Mercury to build data transfer units and high-definition video recorders for Navy F/A-18E-F combat avionics

Dec. 1, 2022
Mercury will provide data transfer units, secret serial advanced technology attachment encryption module cables, and high-definition video recorders.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – U.S. Navy combat aircraft avionics experts needed ruggedized data transfer units for F/A-18C-F jet fighter-bomber. They found their solution from Mercury Mission Systems LLC in Torrance, Calif.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced an $18.4 million order to Mercury on Tuesday for data transfer units, high-definition video recorders, and other avionics accessories for the F/A-18C-F aircraft.

Mercury Mission Systems (formerly Physical Optics Corp.) will provide 35 data transfer units, 15 secret serial advanced technology attachment encryption module cables, 157 high-definition video recorders, and 72 high-definition video recorder data transfer devices.

This equipment is for retrofit on F/A-18C-F aircraft in support of the Automatic Real-Time, Reconfigurable Interface Generalization Hardware (ARRGH) Multiprotocol Data Recorder project.

Related: Data recorder, storage, and transfer systems for military avionics and intelligence introduced by Mercury

Mercury won a similar contract in late September worth $35.7 million for data transfer units and avionics data recorders, as part of the ARRGH Multiprotocol Data Recorder project.

For that contract, Mercury is providing 104 1553 data-transfer units -- 68 for retrofit on F/A-18C-F aircraft and 36 for EA-18G production aircraft; and 144 high-definition video recorders for retrofit on F/A-18C-F aircraft.

Mercury predecessor Physical Optics developed a new multiprotocol data recorder and data storage system as part of the ARRGH Multiprotocol Data Recorder project. Mercury acquired Physical Optics in late 2020.

Related: Navy chooses Mercury Mission Systems to provide data recorders and data storage for F/A-18 jet avionics

The phase-one ARRGH design is based on integrating hybrid transcoding hardware, RAID-based mass storage, and intelligent transcoding heuristic software, Navy officials say.

This 40-Watt, 11-pound design offers seamless on-the-fly rerouting and data translation of input signals to and from the data recorder irrespective of interfaces involved.

A plug-and-play self-sealing environmentally protected removable memory unit (RMU) enables rapid upgrades to avert obsolescence by capitalizing on commercial solid-state memories. The prototype includes shell adapters to ensure form-factor compliance with a variety of current data recorders, including the RM-6000f on F/A-18.

Related: Navy chooses encrypted data storage from Physical Optics for the trusted computing needs of combat jets

The ARRGH provides 1 terabyte of removable memory, sustained write speeds of 550 megabits per second (2700 megabits per second burst) and has a built-in self-test.

The second phase of the ARRGH project produced a fully functional ground-tested prototype and a flight-test-ready prototype, as well as defined a platform integration roadmap, got started on device certification.

On this week's contract, Mercury will do the work in Torrance, Calif., and should be finished by March 2025. For more information contact Mercury Mission Systems online at, or Naval Air Systems Command at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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