Addressing the changing market demands of the Hi-Rel/Military industry
Modern defence is increasingly focussed on prevention versus direct military action. There is a greater emphasis on areas such as surveillance technology, radar systems, UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), image and signal processing. Development of advanced defense equipment coupled with replacement of old and obsolete equipment are projected, but this is taking place with the very real backdrop of budget cuts and sequestration.
Military equipment by its very nature is often bespoke, with unique power requirements, which would often be considered custom. In addition to the specific electrical performance required for military applications, power supplies need to meet EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference) standards such as MIL STD 461E, MIL STD 1275 AND 704 for input surges and transients. Environmental requirements covered under MIL STD 810 such as shock, vibration, altitude and salt atmosphere must be addressed as well as wide operating temperature ranges the equipment can be subjected to.
The challenge to the defence contractors is to reduce development time and cost. To meet these delivery and budget goals, there are fewer opportunities for new development items. This can be addressed by a shift toward field-proven commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components with configuration flexibility. This keeps cost down while meeting delivery expectations and with the lowest possible risk.
Power supplies such as the XF series of configurable, ruggedised hi-rel power supplies from Excelsys Technologies can provide such a solution for the vast majority of harsh environment and Mil-COTS applications. The flexibility of the XF series simplifies integration for system designers, allowing instant configuration to standard and non-standard output voltages. Designed to meet the demands of harsh operating environments, the XF family conformal coated, ruggedised to withstand extremes in shock and vibration and is certified to MIL-STD 810G, Integrity Test for Vibration. With full EMI characterisation to MIL461-F products such as the XF simplify system integration. With sample availability ex stock, the XF can significantly reduce system development time by up to 6 months bringing about huge savings in Engineering development time and no NRE (Non Recurring Engineering) charges attributable to custom power supplies. In addition, the shorter leadtimes associated with standard products allow greater supply chain efficiencies when the system enters into production.
In summary, while use of COTS products is not applicable to every scenario, there are significant benefits that can be realised if they are used where appropriate. COTS products that have undergone extensive testing and characterisation to a range of Military standards such as those outlined above can help system designers achieve much shorter development times, reduced engineering expenditure without compromising the system reliability.