With Altera’s introduction of 40-nm FPGAs, the design domains of military electronics that can be addressed with programmable logic devices (PLDs) are growing. This growth is a response to military integration requirements, as well as a function of the rising cost of new ASIC starts in successive generations of silicon geometry. Functions that were once restricted to ASIC designs or microprocessor systems now benefit from the shorter design cycle times and simpler hardware verification processes of an FPGA.

Though FPGA-enabled functional integration leads to important efficiencies in military systems design, it also has a fundamental effect on the systems engineering process, as well as the management of engineering organizations in defense programs. This paper explains how Altera FPGAs are causing system design roles to expand, affecting the mix of talent needed in engineering organizations, as well as their organizational structure.