Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Advice for IMS2011?

There's only 12 days left until IMS2011 in Baltimore. I've been looking forward to this event since I was hired as MWJ's staff editor in April. But as the event draws near, I am starting to think about what I need to do to prepare and what my strategy should be for getting the most out of the show. Publisher Car Sheffres has already given me some good advice -- don't buy a new pair of shoes the day before the trip. Carl told me he did just that before his first trade show (in 1988 in NYC) and ended up spending every night in his hotel room with his shoes off and his aching feet up. If anyone has any more advice about getting ready for the show, please comment.

Unmanned US Military Expenditures to Total $64 billion by 2021

Strategy Analytics reports that the success of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in providing real-time information to military commanders has contributed to both mission effectiveness and personnel protection. Despite budgetary pressures, a number of factors will help drive demand. The Strategy Analytics Advanced Defense Systems (ADS) service forecasts that US expenditure for military unmanned aerial platforms is approaching $64 billion, cumulatively, over the 2011 to 2021 timeframe, as described in the report, “US DoD Budget Implications for UAS Electronics Demand.”

While the global economic crisis has led to a reexamination of defense budgets, there remains concern for improved battle space integration, leading to support for the development of UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles) platforms. This, in turn, will drive growth in the demand for EO-IR (electro-optic/infrared), radar, communications and EW (electronic warfare) systems and other associated electronics.

“Strategy Analytics analysis indicates that the UAS segment will maintain a growth trajectory, accounting for 31 percent of US DoD budget expenditure on aircraft platforms by 2021,” noted Asif Anwar, Director, Advanced Defense Systems. “The US military market for UAS platforms will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3 percent over 2011 – 2021.”

Eric Higham, ADS Service Director, North America, added, “EO-IR payloads for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), as well as radar and communications, represented 75 percent of military electronics demand in 2010, which Strategy Analytics projects will grow to 80 percent by 2021. This will create a cumulative market opportunity approaching $21 billion.”

One example is the Boeing Phantom Ray UAS which successfully completed its first flight April 27 at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, CA. The 17-minute flight took place following a series of high-speed taxi tests in March that validated ground guidance, navigation and control and verified mission planning, pilot interface and operational procedures.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Comparing Active and Passive Mixers with Besser Associates

In a recent webinar, one of the attendees commented that Besser Instructor Allen Podell was presenting results based on "rather wimpy performance assumptions" for his active mixer versus passive mixer comparison (see below) and suggested using newer active mixers such as ADL5801 or LT5557 from ADI or LTC? This attendee asserted that mixers based on these particular devices compete very well with the best passive mixers­. Allen took up this challenge and did a little investigation. His response is below.

Post-webinar response from Allen Podell -

First of all, I must admit that it is true that the ADL5801 and the LT5557 mixers mentioned were quite comparable in performance to the combination of the passive mixer and IF amplifier given as an example. Let me point out that the power consumed by the amplifier in the example was about 10% of the example HDR mixers. My statement was that Gilbert Cell active mixers were inferior in dynamic range, based on their figure of merit. Even 10 of the Avago mixers would not have been as good as the course example, at a much high dc power consumption. Are the ADL and LT active HDR mixers truly Gilbert Cell mixers, as the Avago part is?

I tried to research the Analog Devices and Linear Technology recent patents to determine the design used in these mixers, but could not find an answer. Eliminating the common emitter amplifier stages and replacing them with a transformer would improve the performance of the active mixer, but it would no longer be a Gilbert Cell mixer. Had I used in my example a feedback IF amplifier running 80 mA and a Peregrine FET mixer together, we could have built an HDR mixer about 10 dB better than that of the example.

We could then re-start the mixer war.

To view the original webinar go to:

Monday, May 23, 2011

JSF Makes First Public Fly Over Appearance

The Joint Strike Fighter, F-35C version, made its first public appearance this past weekend at Andrew's Air Force Base in Maryland. The flyover on Saturday originated from the F-35C's primary test site at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. The aircraft, CF-2, flew within its approved flight envelope and was accompanied by an F-18 Hornet flying chase.

The F-35C is a 5th generation strike fighter with stealth capability and has larger wing surfaces and reinforced landing gear for the demanding carrier environment for the Navy. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program is in the system development and demonstration phase, focusing on delivering three different and new aircraft variants to the US Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force and NATO.

This is an important program for RF/microwave companies as many of them are involved in the radar and EW systems development and production. It is one of the few programs that has some potential for a large number of units as the F-22 production quantities have been cut many times of recent years.