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Configurable FPGAs, More than a Point Solution

October 01, 2018 | BY: Paul Bundick

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Finding the Right FPGA for Changing Applications

Many defense programs use Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) within their sensor processing for radar, electronic warfare (EW), and signal intelligence (SIGINT) applications; but too often, the system design differs from application to application. The investment required to develop a new system from the ground up for every application can be costly and time intensive. For instance, every antenna design is different depending on the application space or the spectrum that a system designer is trying to attack, sense, or operate in. Finding the right FPGA processing solution that can handle changing applications is critical for successful, multi-purpose sensor processing. But, what are some of the available solutions out there, and which key factors should a system designer consider when selecting an FPGA for effective RADAR/EW/SIGINT operations?

 

Figure 1: CHAMP-FX4 key features, front and back view

 

The Point Solution

For years, system designers have turned to point solutions for FPGA sensor processing. Point solutions are typically custom-built, in-house designs that target a specific application. Though dedicated point solutions have their place, such systems lack the flexibility needed for use in a wide variety of applications. In many cases, system designers utilize FPGA technology with a specific program or purpose in mind, making it difficult to find opportunities for re-use, thus preventing the maximum leverage associated from the investment in the development of the technology. These often expensive, custom-made or semi-custom FPGA solutions also tend to weigh heavily on resources, reducing organizational efficiency. With a lack of abundant, reuse opportunities of custom FPGA designs, along with the large investment in time and effort to build such systems, system designers have been motivated to seek more cost-effective, lower risk, timesaving solutions.

Download the 'Configurable FPGAs, More than a Point Solution' white paper to learn more about:

  • Configurable FPGAs
  • Interoperability for Peak Performance

 

Paul Bundick

Author’s Biography

Paul Bundick

South Eastern US, District Manager

Paul Bundick is a District Manager for Curtiss Wright Controls Defense Solutions. He has been involved in the Defense, Rugged Embedded Computing Industry for two decades holding positions in leadership, engineering, and customer management. Paul is a proud graduate of Virginia Tech and holds a bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

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