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New Frontiers in Small-Form-Factor Embedded Computing

New Frontiers in Small-Form-Factor Embedded Computing

Military & Aerospace Electronics Article

The best computing systems in the world can’t help modern warfighters take the fight to the enemy if the warfighters can’t take these systems with them. Thankfully, small form factor (SFF) and system-on-chip (SoC) embedded computing solutions are packing more and more power into smaller and smaller rugged enclosures.

For military applications, SFF and SoC solutions often are judged with consideration for size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C). SFF systems consist of everything from whole embedded computer systems to down to its miniaturized SDRAM.

Aneesh Kothari, vice president of marketing at Systel Inc. in Sugar Land, Texas, notes that as technology improves, engineers can fit amazing power into very small packages.

“You’re taking data center processing and networking-type capabilities and you’re putting it into SFF SWaP optimized systems,” Kothari says. “As COTS [commercial off-the-shelf] gets more sophisticated, we can take that COTS tech that’s built to common, rugged standards and then that gives you quick time to deployment, and a rich upgrade path if you know you want to accommodate for future technology, it’s relatively simple to add capability down the line.”

Last fall Systel unveiled the SFF Falcon-Strike combat vehicle computing. The Texas-based company fits the system in an 8-by-9.5-inch enclosure that stands 6-inches tall. The Falcon-Strike uses either an Intel Xeon E3-1505L Quad-Core or i7-6822EQ Quad-Core CPU with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti 768 CUDA Cores GPU.

“Falcon-Strike exceeds the technology challenges and performance specifications demanded by modern defense programs and platforms,” says Systel’s Kothari. “It provides an unmatched processing combination of high-performance CPU and GPU, ultra-efficient multi-sensor capture and encode, I/O and board scalability, and secure storage – all in a SWaP optimized, single Line Replaceable Unit.”

Falcon-Strike features four HD video inputs as much as 1080-pixel resolution, as well as four HD video outputs, and a pair of 1-terabyte SSDs.

Falcon-Strike is an extreme duty system designed for mission-critical military operations involving intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), counter-UAS (C-UAS), persistent surveillance, airborne law Enforcement (ALE), search and rescue (SAR), and land- and marine-based missions.