Military Embedded Systems

PRODUCT OF THE WEEK: Mercury Systems’ SOSA aligned, 3U VPX, Development Platform

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April 18, 2022

This week’s product, the Mercury Systems’ Model 8257A Development Platform A/D, is aligned with the Sensor Open Systems Architecture (SOSA) Technical Standard and features a a single-slot 3U VPX backplane and integrated power supply. The solution enables engineers to accelerate development of their sensor processing applications for radar, electronic warfare, and other platforms in an easy-to-use SOSA aligned desktop environment, saving time and money.

Many SOSA aligned systems are deployed with custom backplanes specific to the interconnect requirements of the application. The 8257A eases the adoption of SOSA aligned solutions by providing an integrated development platform using only a single card to accelerate initial development efforts. The optional rear transition module provides access to all the analog and digital signals on Mercury's Quartz line of RF system-on-chip (RFSoC) modules without needing additional plug-in cards or an Ethernet switch card to reduce system complexity and cost during development. This can accelerate development time while a custom SOSA backplane is being defined or manufactured.

The 8257A’s built-in forced-air cooling is designed to support conduction-cooled boards in an air-cooled chassis. This provides the convenience of development on the conduction-cooled boards in a desktop or laboratory environment. The model’s Development Platform accepts 3U VPX conduction cooled boards and uses integral fans for air cooling, enabling development on a fully rugged and conduction cooled board in a desktop or benchtop environment.

It is specifically designed to accommodate Mercury's Quartz Model 5550 or 5553 eight-channel A/D and D/A converter 3U OpenVPX modules based on the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ RF system-on-chip (RFSoC), both aligned with the recently released Technical Standard for SOSA Reference Architecture 1.0. Developers can connect a notebook or desktop PC running Xilinx's Vivado Design Suite and Mercury's Navigator Design Suite to quickly develop, run and debug their applications.

The 5550 features the Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC Gen 1. The 5553 features the Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC Gen 3.

Chassis Management

Mercury’s SOSA aligned development chassis uses Crossfield Technology LLC’s VITA 46.11 and HOST [Hardware Open Standards Technologies] aligned Chassis Management Module (CMM). This CMM is software upgradeable to the forthcoming SOSA v1.0 Technical Standard. The 8257A's CCM is an ideal platform for introducing developers to SOSA Out-of-Band System Management operation.

Rear Transition Module

While conduction cooled chassis typically do not allow the use of a Rear Transition Module (RTM) for deployment, the 8257A supports the Model 5901-550 RTM for use during development. This RTM enables convenient access to the RFSoC board’s data planes via optical interfaces and to the control plane through a standard RJ45 1 GigE interface, eliminating the need for a gigabit Ethernet switch card during development. In addition, two management ports, the multi-board sync interface, and a JTAG port are available on the RTM.

Rear Access Panel

The 8257A’s rear panel features 20 SMA coaxial breakout connectors, providing direct connections to the VITA 67.3C’s 20 RF backplane interfaces. For support of the RFSoC board’s dual 100 GigE optical interfaces, two optical MPO connectors enable connections using standard optical cables. A RJ45 connector delivers a 1 GigE connection for chassis management.


  • Rear Panel Connections:
    • RF: 20 SMAs
    • Gigabit Serial: 2 optical MPOs
    • 1GigE: 1 RJ45
  • Dimensions: 192.8 mm W x 307.8 mm D x 425.5 mm H
  • Weight: 17.8 lb
  • Power Supply: 300 Watts
  • Operating Temp: 0° to +50° C
  • Storage Temp: –40° to +85° C
  • Relative Humidity: 5 to 95 percent, non-condensing
  • Power Requirements: 100 to 240 VAC, 50 to 60 Hz, 1000 W max.

For more information, visit the Model 8257A page here, or visit the company’s website, or follow the links below.




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Mercury Systems

50 Minuteman Road
Andover, Massachusetts 01810