Military Embedded Systems magazine recently covered a couple of industry trends worth noting, in a pervasive but frequently overlooked area of military procurement. Despite OpenVPX’s somewhat rocky journey to replace VME, one area is continued progress toward important new hardware standards, as computer board suppliers turn to the defense market segment as a safe haven:
“Work on specifications that benefit technology used in military applications is getting an extra dose of attention, as this market is holding steady during this economic slowdown. One common theme appears to be the emphasis on smaller form factors such as the 3U VPX, FMC, and MicroTCA sizes. Many programs are very space and power limited, driving the need for smaller boards. Suppliers are refocusing efforts on this market and working to ensure that they will have a steady stream of technology to consider for possible defense programs. It is no secret that the military will continue to increase its reliance on embedded electronics in future programs.”
Software virtualization is making steady progress in businesses, as computing makes the difficult shift from a craftsman model to a utility model. It also has significant implications for military systems, which last a very long time and must often deal with legacy code based on electronically ancient systems. Real-time requirements can sometimes present problems when utilizing classic virtualization techniques, but an approach called Safe and Secure Virtualization (SSV) may one day allow entire subsystems to be retained from an original platform and inserted, unchanged, into new or drastically upgraded platforms.