Smiths Industries to provide analog/digital gateway on Lockheed Martin JSF aircraft

By John Keller

FARNBOROUGH, England — Avionics designers at Smiths Industries Aerospace are set to build at least four avionics subsystems for the Lockheed Martin entry in the competition to build the future Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

One of these systems is a software-programmable interface unit that will serve as the JSF's electronic gateway between the aircraft's analog subsystems such as sensors and actuators, and its digital subsystems such as the flight and mission computers.

This gateway device is called the JSF Vehicle Management System Remote Input/Output Unit — better known as RIO. Developing this 6-by-6-inch module that is 1.1 inches thick, are designers at the Smiths Aerospace group in Cheltenham, England. The RIO "does analog to digital conversion, helps flight computers talk to flight actuators, and gives the right amount of power to sensors and other subsystems," says Paul Capener, New product development manager, vehicle management systems at Smiths.

Smiths Industries designers also are providing the Lockheed Martin JSF with its Tactical Data Equipment, Stores Management System Fuselage Remote Interface Unit, and with Hamilton-Sundstrand is providing the Lockheed Martin JSF with its Electrical Power System.

A big advantage of the Smiths JSF RIO is its backward compatibility, which makes it strong candidate not only for new aircraft, but also for upgrades to existing platforms, Capener explained at the Farnborough Air Show last July in Farnborough, England.

The JSF RIO comes from the Smiths Industries RIU-100 commercial off-the-shelf interface, which also is the basis for the Smiths proposed engine-control system on the Boeing Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle and the electrical load-management system on the Boeing 777x jumbo twinjet airliner, Capener says.

At the heart of the JSF RIO is a library of standard software that can implement virtually control algorithm, Capener explains. The library contains a table structure that can call up a variety of electronic modules. The unit also contains a commercial microcontroller.

"We designed the unit to deal with obsolescence, where we can replace chips with any other generic building block and maintain our functionality," Capener says.

The JSF RIO has 100 channels and has a dual-redundant MIL-STD-1553B remote terminal. Avionics designers can use the unit either as a remote data concentrator, a controller for power distribution panels, or as a subsystem controller.

As a remote data concentrator the unit can help designers reduce the amount of aircraft wiring and provide signal conditional for system processors. As a power controller, it provides remote power switching, software logic interlocking, status monitoring, and data bus interfacing. As a subsystem controller, the unit can do closed loop control, execute external commands, and provide aircraft health and status information to other systems via its data bus interface.

For more information contact Smiths Industries Aerospace by phone at 011-44-1242-661-520, by fax at 011-44-1242-661-155, by post at Bishops Cleeve, Cheltenham, Glos GL52 4SF, United Kingdom, or on the World Wide Web at

Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.

The Innovation That Matters™ Quiz

Innovation is one of the key drivers in the Defense industry. View this short video of Leon Woo, VP of Engineering at Mercury Systems, on the role of innovation. Then, answer 3 simple questions correctly to be entered into a drawing to win an Eddie Bauer fleece jacket!


Military & Aerospace Photos

Wire News provided by   

Most Popular Articles


Meeting the Gen3 backplane challenge with OpenVPX and COTS

Tight Pentagon budgets mean military systems must stay in the field for longer than ever before. This doesn't mean obsolete technology, however. Today's military electronics are being upgraded constantly, an...
Sponsored by:

Digital signal processing for signals intelligence and electronic warfare

Military & Aerospace Electronics presents an expert Webcast on the design considerations for blending general-purposes processors (GPUs), general-purpose graphics processors (GPGPUs), field-programmable ...
Sponsored by:

Advantages of Intel Architecture Products and Wind River Solutions in Military & Aerospace Applications

This webinar explains the individual advantages of the Intel Architecture hardware, available for long-life supply, and the WRS software portfolio.  There are extraordinary advantages of combining such ...
Sponsored by:

social activity

All Access Sponsors

Mil & Aero Magazine

February 2014
Volume 25, Issue 2

Download Our Apps




Follow Us On...


Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles