The Ever-Shrinking World of Small-Form-Factor Embedded Computing

April 01, 2021

The Ever-Shrinking World of Small-Form-Factor Embedded Computing

Published in Military & Aerospace Electronics
Written by Jamie Whitney

Open-systems standards like C4ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards (CMOSS), Sensor Open Systems Architecture (SOSA), and Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) are helping drive the development of small-form-factor (SFF) embedded military and aerospace hardware.

Open systems standards help to ensure components share a common platform and can interchange information across military branches.

Experts at Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions of Ashburn, Va., say the SOSA committee aims to define the entire connector interface for 3U and 6U VPX.

SOSA started a small form factor sub-committee a little over a year ago or so, and they were originally considering VITA 74 as the base standard from which they were going to work,” says Ivan Straznicky, chief technology officer for advanced packaging at Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions.

“Recently, though, they’ve also opened it up to ‘Short VPX,’ which has been kicked off within the VITA Standards Organization (VSO), and Curtiss-Wright is participating in and monitoring that effort. Short VPX is basically, exactly as the name implies - a shorter version of 3U VPX: 100 millimeters deep instead of 160 millimeters.

“But the card edge is the same as 3U VPX, which is great, since it can leverage all of the work that’s been done for 3U VPX, in terms of pin-outs, voltages, and thermal management,” Straznicky says. “All of the standardization work that’s been done on 3U VPX ports offer to the Short VPX form factor.”

Read the full article.

What is the SOSA Technical Standard?

The SOSA Technical Standard defines a common framework for transitioning sensor systems to an open systems architecture. The SOSA standard leverages OpenVPX to define card profiles with specifications for features such as pinouts, Ethernet capabilities, and serial ports.

What is Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE)?

The FACE Consortium, led by The Open Group, is aviation-focused and made up of U.S. industry suppliers, customers, and users. FACE aims to standardize approaches to bring open standards software to avionics systems. These avionics systems will result in lower implementation costs for the U.S. government and other adopters of the standard. Using the Modular Open Systems Architecture (MOSA), Open Architecture (OA), and Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA), FACE supports a robust architecture for enabling software development.

VPX (VITA 46) Standard

VPX is an ANSI standard that facilitates efficient upgrade to switched fabric technology for the sizeable existing base of VMEbus users, bringing them up to the task of supporting multiprocessing systems that demand the fastest possible communication capabilities. VPX increases the total I/O capacity by offering 160 high-speed differential pairs of I/O.