Curtiss-Wright and Cisco to Develop Secure Layer 3 Network Switch Technology for Rugged OpenVPX Systems

Curtiss-Wright and Cisco to Develop Secure Layer 3 Network Switch Technology for Rugged OpenVPX Systems
Curtiss-Wright and Cisco to Develop Secure Layer 3 Network Switch Technology for Rugged OpenVPX Systems
Press release
October 10, 2023

Curtiss-Wright and Cisco to Develop Secure Layer 3 Network Switch Technology for Rugged OpenVPX Systems

Curtiss-Wright, in collaboration with Cisco, will bring Cisco Catalyst ESS9300 Embedded Series switching family and IOS XE technology to SOSA aligned system architectures

AUSA 2023, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C. (Booth 1509) – October 10, 2023 – Curtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions Division today announced a collaborative development agreement with Cisco to bring secure enterprise-class network switching solutions – based on the Cisco Catalyst ESS9300 Embedded Series switches with Internetworking Operating System (IOS) XE – to rugged, deployed aerospace and defense OpenVPX systems environments for the first time. Delivering an array of network switching capabilities not previously available on OpenVPX hardware, the collaboration promises to provide ground and airborne network designers with features they need and expect from an enterprise-class network switch for communicating both in and outside of the system chassis. 

The products resulting from this agreement will significantly help increase network security, flexibility, and control at the tactical edge. 

  • Cisco IOS XE enables network system designers to architect resilient networks and provides high-level, advanced capabilities that assist in mitigating network issues that can otherwise cause disconnected, intermittent, and limited (DIL) conditions at the tactical edge, such as switch looping.
  • The new Sensor Open System Architecture™ (SOSA) aligned plug-in-card (PIC) network switch solutions will provide network system designers with access to advanced network switch features and capabilities, including port security and access control through 802.1x, support for SSH and SNMP v3, FIPS 140 and Common Criteria certification.
  • The rugged OpenVPX network switch products will be STIG-Ready with DISA authored Security Technical Implementation Guides. These guides provide the technical security policies, requirements and implementation details for applying security concepts to Cisco IOS XE to provide customers with a fast path to a Risk Management Framework (RMF) process and drastically reduce the effort required to attain Authority to Operate (ATO).

The 3U OpenVPX network switch solutions based on the Cisco Catalyst ESS9300 Embedded Series with Cisco IOS XE. Designed to meet MIL-SDT-810H environmental ruggedization requirements, the new network switch solutions will be the first OpenVPX form factor members of Curtiss-Wright’s popular PacStar® family of tactical communications solutions. In addition to bringing widely used enterprise-class, hardware-based switching technology to VPX and SOSA™ aligned embedded ecosystems, the plan is to have this product meet security certifications required to be FIPS and Common Criteria complaint , enabling them to be securely deployed on Government networks and migrate NSA-approved Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) data encryption solutions to new form factors. 

“Curtiss-Wright is excited to partner with Cisco to bring their Catalyst line of network switches to the rugged deployed VPX system environment with SOSA Technical Standard alignment,” said Brian Perry, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Division. “Cisco’s switching technology and IOS XE operating system provide enterprise-class features for DoD and defense industry to build secure networks both inside and outside of a VPX chassis. This joint development will deliver a key component for our turn-key integrated tactical communications solutions to the VPX form factor, including our secure CSfC encrypted product offerings, for the first time.”

“Cisco and Curtiss-Wright have been partners in delivering custom solutions for the military for several years. Our collaboration brings together Cisco's expertise in networking with Curtiss-Wright's deep knowledge of defense technology,” said Samuel Pasquier, Vice President, Cisco Industrial IoT. “By combining our strengths, we deliver solutions that improve security and meet compliance requirements of critical defense systems. Today we are expanding our relationship to address military’s new converged CMOSS initiative for force modernization that simplifies their communications systems.” 

Curtiss-Wright plans to offer a new OpenVPX solution based on Cisco Catalyst ESS9300 Embedded Series switch with upcoming product releases. The new network switch PICs will be listed on the Department of Defense Information Network (DoDIN) Approved Products List (APL) to simplify the procurement process for DoD organizations seeking products that have met cybersecurity and interoperation certification requirements. 

About Curtiss-Wright’s Family of Leading Battlefield Solutions

Curtiss-Wright’s industry-leading PacStar family of advanced communications solutions addresses a wide range of military, intelligence, and commercial applications. Curtiss-Wright created and manufactures COTS-based rugged, small form factor expeditionary and mobile communications systems. Separately, it developed integrated, network communications management software, IQ-Core® Software, for the military, federal, state/local government, and emergency responder markets. The company’s patented IQ-Core Software, hardware technology, and integrated solutions provide secure, command, control, and communications systems, particularly in remote or infrastructure-starved areas. In addition, PacStar communications systems are ideally suited for commercial/industrial organizations with mission-critical field communications requirements.

For additional information about Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions products, please visit, LinkedIn, and Twitter @CurtissWrightDS.

About Curtiss-Wright Corporation

Curtiss-Wright Corporation (NYSE:CW) is a global integrated business that provides highly engineered products, solutions and services mainly to Aerospace & Defense markets, as well as critical technologies in demanding Commercial Power, Process and Industrial markets. Headquartered in Davidson, North Carolina, the company leverages a workforce of approximately 8,400 highly skilled employees who develop, design and build what we believe are the best engineered solutions to the markets we serve. Building on the heritage of Glenn Curtiss and the Wright brothers, Curtiss-Wright has a long tradition of providing innovative solutions through trusted customer relationships. For more information, visit

The information provided in this press release for informational purposes only and is subject to change at the sole discretion of Cisco and/or Curtiss-Wright. Cisco and Curtiss-Wright will have no liability for delay in the delivery, or failure to deliver, any of the products, features or capabilities described in this press release.


Note: Trademarks are property of their respective owners.

John Wranovics

John Wranovics

Director of Public Relations

John Wranovics has over thirty years of experience in managing media relations and the promotion of high technology products. He has been with Curtiss-Wright since 2003. He has a degree in English Literature from the University of California, Berkeley.

PacStar Communications Solutions

Combining modular networking equipment and IQ-Core® Software for unified network communications management, our tactical communications solutions enable enhanced warfighter situational awareness. Our solutions for battlefield network management include commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based rugged, small form factor communications systems, and PacStar® Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) solutions.