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DCVRS SNEAK PEAK. Digital CVRS - An initiative by NADEP JAX to address continuous CVRS maintainability problems and cost reduction.

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dcvrs sneak peak
  • Digital CVRS - An initiative by NADEP JAX to address continuous CVRS maintainability problems and cost reduction.
  • This review is based on information gathered at a form, fit, and function check of a prototype unit performed by Tim McCorkle and his team at VMFA-251 (F/A-18C) on 3 Aug 2000.
  • Lead - Tim McCorkle, NADEP JAXMcCorkleTS@navair.navy.mil
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  • Prototype Unit (P/N E10-21147, Ser# TU001):
    • Same Case as previous units
    • Only requires an adapter cable to install in aircraft
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  • Prototype Unit Specs:
    • 266 Pentium II Processor
    • 64 Meg Ram
    • 10 MB Hard Drive (Board Memory)
    • 2 Dual Slot PCMCIA 1 Giga Byte Cards (Replace 8mm Tapes)
    • Stores standard MPEG & WAVfiles for audio and video
    • Standard PC104 style boards
    • Cost - $5,500 (>50% reduction)
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  • Maintainability:
    • Standard commercial (off-the-shelf) parts
    • No moving parts, no recording heads to clean
    • Troubleshooting LED (programmable to assist technicians)
    • 2nd Recorder elimination (only requires one unit)
    • Automatic software/system updates
    • Easily expandable/upgradable
    • Support Equipment - Can us a standard IBM PC compatible computer for playback checking
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  • Usability:
    • Standard software for playback (MPEG & WAV files) and don’t have to wait on tape to FF or REW
    • Clear freeze frames and zoom/print capabilities
    • Selectable resolution qualities (currently MPEG 2,3,4,5, and 6 Mbit/sec compression record rates)
    • No more jammed tapes and improved playback
    • Standard PCMCIA cards (replacement & upgrade)
    • Reduced foot print, only a standard IBM PC compatible computer required for playback, eliminates current large playback station
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  • Costs:
    • Immediate initial >50% reduction
    • Maintainability should increasereliability, estimated 4x
    • Prices are at current technology, as technology increases, costs will drop and equipment will become cheaper and better
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  • Future Expandability/Upgrading:
    • In-cockpit Playback (On Displays)
    • Datalink thru KY-58/ARC-210
    • Automatically checks software version on power-up and upgrades if necessary
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  • Notes From Testing:
    • Simple installation, identical fit
    • All controls are the same, no operator training really required
    • Performed taxi tests with both the 8mm system and new digital system for comparison
    • New system records a noticeably larger viewing area, about 1” more around the DDI/HUD.
    • DDI and HUD symbology is noticeably more readable and actually green, as compared to the 8mm sample which had reddish tint at times
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  • Notes From Testing (Cont):
    • All testing was done at 3Mbit/sec compression rates (mid-grade quality) and the video was comparable to the 8mm, this should allow about 1 hour of recording on both channels, system can be switched to a higher rate (4,5, or 6 Mbit/sec) for even higher resolution (est 6 Mbit/sec would still give .5 hours of recording on both channels)
    • Note - Larger standard PCMCIA cards (2 Gig) will be available soon, this will double the recording capacity.
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  • Notes From Testing (Cont):
    • Appears that there will not be a need to change any current procedures (security/operation)
    • Solid State design should eliminate the majority of our current problems
  • Initial Impression:
    • You simply have to be impressed with Tim McCorkle and his team’s efforts. In only 3 weeks they produced an off-the-shelf industry standard component which performed equal or better than the what current manufactures have failed to accomplish to date
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  • Initial Impression (Cont):
    • The design was built from the ground up with the maintainer in mind. The simple stacked card design will ensure minimal turnaround time and increase reliability
    • This is one of the few systems with unlimited growth potential without the need for any future system upgrades or aircraft mods
    • This system could standardize the entire Naval fleet of Hornets (including E/F) to one recording system
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  • Initial Impression (Cont):
    • Hard to believe--less components, less weight, more reliability, and better performance
    • Only down fall is the teams current crunch time, due to current new purposals/contracts on the table
    • Team is finishing up EMI testing and could get flight clearance by 24 Aug 2000, if that happens, it sounds like the next day they will be on the carrier to configure an aircraft for immediate durability testing
    • This is the recording system of the future
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Dual PCMCIA Slots

Standard Case

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Standard Case

Adapter Cable

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Standard Case

Guts(Standard266 Pentium II System)

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Developers after first aircraft testing

3 Aug 2000

VMFA-251MCAS Beuafort

3 Aug 2000



From: May WO James H III

Sent: Monday, August 14, 2000 11:44 AM

To: Murphy Capt Walter C Jr; Adam CWO4 Harold E

Cc: Trimmer MSgt Brian H

Subject: RE: Solid State Recorder Fit Check

I would have to question with some of these numbers/opinions:

- Stated below, "Digital module download requires specially designed equipment/software for archiving.", every workcenter here has this "specially designed equipment" (standard IBM PC with a PCMCIA slot - NALCOMIS Machine). Also, software? Free download from microsoft.com (Windows Media Player). Costs to view in-house - $0.00, unless you want a big 32" monitor.

- Stated below, "equipment/software for archiving...COTS equipment doesn't exist", a simple CD-writer would work great? Most squadron's already have a few.

- Yes memory cards cost more than tapes, but do they hang or have to be tossed every few flights? The cost for the initial set of cards is ate up by the initial savings of the new unit (not Unit's). Dual units are much harder to maintain and two always cost more than one.

- Stated below, "10 Gbytes is required for 2 hours of recording", have to question Tim, but his numbers said at rate 3, he could currently, with the 1Gig card installed, get 1 hour of recording, so wouldn't a 2 Gig get us close to 2 hours?

- We must remember, 2Gig card cost 2k today, but a few months from now it will drop in half, which means then we can buy a 4Gig card for the same price. Worried about the 2 hour record time, why? Who gets a 2.0 flight, let alone, who records the entire flight? In the near future we may have a memory card that can hold 2+ hours. I haven't seen a 8mm compact size over 90 minutes here in the fleet, 120 minutes at Wal-Mart, but either way there is no expandability for the 8mm system.

- Stated below, "To control recording rates as a function of events to reduce the total memory requirement and to record aircraft status synchronously from the 1553 bus, an airframe change/wiring mod would be required.", lot of info here, but what do you really need to pull from it? What "control recording rates" does the 8mm offer us, none? So why an AFC? The digital systems allow recording rates to be selected prior to flight, nice option if you want high detail or low detail. How about print/zoom capibility of an 8mm, there's some "specially designed equiptment", Digital print/zoom is simply picked from the menu at the top of the screen.

- Obviously our options are endless with digital, but they are hopeless with 8mm. Maintainability of moving parts (8mm) is nearly impossible in military aircraft. The future expansion capability of the 8mm systems is zero. Digital offers us expandable capibilites (i.e. instant playback on displays, playback to base or wingman) that are almost hard to imagine. I've seen a lot of pilots come home after a great bombing run, only to find out the tape jammed, so just how great was it...

I applauded Tim and his team too, but remember they have only had 3 weeks to produce a product, the 8mm contractors have had years and still haven't produced us a satisfactory product. I think we need to look into the future for this one...

WO May

-----Original Message-----

From: Murphy Capt Walter C Jr

Sent: Monday, August 14, 2000 10:04 AM

To: Adam CWO4 Harold E; Ducker WO James S; Gregory Biehl; Kelly Silard;May WO James H III; McGuire WO Ellsworth J; Murphy Capt Walter C Jr;Myers CWO2 Steven

Subject: FW: Solid State Recorder Fit Check

I have just received more info. on a different option for digital recording.

Semper Fi,

Capt Walt Murphy

-----Original Message-----

From: Ellinger, Ronald W LTCOL (CNAL N421F)


Sent: Friday, August 11, 2000 2:26 PM

To: Ellinger, Ronald W LTCOL (CNAL N421F); 'Butts Maj Lawrence D';'Campbell MGySgt K.P.'; 'Budds, Major Jeff'; 'Durbin, Major Phil';'Evans, Don Major'; 'Ellquist Major Rourk A'; 'Coppola Maj Joseph A';'Gibson CWO5 Wylie R'; 'Hess, Capt Henry "Hank"'; 'Holm, Major Jerald"Jerry"'; 'Leutner, Mr Dan NC421F12 SEMCOR'; Leutner, Daniel C (CNALNC421F12); 'McCorkle Mr. Tim'; 'Murillo, Mr. Tom N421F2 CNAP'; 'Murphy,Capt. Walter'; 'Thornton, LtCol Mike'; 'Venema Major Robert P';'Wittenberg, LtCol N421F CNAP'Cc: Leuty, James P MGYSGT (CNAL N421F6); Downing, Charles F GM (CNALN421FX); Ponte, Peter D MAJ (CNAL N421B1)

Subject: RE: Solid State Recorder Fit Check

-As promised...and now for the rest of the story. Master Gunnery Sergeant Leuty has in the attachment highlighted information of interest that needs to be taken into considering when evaluating digital recorders. Hopefully, you will find the attachment informative and thought provoking. Some additional considerations with going digital:

-Tapes cost $10 and can be replayed. Digital memory cost is $2K per Gbyte. 10 Gbytes is required for 2 hours of recording = $20K per memory module

-Tapes can be viewed on COTS equipment. Digital module download requires specially designed equipment/software for archiving...COTS equipment doesn't exist.

-To control recording rates as a function of events to reduce the total memory requirement and to record aircraft status synchronously from the 1553 bus, an airframe change/wiring mod would be required.

-I applaud Mr. McCorkle and the Jacksonville folks for their effort, but I'm not convinced we are there yet.