Case Studies

Flexible I/O System Design Reduced Cost, SWaP, and Time

November 23, 2020

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A leading prime contractor of airborne imaging systems came to Curtiss-Wright with a 3U OpenVPX™ system architecture design problem they were doubtful could be solved, given the project’s constraints. What they sought was a small volume, fully rugged, flight-worthy processor system configured to support a mix of standard and custom I/O protocols. Size, weight, and power (SWaP) constraints eliminated the option of using multiple individual I/O boards to meet their interface requirements.

On the other hand, a custom I/O board design would have incurred unacceptably high NRE costs, along with unacceptable risk and schedule impacts. Ultimately, the customer needed a custom system design, while their budget would only support an off-theshelf solution – and they needed delivery in six months, an unusually short turnaround schedule for a new system design.

Flexible I/O System Design Reduced Cost, SWaP, and Time

To put it mildly, the customer was skeptical that their challenge could be met using COTS hardware. Another option might have been to contract a development house to provide a modified COTS (MCOTS) solution, but typically, these suppliers are set up to address high volume projects, making engineering resources especially precious.

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