L-3 Electrodynamics to provide crash-survivable memory units for Euro Hawk UAV

Aircraft designers at Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems in San Diego needed crash-survivable memory units for the Euro Hawk unmanned air vehicle (UAV), a variant of the Global Hawk UAV active with U.S. military forces.

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By John Keller

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill.—Aircraft designers at Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems in San Diego needed crash-survivable memory units for the Euro Hawk unmanned air vehicle (UAV), a variant of the Global Hawk UAV active with U.S. military forces.

Northrop Grumman engineers found their solution from Electrodynamics Inc., a subsidiary of L-3 Communications in Rolling Meadows, Ill. Electrodynamics will supply its SRVIVR family of crash-survivable memory units, which can store 500 megabytes of data in crash-protected memory.

The memory is designed to meet the crash survivability requirements of ED-112, the industry standard for military and commercial aircraft, including impact shock of 3,400 Gs, static crush of 5,000 pounds, fire at 1,100 degrees Celsius, and submersion in sea water to a depth of 20,000 feet.

The crash-survivable memory unit weighs less than five pounds and occupies about 80 cubic inches of space. State-of-the-art manned aircraft such as the F-22 jet fighter and F-35 joint strike fighter, for which L-3 Electrodynamics produces crash-survivable memory units, are equipped with similar designs.

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A crash-survivable memory unit enables investigators to recover crucial flight and engine data after an aircraft incident, mishap, or accident so they can piece together the cause of the accident, and help aircraft designers learn to avoid similar problems in the future.

While the potential for a UAV to experience the environmental conditions that an F-35 could is unlikely, gaining knowledge from incidents/mishaps is certainly valuable and important to increasing future flight safety, Electrodynamics officials say.

This is the first application of a crash-survivable memory unit to a UAV platform, company officials say. For more information, contact L-3 Electrodynamics online at www.l-3com.com/EDI.

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