Monday, November 8, 2010

Electronic warfare embedded signal processing introduced

Mercury Computer Systems Inc. in Chelmsford, Mass., is introducing rugged 6U OpenVPX computer boards designed for active electronic warfare (EW) signal processing on land vehicles and fixed-site installations. Active EW systems can be used to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and missiles that rely on radar-based targeting.

Implementing an active EW embedded computing solution requires that several steps are tightly synchronized so that they can operate together in nearly-instantaneous real-time. These steps are to first detect the enemy signal, then identify its operational bandwidth and physical location, and finally to transmit a signal that will either confuse the enemy or prevent his actions, Mercury officials say.

"One module is specifically configured to deliver low-latency control processing in a multi-plane architecture for active EW applications," explains Randy Dean, Mercury's vice president of product line management. "Another module is configured to support XMCs for RF tuning, A/D conversion and D/A conversion, providing those cards with a high bandwidth, subsystem interface. The XMCs are optimized for low power to make the most of SWAP constraints."

EW requires fast RF tuning, digital receivers with signal integrity, and the ability to transmit a range of digitally controlled RF signals, company officials say. Mercury's active EW systems are configurable for deployment on different types of platforms, under different kinds of environmental conditions, as well as meeting a range of size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements.

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