Advancing Aerospace & Defense Applications with the AMD Xilinx Versal ACAP

AMD Xilinx Versal ACAP @ Spirit Electronics

AMD Xilinx rolled out the first Adaptive Compute Acceleration Platform (ACAP) device in 2021. The high-reliability XQR and XQ Versal devices released in 2022 are qualified and ruggedized for military and aerospace applications, onboard computing and data processing is accelerating just when commercial space, low-Earth orbit missions, and New Space are booming.

With the speed of advancement in the A&D industry, adoption can be a challenge. Design, qualification and supporting technology can be important factors in taking advantage of a device with capabilities as intensive as the Versal.

What Can ACAP Do in A&D?

The Versal ACAP offers programmable logic capabilities beyond the FPGA. Where the FPGA required more hardware programming, the Versal platform allows for more advanced reconfiguration by incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning. This increases computing power and flexibility while in orbit or in ops, allowing computing to adapt to mission needs.

Applications for satellite and commercial space missions include cloud and internet connectivity, high-speed networking, and greater data processing and control for radar, GPS and instrumentation. In-flight programming opens a wide range of possibilities for reconfiguration across the life of the mission.

Applied on ground and air defense operations, the Versal is optimized for sensor systems, networking, wireless data processing, and radar applications. Adaptable AI features allow reprogramming to adjust to new and evolving algorithms.

Versal Qualification for Defense

The XQ Versal uses ruggedized packaging options to protect device operations in harsh and high-reliability operations. AMD Xilinx has over 30 years of heritage in military and defense support, and the new XQ Versal includes design considerations unique to the industry.

The defense-grade Versal comes with MIL-STD-883 Group D qualification testing, with extended temperature range from –55°C to +125°C. Packaging meets MIL-PRF-38535 requirements for tin-lead (3% Pb) to protect solder from whiskering.

The XQ Versal package design also considers ease of assembly where military and defense applications often require conformal coating to protect the assembled board. The open-lid package is unique to the XQ Versal to simplify board assembly and prevent manufacturing chemicals from being trapped in the device before sealing.

AMD Xilinx includes anti-counterfeit laser marking, micro watermarking and 2D bar coding to advance supply chain security for Versal devices.

Versal Qualification for Space and New Space

The XQR Versal is radiation tolerant, ideal for low-Earth orbit environments common among satellite and commercial space programs. It is capable of supporting 5- to 7-year missions, allowing in-orbit reconfiguration and programming throughout the mission life. The XQR Versal is radiation tolerant to MIL-STD-883 Class B.

Ecosystem of Products to Support the Versal ACAP

The new ACAP approach to in-flight computing requires power, memory and an ecosystem of advanced components supporting the Versal. Spirit Electronics brings the best technical support in the business from our advanced OCMs to make sure your board design can support the Versal.

    • The Versal ACAP comes with a hardened integrated DDR Memory Controller (DDRMC) and includes programmable network on chip (NOC) for advanced interconnectivity. Performing inside the board ecosystem, any additional memory supporting the Versal must be DDR4 or more advanced memory. Spirit offers space-qualified DDR4 memory capable of supporting the Versal.

    • Texas Instruments power management ICs support the Versal’s higher-current processor loads. TI’s flight heritage also offers power management with rad-hard and rad-tolerant qualifications for components ready to fly space and harsh-environment missions.

The ACAP Moves A&D Forward

Building on the FPGA’s programmable logic and customizable applications, the Versal ACAP brings computing into the next evolution of AI and machine learning integration for faster, connected processing. As the volume of data in New Space and defense applications grows, the ACAP offers advanced processing to manage, communicate and adapt to demanding missions. With in-ops advanced reprogramming capabilities, the Versal ACAP extends mission life and success for aerospace and defense applications.

Improving Computing with Advanced Device Architecture

The 7nm Versal ACAP is fully programmable heterogeneous computing using Scalar, Adaptable, and Intelligent Engines that improve on previous AMD Xilinx FPGA and SoC devices for the highest- and fastest-performing programmable logic.

Intelligent Memory Added to Spirit Line Card

Intelligent Memory high-mix, low-volume DDR, DRAM and NAND flash now at Spirit Electronics

Spirit Electronics announces authorized distribution for Intelligent Memory high-mix low-volume DDR, DRAM and NAND flash memory components. IM memory is especially important to aerospace and defense customers as a form, fit and function drop-in replacement for obsoleted or end-of-life products of other memory manufacturers.  

With a focus on ruggedized, industrial and legacy requirements, IM offers flexible and reliable memory options that can be customized to unique applications and challenging environments.

Intelligent Memory is positioned as a one-stop-shop memory supplier, complementing Spirit’s business model as a one-stop distribution, test and assembly company within the aerospace and defense supply chain. “We share the same approach to delivering reliable and ready-to-launch solutions for our customers,” Spirit CEO Marti McCurdy explains. “Intelligent Memory expands our memory offering to meet the exact size, speed, temperature and performance our customer programs require.”

Intelligent Memory is a fabless memory manufacturer owning design, development, test and manufacturing of unique DRAM components and modules. The brand works with tier-one fabricators and in-house design, testing and quality controls. All IM products are JEDEC compliant, and Spirit’s in-house screening and qualification can elevate product data and reliability to meet strict military standard and aerospace requirements.

As space and defense programs expand to meet faster production timelines, Spirit has seen particular supply chain needs around DDR memory and programs that depend on legacy memory or struggle to replace obsolete memory products. IM memory offers a variety of configurations, densities, features and packaging, including the first DDR3 8GB single-chip component. Many IM products are backwards compatible with those of other memory manufacturers.

Spirit Electronics offers Intelligent Memory alongside a comprehensive line card of authorized industry-leading components, including FPGAs and other integrated circuits. In addition to distribution, Spirit provides MIL-STD-883 testing, radiation testing, solder exchange and circuit card assembly in-house, making it a unique supply chain partner capable of managing complex aerospace program logistics.

About Spirit Electronics:Spirit Electronics is a value-added distributor of a wide range of electronic components, testing, circuit board assembly and logistics services. Spirit’s supply chain solutions are changing the definition of distribution by providing in-house value-added services to deliver products to aerospace and defense customers fully qualified and ready to use. Spirit is a veteran-owned, woman-owned small business (VOWOSB) with HUBZone certification in Phoenix, AZ. 

MilesTek Vacuum-Rated Cable Assemblies for Space Applications @ Spirit Electronics

MilesTek TVAC Cable Assemblies Vacuum-Rated Space

A satellite orbiting Earth every 90 seconds cycles from extreme heat to extreme cold temperatures over and over. Whether you’re building a satellite for low-Earth orbit or an assembly for deeper space missions, temperatures, radiation, and the environmental vacuum of space pose unique challenges to electronic assemblies.

MilesTek has designed and produced a range of vacuum-rated cable assemblies tested and qualified to perform in this exact harsh space environment. With the fast-paced shift to commercial and New Space programs, cost-effective assemblies ready to perform in space aren’t just for NASA anymore.

Outgassing and Vacuum Testing

MilesTek made its vacuum-rated cable assemblies with NASA and space applications in mind. The assembly materials must pass testing and meet long-standing requirements for outgassing and total mass loss before they are launched on a satellite.

As with other components, the loss of air pressure in the vacuum of space combined with extremely high and low temperatures can force small amounts of gas out of component materials. Even small amounts of gas in that environment can condense on sensors, lenses, and mirrors to impair visibility or performance.

To prevent outgassing, MilesTek tests its cable assemblies in a thermal vacuum chamber. After cycling the materials through extreme temperatures and vacuum conditions, total mass loss (TMP) measurements are made. Cable assemblies must meet NASA requirements for both outgassing and TML to be considered vacuum-rated. These assemblies perform in temperatures from -55° C to 200°C.

The Full Assembly: Cables, Jackets, and Connectors

As a vacuum-rated cable assembly, every part must be capable of supporting performance. MilesTek’s assemblies include the cable, with special jacketing, and the connector.

For mil-aero applications, MilesTek cables use a twinaxial design with an impedance of 78 ohms. The cable is protected by a UV-resistant PFA jacket to achieve the extreme temperature performance. MilesTek offers four different connector options that use bayonet and threaded mounts to keep cables connected through shock and vibration.

Delivering to Meet the Pace of Space

With new commercial and low-Earth orbit space and new space programs competing for launch schedules, we hear from our customers about the challenges of keeping up with production pace. Current supply chain demands are also pushing out lead times for other space components. But MilesTek’s production model makes sure cable assemblies are in stock and ready for same-day shipping.

Spirit Electronics is MilesTek’s only authorized U.S. distribution partner. With access to MilesTek stock and the ability to manage your component pipeline ahead of your production demands, Spirit can deliver vacuum-rated cable assemblies along with your full bill of materials. For more interconnect products available through Spirit Electronics, download the MilesTek product catalog.

TI Space Enhanced Plastic Rad-Tolerant Products Offer Ready-to-Use Space-Grade Solution

TI Space EP @ Spirit rad-tolerant space grade for New Space applications

A new space race is taking off, and Texas Instruments’ space-grade rad-tolerant Space Enhanced Plastics (Space EP) line is positioned to meet New Space mission needs. With private and commercial companies launching space programs and satellite constellations that build on decades of NASA experience, design, and range, we are seeing our customers’ launch schedules and builds pick up speed.

Unlike the deep space missions of the past, our customers are innovating New Space applications for low Earth orbit (LEO) with shorter mission life. But with the influx of innovation comes tight launch schedules and competitive component markets. Customers are weighing decisions to cut production costs and explore commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) alternatives to space-grade components.

New Space Program Risks and Challenges

Spirit’s new test lab and value-added screening services come with decades of experience in radiation and QMLV testing. We know upscreening COTS components poses a significant failure risk. Component failures can delay build and launch schedules, add significant cost to replace parts or even cause full mission failure if a satellite fails in orbit.

This is where TI’s Space Enhanced Plastics line offers a ready-to-use option for reliable space-grade performance. TI already has extensive QMLV product expertise and knows that New Space demands performance while also keeping production competitive, agile, and fast. TI Space EP products mitigate the risk and meet New Space mission goals. You don’t have to sacrifice reliability to meet budget.

Spirit: Behind the Screen podcast

Texas Instruments Space EP: Rad-Tolerant Products for New Space and LEO Missions

Listen to Marti's interview with TI's GM of A&D Gary Reichmuth on this Spirit: Behind the Screen podcast episode. This deep dive on the Space EP product line covers TI's comprehensive product quals and the importance of radiation lot acceptance testing.

Qualified and Reliable Space-Grade Screening

TI Space EP products come with radiation screening, thermal cycling and outgassing right out of the box. There is no need to perform any additional screening. Because TI performs all screening as the OEM, your components arrive with lot data and documentation with full traceability.

In LEO applications, components quickly cycle from hot to cold environments as they orbit the Earth. TI’s parametric testing is performed at room and high temperatures with guard banding for cold temperatures. Products come with 100% temperature cycle characterized to the military temperature range of -55° to over 125°.

Outgassing is performed to ASTM E595, which is essential for plastic packaging that introduces organic compounds. In a space environment, these compounds have the potential to outgas and negatively impact component performance. This is especially true in optics where condensation can obscure lenses and affect sensors.

Plastic Packaging and Material Quality in Space

Plastic packaging offers significant advantages in New Space. Instead of hermetically sealed ceramic, plastic allows more design options and smaller sizing. Plastic reduces product costs without compromising performance. In fact, in our recent podcast interview with TI, GM Gary Reichmuth explained that plastic improves performance because it doesn’t have degradation due to the parasitic loss associated with ceramic packaging.

Plastic isn’t the only material advantage in Space EP products. TI uses gold bond wire to avoid the risks of copper wire. And while pure tin is common in COTS parts, TI Space EP uses less than 97% tin terminations and internal materials to mitigate the risk of whiskering in harsh space environments.

TI Space EP production uses one wafer fab, assembly site, and material set to offer the best control and traceability of materials. While avoiding the variations possible with multiple fabs and sources, this control also allows TI to perform radiation lot acceptance testing on every wafer lot.

Radiation Characterization and Rad-Tolerant Solutions

While radiation hardening is a hallmark in high-reliability, this can add significant expense to any space-grade component. But rather than compromise reliability, TI’s Space EP line considers the shorter mission life span and lower cumulative radiation environment of LEO missions. The result is radiation-tolerant products, characterized with radiation lot acceptance testing (RLAT) to 20 krad. TI tests both the total ionizing dose as well as single event latch up to 43 MeV.

In TI’s experience, radiation performance can vary from lot to lot but also from wafer to wafer inside a lot. TI performs radiation characterization across each lot to avoid this variation, further reducing failure risks. In comparison, COTS products and other manufacturers may only trace back to the wafer lot.

Products in the Space EP Line

The Space EP product family currently includes

data converters, power devices, comparators, transceivers, digital isolators, current sense amplifiers, RF synthesizers, linear and low-dropout regulators and supervisors. New space-grade products are expected to release in the next 12-18 months, offering an even wider variety of plastic options available to the New Space industry.

TI Space EP @ Spirit Electronics: TI's Only Authorized SDB Reseller

Spirit is uniquely positioned as TI’s only authorized SDB reseller, and we offer award-winning experience managing full BOM, logistics, and program support for LEO space programs. For agile production and build timelines, we can manage your component pipeline to make sure you launch on time and meet your mission goals. TI’s Space EP rad-tolerant products are reliable and high quality out of the box, and Spirit can get that box to you.

The Four Pillars of Protection You Need Against EMP/HEMP Damage in Ep. 24

Four Pillars of Protection You Need Against EMP/HEMP Damage

We’re talking high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) on this week’s episode 24 of Spirit: Behind the Screen. HEMP is a particularly devastating type of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) caused by a nuclear detonation above the Earth’s atmosphere. Dan Rebeck, HEMP/EMP product expert with Infinite Electronics, explains this generates 3 EMP waves: a “triple whammy” that can damage electronic systems in our power grid, data networks, communications, and critical infrastructure.

HEMP/EMP Solutions Consider Your Whole System

HEMP events aren’t the only type of EMP capable of damaging electronics. Natural EMP events like lightning or solar flares or other man-caused events like local sabotage could also compromise sensitive electronics.

You might picture electronics being fried by a lightning zap, but minor damage from an EMP can also compromise an electronic system’s reliability over time. You may not notice minor damage until later when a system fails.

But Dan doesn’t leave us with a doomsday scenario. Infinite brands Transtector and PolyPhaser offer products that you can implement as system-level protections against HEMP and EMP to meet government recommendations. Dan breaks these product categories down to the Four Pillars of Hardening.

How you use the Four Pillars will depend on the electronics you need to protect from EMP/HEMP, how critical your systems are, and what kind of outage risk you can tolerate. Personalized solutions can protect everything from our nuclear codes to residential homes.

HEMP EMP Pillars of Protection Surge Filtering Shielding Grounding


Grounding offers a connection to the Earth, allowing a surge of electromagnetic energy to drain out to the ground. The best example of this is lightning, which is electromagnetic energy that moves through a system looking for a connection to the ground. Grounding directs the energy to the Earth ground and away from sensitive electronics connected to a network through power or data lines.

Surge Protection

Surge protection, according to Dan, is the most important pillar of the four. A surge protector is a neutral part of an electronic system during day-to-day operations. But when it detects a high voltage greater than what the system can handle, it kicks into action. The surge protector opens a low-impedance path that connects to the Earth ground. This path diverts the high voltage to the ground, protecting electronics connected downstream in the system.


“Filtering changes the wave shape of the pulse coming into your facility,” says Dan. “It can slow the EMP down a little bit and can give your surge protector a chance to take more of it away from the system.” Filtering doesn’t stop the EMP. It disrupts it to weaken the EMP to make it possible for your other protection measures to handle the wave.


In theory, you could build a full shield to stop an EMP from entering an electronic system. But most of our systems need outside connections to power and data to function. Our electronics need to receive and communicate data in order to operate.

Shielding a building or system to protect against EMP must be used in tandem with the other pillars to be effective. Transtector and PolyPhaser offer surge protection that can be mounted to a shield for higher protection needs. Shielded boxes and cabinets can also provide protection to strategic parts of your system.

HEMP/EMP Protection that Works for Your Application

These Four Pillars can work together to harden your system against damage from a HEMP/EMP event. The exact products you need to put in place around your electronics depends on your applications, how critical your operations are, and how much downtime you can tolerate.

Spirit is an authorized reseller of Transtector and PolyPhaser products, and we can work with you to design a hardened solution to protect your electronics from HEMP and EMP.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our podcast interview with Dan Rebeck publishing September 20. In the meantime, you can hear all about HEMP and EMP in Part 1.

Transtector HEMP/EMP Surge Protection Now Available at Spirit

Spirit Electronics is now an authorized reseller of Transtector’s HEMP/EMP surge protection products. Transtector’s surge protection offers risk mitigation and preparation for emergency event management and can prevent critical equipment and infrastructure failures.

Transtector’s products offer a wide range of surge protection to prevent damage during a HEMP/EMP event and support operational readiness. Products include AC and DC surge protection, RF surge protection, data line surge protection, and power distribution.

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a burst of electromagnetic radiation. EMP can result from natural sources, like a solar flare, but can be especially damaging if man made, as in a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) from a high-altitude nuclear explosion.

EMP can disrupt and damage electronic equipment and networks, and a significant EMP or HEMP event could disrupt many of the infrastructure and communication systems that our society relies on daily. This would pose a critical threat to emergency and military operations.

Transtector’s offerings are in cooperation with Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and the FAA to address their unique EMP/HEMP threats and support military standards.

Spirit is excited to offer surge protective products to our aerospace and defense customers. Talk to us today about how to protect your space and military applications.

EPC Introduces New eGaN FETs Reducing Size and Boosting Efficiency

EPC new GaN FET EPC2065 EPC2054 post

EPC announced two new offerings in their eGaN FET product line with the EPC2065 and EPC2054. Both offer reductions in size and ultra-high efficiency.

The EPC2065 is ideal for small robotic applications, such as drones, in BLDC motor drives. With 80 V, 3.6 mΩ, 221 Apulsed, the EPC2065 provides less noise and less EMI.

The even smaller EPC2054 can be used in wireless power transfer and automation, as well as lidar and solar. It comes in a 1.69 mm2 package with 200 V, 3.6 mΩ, and 32 Apulsed.

Both devices perform at high frequency and can be used in DC-DC converters and synchronous rectification.

In their 2021 Phase 12 Reliability Report, EPC affirmed GaN’s high reliability. The new GaN FETs join the family of devices paving the way for increasingly efficient, reliable, and powerful tech development.

Spirit Podcast Ep 7 Alex Lidow EPC GaN Reliability

Ep. 7: How to Test to Failure for 100x Performance

How will EPC keep improving on their GaN technology? Listen to Marti McCurdy and EPC's Alex Lidow discuss the benefits of testing to failure in this episode of Spirit's podcast Behind the Screen.

TI’s New ADC3660 Family Offers Speed, Efficiency and Control in Data Gathering

TI SAR ADCs available at Spirit Electronics

TI introduced its new ADC3660 family of successive-approximation register (SAR) analog-to-digital converters (ADCs). The eight new ADCs offer higher speeds and reduced power usage, leading the industry in speed with the fastest 18-bit ADC.

These new ADCs range from 10 to 125 MSPS. Sampling speeds include 14-, 16- and 18-bit resolutions. The product features ultra-low latency, up to 80% lower than competitive ADCs, and reduction of up to 65% in power consumption. The ADCs come in 5-mm-by-5mm thin quad flat no-lead (WQFN) packaging.

TI’s ADC3660 solutions support high-speed data gathering and offer real-time control in industrial applications such as portable defense radios, sonar imaging, and GPS. Improvements in latency allow precision data monitoring and quick response to voltage and current spikes.

High Frequency 10 GHz ultra-low noise OCVCSO


Rakon has released its highest frequency oscillator: the LNO10000B3. The Oven Controlled Voltage Controlled SAW Oscillator (OCVCSO) generates a frequency output signal at 10 GHz. It is designed for X-band systems where superior phase noise performance and high frequency are essential.

The LNO10000B3 offers a microwave frequency output with ultra-low phase noise, making it an ideal solution for ground based military equipment, radar and instrumentation applications. The OCVCSO is also a great choice for the latest generation of high speed ADC/DAC where a high frequency clock with ultra-low jitter is essential.

The LNO10000 B3 is available in a 120.7 x 76.2x 23.3 mm package size. Standard frequencies such as 3.2, 4.8, and 5 GHz are also available within the LNO B3 product family. Custom frequencies up to 12 GHz are available upon request.

Non-Magnetic RF Connectors

SV Microwave non-magnetic connectors

SV Microwave’s non-magnetic RF connectors and cable assemblies provide high performance, reliable solutions for medical, aerospace, defense and quantum computing applications. Carefully selected non-magnetic materials, plating and manufacturing techniques have been chosen for this suite of products and are ideal for applications that require low magnetic susceptibility (10^-5 max) and no electric field distortion.

SV Microwave’s non-magnetic product offering includes threaded (SMA series) connectors for a robust and reliable connection as well as blind-mate (SMPM series) connectors for high density, high frequency applications where a push-on interconnect is preferred.

Features / Benefits: 
  • Fully non-magnetic material and plating
  • No field distortion
  • Low Susceptibility
  • Series: SMA and SMPM
  • DC to 65 GHz

Contact us for a quote today!