COTS module package styles
Military-grade hybrids frequently use ceramic multichip module packaging, and power modules continue to utilize metal can packages. High power regulator modules in particular, traditionally come with a bolt-down or brick type configurations and are intended for rack level or LRU supplies. These tend to be bulky, heavy and are configured to supply multiple voltage rails to circuits and boards, distributed from a single point.
More recent developments, such as the Linear Technology µModule regulators, are well-suited to the newer POL type power architectures where regulation may be organized to drop the input voltage in several smaller and more efficient steps through intermediate rails. In military systems with large FPGAs requiring tens of amps at around one volt, it is desirable to position the regulator close to the load to optimize regulation and to distribute heat more evenly. The high efficiency and excellent thermal properties of the LGA package (shown in Figure 3
) makes it suitable for in military systems. BGA options are also available.
Figure 3. Two µModule regulators with LGA (left) & BGA (right) package styles
Military Plastic (MP grade) versions of µModule products provide guaranteed data sheet performance through 100% electrical testing at -55ºC and +125ºC. All MP products also receive enhanced screening, reliability monitoring and tighter in-process controls.
Fifty years ago, hybrids and modules were a technology of choice to miniaturize electronic circuits and improve their reliability. As the semiconductor industry became commoditized and product lifecycles diverged from those of the defense industry, hybrids and modules found a new role in obsolescence mitigation. While ASIC became the preferred approach for integration of digital electronics, the hybrid module found a niche solving difficult analog problems.
Meanwhile COTS modules have emerged in the form of Application Specific Standard Products, notably for power supplies, processors and interfaces. These have been widely adopted as military equipment providers react to a new competitive age and recognize the importance of focusing scarce design resources on core competencies.
Today, defense budget pressures and shorter design cycles may make full custom hybrids increasingly a legacy solution, but without a doubt, COTS modules are increasingly becoming a technology of choice for the military and aerospace industry.
About the author:
is European marketing manager, military and space, for Linear Technology Corp.
If you found this article to be of interest, visit Military/Aerospace Designline
where you will find the latest and greatest design, technology,
product, and news articles with regard to all aspects of military,
defense and aerospace. And, to register to our weekly newsletter, click here.