Pentek, Inc.; DRS Signal Solutions (DRS-SS); Digital Receiver Technology, Inc. (DRT); and Eclipse Electronic Systems, leading suppliers in the defense/aerospace communications industry, announced intentions to develop and market products utilizing a new communications standard recently approved by VMEbus International Trade Association (VITA) called VITA Radio Transport (VRT). The VITA VRT working group expects to move toward recognition of VRT as an American National Standard within the next six months.
The VRT standard defines a transport-layer protocol designed to promote interoperability between RF (radio frequency) receivers and signal processing equipment in a wide range of applications. These include spectral monitoring, communications, radar and others. VRT enables high-precision time stamping to provide time synchronization between multiple receiver channels. VRT is an ideal building block to support data streaming for Software Defined Radio (SDR) applications.
“VRT is a natural fit with VITA’s other open standards,” says John Rynearson, technical director, VITA. “Since the beginning of VME, VITA has promoted the concept of open technology and open standards for the critical embedded marketplace.”
“Standards such as VRT are important to the SDR Forum and its members. When combined with application programming interfaces such as the SDR Forum’s approved Smart Antenna API or the Transceiver API that are currently in development, these standards promote an ecosystem of vendors with interoperable radio technologies. This results in faster time to market/time to deployment with lower development and production costs,” said Lee Pucker, chief executive officer, SDR Forum.
High-Speed Serial Links
With the emergence of high-speed serial data links it is now possible to allow wide-bandwidth communication signals to be exchanged using a packetized format. VRT standardizes this packet structure with features specifically useful to defense and aerospace communication applications.
The VRT protocol was created by and is supported by a wide industry base of organizations, including RF receiver manufacturers, digital signal processor manufacturers, data recorder manufacturers, prime contractors and government agencies.
“As sponsors of this new specification, we are excited about the introduction of this powerful communication standard. We expect our customers to benefit greatly from the multi-vendor support and interoperability features in VRT,” said Paul Mesibov, director of Engineering at Pentek, Inc. “VRT breaks new ground in providing a systematic way for vendors to specify and document the way complex communication equipment can function so that system integrators can more easily configure these systems,” he added.
“DRS Signal Solutions is providing VRT as an option for all new receiver and recorder products. Currently, we have several VHF/UHF and recorder products available with VRT. We will soon also have HF and SHF products available. We believe that the use of the VRT standard will prove to be very effective for our customers to enhance interoperability between vendors’ products, which will result in lowering lifecycle cost and development risks to our customers,” says Rob Diefes, senior director, Strategic Technology Development at DRS Signal Solutions.
Digital Receiver Technology (DRT), a SDR company and sponsor of the specification, has also begun transitioning its interfaces to the VRT standard. “One really great feature of this standard,” says coauthor Dick Shaner of DRT, “is that it provides a standard way to combine a digitized RF/IF signal and its associated metadata into one unified information stream. This ensures that the digitized signal can always be interpreted properly, thus eliminating a great deal of potential confusion at the system level. This is one of several features that make the new specification so valuable.”
Pentek, Inc., develops, manufactures and markets innovative DSP systems to original equipment manufacturers, distributors and value-added resellers. Pentek offers powerful VME, VXS, PMC, XMC, cPCI and PCI boards and systems for data acquisition, software radio and digital signal processing featuring Texas Instruments DSPs, Freescale PowerPCs and Xilinx FPGAs. Pentek’s I/O includes A/Ds, D/As, FPGAs, digital transceivers, installed IP cores and more. Pentek equips all products with high-performance I/O including gigabit serial interfaces and offers strong DSP software support.
About DRS Signal Solutions
DRS Signal Solutions (DRS-SS) is a world leader in providing commercial-off-the-shelf products and custom SIGINT solutions. These solutions leverage over 45 years of experience in the design, development, and manufacturing of a broad range of high performance radio frequency surveillance equipment. Our applications are deployed worldwide by virtually all United States military, as well as several allied international governments and defense prime contractors. Located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, DRS Signal Solutions offers a wide variety of products to meet your mission requirements.
About Digital Receiver Technology, Inc.
Digital Receiver Technology, Inc. (DRT), is a leading designer and supplier of wireless communications products and services supporting commercial, law enforcement, military, government, and prime contractors. DRT products include miniature multi-format wireless communications scanners for the wireless industry, and high performance receiver and transceiver products including multi-channel platforms ideal for man-portable, mobile and airborne applications. Headquartered in Germantown, Maryland, Digital Receiver Technology is an employee-owned company.
About Eclipse Electronic Systems
Eclipse Electronic Systems provides embedded, firmware programmable, communications intercept receiving hardware for the majority of US Airborne Intelligence gathering SIGINT platforms. These embedded receivers are Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) modular designs that provide the RF front end receiving functions. In addition, they provide integrated digitization of the wideband IF frequency, FPGA DSP preprocessing to support Search, Collection, DF, and coherent Beamforming functions, and multiple streaming data outputs for downstream processing by our customers. Eclipse products are focused on RF and DSP integration with the goal of minimizing the size, weight, and power (SWAP) occupied on size/weight constrained platforms and to provide the highest technical performance and established availability required for modern threat environments and systems. Eclipse has been in business for 15 years, with headquarters in Richardson, Texas.