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Four Form Factors for Military Systems
Category: Computer Hardware / Software | Rugged Military Computers | Military System Solutions | 12/07/2012 - 08:52:16
Kontron is a major supplier of embedded computing technology for military and civilian applications. In this article, we examine four of the most successful form factors for military systems.
Form Factors for Military Systems
In modern warfare, soldiers need powerful, versatile, rugged computing solutions featuring the latest developments in embedded computing. In order to maximise performance, reliability and flexibility, whilst keeping space and power requirements to a minimum, a wide variety of embedded computing form factors have been developed to support different military applications.
Military equipment manufacturers must take a broad range of requirements and limitations into account for the development of powerful, effective solutions. Important considerations for the military market include:
- Military hardware is required to form highly interoperable systems offering outstanding performance and reliability. Embedded computing form factors are therefore evolving to support an ever increasing range of sensor inputs with increasing resolutions for maritime, avionic and ground-based monitoring systems and tactical weapons systems.
- SWaP-C: Essential considerations for any military hardware are size, weight and power requirements, all of which must be kept to a minimum, together with cost. Military systems are becoming smaller and lighter as time goes on, and form factors must be developed to support continued miniaturisation.
- It is vital for form factors to support the most up-to-date architectures, software and chip-sets, whilst adhering to the latest standards and conventions. This enables effortless integration of sophisticated, trusted technologies.
- Military applications require secure, high-bandwidth communications for effective communication between different forces and systems. Form factors for military applications should offer impressive data handling capacity and versatile support for military communications protocols.
- Military systems must be dependable, with a high level of availability. This requires the latest cooling and temperature management technology.
There are a small set of successful COTS form factors, that have repeatedly proven their worth in military hardware applications. Four of the most successful form factors for military systems are:
- CompactPCI - A proven, rugged solution for military hardware design
- VME - The current gold standard for off-the-shelf military systems
- COM Express - an ideal solution for SWaP-C (balancing size, weight, power-demand and cost), whilst also being easily upgradeable and replaceable.
- and recently, VPX - A high speed, high bandwidth solution for high performance, parallel computing
Please follow the links above for further information on these important form factors and their use in military applications.
Rugged Computing Solutions
Military hardware designers must analyse the requirements of a task to determine the best off-the-shelf form factor for a particular hardware application. The four form factors discussed above are among the most widely used among original equipment manufacturers designing rugged computing solutions, though there are many other products on offer. CompactPCI, VME, VPX and COM Express are all effective, tested solutions with a firm footing in the military applications market due to their support for reliability and performance upgrades to meet the changing needs of modern military systems.
Hardware and systems developers can select any of the above form factors according to their requirements to meet SWaP-C restrictions, update and optimise legacy systems, or attain challenging levels of performance. With these established, consistent, off-the-shelf form factors, equipment manufacturers can be confident of supplying interoperable hardware platforms, which greatly simplify product development, cutting hardware expenditures, minimising development time and protecting investments into military hardware systems.