Small Box Systems Deliver on SWaP Requirements

With lowering Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) an increasing priority, vendors of small box products are answering the call for high performance computing in tightly integrated systems.


Over the past decade there is perhaps no product category that’s seen faster growth than that of rugged box-level systems. Where once they were “one-off “custom efforts offered by military embedded computer vendors, box-level systems are now fully entrenched as major product lines from several vendors. Box-level products are so pervasive that COTS Journal this year has divided its Data Sheet Round Up section coverage into two separate sub-categories: Small Rugged Box Systems (covered this month) and Large Rugged Box Systems (coming later this year).

Small form factor rugged- box level systems are perhaps one of the most active design activities in the embedded computing industry. Some have remarked that the whole idea of a “standard” small form factor format is a bit of contradiction. They argue that any system developer that wants the smallest possible box will opt for a smaller box each time rather than fitting some standard. These solutions are edging out traditional backplane-centric slot card system architectures in many military platforms. This box-level system trend is dominating wherever size, weight and power (SWaP) is a priority concerns-especially in UAVs and military vehicle electronic systems. Small rugged box-level systems span a wide range of formats, sizes and configurations with a wealth of non-standard formats that have emerged.

On the standard-based side, only one of the three VITA specification efforts is continuing forward toward full ANSI standardization. Over the past several years embedded computing industry has made moves to apply some standardization on the format or I/O configurations between vendors of rugged box systems products. These efforts have evolved around standardization on the mechanical format or I/O configuration. The three VITA draft specification efforts jockeying for acceptance have been VITA 73, VITA 74 and VITA 75. Today only VITA 74-also dubbed VNX-in on path toward full ANSI-standardization status in VITA. Stakeholders for VITA 75 meanwhile don’t plan to move its specification beyond its current status and VITA 73 has been scrapped. It’s worth noting that on the product round up pages in this section, none of the representative products (new within the past 12 to 18 months) are standards-based.

Demand for higher levels of system integration is only ramping up among military system developers. And that need is moved small rugged box systems front and center for today’s technology decision makers. One force driving demand for these systems is a hunger for complete systems that are at a high TRL (Technology Readiness Level). Motivated by the desire to avoid staking military programs on immature technologies, the DoD is pushing for demonstrations earlier in the program development phase. That means that technologies used also have to show higher TRLs than previously required. All of that has helped fuel demand for prepackaged and prequalified subsystems as primes find themselves without the time or the DoD funding to develop a prototype subsystem themselves. As TRL becomes a more significant part of military requirements, suppliers are crafting solutions with that specifically in mind.

An example application embracing compact box-level systems is the U.S. Army’s WIN-T program (Figure 1). Several WIN-T vehicles use the S902R-SVM Golden-Eye III system from General Micro Systems. The Golden Eye III is a fourth generation, ultra-rugged, small, lightweight computer system possible in a fully ruggedized, conduction cooled, fully sealed enclosure that can operate up to -40 to +85 degrees C.

Figure 1. Small box level systems have enabled the Army put WIN-T functionalities like TCN-L and NOSC-L on Humvees instead of on five-ton FMTVs.


The Small Rugged Box Systems Roundup and Links to the full data sheets for each product are listed below.



Box System Exploits UltraScale FPGA Performance

The CESCC820 (Compact Embedded System) from 4DSP is a ruggedized, small form factor embedded system designed to provide a complete and generic processing platform for data acquisition, signal processing, and communication. With Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) in mind, the conduction-cooled CESCC820 features a low-power x86 CPU tightly coupled to a high-performance Kintex UltraScale UltraScale FPGA and FPGA Mezzanine Card (FMC – VITA 57.1).

• Intel Atom Quad Core 1.91 GHz processor.

• 2 Gbytes of DDR3 SDRAM.

• 64 Gbyte SSD (2x SSD option available).

• HDMI, USB, 2x 1 Gbit Ethernet links, FMC HPC site, JTAG.

• Kintex UltraScale XCKU040 FPGA with 4 Gbytes DDR3 SDRAM.

• Enclosure base: 148 x 163 mm, Enclosure body: 121 x 163 mm.

• Height 100 mm, weight: 3.0 kg.

CESCC820 Data Sheet: Click Here Registration required

Austin, TX.
(800) 816-1751


Abaco Systems

System Serves FACE-Compliant DO-254/DO-178 Certifiable Needs

Abaco Systems’ FORCE2 Open Reference Computing Environment is designed to support the planned development of safety-critical, DO-254/DO-178 certifiable applications compliant with the FACE initiative. This rugged, pre-integrated small form factor system for mission computing and avionics display comprises a high TRL SBC314 3U VPX single board computer and graphics card housed in a robust enclosure.

• Freescale QorIQ T1042 or T2081 processor; AMD Radeon E8860 or core AVI E8860 GPUs available.

• 1553/ARINC429 I/O options.

• Solid state disk option up to 1 Terabyte.

• Weight: 6.8 lbs (4kg).

• MIL-STD-704F 28VDC power.

• Qualified to MIL-STD-461G, DO-160G, MIL-STD-704F, MIL-STD-810G.

• -40 to +71 degrees C operating temperature; Cold-plate cooled.

• FACE-aligned operating systems and I/O services.

FORCE2 Data Sheet: Click Here

Abaco Systems
Huntsville, AL
(866) 652-2226


ADL Embedded

IP67-Rated Rugged System Features Unibody Chassis

The ADLMES9200 from ADL Embedded Solutions is an IP67 chassis systems that is a successor to ADL’s ADLMES8200 IP65 chassis system. Improvements include lower weight, lower cost, quick and reliable IP67 integration for rugged military and industrial applications. Design features for military/defense system include MIL-STD 810 tolerance and MIL-STD 461/704/1275 compliance capability. The 9200 is compatible with ADL’s full-range of Intel-based PC/104 and 3.5 inch SBCs.

• Embeds ADL’s SBCs which range from Atom to Core i5/i7 processors.

• Power supply options for MIL-STD 461/704/1275 compliant filtering.

• Unibody design, with minimal, reliable EMC-compliant gasketing.

• Designed for MIL-STD 810G shock and vibration profiles.

• Operating temperature estimated from -40 to 85 degrees C with Core i7 SBCs with heat spreaders and flanged plate for conduction cooling.

ADLMES9200 Data Sheet: Click Here

ADL Embedded Solutions
San Diego, CA
(858) 490-0597


ADLINK Technology

Fanless Embedded Computer Supports Three HD Displays

The Matrix MXC-6400 series from ADLINK Technology is a line of high-performance fanless embedded computers, integrating 6th generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 processors and the QM170 chipset. The MXC-6400 series offers independent digital display support from DisplayPort and DVI-I with HD 4K resolution.

• 6th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 processors and QM170 chipset.

• 2x DDR4 SO-DIMM sockets support up to 32 Gbytes of memory.

• 1x PCI and 2x PCIe Gen3 x8 (or 1x PCIe Gen3 x16) slots.

• 2x Mini PCIe and 1x USIM slots.

• Support for 3 independent displays with 2x DisplayPort and 1x DVI-I ports.

• 3x Intel GbE LAN ports with teaming function, Intel iAMT 11.0.

• 2x 2.5 inch hot-swappable SATA III trays on the front panel and 2x internal SATA III ports with RAID 0/1/5/10 support.

Matrix MXC-6400 Data Sheet: Click Here Registration required

ADLINK Technology
San Jose, CA
(408) 360-0200



Compact GPGPU System Delivers 60 Gflops/W Performance

Aitech Defense Systems’ A176 Cyclone is a fanless, rugged GPGPU system capable of 1 Tflops parallel processing. The system is based on the NVIDIA Maxwell architecture which includes two processors: A GPU and a Quad-core ARM Cortex A57 CPU. The compact A176 measures 4.3- x 4.3- x 1.18-inches and weighs less than 2.2 lbs. Provides capability of embedded deep learning, computer vision, graphics and GPU computing in harsh environments.

• Measures only 20 cubic inches using 17 W max (8-10 typ).

• 1 Tflops rugged GPGPU with 256 CUDA cores (NVIDIA Jetson TX1); ARM Cortex Quad-core A57).

• Extensive I/O: HD/DVI, H.264/.265 video encoder, SATA SSD, GbE, USB, serial, discrete digital.

• Memory: 4 Gbytes of LPDDR4 RAM.

• Video: encode 4K at 60 Hz; decode 4K at 30 Hz.

• Storage: 16 Gbytes of eMMC and SATA SSD with quick erase/secure erase.

A176 Data Sheet: Click Here Registration required

Aitech Defense Systems
Chatsworth, CA
(888) 248-3248


Curtiss Wright

Ultra-Small Mission Computer Provides Mini-PCIe I/O Expansion

The Parvus DuraCOR 312 form Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions is an ultra-small form factor modular mission computer built around the NVIDIA Jetson Tegra X1 (TX1) “supercomputer-on-a module” integrated in a miniature rugged chassis with MIL-grade high-density connectors.

• Ruggedized NVIDIA Jetson Tegra X1 module: Quad-core ARM Cortex-A57; 256 core Maxwell GPU; Thermal enhancement.

• 1.4 x 5.2 x 5.4-inches; 1.5 lb.; 20 W.

• Rugged IP67 chassis with micro-mini MIL-performance circular connectors.

• Modular I/O architecture: up to three slots for add-on Mini-PCIe I/O cards.

• Rugged Flash SSD storage: eMMC + M.2 / mSATA / microSD card / removable 2.5 inch SATA.

• 28 VDC MIL-1275/704/DO-160 power supply for aircraft and ground vehicles.

• Qual testing pending for extreme MILSTD- 810G/DO-160 thermal, shock, vibration, altitude, humidity; also MILSTD- 461F/DO-160G EMI/EMC.

DuraCOR 312 Data Sheet: Click Here Registration required

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions
Ashburn, VA.
(703) 779-7800.


DFI Tech

Fanless Embedded Computer Features Quad Core Atom E3800

The EC700-BT Fanless Embedded System from DFI Tech features an Intel Atom E3845 quad core 1.91 GHz processor and 4 Gbytes of DDR3L ECC on-board memory. The lightweight fanless system is rugged, conforming to MIL-STD-810F (514-5C-2) for vibration and can handle 15G half sine wave of shock for 11 ms in 3 axes. The EC700 can be wall-mounted or VESA-mounted and supports expansion for 3 Mini PCIe, 1 mSATA storage, 1 SIM card, and 1 microSD. There is also I/O of 8-bit DIO, 4 serial ports, 5 USB, 2 WiFi antenna holes, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, and 2 LAN.

• Intel Atom E3800 Series processor.

• 4 Gbytes of DDR3L ECC DRAM onboard.

• Video support: 1 HDMI + 1 VGA or 1 DVI.

• Storage: 1 Notebook HDD, Optional eMMC onboard.

• I/O includes 4 COM, 2 LAN, 5 USB.

• Size: 180mm x 33mm x 121.2mm.

EC700-BT Data Sheet: Click Here

DFI Tech
Sacramento, CA
(916) 568-1234


Extreme Engineering

COM Express-based System Runs Cisco IOS Software

Extreme Engineering Solutions’ XPand6052 integrates the Intel Core i7 processor-based XPedite7450 COM Express mezzanine module and the XPedite5205 XMC/PMC Embedded Services Router (ESR) to provide processing with networking capability in one Small Form Factor rugged embedded module. The new combined unit, XPand6052, complies with multiple military specifications including MIL-STD-810, DO-160 and MIL-STD-461G. It is flight-qualified and meets the MIL-STD-704A-F 28 VDC power input requirement.

• Includes XPedite7450 Intel Core i7 ruggedized COM Express module.

• XPedite5205 Cisco IOS Gbit Ethernet Embedded Services Router.

• Four 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet ports on XPedite5205; Two 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet ports on XPedite7450.

• 8.2- x 4.88- x 1.85 inch; Weighs 4.0 lbs.; Environmentally sealed.

• Integrated MIL-STD-704F 28 VDC input voltage power supply; Integrated MIL-STD-461 EMI filtering.

XPedite7450 Data Sheet: Click Here

Extreme Engineering Solutions
Middleton, WI.
(608) 833-1155


General Micro Systems

Rugged Server-Level Box Blends Switch/Routing and Security

The SB2002-SW “Blackhawk” from General Micro Systems is an ultra-rugged, small, lightweight server system with up to 16 CPU cores and up to four removable drives. It is designed to provide a 20-port intelligent hardware switch/router system supporting Layer 2/3 routing functions with customizable rules while providing the highest level of workstation performance possible in a fully ruggedized, conduction-cooled, sealed system.

• Intel Xeon processor D up to 16 cores (D-15xx).

• Up to 64 Gbytes of DDR4 ECC memory.

• Up to four removable 2.5-inch SATA or one NVMe SSD.

• Two 10 Gbit and 17 Gbit Ethernet (4x PoE) ports; Supports Layer 2/3 software routing functions.

• Security features for authentication, authorization, multicast IPv4, IPv6 with IGMPv2/3 snooping.

• Extended temperature from -40 to +85 degrees C.

SB2002-SW Data Sheet: Click Here

General Micro Systems
Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
(909) 980-4863


North Atlantic Industries

Suite of Rugged, Application-Ready Systems Require no NRE

NAI offers multiple application-ready rugged systems that use NAI’s, scalable Custom on Standard Architecture (COSA), approach. An example shown here is the VMS-35CP0A is a 3U 5-slot Vehicle Management System. This preconfigured system with an Intel Core i7 processor is suited to applications that require high-density, multi-channel, programmable LVDT Measurement; Discrete I/O; D/A Conversion; AC Reference; CANBus; Differential Transceiver; RTD Measurement; TTL/CMOS I/O; ARINC 429/575 and Dual-Port Gig-E Ethernet.

• Meets or exceeds MIL-STD-461F and MIL-STD-810G requirements.

• Linux (CentOS, Red Hat) and Windows Embedded Standard 7 OS.

• Continuous Background Built-in-Test (BIT).

• Less than 15 lbs. typical.

• COTS/NDI, no NRE required.

• COSA architecture.

• SWaP-optimized.

VMS-35CP0A Data Sheet: Click Here Registration required

North Atlantic Industries
Bohemia, NY
(631) 567-1100

Octagon Systems[/caption]

Rugged Box-Level System Boasts Quad-core GPU and Rick I/O

Octagon Systems’ TRAX-10 is a mini-server/router optimized for the rugged mobile market. It is powered by the latest Intel Quad-core CPU with high performance graphics capabilities. TRAX-10 features a substantial amount of I/O including 5 Ethernet ports, CAN bus and multiple wireless modes. The versatility and processing power make it ideally suited for deployment on vehicles and equipment that run multiple on-board applications in stressful environments.

• Open Architecture – Windows and Linux ready.

• Intel Dual Core CPU, 1.91 GHz.

• Future Proof – Plug in I/O.

• Gbit Ethernet, CAN, Serial, USB & Digital.

• GPS, WiFi, Cellular.

• -40 to 85 degrees C temperature range.

• Server, router and I/O in one.

TRAX-10 Data Sheet: Click Here Registration required

Octagon Systems
Westminster, CO
(303) 430-1500



Small Footprint Embedded System Provides Low Cost Solution

Systel’s EB5000 is a low cost, low power solution suited for users seeking high reliability from a small footprint embedded system. It is compact and lightweight yet extremely rugged and is suitable for deployment into almost any environment. The EB5000 embedded computer is an extreme duty system designed for military operations, oilfield services, and a multitude of other rugged industrial environments. With a compact design that saves space and weight, the EB5000 offers performance without the associated high cost.

• Rugged small form factor embedded system.

• Low cost, low power, high reliability.

• Compact and lightweight.

• Zeus Rail compatible – ideal for airborne applications.

• 512 Mbytes of memory, 2 Gbytes of microSD storage (extended temperature).

• -40 to +70 degrees C operating temperature.

• MIL-STD-810G, DO-160G.

EB5000 Data Sheet: Click Here

Sugar Land, TX
(281) 313-3600