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 Systems Inc. in Torrance, Calif.
Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced an $16.8 million order to Mercury on Thursday for data transfer units, high-definition video recorders, and other avionics accessories for the F/A-18C-F jet fighter-bombers and EA-18G Growler electronic warfare (EW) aircraft.
Mercury Mission Systems (formerly Physical Optics Corp.) will provide 48 data transfer units and 121 high-definition video recorders for the F/A-18 aircraft. This equipment is part of a Small Business Innovation Research Phase III topic N102-0129 called Automatic Real-Time, Reconfigurable Interface Generalization Hardware Multiprotocol Data Recorder.
Mercury won similar orders in September and December 2022. The company won a $35.7 million order for 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.
In December 2022 Mercury won an $18.4 million order for 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.
Mercury predecessor Physical Optics developed a new Automatic Real-Time, Reconfigurable interface Generalization Hardware (ARRGH) multiprotocol data recorder and data storage system as part of the Automatic Real-Time, Reconfigurable Interface Generalization Hardware Multiprotocol Data Recorder project. Mercury acquired Physical Optics in late 2020.
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.
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 order, Mercury will do the work in Torrance, Calif., and should be finished by June 2026. For more information contact Mercury Mission Systems online at www.mrcy.com/products/data-storage-and-transfer, or Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil.