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Tech Brief: OpenFPGA Rappid Firmware App-Based Electronic Warfare

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OpenFPGA: RAPPID FIRMWARE App-based electronic warfare mrcy.com 2 Revolutionizing the way spectrum processing systems are built, a new platform, Rappid™, simplifies mission application development by standardizing design elements and providing much-needed agility to system developers. This platform is composed of not just open firmware, but also open hardware and open software to support heterogeneous algorithms that run on multiple processor types. Rappid provides a hardware-agnostic, app-based approach to developing spectrum processing solutions, much like today 's mobile device software and hardware frameworks, that streamlines and simplifies system deployment and sustainment making access to the latest technology faster than ever. Due to the complex interactions between hardware, firmware and software, it would typically be an expensive, time-consuming process to implement upgrades and add new EW techniques to fielded systems. This is especially challenging because it requires upgrades to be done prior to deployment with advanced knowledge of the hardware on which the programs would be running. With the introduction of a hardware abstraction layer, new capabilities are possible without the limitations of working on a single system or subsystem. This creates opportunities to keep deployed systems operational and relevant against various emerging threats. Staying ahead of emerging electronic threats is driving the industry to rearchitect the standard approach to spectrum processing system design. This new approach must have the agility to accelerate the pace of development, deployment and sustainment to maintain a competitive advantage in spectrum operations. Similar to the commercial industry, achieving this agility requires an open and modular system design. ABOUT OpenFPGA: RAPPID FIRMWARE OpenFPGA TM is a significant step toward full hardware abstraction, enabling field upgrades and improvements with newly developed applications. OpenFPGA works by taking hardware devices and board support packages and adding a thin wrapper to expose a common input, output, command and status interfaces for FPGA resources. This partial FPGA abstraction adds a greater a level of flexibility to deployed systems while minimizing processing overhead that has ever been done before. The OpenFPGA standard allows applications or algorithms, including EW techniques, software-defined radio (SDR) and others to be easily loaded into different hardware systems without making in-depth changes or customizing the algorithm. As long as the algorithms are compliant with the OpenFPGA standards, the development and deployment of those capabilities is straightforward across disparate spectrum processing subsystems. The OpenFPGA standard is a simple but effective way to develop firmware for any FPGA device. Unlike typical CPU implementations, FPGA-based architectures have limited available resources, which requires a careful balance between hardware abstraction and efficient data processing. To address this challenge, OpenFPGA is a partial abstraction of the hardware to provide maximum performance and flexibility. The OpenFPGA standard provides three key enablers for FPGA development: ▪ A set of standard interfaces to logic blocks for data input, output, clocks, memory, command and status. ▪ A software library to support the replacement of the entire FPGA logic application within a few 100 ms. ▪ A software library to support the replacement subsets of FPGA logic using partial reconfiguration within 10s of ms. REPLACE SUBSET OF FPGA LOGIC REPLACE ENTIRE FPGA LOGIC OpenFPGA STANDARD LOGIC BLOCKS PHONE

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