JED - February 2009 - 34

34 The Journal of Electronic Defense | February 2009 Technologies, for example, have improved from earlier, bulky “black box” recorders capable of capturing 100 MHz of signal bandwidth to recorders with 500 MHz of signal bandwidth (its removable disk/solid-state Eagle Xpress Recorder) to its newest release in late 2008 – a 3x1.5x6-inch, solid-state Scout SSR Recorder that weighs less than 2 pounds and consumes 8 watts. What this product might lack in signal bandwidth – only 40 MHz, compared to DRS’s other 100- and 500-MHz recorders – it makes up for in power consumption and convenience, especially for post-event analysis applications. Explained Kerry Rye, business development/sales director at DRS Technologies, “Unless you’re dealing with a large SIGINT aircraft such as the Rivet Joint platform, there’s not much space to accommodate a recorder in most mission environments and when a recorder is present, it’s strictly used for prosecuting real time. DRS has tackled this problem with the SWAP design of the Scout Recorder, which addresses space limitations while offering technology for missions that haven’t previously incorporated SIGINT recording capability. For instance, for counter-IED applications, the Scout offers ways to evaluate missions and answer questions such as, ‘Why weren’t we able to jam that signal and why did the event occur?’ With a number of Scouts installed on various convoys, you can look back in time and ask, ‘What happened?’ This was never before possible because a 40-pound, 200-Watt recorder wouldn’t be placed in a convoy that was already overweight and didn’t have enough power.” Fitting the highest possible performance into the smallest possible space was what Avalon Electronics Ltd., a British company that has been in the data recorder business for more than 25 years, had in mind when it switched from tape to disk recording technology about 10 years ago. It adopted disk drive-based data recorders as its primary product to keep up with the ever wider bandwidths that the SIGINT community wanted to record, and it now offers IF and baseband data recorders at up to 500 MHz of bandwidth. Its bestselling SIGINT data recorder, however, remains the 80-100 MHz The File Server System (FSS) by L-3 Communications Systems was developed for the USAF/Boeing B-52H CONECT program. It features removable solid-state memory drives. multi-channel AE8400 series, designed for use in laboratory, ground vehicle, ship, submarine and aircraft platform environments. “Luckily, with the capacity of the disk drives that we can buy these days,” said Avalon’s Marketing Director John Howard, “we can get a vast amount of recording time into a package that occupies only 7 inches of rack space.” TEK Microsystems’ unique corner on the data recorder market is its Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)-centric data acquisition technology, meaning that it imports all of its data recorder software and firmware – usually in the form of a 6U VME/VXS card – inside an FPGA to achieve an extremely high channel count in an extremely small space. Designed specifically for radar, EW, SIGINT and ELINT applications, the company’s QuiXilica V5 digitizer boards are configured for analog and run on three Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGAs, each with two banks of DDR3 SDRAM of 512 MB each. Tekmicro has found success in providing a recording option that is not processor-oriented, and thus smaller and faster – for the QuiXilica architecture, 4 Gigasamples per second and beyond – for airborne, ground and even laboratory-type systems. But rather than branch out from processor-oriented architectures, data recorder manufacturers such as L-3 Communications counter SWAP-related obstacles by turning to commercial offthe-shelf (COTS) technology. L-3 incorporates this technology into its data recorders, and then ruggedizes it so that it can withstand military environments. “One of our challenges is to figure out how to get a tremendous amount of data in a small space, and then dissipate all of the heat that those boxes generate in a very tough airborne environment where sometimes they’re in a pod and there’s not a whole lot of air,” said David Micha, Director of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Systems at L-3 Communication Systems-East (Camden, NJ). “What we’ve done over the last 15 or 20 years is develop some very proprietary technology where we can basically buy commercial memory – the same as digital camera manufacturers use – and we’ve developed ways of packaging it so that we get a lot of packaging density.” L-3 Communications has supplied its S/TAR™ product line of solid-state and magnetic disk recorders since 1998 to a mix of domestic and international government programs, such as the US Navy’s F-18E/F Shared Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP), the US Air Force’s F-16 Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Systems (TARS) and Sweden’s JAS 39 Modular Reconnaissance Pod. FLEX THOSE MUSCLES With the ever-increasing number and variety of EW and SIGINT missions in today’s world, data recorder manufacturers have learned that it pays to offer flexibility. John Hardy, business development manager for Naval and Maritime Systems at Ampex Data Systems, explained it this way: “One of my Navy customers recently said, ‘You know, I really like this control panel, but I’d sure like to have it so that if we’re running a built-in test sequence, once that sequence is fi nished, I get a little green light that fl ashes, and then I get a reset button.’ I said, ‘OK, you’re getting a signal now and it’s in a text format.’ And

JED - February 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - February 2009

JED - February 2009
Contents
The View From Here
Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
Charting the Course of Indian EW
What's Next in Data Recorders?
Technology Survey: RWR/ESM Systems
EW 101
2009 AOC Industry and Institute/University Member Guide
JED Sales Offices
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - February 2009 - JED - February 2009
JED - February 2009 - Cover2
JED - February 2009 - 3
JED - February 2009 - Contents
JED - February 2009 - 5
JED - February 2009 - The View From Here
JED - February 2009 - 7
JED - February 2009 - Calendar
JED - February 2009 - 9
JED - February 2009 - 10
JED - February 2009 - 11
JED - February 2009 - From the President
JED - February 2009 - 13
JED - February 2009 - 14
JED - February 2009 - The Monitor
JED - February 2009 - 16
JED - February 2009 - 17
JED - February 2009 - 18
JED - February 2009 - 19
JED - February 2009 - 20
JED - February 2009 - 21
JED - February 2009 - Washington Report
JED - February 2009 - 23
JED - February 2009 - World Report
JED - February 2009 - 25
JED - February 2009 - Charting the Course of Indian EW
JED - February 2009 - 27
JED - February 2009 - 28
JED - February 2009 - 29
JED - February 2009 - 30
JED - February 2009 - 31
JED - February 2009 - 32
JED - February 2009 - What's Next in Data Recorders?
JED - February 2009 - 34
JED - February 2009 - 35
JED - February 2009 - 36
JED - February 2009 - 37
JED - February 2009 - 38
JED - February 2009 - Technology Survey: RWR/ESM Systems
JED - February 2009 - 40
JED - February 2009 - 41
JED - February 2009 - 42
JED - February 2009 - 43
JED - February 2009 - 44
JED - February 2009 - 45
JED - February 2009 - 46
JED - February 2009 - 47
JED - February 2009 - 48
JED - February 2009 - 49
JED - February 2009 - EW 101
JED - February 2009 - 51
JED - February 2009 - 52
JED - February 2009 - 2009 AOC Industry and Institute/University Member Guide
JED - February 2009 - 54
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JED - February 2009 - Index of Advertisers
JED - February 2009 - JED Quick Look
JED - February 2009 - Cover3
JED - February 2009 - Cover4
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