Xilinx introduced the latest version of its high-performance programmable solution for high assurance applications in the aerospace and defense (A&D) industries has been approved for use in Type 1 Crypto Systems by the National Security Agency (NSA). The approval of the Virtex-5Q device and related physical security IP core, which together help form the Xilinx Targeted Design Platform for secure communications, extends an on-going relationship between the NSA and Xilinx, and underscores the company’s 20-year track record of meeting the rigorous demands of the A&D industry.

The successful results of the extensive testing of the company’s second generation secure communications offering allow the FPGA leader to provide lower cost, lower power and more flexible solutions to developers needing to meet the demanding requirements of high-grade cryptographic processing applications, including the requirements set forth by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Crypto Modernization initiatives.

The approval covers critical elements of the Virtex-5Q secure communications Targeted Design Platform. The solution provides a single chip crypto (SCC) design methodology and a newly-released Security Monitor 2.0 IP core for physical design security. SCC combines the functionality of multiple FPGAs into a single device, enabling A&D product developers to reduce the size, weight, power and cost (SWAP-C) of systems through higher levels of integration. The complete solution also includes dual embedded PowerPC 440 processors, tamper-proofing capabilities and Xilinx’ isolation verification tool.

Key to the NSA approval is the ability of the Virtex-5Q solution and associated methodology to isolate user functionality within a single device. The NSA completed a fail-safe analysis effort for the Virtex-5Q family to confirm that the Xilinx SCC technology allows individual regions of the FPGA to be isolated from each other in the event of failure. The proven SCC design flow and verification process, first pioneered and developed by Xilinx in cooperation with NSA, provides higher levels of integration and increased system reliability. Although designed to meet NSA requirements, the SCC solution provides isolation techniques useful in other high reliability applications such as commercial avionics governed by FAA DO-254 and commercial cryptographic systems governed by NIST FIPS-140.