Author: David French

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David French

David is the Director of Business Development for aviation programs for Abaco Systems. He started out his career as a design and systems engineer for space platforms and launch vehicle avionics. Impatient with the sometimes slow pace of new development opportunity there, he directed his energy toward the broader embedded computing universe from telecommunications infrastructure to defense electronics. He still marvels at the challenge and discovery in applied science and technology.

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Quad-A Day 3: Young Engineers Needed

Abaco wrapped up our participation at the Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit in Nashville. It was a great success; it was the third largest event in the Army Aviation Association of America’s 60-year history. CES, the annual January consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, attracts some 170,000 visitors every year. It gets a lot of hype with all the new technologies and consumer gadgets on display - and the number of companies exhibiting at...


Quad-A Day 2: Looking For More From Less

Rotorcraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are all on display at this year’s annual Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit here in Nashville. All these platforms are demanding new capabilities to increase lethality, survivability and improve situational awareness. But: they are also extremely sensitive to weight. So, new capabilities must include a concomitant weight reduction or, at a minimum, not add one additional ounce to the platform...



At Quad-A, We’re Seeing into the Future

For Army Aviation applications, blind spots can spell disaster—and the image processing solution we unveiled at this year’s Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit delivers visibility like never before.



Build It Faster, Build It Better

If you're looking to do the best possible job in the shortest amount of time, you need the right tools—and as we've recently demonstrated, our embedded computing solutions are just the thing.


Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit

Of Duct Tape, Drapes and Business Cards…

Duct tape, a vacuum, zip ties, business cards and drapes — necessary tools of the trade. If you’ve ever exhibited at a trade event, you can certainly appreciate the value in some basic tools to get the exhibit space together and ready for the event. Duct tape, zip ties and drapes camouflaged our FORCE2 and Modular Advanced Graphics Interface Computer ( MAGIC1 ) octopus of a cable harness. Lack of table top space for business cards revealed how...


Marine helicopter

Certifiable COTS

The commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) defense and aerospace embedded computing business presents many challenges. Rapid advancements in silicon eclipse the slow aerospace acquisition cycle for new computing capabilities. Adapting commercial silicon to very demanding operational environments present some risk. And bridging the chasm between the most safety critical applications and COTS computing hardware requires bold steps and/or a lot of money...


Star Wars

The FORCE Is With Us...

This blog discusses Abaco’s appearance at the Huntsville FACE TIM and how this event is a great milestone for the FACE consortium


Military planes

Embedded Security and Open Systems Interoperability: Are They Mutually Exclusive?

Much of our business comes from the military and aerospace market, where the adoption of open systems architecture in DoD programs continues to evolve. Although not perfect, embedded computing products within the same industry standard business ecosystem will generally play together if attention is paid to interconnectivity. But just as the modular open systems architecture (MOSA) market gains steam, bringing with it more affordability and...


Military Blueprint

TRL: Putting It in Perspective

In the DoD’s quest to further leverage commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology and the maturity it offers toward faster and more affordable deployment, they often demand high TRL (technology readiness level) early in the program stage of development. TRL defines technology readiness levels from 1 to 9—1 being basic technology research, and 9 being defined as application of the technology in a deployed operational environment. New program...


Airware Flight Control System Enabled DAx8

AUVSI Day 3: Sparking an Unmanned Evolution

It is remarkable to see the unmanned systems market shift from what had traditionally been the purview of the military to a fast and growing commercial must-have capability. Commercial unmanned system suppliers and technology providers at this year’s AUVSI event now represent probably 80% to 90% of the show floor real estate. In fact AUVSI, the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, is rebranding next year’s event Xponential to...



AUVSI Day 2: Unmanned to Autonomous - You're on Your Own

Critical to the future of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) is the ability to fly within the regulations issued by the FAA. Past FAA regulations imposed restrictions defined by vehicle mass, speed, altitude and line-of-sight requirements. Flying beyond-the-line-of-sight (BLOS), however, will be required to evolve this industry toward the numerous applications now in development and keep the U.S. in a competitive market position. Safety within the...



AUVSI Day 1: Dog with a Quad-copter

Our CEO, Jeff Immelt, recently made a reference to watching his dogs play with a new toy—how they’re at first fascinated, then proceed to play hard and all but destroy the thing, before dropping it and moving on to the next new toy. His context was the necessity of business to be purposeful, and follow through in the discovery, nurturing or acquisition of new capability or businesses. When it’s new, it gets lots of focus—but it then frequently...


Apache Helicopter

Army Aviation Needs to Own Its Mission Capability Future

Judging by what I heard and saw last week at the Army Aviation Association of America Mission Solutions Summit (Quad-A) in Nashville, one thing was foremost in the Army Aviation community’s mind, and that was the budget. Budget cuts and sequestration impacts are well into the double digits, and the R&D budget decline is twice the rate of these cuts according to the Honorable Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition,...


Who's Watching Out for the Machines?

It seems every day now we need to watch our backs for an invisible threat. This threat lurks within just about every part of our lives today. It seeks to steal our personal dossier for the purposes of robbing us. It seeks to move digital currency from our pockets to theirs. Or in the case of state(less) sponsored characters, it seeks to disrupt and destroy. It is pervasive and unrelenting. We pay attention to this now because it’s personal. We...


Tell Us How You Feel

Engineers are not necessarily known for their concern over a customer’s feelings. Their intense focus on product design, meeting schedules and growing their experience level are foremost in many cases—so it's been interesting to see recent discussion on the customer experience with a company’s products. In a recent Fortune magazine article , Brad Smith, the CEO of Intuit , a provider of personal and small business finance software, discusses how...


The Market of Constant Disruption

It’s a tough place to be, the COTS ( Commercial Off-The-Shelf ) embedded computing space - particularly when serving defense and aerospace customers. Being between the commercial silicon providers and demanding customers presents a number of challenges. It is two moving targets – and it forces us to be disrupters in our own market. Commercial silicon providers move and innovate at the speed of the commercial enterprise and the consumer. Products...


UAS Market Set to Transform

If people thought Amazon's announcement on Prime Air—their unmanned aerial vehicle delivery system effort—signaled a new age for unmanned aerial systems (UAS), they’d be partially correct. Despite Prime Air’s probable impracticality, we are in fact at a significant point in the UAS market, involving UAS technology, design and operations. What has been a market largely driven by various government agencies will transform to include ever more...


The Business of FACE: Will the Future Resemble Apple or Android?

The FACE Consortium has been driving an avionics common operating environment standard for some three years now with steady progress. There are numerous industry participants from across the avionics industry committing their time to this endeavor, and they should be commended for their hard work and dedication to the new standard. It is interesting to observe, though, the various industry participants collectively working to essentially re-...


Preferred Supplier Relationships: A Win-Win in Trying Times

The precarious state of the U.S. defense industrial base has gotten some more attention lately. What some observers once derided as the whining of defense contractors has now become a widely acknowledged crisis-in-the-making. As Barry Watts puts it in a recent report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments , “The possibility is growing that a day will come when the country’s industrial base will no longer possess all the critical...