Delivering Compact Solutions Utilizing 3U Architectures

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May 17, 2016

Delivering Compact Solutions Utilizing 3U Architectures

Converting 6U Rugged Systems to 3U VPX Form Factors

3U design is rapidly gaining momentum as the newest trend in electronics technology as a rugged defense application that provides the most efficient solutions possible. This has resulted in a movement of customers converting 6U rugged VME and VPX systems to 3U VPX form factors as well as deploying new systems as 3U instead of 6U. There are several factors driving this change including Moore’s law, power densities, serialization of interfaces, and interface commonality. Relying on 3U systems provide excellent performance and functionality in a small package and manages power density effectively while generally providing all of the required I/O interfaces.

3U: An Efficient Solution

Electronics technology is constantly changing. Rugged defense application packaging, form factors, and specifications have evolved along with it to provide the most efficient solutions possible with the technology currently available. Today, a majority of applications will find that the 3U VPX form factor provides the most efficient solution. It provides excellent performance and functionality in a small package and manages power density effectively while generally providing all of the required I/O interfaces.

6U to 3U Migration Case Study: Sensor Management Processor

Refreshing technology while transitioning from a 6U to 3U architecture can provide increased performance while also delivering significant Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) improvements. Airborne mission management LRU is just one example of combining a technology update with form factor changes. The baseline features six Power Architecture Single Board Computers (SBCs), two Ethernet switches, and a custom platform-specific I/O card in addition to the required power supplies and a complement of spare payload slots.

Transitioning Architecture from 6U to 3U Image

3U Mission Management and Platform Control Computers

Even smaller mission management and platform control computers are possible with the processing and I/O density provided by 3U architectures. By combining a 3U processor card with a multi-head 3U graphics card, Ethernet Switch, and XMC or custom I/O cards, it provides a very compact solution that can function as a mission management computer for smaller platforms while only occupying the space required to package three or four 3U cards.

Download the whitepaper on 6U to 3U Migration to find out why 3U architectures are gaining in popularity!  

Jason Shields

Jason Shields

Senior Product Manager

Jason Shields is Product Manager for 3U VPX Systems and SMS Switch Boxes for Curtiss-Wright's Integrated Systems group. Jason joined Curtiss-Wright in 2007 and has held roles including Mechanical Designer, Material Management, Configuration Management, Mechanical Engineering Supervisor, Product Development Manager, and Program Manager. As Product Manager, Jason works with customers from system specification thru the delivery of a program-specific system integration project.