A Closer Look at Recent Advances in the Military Embedded Systems Industry

BY: Aishwarya Korgaonkar

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Electronic military systems have experienced outstanding developments in the last few years, thus facilitating improved reliability, efficacy, and compact size of military equipment. The military embedded system market players are putting enormous efforts into developing technically advanced embedded systems. Foremost companies from the U.S. are investing in the research and development of blade servers and rack-mount servers, which is boosting the growth of the military embedded systems market in North America region.

Military networks are always in need of competent intelligence systems to reach out to individual soldiers and their vans at the tactical edge. The risks associated at such locations are high unless security is built-in from the ground up. Advancements in digital technologies used in military electronics are powering the speedy evolution of integrated communication systems. With the use of advanced technologies, military systems are becoming proficient in offering more effective, secure, and well-organized networks, and thus creating a more tactical competitive advantage. Today’s design engineers are not only focusing on computing performance but also building robust system integration and embedded systems. The military embedded system market players are putting in enormous efforts into developing technically advanced embedded systems.

With numerous advances in integrated circuits and processor technologies, a significant drop in the total hardware costs involved in developing embedded systems has been observed in the recent years. Implementation of advanced blade servers is rising, mainly in network-centric military application areas. As a result, electronic military systems have experienced outstanding developments in the last few years, thus facilitating improved reliability, efficacy, and compact size of military equipment.

The U.S. is a technologically strong nation having massive potential for investments in military electronics. Foremost market players such as Curtiss-Wright Corporation (US), Mercury Systems, Inc. (US), and SMART Embedded Computing (US), are investing in the research and development of blade servers and rack-mount servers, which is boosting the growth of the military embedded systems market in the North America.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the modern military specific embedded systems that are developed with an aim to deal with those extreme and high-alert environments.

1. SLC-Based E800Pi e.MMC

ATP Electronics, a foremost provider of specialized storage and memory solutions products for industrial applications, recently announced that it is going to develop E800Pi e.MMC embedded multimedia chip. This chip is based on Single-Level Cell (SLC) flash that provides an improved endurance rating of 60K P/E (program/erase) cycles. The chip provides ultra-high endurance and better performance, and is hence intended for application areas having rugged and harsh surroundings. The E800Pi possesses a broad-ranging temperature threshold, has temperature tolerance from -40°C to 85°C, and follows JEDEC e.MMC v4.41 standard, thus supporting advanced features such as Field Firmware Update (FFU), Health Report, and Fast Boot operation.

2. Novel Version of the VPXD1000

Pixus Technologies, a leading provider of embedded computing and enclosure solutions, launched an advanced version of the VPXD1000 series that allows numerous slot configurations of VITA 67 for RF interfaces over OpenVPX. The framework can be divided into a separate segment for the implementation of Sensor Open Systems Architecture (SOSA) or specialty RF (radio frequency) devices. Pixus claims to offer optimization of the airflow/cooling for every segment to best suit in any type of circumstances.

3. Low-Power Radiation-Tolerant PolarFire FPGA

Microchip Technology, an American company manufacturing microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog, and Flash-IP integrated circuits, introduced a new series of radiation-tolerant Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) having low power, designed for space applications. The new series is sufficiently rugged to deal with brutal launch procedures and the harsh environs of the space. The RT PolarFire FPGAs which ranges from 100K logic elements to 500K logic elements is equipped with 12.7G transceivers. Also, it offers about 50 percent lower power as compared to mid-range FPGAs.

4. NavChip Series 3 IMUs

Thales Visionix, a division of Thales Defense & Security, Inc., that manufactures helmet mounted display (HMD) and motion tracking technologies, launched a new NavChip Series 3 IMUs specially developed to deal with the inflexibilities of aircraft navigation systems. The new product can also be applied in areas such as robotics, drone navigation, stabilization of camera/antenna, aiming/alignment, AR/VR, and integration of GPS/INS. The new series demonstrates enhanced performance and precision in a critical parameter- in-run bias stability to 3° per hour (usual), and 5° per hour (maximum), thus making it more economical for a wider array of application areas with the +/- 16g operating range.

5. NETernity GBX25

Abaco Systems, a global leader in commercial open architecture computing and rugged embedded electronics, launched a new product—NETernity GBX25, a 6U VME Ethernet switch managed by layer 3.  The new switch can be used with any network configuration having 6U VME network support. The new product permits almost all 6U VME Ethernet switch solutions to be assimilated inside a single system. Moreover, it facilitates up to four 10G SFP+ modules, and thus can integrate several 1G channels together.

The Future of Military Embedded Systems

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has made a significant impact on the production of military embedded systems. Even though the demand for embedded systems from the defense sector surged during the pandemic, the market for military embedded systems faced obstacles to fulfil the surging demand owing to hindrances in production, delay in new developments, and shutdown of various industries amidst the crisis period. Regardless of the fact that the production of embedded systems for military applications is vital, supply chain disruptions have momentarily ceased their production. However, as the pandemic relaxes, the market is expected to recuperate from incurred losses and observe significant growth. As per a report by Research Dive, the global military embedded systems industry is projected to garner $21,921.5 million in the 2021–2028 timeframe. The trend amongst embedded system designers to develop systems with more exceptional competencies and enhanced robustness to maintain dependability and functionality will linger for long. To sum up, the technology for embedded systems will endure to advance for military applications in the upcoming years. 

Aishwarya Korgaonkar

Author’s Bio:

Aishwarya Korgaonkar holds a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from the esteemed Mumbai University. Being creative and artistic, she leaped into the field of digital marketing and content writing. Her love for words makes her write creative and spellbinding content that adds colors to the world.