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While modular standards like VXI (and, more recently, PXI) have been addressing service applications in aerospace and defence for over 20 years, AXIe has been gaining traction at the other end of the lifecycle: in system design, explains Larry Desjardin, founder of Modular Methods LLC. One example is in radar and antenna development and test. This is being enabled by high performance AXIe data converters (digitisers and arbitrary waveform generators) coupled with FPGA-based algorithms and DSP (digital signal processing software). Since beam-forming, whether for radar or communications, relies on multi-element antennas, the multi-channel aspect of the application makes it suitable for modular systems. As a high- performance architecture, however, AXIe enables coherent sampling of extremely fast digitisers and AWGs within a very compact footprint. The AXIe digitizers from Agilent and

Guzik provide precision signal capture from 12 bits at 1.6Gs/s up to eight bits at 40Gs/s, with various rates and channel densities in between. FPGA-based signal processing, such as DDC (digital down-conversion) is included with these. This may substitute for, or work

complementary with, other down-converters to bring the signal of interest into the bandwidth of the digitiser. Agilent’s recently announced reference solution for multi-channel antenna


Blighter Scout, a lightweight e-scan radar and camera surveillance system, has been unveiled by Blighter Surveillance Systems. Featuring the Blighter Revolution 360

Passive Electronic Scanning Array (PESA) radar, low light camera, thermal imaging system and an integrated radar tracker, this is designed for mounting on vehicle and trailer masts for field deployment. According to the company, Blighter Scout enables security forces to deploy its surveillance platform to exactly where it’s needed – to monitor a hot spot on an extensive border, for example, or to follow intruder routes as they adapt to the seasons or in reaction to ground interdiction. The system detects small and slow

moving targets due to the radar’s coactive Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) Doppler fast-scan processing. The radar can detect a walking person at 4.6 miles or a large moving vehicle at 13.7 miles and then cue the camera system to follow and identify targets.

Blighter Surveillance Systems

Enter 687

calibration adds PXI-based down-converters and attenuators to condition the signal before being digitised at a 3.2Gs/s on each channel. This example also shows the compatibility between AXIe and PXI to deliver a total solution. The Guzik digitisers also use DDC, which can operate up to 13GHz due to their fast sample rates. Guzik leverages the Vector Signal Analysis software from Agilent for the subsequent signal analysis.

up-converters from Synopsis. The AWGs can generate complex precision signals up to 12Gs/s, while the up-converters can bring the signal up to 40GHz. Applications here include radar, electronic warfare and communications. As in the digitiser case, the availability of AXIe chassis allows large phase-coherent multi-channel systems. As these new electronic systems are developed and deployed, will AXIe join VXI and PXI in mil/aero service applications? The answer is likely to be ‘yes’. AXIe uses a horizontal module format

for two and five slot chassis, with 14 slot chassis using a vertical format. The horizontal format allows a very small amount of rack space to be deployed. In the above example, a five-slot

AXIe chassis takes up just 4U of rack space, same as its PXI counterpart, but with twice the total power or board area available. The most likely configuration would be for both formats to be deployed within the same rack, taking advantage of the breadth of PXI modules and the performance of AXIe. The platform aspects of AXIe are a good

A key enabler is the channel density a user can

deploy within a single AXIe chassis. AXIe chassis can be purchased in two, five, and 14 slot configurations. With anywhere from one to eight channels on a single AXIe module, very high channel count systems can be created. On the signal generation side, AWGs from Agilent can be matched with microwave

match to many mil/aero applications: large board format, high power, high cooling, high density, precision synchronisation, and fast data transfer. So, as new AXIe products are announced, more applications will be addressed in the future.

Modular Methods LLC


Honeywell’s lightweight yet rugged non-contact SMART (Superior Measurement, Accuracy, Reliability, Thinking) position sensor is now available from Aerco. According to the company, the sensor provides accurate, safe and efficient motion control in applications in the military and aerospace industries, as well as in industrial, transportation and medical. This absolute position device senses the position of a magnet relative to the sensor using a patented combination of an ASIC and an array of magneto-resistive sensors. It is available in linear, arc or rotary configurations in a wide range of sizes and sensing distances, is shock and vibration resistant, and is sealed to IP67 and IP69. An in-built self-diagnostic feature is also included.

Aerco T: 01403 260206 Enter 688

MONITORING MILITARY VEHICLE BATTERIES With the device, battery voltage measurement is

A Battery Monitoring System (BMS) has been introduced by Raytheon which is designed to provide military vehicle users with more reliable and more accurate State-of- Charge (SOC) and State-of-Health (SOH) information, helping to extend the life of batteries. This has an integrated Battery

Equalizer and an operational feature whereby the equipment intelligently reverts to hibernation mode when the platform is not in use to minimise the platform power drain to 30mW per Battery Monitoring Unit (BMU).


now resolved to 0.25mV, with an error of ±1% over the range 0 to 16.6V; and battery current is measured typically to ±1% or better. In addition, battery impedance measurements can now be resolved to 6.4µΩ, and battery temperature can be measured to a resolution of ±0.5˚C. The BMS is capable of monitoring

up to eight 12V batteries simultaneously. Raytheon Enter 689 INSTRUMENTATION | JULY/AUGUST 2014 29

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