FPGA pioneer Xilinx is targeting a range of military and space applications with its latest generation of “defense-grade’ programmable logic chips, including expanded military use of machine learning and AI applications as well as securing devices at the network edge.
Along with standard features like a ruggedized packaging and resistance to temperature extremes, Xilinx said its latest generation of military grade systems designated XQ also includes anti-counterfeiting and reliability features for systems that must often operate for decades.
The chip maker’s programmable logic devices are already integrated into front-line weapons such as the F-35 fighter, and Xilinx is stressing the security and anti-counterfeiting features of its latest FPGAs and SoCs based on its Ultrascale architecture. The “Zynq” portfolio of programmable silicon for harsh military and space applications includes new multi-core processor and RF SoCs with an emphasis on scaling and security. The chip maker is promoting those security and anti-counterfeiting features for emerging machine learning applications like autonomous systems that must process data locally while remaining hack-proof.
Those emerging applications underscore the growing need for programmability as threats and requirements evolve, especially as the Pentagon begins to leverage machine learning. Hence, Xilinx and other vendors are striving to meet requirements for common platforms that can be modified to deter new threats via software updates.
David Gamba, senior director of the aerospace and defense unit at Xilinx, also stressed the “footprint compatibility” of the XQ Zynq Ultrascale+ processors, noting that device density can be adjusted up or down depending on the application.