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  • Research Article
  • Open Access

How Rapid is Rapid Prototyping? Analysis of ESPADON Programme Results

  • 1Email author,
  • 1,
  • 2,
  • 3,
  • 4 and
  • 5
EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing20032003:349675

  • Received: 14 March 2002
  • Published:


New methodologies, engineering processes, and support environments are beginning to emerge for embedded signal processing systems. The main objectives are to enable defence industry to field state-of-the-art products in less time and with lower costs, including retrofits and upgrades, based predominately on commercial off the shelf (COTS) components and the model-year concept. One of the cornerstones of the new methodologies is the concept of rapid prototyping. This is the ability to rapidly and seamlessly move from functional design to the architectural design to the implementation, through automatic code generation tools, onto real-time COTS test beds. In this paper, we try to quantify the term "rapid" and provide results, the metrics, from two independent benchmarks, a radar and sonar beamforming application subset. The metrics show that the rapid prototyping process may be sixteen times faster than a conventional process.


  • rapid prototyping
  • COTS
  • model year
  • beamformer
  • EDA tools
  • heterogeneous platform
  • FPGA

Authors’ Affiliations

BAE SYSTEMS Advanced Technology Centre, West Hanningfield Road, Gt. Baddow, Chelmsford, CM2 8HN, UK
Thales Airborne Systems, 10 avenue de la 1ère DFL, Brest Cedex, 29283, France
Thales Naval Nederland, Zuidelijke Havenweg 40, P.O. Box 42, Hengelo, 7550, GD, The Netherlands
Thales Underwater Systems, Dolphin House, Ashurst Drive, Bird Hall Lane, Cheadle Heath, Stockport, Cheshire, SK3 0XB, UK
MBDA France, 20-22 rue Grange Dame Rose, BP 150, Velizy-Villacoublay, Cedex, 78141, France


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