December 11, 2019

Huntsville, Alabama Cobham Gaisler, a leading space technologies design center of Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions, announced today at the 12th Annual Workshop on Spacecraft Flight Software, at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, that it will release a new processor Intellectual Property (IP) core based on the SPARC instruction set architecture (ISA). The new LEON5 processor IP core, which succeeds the previous LEON4 processor, will be made available on 25 December for download into Xilinx’ Kintex UltraSCALE FPGAs.

The new LEON5 IP core implements the SPARC V8 32-bit ISA, a 32-bit architecture. LEON5 is a super-scalar dual-issue processor that provides software backward compatibility with previous generation LEON processors while increasing performance both in terms of maximum achievable operating frequency and amount of computations performed per system clock cycle.

“With the LEON5, Cobham achieves a major improvement in terms of compute performance, while at the same time, maintaining a smooth upgrade path and allowing software re-use for our existing LEON user base. Our new LEON5 is also available in the free open source variant of our VHDL IP core library, in tradition with what we have done in the past with our processor IP cores.” said Magnus Hjorth, Head of Processor Group, Cobham Gaisler. 

“The introduction of our LEON5 processor core is an important step towards next-generation computing devices for the space industry,” said Jan Andersson, Director of Engineering, Cobham Gaisler. “For nearly 20 years, Cobham’s LEON processors, which are based on the SPARC ISA, have been used in RadHard and High Reliability microelectronics solutions in hundreds of spacecraft due to their rich feature set and dependability. Our products have also found their way into demanding terrestrial applications. With LEON5, Cobham provides a faster and more efficient processor while maintaining software compatibility with previous LEON models. We will also deliver new processor products based on the RISC-V ISA in parallel with our line of LEON processor.” 

“Xilinx’s collaboration with Cobham Gaisler allows us to bring some of the latest scalar processor technologies to our space-grade FPGA product families,” said Minal Sawant, System Architect, Space Products. “Their new LEON5 processor IP core complements Xilinx’s existing portfolio to provide the broadest IP solution to our space customers. Prior LEON series processors continue to be supported on many previous generation Xilinx FPGAs, while the new LEON5 state of art spaceflight processors, when implemented on our forthcoming new space parts, will provide unprecedented flexibility to meet varying on-board processing needs on next generation high performance sophisticated payload systems.” 

The LEON5 processor will be fully integrated with Cobham’s GRLIB VHDL IP core library. GRLIB offers a plenitude of interfaces and functions such as high-speed serial interconnect, encryption, compression, etc., to which the LEON5 processor can interface. The processor IP core will be complemented with the upgrade of the GRMON3 Software Debug Monitor which will support all the new features of the LEON5. For more information about Cobham Gaisler's LEON5 processor, please visit

For more information about Cobham Gaisler’s processor products, please visit

 About Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions

Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions (CAES), the U.S. subsidiary of Cobham plc operating under a Special Security Agreement (SSA) with the US Department of Defense, provides a number of mission-critical and specialized solutions for harsh environments. 

Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions supplies defense, aerospace, security, medical and industrial markets with critical solutions for communication on land, at sea, and in the air and space, by moving data through off-the-shelf and customized products and subsystems including RF, microwave, and high reliability microelectronics, antenna apertures and motion control solutions.

 About Cobham plc

Cobham offers an innovative range of technologies and services to solve challenging problems in commercial, defence and security markets, from deep space to the depths of the ocean. We employ around 10,000 people primarily in the USA, UK, Europe and Australia, and have customers and partners in over 100 countries, with market leading positions in: wireless, audio, video and data communications, including satellite communications; defence electronics; air-to-air refueling; aviation services; life support and mission equipment.