White Papers

Consolidate Line Replaceable Units (LRU) While Considering Strict Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) Constraints

October 29, 2019 | BY: Mike Southworth

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Many of today’s military and aerospace customers are looking for elegant solutions that carefully consider how best to mechanically and electrically integrate multiple functions into a single Line Replaceable Unit (LRU) appliance, while optimizing size, weight, and power (SWaP) and performance.

Imagine taking the scalability of a modular mission processor and adding flexibility for integrating specialized network functions, all in a single SWaP-optimized LRU. High-performance Intel processing could be combined with secure Cisco network routing and switching in a small form factor solution that eliminates multiple separate LRUs. This “all-in-one” goal presents certain technical advantages and challenges for systems integrators, which are described in the following white paper.


Rugged system architectures should be scalable and flexible to adapt to the military’s varying demands Even US law (10 USC 2446) now prescribes a Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) for major defense acquisition programs to promote upgradeability, interoperability and competitiveness. System engineers are designing more and more modular subsystems that can support open architecture I/O expansion and extend the life and usability of a system—a must for budget-conscious Department of Defense (DOD) programs.

Military programs have begun to request more and more systems that can combine network processing, Ethernet LAN switches, and IP traffic routing in a single box. Depending on the project, this can be motivated by various factors, including SWaP constraints or objectives to simplify systems integration. Some programs may want to simplify power distribution or cable management on-board a vehicle, while others seek a solution with flexible mechanical installation options.

Mike Southworth

Author’s Biography

Mike Southworth

Senior Product Manager

Mike Southworth serves as Senior Product Manager for Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions where he is responsible for the Parvus small form-factor rugged mission computers and Ethernet networking subsystem product line targeting Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP)-constrained military and aerospace applications. Southworth has more than 15 years of experience in technical product management and marketing communications leadership roles. Mike holds an MBA from the University of Utah and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Brigham Young University.

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