Thales Selects RF Engines for FFT Design on Altera Cyclone II FPGA

RF Engines (RFEL), the specialists in digital signal processing for FPGA, have been awarded a further contract by Thales’ Land & Joint Systems Division for the rapid supply of a complex FFT-based design on a single Altera Cyclone II FPGA. The design is a key requirement for a new digital receiver design. The contract is for a complete chip design comprising a bespoke 32,768-point FFT and associated functions and controls, including implementation of specialist algorithms, some proprietary Altera IP, conversion to floating-point magnitude format, and the serialisation of the buffered output data.

Reuse of some of RFEL’s existing IP will also enable the design to be highly optimised, as well as meeting a demanding development timescale.

The extensive experience that RFEL has in this area of signal processing, coupled with the use of existing IP cores for FPGA, means that RFEL offered Thales a very cost effective and low risk route to achieving a critical processing element in the system.

The Thales overall system design approach will allow for the future upgrading of the system to accommodate developments in analogue to digital converter and other device enhancements, and so the RFEL design has also been structured in such a way as to accommodate these overall system changes.

Thales said, “The key part of the design was being able to pack as many functions into as small an FPGA as possible. RFEL’s design is extremely compact and efficient and provides a relatively low-risk solution to alternative design approaches that we have considered.”

“We’re obviously very pleased to be working on another important project with the Thales team at Crawley and continuing a relationship that has existed for a number of years,” said John Summers, RF Engines’ CEO. “It does help to have good working relationships across all levels of the businesses, and, as always, a very clear set of requirements from the Thales team.”

About Thales UK and Thales
Thales UK is a major electronics and systems group serving defence, aerospace, security and services markets. Thales employs 9,000 staff in the UK, based at more than 50 locations. In 2006 Thales UK’s revenues were over £1 bn. Thales UK will be building on its experience with CVF, Watchkeeper, FIST and Self-Propelled HVM, as well as the FRES Technology Demonstrator work on Electronic Architectures and Integrated Survivability. Thales Group is a leading international electronics and systems group, serving defence, aerospace and security markets worldwide, supported by a comprehensive services offering. The group’s civil and military businesses develop in parallel to serve a single objective: the security of people, property and nations. Leveraging a global network of high-level engineers, Thales offers a capability unmatched around the world to develop and deploy mission critical systems. Thales employs 60,000 people in 50 countries and generated revenues of £7 bn in 2006, with a record order book of over £14 bn.

About RF Engines Ltd
RF Engines Limited (RFEL) is a UK-based electronic systems designer, providing high specification signal processing solutions for FPGAs, as well as receiver and complete product solutions for the homeland security, defence, communications and instrumentation markets. Applications include communications base stations, satellite communications systems, test and measurement instrumentation, and bespoke wideband receivers/transceivers.