Actel Corporation announced that its Axcelerator field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) have been selected by BAE Systems as part of BAE Systems' Archerfish naval mine disposal system. BAE Systems, an international company engaged in the development, delivery and support of advanced defense and aerospace systems in the air, on land, at sea and in space, will use the antifuse-based AX250 device as a tamper-proof, radiation-resistant solution within the safety and arming system of the Archerfish naval system.
"We needed a highly reliable programmable logic device that could be used in the fusing subsystem of Archerfish," said Doug Green, senior design engineer at BAE Systems. "For obvious reasons this is a safety-critical application. Actel's devices offered us a nonvolatile, one-time-programmable solution at a significantly lower cost than the ASIC alternative. In addition, we wanted the flexibility offered by an FPGA and wanted to eliminate the lengthy fabrication delays associated with ASICs."
The Archerfish system is designed to be deployed from helicopter or ship. The launch platform lowers a pod, which releases a small and highly maneuverable, one-shot mine disposal vehicle containing a warhead. The vehicle is guided via sonar and remote camera to seek out all types of sea mines. When a mine is located, the weapon is detonated, safely destroying the mine.
The Axcelerator AX250 device is used in the serial communications link between the pod and the weapon itself, which is carried over a fiber optic cable. As part of the final portion of the firing chain, it is vital that these communications are carried out safely and securely.
Saloni Howard-Sarin, director of antifuse and tools marketing at Actel, said, "Our antifuse devices deliver flexibility and fast turnaround, while providing a tamper-proof and radiation-tolerant solution that is often required by security and defense applications. This design win with BAE Systems for the Archerfish is further evidence of Actel's position as a leading provider of FPGA solutions for mission-critical applications."
About the Axcelerator Device Family
Built upon the company's AX architecture, the antifuse-based Axcelerator family delivers better than 500 MHz internal operation and up to 100 percent resource utilization. Additionally, the company's live at power-up, single-chip Axcelerator FPGAs avoid in-rush current spikes, simplify system power supply design and generally offer lower standby and dynamic power consumption than competing solutions. The devices offer levels of design security beyond SRAM-based offerings and conventional ASIC solutions, enabling designers to safeguard against common security problems, including overbuilding, cloning, reverse engineering and denial of service. Firm errors, which occur when high-energy neutrons generated in the upper atmosphere strike the configuration cells of SRAM-based FPGAs, can be impossible to prevent. Because the antifuse configuration cannot be altered once programmed, firm errors in Axcelerator FPGAs are nonexistent.