Low-SWaP Ethernet Switch for Fighter Jet Advanced Sensor Pod

Low-SWaP Ethernet Switch for Fighter Jet Advanced Sensor Pod
Low-SWaP Ethernet Switch for Fighter Jet Advanced Sensor Pod
Case Study
November 02, 2016

Low-SWaP Ethernet Switch for Fighter Jet Advanced Sensor Pod

By integrating advanced electronics sensor pods, aerospace system integrators enable size, weight, and power (SWaP)-constrained fixed-wing aircraft platforms, such as legacy fighter jets, to expand mission capabilities and serve new tactical roles. These sophisticated pods traditionally attached beneath the airframe can deliver processing, networking, sensors, and communications payloads to augment Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Electro-Optical Infrared (EO/IR), long-range targeting, or other desired mission capabilities.

Given their small mechanical size and the demanding operational environment for fighter aircraft, plus the fact pods are retrofitted to platforms not initially designed for them, the electronics integrated inside must be highly reliable, very small form factor (SFF), and as lightweight and energy-efficient as possible, to not overburden the aircraft with heavy physical or power requirements that could put mission success at risk.

A significant aerospace supplier with proven sensor and aircraft development experience required a low-SWaP Ethernet switch for a multi-sensor fighter aircraft pod designed to fulfill urgent capability gaps for critical air-to-air missions. Providing an IP network backbone for integrated Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) of the pod (such as processors, datalinks, and sensors), the network switch needed to deliver advanced managed connectivity while fitting within tight mechanical constraints, operating in demanding environmental flight conditions (e.g., altitude, temperature, shock, vibration, etc.), and running off of unfiltered 28V aircraft power. In addition, the Ethernet switch would need to meet the system integrator’s aggressive pod development, subsystem integration, and flight test schedules.

Specifying the extremely low-power, affordable, SFF, rugged COTS DuraNET 20-11 switch LRU, prequalified for military and aerospace platform deployments, enabled the integrator to meet all program technical and schedule requirements without NRE while accelerating pod production readiness.

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Optimized for SWaP-C sensitive embedded computer networks

The Parvus DuraNET 20-11 is an ultra-small form factor (SFF) rugged Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) 8-port Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switch optimized for extremely demanding size, weight and power (SWaP) constrained vehicle and aircraft platforms exposed to harsh environmental and noisy electrical conditions. The unit boasts an ultra-miniature “pocket sized” design with a physical size of roughly 10 in3 in volume, 0.50 lb in weight, and 5W typical power consumption.

Great Things Come in Small Packages

The military and aerospace market maintains an insatiable appetite for smaller, lighter, and cheaper. Recent technological breakthroughs in SWaP-C reduction has yielded the introduction of USFF mission computer and networking systems. Learn more about the technologies in this white paper.