Case Studies

Modified COTS Solution Extends Platform Lifespan and Mission Capabilities

June 30, 2020

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Aerospace integrators are often called upon to upgrade aging airframes with new electronic payloads to extend their lifespan and mission capabilities. One such integrator turned to Curtiss-Wright when upgrading a fleet of maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft for a Western European customer. As part of the upgrade, the customer needed new mission and avionics computers. The integrator sought a partner with a flexible commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution that could meet the required avionics, network, and sensor requirements with minimal non-recurring expense (NRE).

The new electronics would need to interface with legacy MILSTD-1553 and ARINC 429 avionics data buses on-board. MIL-STD-1553 is common on military platforms and even Modified COTS Solution Extends Platform Lifespan and Mission Capabilities commercial applications (such as automotive, oil, subway, space) for control, as well as monitoring of critical systems. ARINC 429 is the predominant commercial avionics data bus standard used for receiving or transmitting data between avionics equipment.

The system integrator also required the mission computer to have a rugged chassis with MIL-DTL-38999 connectors that could be passively cooled without forced airflow or cold plates. The unit also had to run a Windows® operating system and integrate numerous I/O interfaces beyond MILSTD-1553, ARINC 429, including Ethernet, USB, serial, and digital I/O. Finally, the processor had to be compliant with demanding environmental, power, and EMI specs, including MIL-STD-810, MIL-STD-461, and MIL-STD-704.

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