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Pat Hindle, MWJ Editor

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Pat Hindle is responsible for editorial content, article review and special industry reporting for Microwave Journal magazine and its web site in addition to social media and special digital projects. Prior to joining the Journal, Mr. Hindle held various technical and marketing positions throughout New England, including Marketing Communications Manager at M/A-COM (Tyco Electronics), Product/QA Manager at Alpha Industries (Skyworks), Program Manager at Raytheon and Project Manager/Quality Engineer at MIT. Mr. Hindle graduated from Northeastern University - Graduate School of Business Administration and holds a BS degree from Cornell University in Materials Science Engineering.
Aerospace and Defense Channel

MILCOM 2012 Sacked by Sandy

October 30, 2012
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The MILCOM management and sponsors made a wise decision to cancel the event this year as most of the east coast was pretty much closed down from hurricane Sandy.  Everyone I know in New England down to the Mid-Atlantic found out over the weekend that their flights were canceled.  It was a good move and addressed any safety concerns of people trying to get there.  MILCOM even analyzed their attendee list and determined that approximately 40% of them would be affected by the storm so decided to cancel.  I applaud them for taking this action and promoting it quickly to the attendees.

The thirty-first annual MILCOM Conference and Exposition, themed “Trusted Communications…Awareness to Action”, was to be held at the Gaylord Palms Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, October 29 through November 1.  Co-sponsored by AFCEA International and the IEEE Communications Society, and hosted by Harris Corporation, MILCOM is the premier international conference for military communications. MILCOM gives industry the opportunity to promote communications technologies and services to commanders from all branches of the armed forces, Department of Defense, federal government, and the heads of multi-national forces from around the globe.

Even though the show was canceled, there was still a lot of company news and products that I received for the event so here is a summary of the show that did not happen from an RF/microwave perspective:

Agile Milcoms was going to demonstrate their new ISR-Direct™ platform that delivers FMV (Full Motion Video) and data directly to the Warfighter via handheld tablets and smartphones. This new platform incorporates key Agile Milcom components as well as Haivision’s Makito Air encoder and Kraken Transcoder.  The ability to supply accurate and timely ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) information is essential in today’s combat environment. ISR-Direct provides real-time video as provided from a multitude of the end-user sensors combined with map overlay and two-way data to the critical edge, allowing Warfighters to have up-to-date ISR information during their mission. I wanted to see this in action so maybe we can get a video or something later to see this demonstration.

Agilent Technologies announced demonstrations of its next-generation test and measurement solutions that are enabling future communications systems, including satellite and military radio test solutions, MIMO, multi-tone, group delay and wideband chirp test applications, and handheld instruments including the following:

Custom Waveform Generation and Analysis
Complete waveform generation and analysis includes the combination of SystemVue for simulation, the MXG vector generator for playback, and the PXA with VSA for analysis of waveforms including custom OFDM, 802.11ac, SiQPSK and CPM.

RF and Microwave Handheld Test Tools
Rugged, economical 7, 13.6 and 20 GHz HSA handheld spectrum analyzers simplify field test with a robust task planner for automating measurements in the field. The lineup of 14 new FieldFox handheld microwave analyzers brings benchtop accuracy and MIL-spec durability to on-the-go applications. The compact, 6.6-pound (3.0-kg) microwave models can be configured for cable-and-antenna analysis, spectrum analysis, vector network analysis, or all-in-one capability with frequency coverage to 9, 14, 18 or 26.5 GHz.

Wireless and Cellular Protocol Testing for Aerospace/Defense
The N7109A, a 2-, 4- or 8-channel independently tuned 6GHz RF signal analyzer, leverages the multi-channel and MIMO measurement capabilities of the industry-leading Agilent 89600 VSA software. The N7109A enables fast, informative measurements for beamforming, carrier aggregation, OTA and modeling antenna patterns for existing, emerging and aerospace/defense wireless and cellular protocols.

EB, Elektrobit Corp., announced an agreement to deliver their tactical communication systems to the Finnish Defense Force's Army. This agreement is a continuation of the pilot series delivery of EB's Tough VoIP systems in 2009, after which the Finnish Army commenced extensive field trials on the system. The deliveries will be the first phase of the Finnish Army's long-term procurement program supporting the new network-centric defense model which enhances the ability for joint operations. The EB Tough VoIP communication systems will be utilized by the field and mechanized artillery as well as the Multiple Rocket Launchers Systems (MRLS). EB was also going to demonstrate a revolutionary test solution for  mobile ad hoc networks (MANET). This solution enables testing of MANET radio systems in the laboratory under field like conditions with a single device - the EB Propsim F32 radio channel emulator. The F32 can be used for testing of VHF and UHF radios.

Harris Corporation was going to demonstrate the latest in C4ISR solutions for warfighter and support their theme of, “Delivering Next-Gen, Trusted Communications Now.”   As part of these demonstrations, they also were announcing several new capabilities including a new managed services network for moving large amounts of secure communications and data throughout the U.S. and beyond; a new manpack-size tactical cellular communications device; and Falcon III tactical radios for the U.S. Army’s Capability Set 13.   Harris and Tampa Microwave™ have jointly developed a tri-band satellite communications antenna that offers the highest level of performance available today in a single-case unit small enough to be checked as airline baggage.  The 1.3-meter Seeker™ is a very small aperture terminal (VSAT) that supports X-, Ku-, and Ka-band communications and is designed for use in rugged, tactical environments supporting military operations and other quick-react missions.  A center-fed antenna enables simple frequency and feed swap, and offers superior wind stability and satellite tracking performance.  Microwave Journal featured this product in our August Military Microwaves supplement here.

Hughes Network Systems was making presentations that examine Ka-band’s Role in National Security Programs and introducing a New Waveform for Micro Terminals.  They also were going to showcase key technologies for the defense and intelligence communities including its 9202 portable Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) terminal, and wideband Ka-/Ku-band on-the-move broadband satellite solutions employing its FIPS-certified HX280 router in addition to recent Hughes advancements in airborne communications.

LPKF Laser & Electronics was going to demonstrate its best-selling PCB milling machine, the ProtoMat S63. The ProtoMat S63 utilizes accurate, powerful stepper motors to mill away unwanted surface material, creating PCBs in a matter of minutes. In-house PCB prototyping systems are ideal for setups where design data security is of the utmost importance. Additionally, LPKF is the only manufacturer that offers a complete line of SMT and finishing equipment. These two factors allow for complete user control over the entire prototyping process.

Microsemi was going to feature demonstrations of several of its leading-edge solutions including:

• SmartFusion®2 SoC FPGAs
• TRUSST Stor™ secure data storage
• WhiteboxCRYPTO™ key protection
• High-reliability semiconductors
• EnforcIT® hardware security cores
• High-reliability hybrid solutions
• RF integrated solutions
• Sub-GHz ultra low power radio transceiver

Molex Incorporated is now offering new products (from Temp-Flex, a Molex company) that are designed for high-bandwidth applications using proprietary processes. Temp-Flex microwave cables deliver exceptional electrical performance in military, aerospace and defense, robotics and medical markets, in addition to automatic test equipment. Temp-Flex microwave coaxial cables are available with either a solid core fluoropolymer resin dielectric (low loss) or an air-enhanced design with a fluoropolymer resin layer applied over dual monofilaments (ultra-low loss) around the center conductor for increased signal speed.  High purity fluoropolymer resin offers a low dissipation factor and ensures a lower rate of energy loss.

National Instruments announced the NI PXIe-5667 spectrum monitoring receiver to address radio monitoring, interference detection, spectrum regulation and related applications in line with ITU recommendations. Coupled with NI FlexRIO and the NI LabVIEW FPGA Module, the NI PXIe-5667 can perform real-time analysis of RF signals such as continuous spectrum monitoring, spectrogram and advanced signal processing in the FPGA hardware without the latency of moving data to and from the host controller or PC. Available LabVIEW FPGA IP include digital downconverter channelization, frequency hop detection and the ability to uncover spectrum mask violations.  NI also commercially released the NI 5791 RF transceiver adapter module for NI FlexRIO, which is currently being used in multiple cutting-edge research projects on 5G technologies. The module forms a powerful SDR solution when paired with an NI FlexRIO FPGA module for real-time, user-designed processing. Through triggering mechanisms provided by the PXI platform, users can synchronize eight or more transceivers for MIMO and beamforming configurations. The NI 5791 comes with extensive FPGA digital signal processing (DSP) libraries and example architectures for common signal processing applications.  Look for our cover feature in Dec about 5G technology being developed at TU Dresden enabled by NI equipment.

Northrop Grumman Corporation has developed a line of GaN MMICs for military and commercial uses. These 3 devices represent the first commercial availability of GaN-based components from the company (I only recently learned that they have been producing GaN devices since 2002).  The first device operates between 18-23 GHz and provides 20 dB of linear gain, +36 dBm of output power at 1 dB gain compression and +38 dBm in saturation with PAE of greater than 30 percent. The second device operates from 27-31 GHz and provides 21 dB of linear gain, +38 dBm of output power at 1 dB gain compression and +39 dBm in saturation with PAE of 30 percent at midband. The third PA operates from 43-46 GHz and provides 20 dB of gain, +35.5 dBm of output power at 1 dB gain compression and +38.5 dBm in saturation with PAE of 19% at midband.

NuWaves released a Power Amplifier Linearizer Module (PALM) that improves the linearity of a high-efficiency PA while minimizing its required power back-off in support of amplitude-modulated waveforms such as OFDM, COFDM, QAM, etc. Requiring no manual adjustments, the PALM’s adaptive correction maintains optimal linearity over amplifier temperature drift, power output, and other impairments. The PALM is ideal for linearizing high-efficiency PAs regardless of topology: Class A, AB, Doherty; or device technology: GaN, GaAs, LDMOS. At MILCOM they were going to demonstrate an 1800 to 2200 MHz PA providing up to 20 dB of typical improvement in adjacent channel power rejection over stand-alone high-efficiency PAs, depending on the modulation and signal bandwidth. With a power consumption of less than 1 Watt, PALM adds little overhead to battery operated systems.

TE Connectivity (TE) has a range of next-gen military electronics technologies as well as the latest end-to-end solutions from a wide variety of high performance interconnects.  They have Advanced Composites & Antennas, CeeLok FAS-T Connectors, Cold Applied Splice, Deutsch MIL-DTL 38999 Series Connectors, Deutsch Wildcat Connectors, Expanded Beam Optical Connectors, Mezalok Mezzanine Connector, Power Distribution Panels and RT-555 High Temperature Heat Shrink Tape all being offered to the MILCOM audience.

ViaSat and Harris Corporation announced that they have delivered the 100th two-channel, KOR-24 Small Tactical Terminal (STT) that expands the availability of situational awareness data to military users at the tactical edge. STT reduces the size, weight, and power of tactical data link equipment and includes a range of software-defined VHF/UHF military radio and Link 16 functions. At only 16 lbs, the terminal is finding a variety of applications in ground vehicles, light aircraft, small boats, helicopters, UAVs, and small shelterized communication nodes. ViaSat also announced successful flight tests that have verified the industry’s highest performance for a mobile satellite broadband system using ultra-small aperture antennas. U.S. Special Forces (USSOCOM) and other service representatives witnessed an ISR exercise that streamed full motion, HD video over an airborne Ka-band satellite link, while also providing enough bandwidth for a concurrent video conference and Voice over IP (VOIP) phone calls.

Xilinx announced its fourth generation secure architecture with Information Assurance and Anti-Tamper IP core support for defense-grade All Programmable 7 series FPGAs and Zynq™-7000 All Programmable SoCs. These high reliability, defense-grade devices reduce the risk and cost of deploying the latest Aerospace and Defense (A&D) systems by utilizing off-the-shelf reprogrammable Xilinx® FPGAs and SoCs. Manufactured with state-of-the-art 28 nm process technology, all devices are optimized for high performance and the lowest total power. Xilinx defense-grade products are fully pin-compatible to commercial-grade equivalents for low cost prototyping and are offered off-the-shelf.

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