The Connected Battlefield Blog

Abaco Systems helps military and aerospace organizations minimize program risk and bring programs in on time and on budget. Our integrated, rugged systems solutions are based on a product range that includes single board computers, high performance embedded computing (HPEC), digital signal processing, GPGPU, image processing, sensor processing and avionics. We ally to those products our understanding of applications including ISR, EW, SIGINT, radar, sonar and 360 degree situational awareness. Our customers know that Abaco System brings industry-leading expertise and experience, together with broad and deep customer support.

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I Am Not a Guru

I am writing this as a sort of protest post. I'm airing some dirty laundry here, but so be it. The truth is this: I hate the fact that the link on our homepage—the one that brings you here to our blog—refers to us blog writers as "gurus." I just don't like that word. I've sent notes to the powers that be (the people who send me the monthly "you are late with your blog post" email) and tried to explain that I think the word is overused and...

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Protect This House

If you live in the world of mil-aero systems, you have most likely heard the terms “anti-tamper” (AT) and “information assurance” (IA). You may even know and understand what they mean—but have you figured out what this all means to a COTS product vendor ? Why do we need AT and IA technologies? Widely reported events such as the 2001 EP-3E signals reconnaissance plane emergency landing on Hainan Island and the 2011 Iranian capture of an RQ-170...

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UAS Market Set to Transform

If people thought Amazon's announcement on Prime Air—their unmanned aerial vehicle delivery system effort—signaled a new age for unmanned aerial systems (UAS), they’d be partially correct. Despite Prime Air’s probable impracticality, we are in fact at a significant point in the UAS market, involving UAS technology, design and operations. What has been a market largely driven by various government agencies will transform to include ever more...

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Top Tech Trends for 2014: Battlefield of Things and Beyond

Every year, as things start to wind down and thoughts turn to the holidays, the Internet is flooded with blog posts titled "The Top 5 (or 10 or 12.5 …) Trends of the Past Year." And, of course, during the first few weeks of January, it's all about predicting the trends that will dominate the new year. I'm a technology nut and gadget geek, so my RSS reader was clogged with such posts predicting the top technology trends for 2014. I think I'd be...

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The Heat Is On

Some readers may remember my post from AUSA , where I reported that the biggest buzz on the GE stand was created by the thermal technology being showcased by our colleagues from the GE Research Center. As it turns out (not to make it sound like it just happened; it was planned this way), that was just one piece of a bigger puzzle that we have been addressing for some time and are now starting to roll out in real product innovation. Skipping over...

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Notes from MILCOM: Changing the Battlefield

This is the second post in a two-part series exploring the key trends and challenges highlighted at this year’s MILCOM Conference. If you missed the first post, catch up by reading How Disruption is Creating a New Warfighter. Things are getting foggy While everyone has heard about cloud computing, I often find myself trying to explain to military commanders exactly what "cloud computing" means—or perhaps more importantly, how it might benefit...

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Notes from MILCOM: How Disruption is Creating a New Warfighter

I recently attended this year's MILCOM Conference in San Diego. The theme, "Balancing Commercial and Defense Technologies," was timely—given today's fiscal and technological landscape. There were some excellent presentations from industry and military leaders, highlighting key trends and challenges. In the next two posts, I’ll share my own insights and observations. "Gentlemen, we have run out of money; now we have to think." — attributed to...

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The Business of FACE: Will the Future Resemble Apple or Android?

The FACE Consortium has been driving an avionics common operating environment standard for some three years now with steady progress. There are numerous industry participants from across the avionics industry committing their time to this endeavor, and they should be commended for their hard work and dedication to the new standard. It is interesting to observe, though, the various industry participants collectively working to essentially re-...

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To Tackle Tough Challenges, You Must Fully Understand Your Customer And Your Customers' Customer

In my opinion, too many manufacturers and resellers in our industry underestimate the importance of domain expertise and the value that exists in a deep understanding of customer applications, particularly when it comes to military networks. Those companies throw together catalogs full of routers and switches with off the shelf silicon and third-party software, with only a marginal understanding of how they might interoperate, what are the...

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5 Things to Consider When Deploying Linux in an HPEC System

1. What do you really need from your operating system? Specifically, what are your timing needs? Are you just interested in throughput, or do you need your system to take action based on events with a 100% guarantee of performance within a critical window? The need for real-time behavior is often characterized into two types: “hard” and “soft.” If we ever miss a deadline in hard real-time systems, the application is considered to have failed...

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The Future of Battlefield Communication

It seems that everyone I meet has some affinity to, or knows something about, GE. Some have GE appliances in their houses, while others use GE lightbulbs. Many tell me that their father or grandfather used to work for GE. And then, in a particular region of the world, there are those who always tell me we make great cars! Regardless of their connections to GE, I'm still able to surprise people with some little-known facts. For example, I bet you...

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Bringing Feng Shui to HPEC System Architecture

One school of thought in designing processing elements for HPEC systems is that bigger is always better—more cores, more memory, more bandwidth, etc. While this is broadly true, it is important to take a balanced view of things. This is especially true when some architectural elements are maximized at the expense of others. It is rare to be able to maximize all design parameters simultaneously, which can lead to imbalance and architectures that...

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Preferred Supplier Relationships: A Win-Win in Trying Times

The precarious state of the U.S. defense industrial base has gotten some more attention lately. What some observers once derided as the whining of defense contractors has now become a widely acknowledged crisis-in-the-making. As Barry Watts puts it in a recent report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments , “The possibility is growing that a day will come when the country’s industrial base will no longer possess all the critical...

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How Are Military Tactical Networks Getting More Complex?

I’ve spent most of my career working with customers tackling complex networking problems. From the start-up Internet service providers in the early days of the Internet, to the telecom service providers building today’s latest high-speed wireless LTE infrastructure, GE has been helping customers build some pretty advanced network architectures. The truth is, the most challenging networks I’ve encountered are in the military and aerospace...

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Keep Cool and Carry On

In our last post , we touted GE’s recent presence at AUVSI. It was a great event, but, if we’re being honest, GE Intelligent Platforms was not the star attraction at the GE booth. That distinction would go to our big-brained colleagues from the GE Global Research Center (GRC) in Schenectady, N.Y., who had visitors ooh-ing and aah-ing over their whiz-bang thermal management technology (more later on this one). Our customers rarely get to interact...

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