Xilinx RFSoC Technology Used to Develop Multi-channel Electronic Warfare Systems

Leading provider of open architecture computing and electronic systems, Abaco Systems, has introduced the first 6U VPX implementation of the transformational Xilinx 16x16 RFSoC technology combined with the Xilinx Ultrascale+ FPGA with High Bandwidth Memory (HBM). The new VP460 Direct RF Processing System is aligned with the SOSA standard to deliver the cost-effective interoperability required by the US Air Force, Army, and Navy. This new 6U VPX platform complements Abaco’s previously announced VP430 3U VPX Direct RF Processing System.

Designed to enable development of advanced, next generation multi-channel electronic warfare systems in application areas such as MIMO, beamforming, sensor processing, radar, SDR and signals intelligence, the VP460 is characterized by its very high performance and channel density. It features 16 integrated analog-to-digital converters at 2GSPS, and 16 digital-to-analog converters at 6.4GSPS. Also included are a user-programmable FPGA fabric and multi-core Zynq ARM processing subsystem. The HBM VU37P device features the speed and capabilities of an UltraScale+ FPGA together with integrated DRAM in the FPGA package, and is capable of up to 460GB/s on-chip data transfer rates.

By reducing RF signal chain complexity and leveraging heterogeneous processing capabilities, the VP460 allows input/output channel density to be maximized and data offloaded more efficiently - without sacrificing on-board signal processing capabilities.

With its ability to synchronize all 16 channels, as well as multiple boards for even larger system applications, the VP460, according to Peter Thompson, Vice President, Product Management at Abaco, is one of the densest 6U VPX analog FPGA carrier boards available. In previous generations of technology, this combination would have taken four times as many boards. It can make a significant contribution to minimizing SWaP – which is vital in the increasingly constrained environments in which today's systems are being deployed, Thompson adds.

With 16 ADCs, the system provides sampling rates of up to 2 GSPS with two bytes per sample. Even the modern PCIe Gen3 high speed data connection is too slow for a direct transfer. To overcome this challenge, the VP460 includes – in addition to the PCIe Gen3 data plane - up to 64 high speed serial lanes to the Xilinx Virtex Ultrascale+ HBM device, supporting protocols such as PCIe Gen3, 10/40G Ethernet, Aurora and so on.

The new Xilinx RFSoC is a revolutionary step in integration technology bringing a combination of Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) processing capability, a multi-processor embedded ARM Cortex-A53 Application processing unit (APU), and an ARM real time processing unit (RPU). Additionally, the Zynq Ultrascale+ architecture integrates all this with features to enable high security IP protection.

Click here to know more about the new Abaco VP460 Direct RF Processing System.