Electronic warfare has become part of the strategic landscape for all warfighters, whether on the ground, at sea, or in the air. Rapid characterization of the electromagnetic landscape and shifting tactical responses have become the metrics in this type of combat. These metrics drive the design of reconfigurable logic and software-based systems in military hardware, and have resulted in the domination of weapon and threat-support systems design by algorithm development and operational concepts.

Sharing of configurable hardware across systems requires new design approaches, and has resulted in an emphasis on re-use and interoperability. Aircraft and weapon systems design is no longer the function of a single design group, but the shared task of design architects and digital logic designers. This paper discusses the requirements of today’s electronics warfare, the advantages that FPGAs can provide, and the specific solutions presented by the Altera Stratix series of programmable logic devices (PLDs) and Quartus II design software.