Of Duct Tape, Drapes and Business Cards…


Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit

Duct tape, a vacuum, zip ties, business cards and drapesnecessary tools of the trade. If you’ve ever exhibited at a trade event, you can certainly appreciate the value in some basic tools to get the exhibit space together and ready for the event. Duct tape, zip ties and drapes camouflaged our FORCE2 and Modular Advanced Graphics Interface Computer (MAGIC1) octopus of a cable harness. Lack of table top space for business cards revealed how effective our RES3244 Ethernet switch was as a business card holder. And, if you can believe it, when you contract for carpet in your exhibit space, you also need to separately contract for vacuum services to clean up the mess left behind after several hours of set up.

Abaco Systems was at the 2016 Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit (Quad-A) in Atlanta this past week demonstrating certifiable COTS hardware and high performance sensor processing, tools that help advance Army Aviation mission systems tools of the trade.

Reach, protection and lethality. These are the traits MG William Gayler, Commanding General, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence (USAACE), described for the U.S. Army Aviation future force. Reach provides aviators speed, range and the ability to operate in any weather or other degraded visual environment (DVE). Protection senses and acts on ground fire threats. DVE, unmanned teaming, aircraft survivability and multi-sensor targeting are their necessary tools of the trade. Aviation platforms must transform as it is no longer adequate to evolve current aircraft platforms, MG Gayler proposed.

Game-changing capabilities 

Duct tape does a great job and can solve some rather challenging problems. But it is patch work. It can evolve to new usesbut is by no means transformative. Open architecture advanced computing, and non-linear silicon transformation, brings game-changing capabilities to Army Aviation tools of the trade. Reach requires more capability at reduced SWaP. DVE demands advanced sensor processing and flight-critical advanced computing architectures. Protection will want to integrate multi-modal aircraft survivability equipment functions onto an integrated system.

Abaco Systems demonstrated two distinct computing platforms with direct application to Army Aviation tools of the trade. The FORCE2 COTS small form factor OpenVPX computing platform applies to vehicle management, mission processing, and advanced display computing. It was running a flight simulator demonstration using a FACE-aligned software stack with Wind River's VxWorks 653 flight certifiable real time operating system, CoreAVI OpenGL graphics drivers and ARINC 66-compliant display graphics. Along with FACE-aligned I/O support, the core FORCE2 elements comprise our safety certifiable portfolio of products. It integrates the SBC314 NXP T1042/2081-based QorIQ single board computer, the XMCGA8 AMD8860 GPU mezzanine, and the Abaco RAR15-XMC-IT dual protocol XMC for MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC 429. 

What got the most attention was our MAGIC1 platform displaying and demonstrating the dramatic advantage high performance GPGPU computing can provide to EO/IR sensor fusion processing performance, and a variety of other algorithms such as image feature extraction, high fidelity passive optical flow, and object trackingall core elements that enable Army Aviation tools of the trade. 

Abaco Systems will be back at next year’s Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit in Nashville.


David French's picture

David French

David is the Director of Business Development for aviation programs for Abaco Systems. He started out his career as a design and systems engineer for space platforms and launch vehicle avionics. Impatient with the sometimes slow pace of new development opportunity there, he directed his energy toward the broader embedded computing universe from telecommunications infrastructure to defense electronics. He still marvels at the challenge and discovery in applied science and technology.

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