Rugged Dolch computer helps maintain C-17 aircraft load weight
By John McHale
FREMONT, Calif. — Engineers at the Boeing Military Aircraft division in Long Beach, Calif., needed a specially designed portable computer system built with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components to fit into a tight section aboard their C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft.
Experts at Dolch Computer Systems provided them with a new system called the Aircrew Data Transfer Device, which will be shock-mounted at the plane`s loadmaster station.
The job of the loadmaster, one of the C-17`s crewmembers, is to balance the load of the aircraft. To do that properly, he needs a COTS computer able to handle the numeric tasks and fit in a small space in the loadmaster station beneath cabinets filled with electronics.
To make it fit, Dolch engineers took their NotePAC II computer and placed all hardware except the keyboard behind the display, says Ken Pine, director of marketing at Dolch. So instead of opening a laptop by flipping up the display from the case, the loadmaster will flip down the keyboard from the display, he explains.
The Dolch COTS computer combines a sealed high-strength cast-magnesium case with special components and shock mounting to form a portable platform that can withstand a 15 Gs of shock while operating and still survive.
In non-operating mode the device can withstand 30 Gs, and for this application can withstand 45 Gs without falling apart or causing any system errors. Dolch engineers were able to keep it working at 45 Gs, even though it was not required, Pine claims.
The Aircrew Data Transfer Device uses a Pentium processor running at 233 MHz. It has three PC/104 plus slots and 1 PC/104 slot. The Dolch device operates from aircraft power and has internal battery backup. It is moisture, dirt, and sand proof, and operates in a -40 to 120 degrees Celsius temperature range.
The C-17 is big enough to carry three Bradley fighting vehicles or one U.S. Army M-1 main battle tank in conjunction with other vehicles.
For more information on the Aircrew Data Transfer Device and NotePAC II rugged computer, contact Dolch Computer Systems by phone at 800-995-7580, by mail at 3178 Laurelview Court, Fremont, Calif. 94538, by -email at [email protected], or on the World Wide Web at http://www.dolch.com.
The Aircrew Data Tansfer Device from Dolch Computer Systems is shock-mounted in the Boeing C-17 Gloemaster III aircraft loadmaster station.