will begin later this year.

Figure 3. The KC-46A is a multirole tanker that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures.

Boeing received an initial contract in 2011 to design and develop the Air Force’s next-generation tanker aircraft. As part of that contract, Boeing built four test aircraft – two configured as 767-2Cs and two as KC-46A tankers. Those test aircraft, along with the first production plane, have completed nearly 1,500 flight hours to date. The KC-46A is a multirole tanker that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients (Figure 3).

Boeing Integrated Defense Systems
St. Louis, MO
(314) 232-0232


Technology Spotlight

OpenVPX Connector Supports 10 Gbit/s Rates with Path to Higher Speeds

For most board level products the chips are the star of the show—for example microprocessors, GPUs and FPGAs. But not so on backplanes. For backplanes it’s all about the connectors. (See Jeff’s Picks: Backplane Solutions” section in this issue). Exemplifying leading edge connector technology is the MULTIGIG RT 2-R connector from TE Connectivity (TE) (Figure 4). This rugged, lightweight and high-speed board-to-board interconnect is compliant to VITA 46 and supports OpenVPX architecture. The connector system features modularity and flexibility. The configurable PCB wafer interface has enabled new combinations of power and signal to support SpaceVPX standards VITA 78 and 78.1, as well as custom configurations.

Figure 4. The MULTIGIG RT 2-R connectors support high-speed protocols up to 10Gb and with a path to 16Gb and higher.

TE collaborated with Mercury Systems to develop and test this connector and contact system for use in the most challenging environments, beyond requirements of the VITA 47 VPX standard. Thermography was used to analyze the positioning of power wafers within the connector array and their effect on thermal characteristics. This study helped define power contact layouts with alternate connector module configurations. According to TE, these connectors are designed for rugged embedded computing applications for ground defense, missile defense, electronic systems/C4ISR, and commercial and military aerospace applications.

The RT 2-R connectors support high-speed protocols up to 10Gb and with a path to 16Gb and higher. Because it is a modular connector platform, it can be used in conjunction with RF Modules (VITA 67) and optical modules (VITA 66) to customize slot configurations using standard components. The RT 2-R is constructed from a variety of advanced materials. The contacts are high performance copper alloy plated 50 μin Au (gold) in the mating area, and tin-lead or tin options on compliant pin tails. The connector housings are space compatible, high-temperature thermoplastic. The rugged guide hardware is made from aluminum or passivated stainless steel.

TE Connectivity
Berwyn, PA
(610) 893-9800