Military Embedded Systems

Partnerships, VITA, avionics computers featured by Curtiss-Wright at AUSA 2017


October 12, 2017

Mariana Iriarte

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

WASHINGTON ? AUSA. Officials at Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions made several announcements during this year?s Association of the United States Army Exhibition (AUSA) that include partnerships, covering the latest information on the VITA cooling standard, and the introduction of the SPIRIT family for airborne computer applications.

MANNARINO partnership:

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions and Mannarino Systems & Software (MANNARINO) entered into a strategic partnership that expands the capabilities and services available to system designers developing commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS)-based DO-254 airborne electronic hardware (AEH) and DO-178B/C software-based safety-certifiable avionics solutions.

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The agreement is exclusive for the embedded COTS aerospace & defense market and will provide its customers with safety-certifiable software, systems integration support that includes the development of life cycle data artifact kits. Under the agreement, guidance will also be provided throughout safety certification processes.


During the show, officials also announced that the company has been selected by a leading defense systems integrator to provide its rugged data recorder technology for use on a remotely controlled, aircraft-based wide-area surveillance sensor system program.

Under contract, Curtiss-Wright is supplying a rugged modified COTS-based 40 Gigabit Ethernet (40GbE) Data Recorder subsystem. The data storage unit provides two 40GbE interfaces and 32 or 64 Terabytes of storage capacity. It also provides RAID 0 and RAID 5 capability.

The initial contract is valued at $2 million. The potential lifetime value of the contract is estimated at $6 million. Work began in April of this year, and shipments are scheduled to continue through January 2018.

Rugged avionics computers:

Officials also took advantage of introducing a new family of rugged avionics computers that are pre-integrated with safety certifiable OpenVPX modules computers with DO-254/DO-178 safety certifiable hardware.

The SPIRIT family of pre-integrated systems with DO-254/DO-178 modules delivers a flexible range of configurations and options for airborne computer applications. It features an extensive range of field proven rugged chassis (2-6 3U OpenVPX slots) pre-integrated with safety certifiable modules, including single board computers (SBC), graphics controllers, and avionics I/O cards.

The first member of the SPIRIT system family is the SPIRIT Centrion Safety Certifiable Mission Computer System, a system that features DO-178C/ED-12C safety certifiable digital mapping, tactical information, and Synthetic Vision System (SVS) applications running on a DO- 254/ED-80 safety certifiable mission computer.

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Performance options include Power Architecture, ARM, or Intel based SBCs, AMD graphics, as well as avionics I/O interfaces. These ITAR-free systems are designed to be compliant with Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) software and ease and speed the deployment of critical airborne applications around the globe.

Officials at Curtiss-Wright also noted that the company is working with avionics solutions suppliers to deliver fully configured application-specific variants of SPIRIT systems. These solutions will reduce program time, lower cost, and mitigate integration risk for critical applications such as mission computers, UAV ground stations, DVE systems, flight control computers, and display computers on manned and unmanned fixed wing and rotary aircraft.

VITA 48.8 Air Flow Cooling standard:

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions and Lockheed Martin officials collaborated on the new open architecture cooling standard for use with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) VPX modules deployed on fixed-wing and rotary wing aircraft. The VITA 48.8 Working Group was sponsored by Lockheed Martin, Curtiss-Wright, and Abaco, and chaired by Curtiss-Wright.

The ratified ANSI Standard ANSI/VITA 48.8-2017, “Mechanical Standard for Electronic VPX Plug-in Modules Using Air Flow Through Cooling” (ANSI/VITA 48.8) VITA 48.8 standard reduces system size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) while increasing the reliability of avionics systems, officials say.

The ANSI/VITA 48.8 provides OEM suppliers with a license-free industry standard for cooling the latest high performance electronics used in demanding aerospace and defense applications.Additionally, the new cooling technology preserves investment in existing electrical and software architectures, and protects electronic components from environmental contamination.

The new cooling standard defines design requirements for platforms that need high performance processing, graphics or electronic warfare capabilities, which means that AFT-cooled plug-in VPX modules, including both 3U and 6U form factors, retains the current VITA 46.0 connector interoperability.

Read more on the ANSI/VITA 48.8: VITA and ANSI ratify air flow through cooling standard for VPX


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