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rs1Defence and Aerospace

Defence and aerospace projects demand a high level of design skill and innovation. Often the projects involve the application or development of new technologies, making them challenging and complex. With our investment in the best hardware, software and FPGA development tools plus our highly experienced engineers we are well qualified to take on defence and aerospace related projects.

Since 2005 have been working closely with the Australian Department of Defence and specifically the DSTO on a highly advanced communications solution.


Salmon is a robust software platform developed for an aerospace application. It includes two Snapper CL15 sockets, either or both of which can be populated and is designed to connector to a sensor / actuator system which provides stimulus and acts on the outputs. The system offers a high degree of reliability. In the event that one Snapper CL15 fails, the other module can sense this and take control of the application and the attached peripherals.

Salmon includes a 5-port Ethernet switch, WiFi 802.11g, RS485, RS232, I2C, SPI and plenty of GPIO lines all in a compact 100x100mm board. The board can operate at industrial temperatures and generates very little heat of its own. Power consumption is minimal.

Despite its technical challenges, Salmon was one of our shortest projects. The time from starting work to delivery of the first working rev0 boards was just 9 weeks, including specification, design, schematics, layout bringup and software. The was partly made possible by the fact that Bluewater was able to put the board together from the many schematic modules available in-house as part of our 'modular design' philosophy.


Pike is a very small board with an ARM7 micro and all the required parts to run it from a single 3.3V supply. Produced in a DIP-type form factor, the various I/O lines and peripherals of the device are available through traditional through-hole technology although the board itself is fully surface mount. A USB device connector provides both a power and data connection to a suitable USB host such as a PC or embedded controller. The unit's I/O capability includes GPIOs, ADCs, timers, counters and various other features. While the I/O runs at 3.3V, it is 5V tolerant.

Pike is used for distributed I/O, where a very large number of I/O signals exist within a large piece of equipment. Connecting all of these to a central controller would be prohibitively expensive both in terms of I/O capability and wiring loom cost. Pike enables a single USB cable to connect back to the main controller, with a few dozen I/O lines going out on much shorted cabling looms to the nearby electronics.

Software on Pike supports access to the I/O through a simple USB serial interface which is general purpose enough to support most applications. The main micro on Pike is available for around US$3 and overall Pike is a very low cost and easy to manufacture device.