We’re headed to AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL next week with one of Techaya’s newest device the MILTECH303. The industry’s only rugged, MIL-STD, IP68 ultra-compact USB 3.1 USB hub. This cool little hub is designed not only to connect USB devices—handhelds, sensors, night vision goggles, keyboards— but also provide power management and charging of up to 5 devices at a time.

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Follow our blog on Military Embedded Systems to learn more about Ethernet networking in military and UAV applications. This month’s post: The differences between static vs dynamic routing and when would you need which.  Techaya has a number of Ethernet switches and Ethernet that provide static routing, such as the MILTECH 904, MILTECH 918, MILTECH 919, MILTECH 908 and MILTECH 912. To take advantage of dynamic routing, Techaya has the following solutions: MILTECH 9012, MILTECH 9124, MILTECH 9128 and MILTECH 9028.

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Today, we announced the availability of the new Techaya MILTECH 9124 and MILTECH 9128 board-level, ultra-compact Ethernet switches. These conformally coated, Layer 2/Layer 3, 24- and 28-port 1 GbE and 10 GbE Ethernet switch/routers are designed specifically as embedded solutions for military, avionic and commercial communications platforms.

As military and avionic platforms carry a growing number of intelligence devices, such as infrared scanners, sensors, cameras and storage, they must be able to accommodate their space requirements plus the communications platform between the devices.  SWaP is becoming key. The industry is basically calling for a shrinking footprint of everything. By creating a board-level Ethernet switch, we’re allowing developers and engineers to embed their switch on their comms platform and deliver military-grade Ethernet switching capabilities in a footprint that is up to 96% smaller than previous generation rack-mount Ethernet switches.

The MILTECH 9128 features a class-leading 24 triple-speed (10/100/1000Mbps) ports plus four 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) fiber optic ports on a form factor of 3.55 x 3.55 inches. The MILTECH 9124 features 24 triple-speed (10/100/1000Mbps) ports with dimensions of 2.55 x 3.55 inches. Both come with board-to-board connectors and are designed to withstand working temperatures of -40°C to +85°C and will comply with MIL-STD-810 & MIL-STD-461 when incorporated in a suitable enclosure.

The MILTECH 9124 is available now for evaluation and testing.  The MILTECH 9128 will be available Q1 of 2016.

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Techaya just recently announced a major platform upgrade to their compact, ultra-compact and board level managed Ethernet switches. Through a major firmware upgrade, these managed Ethernet switches now have some key new features.

Why is this so important to existing and future customers of Techaya managed Ethernet switches? Well, this new platform upgrade (available free through a firmware update) adds Layer 3 static routing functionality to these compact, ultra-compact and board-level Layer 2 Ethernet switches. By adding static routing functionality, these switches can now perform IPv4 and IPv6 static routing between VLANs without having to add a router upstream. This reduces the amount of equipment, weight and cost on mobile military platforms.

Other upgrades include:
• Additional Layer 2 switching functionality, including IP subnet-based VLANs, multiple spanning tree instances on a single link and enhanced snooping support
• Management functions such as DHCP server, SSHv2, SNMPv1/v2c/v3 Agent and IPv6 management to enhance compatibility with most standards-based networked devices.
• Additional Qos,  port control, synchronization and MIBS support

For a complete list of new features, click here.

All products shipping after October 1, 2015 have the upgraded firmware installed on the platform. For customers who purchased a MILTECH 904, 912, 918 or 919 before October 1, 2015, a firmware update is available, FREE of CHARGE. Techaya rugged Ethernet switches are being deployed throughout the defense and UAV industry to deliver Ethernet connectivity on mobile ground, water and airborne platforms.

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As we know, open standards and platforms are becoming a top priority for the military branches as it attempts to implement technologies with more rapid innovation cycles.  For the US this is an absolute necessity to keep up with or stay ahead of foreign threats. Last year, officials at DARPA issued a broad agency announcement (DARPA-BAA-14-40) for the System of Systems Integration Technology and Experimentation (SoSITE) program. The program goal is to develop an open system architecture (OSA) for rapid distribution and experimentation of new functionalities across aircraft, weapons, sensors, and mission systems.

The SoSITE OSA is based on the Air Force’s open mission systems (OMS) effort to develop interfaces between mission systems and services connected through an avionics service bus (ASB). These interfaces use open and standardized interface definitions. Once again, this is why MilSource sees Ethernet physical connectivity interface of choice for this and any other program that requires industry-standard, non-propriety architecture and systems.

Congratulations to Northrup Grumman, who last week announced that they have successfully demonstrated the ability to support the OMS architecture on a NASA Global Hawk . Supporting the architecture paves the way for integration of new payload options for Global Hawk to support mission flexibility and customer needs. In addition to flying on the NASA Global Hawk UAS, the OMS architecture will be adapted and demonstrated in-flight on a manned airborne weapons system later this month.

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Whether they realize it or not, a recent Research and Markets Report, (take a deep breath now) Commercial Avionics Systems Market by Sub-systems (FMS, Flight Control Systems, Navigation, Communication, & Surveillance Systems, HMS, and Aircraft Electrical & Emergency Systems), by Platform (Fixed Wing and Rotary Wing), and by Geography – Forecast & Analysis (2014 – 2020) (exhale) is indirectly calling for an increased use of Ethernet in the Avionics market.

According to Research and Markets, the commercial avionics systems market was estimated at $15,748.26 Million in 2014 and is projected to register a CAGR of 7.06% to reach $23,715.24 Million by 2020.  Some of the key drivers for the growth will include:
• Demand for real-time data
• Flight management systems (FMS)
• Flight control systems (FCS)
• The increase in concern for flight safety and operational & maintenance costs

From all of this data on industry requirements, one can infer that Ethernet will continue to thrive as the data communications backbone throughout airborne platforms. High-speed Ethernet (10/40/100 Gps) and routers will be key to capturing and managing real-time data such a video. FMS, FCS and capturing platform and network health will all share the same data backbone.  Ethernet switches are fast coming industry standard and COTS devices that will stay on top and ahead of connecting a multitude of devices including radar, sensors, computers and others.

We look forward to the healthy growth in the avionics industry. Techaya’s full line of rugged Ethernet switches and routers are an excellent solutions for these airborne platforms.

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Today, the military is at the forefront of “networks on the move”. Ground, air, and marine vehicles and even soldiers are becoming mobile networks to help monitor health, detect dangers, establish situational awareness, map threat locations, and become communications hubs to ensure that that there is a 360o communication between troops on the ground and command stations.

At the forefront of situational awareness are sensors to gather the data needed from, heart rates on soldiers, to weather conditions, to radar and everything in between. But those sensor are limited in their capabilities unless they can talk to each other, gather data and send back to compute platforms or tie in to sophisticated image gathering devices.  At the heart of this connection an Ethernet network on each and every mobile platform. And leading the way in sophisticated Ethernet connectivity that meets the size weight and power (SWaP) requirement for these military deployments is the Techaya line of military-grade Ethernet switches and routers.

Military and Aerospace magazine just wrote a great article that really gets in to the details of the current state of networked sensors. Click here to read more on this interesting subject.

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Dedicated bus architectures have been traditionally used in military applications, including UAVs, but resulted in heavier, proprietary and more inflexible systems. Ethernet has been shown as a viable alternative for military UAV applications for a number of reasons:

Robustness:  Previous generations of connectivity were vulnerable to the elements that a UAV faced in normal conditions — dirt, moisture, temperature deviations and vibration can all reduce standard bus architecture connectivity efficacy and efficiency. Ethernet is a more solid and dependable connectivity platform; and interconnectivity between switches can make the connections even more reliable.  For example, multiple switches can be used in UAVs to provide redundancy and to eliminate the possibility of a single point of network failure: switches are interconnected so that the failure of a switch or link between switches can be avoided by routing around the failure.

Diagnostics:  Managed Ethernet switches can increase the resiliancy of the internal communication of the UAV. The system can be set to self-detect and self-manage modules, and add to the UAV’s uptime.

Failure Isolation:  In some bus architectures, modules that communicate with each other via direct electrical connections can crash the entire system if one module fails.  Modules are electrically isolated in Ethernet architecture, so if one module fails, the loss is limited to the loss of that module.

Flexibility:  The modularity of Ethernet components allows for UAVs to have design and implementation flexibility. UAVs can be built for more than one function because of the flexibility of Ethernet components, and UAVs in the field can be modified and outfitted to fit specific needs.

Size/Weight/Power:  Every ounce of decreased weight means more flight time for UAVs, so every ounce of component weight must provide and maintain optimal system performance. Each square inch must carry as much functionality as possible.  Power management is also a challenge. Finding a balance is critical.  Lightweight, rugged Ethernet switches are an excellent combination to make the most of SWaP-C (size, weight, power and cost) pressures and constraints, as they save real estate room on a UAV for other devices.

As the desired functions for UAVs grow, UAV technology constantly faces new requirements and tasks, which necessitates changing approaches to design and systems.  On-board Ethernet connectivity facilitates much of the design flexibility to meet the ever-changing demands for UAVs.  For this reason, Ethernet has become the connectivity platform of choice for military UAV system designers.

For a complete version of this article, please click here.

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We recently attended AUVSI (or Unmanned Systems 2015) in Atlanta, Georgia. While at the show Electronic Design editor William Wong and Engineering TV producer Curtis Ellzey caught up with Ronen Isaac, General Manager for MilSource. Watch this quick video that’s an informative walk through Techaya’s complete line of military-grade Ethernet switches, routers and USB hubs.


Watch the video on Techaya’s SWaP-centric products for UAV and military applications on Engineering TV.

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3D Robotics (3DR) has unveiled a free and open-source drone app development platform. DroneKit is the company’s API for drone app development, designed to provide a platform for developers to create Web-based drone apps. DroneKit allows developers to:

• Fly paths with waypoints
• Fly in a spline path with fine-grained control over vehicle velocity and position
• Have the drone follow a GPS target
• Control the camera and gimbal with regions of interest points
• Access full telemetry from the drone over 3DR Radio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or over the Internet
• View playbacks and log analysis of any mission

DroneKit works on planes, copters, rovers, laptops, computers and mobile devices, and it provides Web-based access to vehicle data. 3DR will continue to maintain the drone development platform, fix problems that arise and ensure it works with any vehicle powered by the APM flight code. Now that’s cool!

*Photo courtesy of 3D Robotics.

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