Curtiss-Wright announces another VPX win

May 23, 2008
CHARLOTTE, N.C., 23 May 2008. Officials at Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing won their second military design-in of their VPX products for a U.S. Army Future Combat Systems (FCS) program application.

By John McHale

CHARLOTTE, N.C., 23 May 2008. Officials at Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing won their second military design-in of their VPX products for a U.S. Army Future Combat Systems (FCS) program application.

Curtiss-Wright will supply computer processor modules to General Dynamics C4 Systems in Phoenix, Ariz., and Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for use in the Integrated Computer System (ICS) of FCS.

VPX, a VITA standard also known as VITA 46, promises near-supercomputer performance in small embedded form factors. VPX is available in 6U as well as 3U formats, which is causing excitement among designers of intensive signal-processing applications.

A Venture Development Corp. (VDC) market report given at the Critical Embedded Systems Media Fest, stated that the market for VPX was taking off slower than at first thought but that eventually it will accelerate and be profitable.

Curtiss-Wright would to be finding success much earlier than the rest of the market based on that VDC report. They are the first to announce publicly VPX military contract wins, says a Curtiss-Wright spokesman.

The VPX market for Curtiss-Wright is performing well right now, said Ivan Straznicky during a Military & Aerospace Electronics webcast titled Ruggedizing Embedded Systems. During the webcast Straznicky discussed the ruggedness of VPX and its companion VITA standard VPX REDI, which covers cooling aspects of VPX systems. Interested readers may register for the webcast at

Curtiss-Wright officials would not comment publicly on the FCS contract beyond what was in their press release.

The FCS Integrated Computer System combines a wide range of previously independent computing applications into a single, integrated, secure processing environment. ICS is a common computing environment for 13 of the 14 platforms in the FCS family of systems which comprises a network of sensors, unmanned aerial platforms, and manned and unmanned ground systems. Under terms of the contract, Curtiss-Wright will supply the processing modules to General Dynamics and Rockwell Collins for integration into the ICS system. The initial order is for more than 1,000 modules with deliveries scheduled to begin during the second quarter of 2008.

General Dynamics and Rockwell Collins were jointly awarded a contract by Boeing in Seattle and Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) in San Diego to accelerate technology development of the Integrated Computing System in 2005. By March 2007, the team had designed, built, tested, and delivered the first ICS unit for use in an FCS mobile platform.

Curtiss-Wright's first VPX win was for radar processing subsystems for use in the U.S. Marine Corps' Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) Program. Under the contract Curtiss-Wright will supply Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems in Baltimore with a rugged air-flow-through radar processing subsystem. Curtiss Wright's solution uses open architecture-based standards and software to provide a high- performance, modular, scalable solution for the G/ATOR Processor. Curtiss- Wright's VPX boards and subsystems met the performance and ruggedization requirements for the G/ATOR program, with the additional cost and design advantages of an open architecture structure, Curtiss-Wright officials say

This subsystem will be designed and manufactured at Curtiss-Wright's motion control facility in San Diego and will include the latest digital signal processing (DSP), field programmable gate array (FPGA) and single board computer products from its Leesburg, Va., and Ottawa, Ontario, locations. The production phase of the program will be executed as an option under the current contract, and is planned to start in 2010.

The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV)-mounted Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) uses active electronically scanned array (AESA) technology to provide aircraft detection and tracking, cruise-missile detection and tracking, ground-weapon location, and air-traffic control. G/ATOR's lightweight and modular architecture enables operational flexibility and easy integration of new processing platforms and technologies.

The G/ATOR team, led by prime contractor Northrop Grumman, includes Curtiss-Wright, Sensis Corporation, CEA Technologies, Inc., Stanley-Techrizon (formally Telos) and Caterpillar Logistics.

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