Special Announcement

VFA-25 hosted a celebration in their hangar at NAS Lemoore, CA on Friday Jan 19th commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the formation of Fist of the Fleet. Over 40 alumni members were in attendance and were treated to a superb display of the professionalism and dedication our current active duty shipmates exhibit as they carry on the long traditions of service as fellow Fists. Many thanks to the entire squadron and Skipper Dentzer for inviting us to share in this great patriotic event. Further details are included in the Winter edition of the FOFA newsletter below.

Logo by LT Charles “Wingnut” Wickware VFA-25

Latest Edition: Spring 2018

Without getting into the history, development and evolution of electronics as applied to Naval Aviation I am going to open the A-7 presentation with a bit of techie stuff. First: the word digital. As applied today digital refers not only to the virtual world of the Internet but also the various ways in which we communicate over the Internet and with devices such as our phones. The word itself is just a trash can into which we dump everything. An applied definition of digital is a binary code comprised of zeros and ones which is the driving force and the heartbeat of the modern age. Back in the day the A-7E was considered to be the first “all digital” aircraft in the Navy and that is something of a misnomer as there were certain analog and mechanical elements within it’s electronics and instrumentation. People also tend to think of computers and cellular phones as digital and again they err as hardware can operate on and transmit in digital but it cannot be digital. To-may-to, to-mah-to, whatever.

Today, people think it’s no big deal to slap a 16GB memory chip in a motherboard slot and get on with their lives or gaming. But it wasn’t always that simple. Before the motherboard, the memory chip and the “modern” digital age there wassolid state. A printed circuit board (PCB) mechanically supports and electrically connects electronic or electrical components using conductive tracks, pads and other features etched from one or more sheet layers of copper laminated onto and/or between sheet layers of a non-conductive substrate. Components such as transistors, resisters, diodes and capacitors are generally soldered onto the PCB to both electrically connect and mechanically fasten them to it (wikipedia). The solid state transistor was manufactured, or grown from gypsum and had 3 leads, input, output and a go/no-go gate. Today’s processors and memory chips are also grown but their layering is far more intense, their computations deeper and more rapid. Open up one of the three computers for the A-7E AN/ASW-30 Auto Flight Control System and you will see rows and rows of 4×4 or 3×4 PCBs plugged in to a conductive strip. In the bottom of each box are mechanical synchronizers and the top has rows of relays. Each of these boxes is a bit smaller than the size of a modern blade insert for a server and each only performs onefunction. A simple view of this is to take the inputs from the rate gyros, determine the departure from the flight characteristics of the selected hold mode, and send corrections in roll, pitch and yaw (NavAir 01-45AAE-1 A-7C/E NATOPS ).

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