The prolific adoption of UAVs in the military is no surprise these days; the market is estimated to have been approximately $10 billion in 2017. At the same time, the aerospace (both military and commercial) supply chain is becoming increasingly consolidated as end users demand more performance at a lower cost. As demand continues to rise for these aircraft due to their small size, lower cost and increased reliability, it presents both an opportunity and a challenge to avionics designers.
An avionics system today must deliver more performance at the same price, while decreasing the size and weight of the overall system. While processing elements in a system - such as single board computers, FGPA boards, or GPGPUs - often take the heat for SWaP challenges, avionics interfaces are no exception: engineers need to optimize SWaP wherever they can.
Flexible, configurable, feature-rich
During test, development and simulation, what’s required are products that are flexible, configurable, and feature-rich. When moving to deployment, avionics interface boards must be compact, rugged, reliable, and predictable – but still pack a performance punch. Additionally, the lab environment may require the use of different interface hardware and software APIs. Making this transition can be challenging without access to the right expertise and tools.
At a hardware level, products like Abaco’s R15-MPCIE can address many of the challenges described above. The R15-MPCIE is extremely small (30mm x 40.95mm x 4.7mm) and lightweight for applications deployed in highly constrained environments where platforms require minimum SWaP solutions. It is designed for those working in avionics test and simulation for field and test support, and for use in data logging – applications in which it offers significant advantages and flexibility. The Mini PCI Express interface and small size and weight also make the R15-MPCIE ideal for installation in a portable device or in small form factor mother board systems, delivering the appropriate mix and quantity of I/O for each application.
The small form factor of the R15-MPCIE does not compromise its capability, however. The R15-MPCIE supports two fully-capable dual redundant 1553 channels, giving it greater functional density than equivalent products. It also supports avionics-level voltages via two input/output bi-directional discretes.
Since customers will often make a significant investment in application software, having a common API for the lab and deployment is critical for success. At Abaco, for example, our API is field proven, familiar and is consistent with other Abaco products. Being able to leverage the same API across multiple products helps accelerate development when migrating from test and development to a rugged deployed environment.
In addition to software and hardware performance and flexibility requirements, increasingly, companies are looking for an avionics partner to share the load – not just a vendor. Responsiveness to requests for information and knowledgeable technical and application support are paramount.
At Abaco, we’re with you all the way from development and test through deployment and beyond. We understand it’s not just about the technology, the expertise or the experience in the aerospace industry. That’s why we have a customer-centric infrastructure designed to support you through all aspects of a program, from design to delivery.
Image courtesy of the US Air Force