Now, and for Years to Come

The announcement in 2014 that the Tsi148 (also known as TEMPE) VME interface chip, which provides the main VME bus interface between the processor and the VME backplane, had been discontinued by the manufacturer sent shockwaves through the aerospace and defense industry. The VME bus form factor has been an extremely powerful building block for the defense industry for over 33 years since its inception in 1981. The industry has deployed tens of thousands of VME systems, with a significant number of these systems still in active use.

With no compatible alternative providing the same feature set of the Tsi148 chip available, VME systems users needing a system refresh faced a daunting, costly task of redesigning their existing VME systems to a different form factor. To solve this problem, Curtiss-Wright has developed an FPGA solution to implement the VME interface on all our future VME cards to ensure your platforms can continue to use VME for years to come.

The Curtiss-Wright Helix

Curtiss-Wright’s FPGA solution, called ‘Helix’, will provide the same functionality found in the Tsi148 VME interface chip. Helix offers our customers a VME bridge solution that is devoid of obsolescence concerns. Helix supports:

  • PCIe Gen 2 interface rather than the old PCI interface 
  • The complete set of VME data transaction types (SLT, BLT, MBLT, 2eVME and 2eSST) 
  • Implementation of a hardware-based byte swapping capability 
  • 2eSST Broadcast mode, including self-addressing capability 
  • A dual channel Intelligent Chained DMA engine (IDMA) 
  • PCI Express MSI or Legacy interrupts by means of an embedded Interrupt Controller which can manage up to 64 internal interrupt sources, including: 
    • VME IRQ[7:1], SYSFAIL, and ACFAIL 
    • Location Monitor 
    • Mailboxes 
    • Message passing FIFO 
    • Intelligent DMA Engine (IDMA) 
    • Local VME64x Errors 
    • GPIOs 
  • Programmable VME Slave support on two address spaces:
    • CR/CSR as defined by the VME64x specification. This 512 KB window provides a remote configuration port 
    • A32 as a programmable window from 1 to 2048 MB 

Going forward, Helix will be implemented in our flagship VME boards. Several current products (Power Architecture VME-194 and Intel VME-1908) will be updated to use Helix, thereby significantly extending their lifecycle.

Contact us today to learn how Helix can extend the longevity of your VME program.

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