Due to a UAV's compact and sensitive platform, there is no room for a bulky synchronous generator that allows a fixed voltage output. Likewise, the opportunity for a fixed speed engine to feed the UAV's permanent magnet generator to create a constant voltage output does not exist. A GCU (Generator Control Unit) functions as a mediator between the variable voltage and frequency alternator/generator and the stabilized DC bus requirement set by the payload. Its non-isolated topology provides high efficiency, light weight and a small form factor which makes the GCU power supply very attractive for systems that are powered by Permanent Magnet Generators (PMG) such as light weight UAVs, avionics, electronic warfare and other military applications.... read more
The VITA standards group has existed for many years now, developing the VME, VXS, XMC, VPX, and VNX standards as common physical and electrical formats to enable the development of modular systems. In military systems, the need for using open-architecture systems approaches became a priority.... read more
When you modify your system's architecture from mechanical to an electrical circuit breaker- based power distribution unit (PDU) and power architecture, you achieve much better flexibility and customization at the system level. You can tailor and scale to the specific needs of your platform more efficiently and optimize the system design to protect expensive and sensitive loads . This blog offers some reasons why electronic circuit breakers are more advantageous within a military platform.... read more
MOSA, the Modular Open Systems Approach, formerly known as Open Systems Architecture, is defined as a technical and business strategy used to streamline the design of affordable and flexible systems for military applications. Various branches within DoD have attempted to implement an open architecture approach within military systems over the years.
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MIL-STD-704 is an Aircraft Electrical Power Military Standard that defines a standardized power interface between a military aircraft and its equipment. The purpose of this standard is to ensure compatibility between the aircraft power system (including external power) and the utilization equipment (with connected power supplies). A power supply running directly from a generator, or its AC/DC rectifier must be able to handle the various transients from these “dirty” power sources.... read more
PDU devices serve as a ‘circuit breaker’ to protect expensive and sensitive loads designed into the system. Such loads may include computers, displays, control devices, sensors, and weapons systems. Like the circuit breaker in homes, a PDU is a necessary tool to protect against current inrush or spikes, short circuit conditions, and other electronic maladies. In today’s market, power management devices, such as PDUs, may be referred to as circuit breakers, power distribution units (PDU), remote power control (RPC), and other trade names. PDUs can come in many different shapes and sizes based on the requirements of the military system, but not all are designed for use in a military or aerospace environment.... read more
Airborne pods are compact external electro-mechanical platforms that are attached to nearly any aircraft type yet operate independently. They hold intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) systems that collect sensor data across long-range airborne missions, turning normal aircraft into warfighters. To overcome the harsh conditions in which they operate while still being highly effective and secure, pods require rugged networking and power solutions that overcome myriad related challenges.
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Sensors have become ubiquitous on the battlefield to detect and track everything from aircraft to dismounted soldiers, and from enemy radar systems to covert communications. Electronic Warfare (EW) represents the ability to either disrupt or use electronic signals attacks. Aircraft and unmanned systems perform reconnaissance missions and pass data back to field-deployed personnel and naval platforms being protected just outside contested environments. Mapping and surveillance aircraft share data back to centralized command posts around the globe for intelligence on enemy stockpiles, troop movements and missile defense systems that share target data with central command and anti-aircraft systems to help lock down the exact location of any missile fired for acts of aggression.
This collective battlefield picture and information sharing, along with accurate and real-time location mapping starts with sensors.... read more
Most engineers are all too familiar with the term "electrification" in military vehicle and aircraft designs, defined as the conversion of a machine or system to the use of electrical power. It's necessary to integrate power distribution units (PDUs) when designing this electrification and protecting higher voltages, harnesses, and loads on a system. PDUs can also be referred to as solid state power control (SSPC) or remote power control (RPC) and they replace old mechanical circuit breakers with electronic circuit breaker technology.... read more
Autonomous vehicles serve in frontline combat formations fighting alongside manned vehicles, resupply missions, urban reconnaissance etc.
Autonomous vehicles combine decision-making with real-time control. These two aspects become more critical in the modern battlefield. Mission-decision and Real-Time control are being achieved by sensor technology – gathering situational data through radar, LIDAR and electro-optics – as well as complex software algorithms for processing the huge amounts of data collected and determining what action needs to be taken.
The main task of the sensing suite in autonomous vehicles is to provide the most reliable and dense information on the vehicular surroundings. The challenge is controlling and managing the system integration in real-time battlefield from both communication and power aspects. The networking solutions should feature Layer 2 and Layer 3 capabilities in addition to management capabilities. Power distribution units are needed to manage the power and power supplies with high power output and the ability to work simultaneously with other power converters.
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The armed forces see Software Defined Radios (SDR) as an optimal solution to combat the ever-changing communications technologies surrounding traditional manpack radios that are used in today’s ground vehicles. SDRs enables the radio chassis to run multiple wavelengths or can accept an upgrade capability by simply changing out payload cards. By using a single chassis as the base platform, there have been significant size, weight, and power (SWaP) improvements for the vehicle and platform integrations. This enables the combination of shared resources and, by reducing the amount of man-pack radios, decreases the tax on the vehicle’s electrical system.... read more
Every electrical system created for the battlefield poses its own unique set of challenges that require difficult design decisions. We know that design engineers all too well understand about the trade-offs between requirements of the system and those of its components. The same is true for industry standards that apply at the system level versus those that apply to its components. When faced with what to do when overlapping standards don't agree, sometimes the answer is -- do more.... read more