Relation entre les différentes composante d'un système C4ISR (Command, Control, Compute, Communicate, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance).

The objective of this white paper is to show how important and critical optical interconnect is becoming in the development of high-performance embedded systems.
By: Gérald Persaud, VP Business Development and Michel Têtu, Senior Business Development Advisor

Embedded Systems Market to Reach $133B by 2020*

Eyes and ears everywhere

For military and aerospace applications, C4ISR (Command, Control, Compute, Communicate, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) is invaluable for almost instantaneous high-end decision making. 

*: MarketsandMarkets

Command, Control, Compute, Communicate, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Process

The Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance process (ISR) requires the collection and processing of signals generated by a large amount of sensors of various types like active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars, high resolution cameras, sonars and so on. Analog signals are digitized and transmitted to a high performance embedded computing unit (HPEC) for data fusion and processing through high bit-rate fiber-optic links. Through deep learning algorithms, actions to be taken are identified and communicated to decisional centers. 

ISR Technology Trends

HPEC are made of multiple high-speed microprocessors, memory and storage set on electronic boards usually interconnected through copper backplane circuitry.
However with the data rate of these interconnects reaching over 10 Gbps, optical interconnects begin to be the preferred choice due to their high bandwidth, high density I/O, low loss, low weight, and immunity against EMI.

  • Sensors: higher resolution cameras and radars
  • Processor: multicore, low power GPGPU, GPP, FPGA
  • Storage: solid state, small, rugged, reliable (RAID)
  • Sensor fusion: correlate information from sensors
  • Computing: Virtualization, parallel processing 
  • Small SWaP: more capability for SFF (3U VPX)
  • All digital: multi-purposed, software defined functionality
  • Intelligent: learning machines
  • Data rich: real-time and historical data
  • Secure: hack-resistant communications
  • Reliable: no single point failure
  • Small: more payload for other systems
  • Scalable: simple upgrades, long life
  • Multi-purposed: target ID, weather, communications.
Computerized Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance

Illustration of the relation between the different elements of C4ISR systems (Command, Control, Compute, Communicate, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance).

Applications of optical interconnect in some high-performance systems

Space Fence Radar: Toward all-digital AESA radar

Learn more on the Space Fence project 

US Air Force Space Surveillance Network

Active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar
  • Detect, track, catalog satellites and debris on earth orbits
Transmitter array
  • S-Band (2 GHz to 4 GHz)
  • 36 000 independent radiating elements
  • Can generate thousands of radar beams
Receiver array
  • Separate from transmitter array
  • 86 000 independent receiving elements
  • DBF and frequency multiplexing allow for thousands of received beams
Space fence US Air force Space Surveillance Network

ISR technology trends: BAE ARGUS IS system

Learn more on the BAE ARGUS system

  • Four high-resolution visible light cameras
  • Uses 368 CCD COTS 5 Mp cameras
  • 4×48 fiber optical ribbon cables
  • 16×SNAP 12 @ 3 Gbps offering 600 Gbps total I/O throughput

Optical interconnect is used on ARGUS IS system

  • High BW, low latency
  • Small SWaP
  • High density
  • Defines system performance
Optical interconnect in BAE Argus IS
Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System (ARGUS-IS)

Electrical vs optical interconnect power consumption

This diagram shows a rough evaluation of electrical power consumption for the connection of a sensor to an embedded computer system. Here we only consider the front-end of each system. Optic interconnect need 2 to 3 times less power than an electrical connection.

Electrical vs optical interconnect power consumption

Summary of Embedded Optics Benefits

LighABLE embedded transceiver

Reflex Photonics chip size rugged parallel optic transceivers meet the requirements for harsh environment applications. 

Performance

  • Proven: Thousands used in aerospace and defense applications
  • Scalable BW: 28 Gbps+
  • Receiver sensitivity: –12 dBm
  • Low bit error rates: 10−15
  • Low loss: 0.003 dB/m (OM3 @850 nm)
  • Reach: 300 m (OM3 @10G)
480G full duplex I/O card

480G full duplex I/O. FPGA processors, server cards, and cellular systems.

 

Small SWaP-C

  • Chip size optical transceivers
  • Less than 5 mm high
  • Light weight electronics and glass fiber
  • I/O density: 48 fibers in MT connector
  • Low power consumption: 1.2 W for 12 lanes @10 Gbps
Optic fiber offer much better I/O density that copper interconnect.

Micro-coaxial connectors compared to optical MT ferrule connector

 

Rugged

  • Complies with Telcordia GR-468-CORE and MIL-STD-883E standards for severe environmental conditions.
  • Operating temperature: −40 °C to 85 °C operation @ 10 Gbps
  • Storage temperature: − 57 °C to 125 °C
  • Moisture and thermal shock resistant
  • EMI and EMP immune
Optic fiber are immune to electro magnetic interferences.

Harsh environment

 

VPX optical interconnect standards

ANSI/VITA Standard

  • ANSI/VITA 66.0: Optical Interconnect On VPX
  • ANSI/VITA 66.1: Full Size MT Variant
  • ANSI/VITA 66.2: ARINC 801 Variant
  • ANSI/VITA 66.3: Mini-Expended Beam Variant
  • ANSI/VITA 66.4: Half Size MT Variant
VITA 66.X standard
VITA 66.X standard

Image courtesy of TE Connectivity

VITA 66.4 backplane
VITA 66.4 standard

Image courtesy of ELMA

Under consideration

VITA 65: Open VPX
VITA 67.3C: VPX: Coaxial & Optical Interconnect,
VITA 76: High Performance Cable Standard
VITA 78: Space VPX Systems
VITA 78.1: Space VPX Lite
VITA 74 VNX: Small Form Factor VPX

VITA 67.3C standard
VITA 67.3C standard

Image courtesy of TE Connectivity

LightCONEX blind mate optical interconnect

For a higher level of integration, Reflex Photonics in collaboration with Amphenol Aerospace, developed optical blind mate connectors where the optical transceiver is directly embedded in the plug-in module connector  following ANSI/VITA VPX technology.

  • Supports 2 level maintenance
  • Integrates optical transceiver into plug-in module connector
  • Less board space needed for optical interface
  • Fits VITA 66.4 backplane aperture for upgrades
  • No need for fiber optic handling
VPX board with VITA 46 and LightCONEX plug-in connectors.

VPX board with VITA 46 and LightCONEX plug-in connectors.

VPX backplane with LightCONEX blind mate optic

ELMA 3U VPX backplane with VITA 46 and LightCONEX connectors.

VPX backplane with LightCONEX blind mate optic

Close-up of the LightCONEX plug-in module connector.

VPX backplane with LightCONEX blind mate optic

Close-up of the LightCONEX backplane connector.

VPX optical solutions with Reflex Photonics embedded optics

Amphenol VPX media converter

  • 6U VPX media converter
  • Converts backplane high-speed signal to front optical and electrical Ethernet I/O
  • 32 × 10G BASE SR in a VITA 66.1 connector
  • 4 × 10G BASE-T and 8 × 1G BASE-T
Amphenol VPX media converter. Converts backplane high-speed signal to front optical and electrical Ethernet I/O

Interface Concept Optical FMC Board

  • Transceiver board (12TX + 12RX)
  • 120 Gbps full duplex
  • Supports front panel Optical Interface
  • Interfaces with 3U VPX FPGA boards
 New generation Optical FMC cards use LightABLE LH SR12 embedded optical transceivers.

Meritec Active Optical Module

  • Extends electrical reach to 100 m @10Gbps
  • Converts electrical to optical signals
  • Size 17 VITA 76 electrical connector
  • 12-lane MT optical in a size 11 shell
Meritec Active Optical Module.  Converts electrical to optical signals Size 17 VITA 76 electrical connector 12-lane MT optical in a size 11 shell.

In conclusion

Reflex Photonics rugged parallel optic transceivers meet the requirements for harsh environment applications and offer:

High performance with less SWaP-C

Operation under industrial temperature range (-40°C to 85°C) with BER as low as 10−15 delivering 10 Gbps/ch and –12 dBm sensitivity. Less than 5 mm high. Low power consumption 100 mW/ch.

Proven

Thousands used in aerospace and defense applications.

 

Rugged

Fully qualified following Telcordia GR-468-CORE and MIL-STD-883E standards for severe environmental conditions. 

Reliable

Successful 2500 h Accelerated Life Testing @ 100 °C.
Storage temperature from −57 °C to 125 °C.

Winning edge for design engineers