Curtiss-Wright Corporation has announced that its Defense Solutions division has introduced the Hybricon® AFT16, the industry’s first COTS OpenVPX™ Air Flow Through (AFT) Chassis. This innovative new chassis is designed to provide optimal cooling for today’s most advanced, high performance modules, such as Xilinx® Virtex™-7 FPGA, multicore Intel® Core™ i7, and GPGPU-based VPX single board computers (SBCs) and DSP engines that can dissipate heat in the 120 – 200W range. Leveraging Curtiss-Wright’s proven AFT subsystem technology, the AFT16 is the first rugged COTS chassis to support the ANSI/VITA 48.5 Air Flow Through (AFT) standard featuring Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE: NOC) patented AFT cooling technology (U.S. Patent Number 7,995,346). The new 16-slot AFT chassis, designed for use with highly rugged, sealed 6U VPX modules, is ideal for dense, high performance systems such as those deployed in C4ISR applications, including SIGINT, ELINT, COMINT and radar processing.
“We are pleased to introduce the industry’s first rugged VPX Air Flow Through (AFT) chassis,” said Lynn Bamford, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Defense Solutions division. “Designed to support Curtiss-Wright VPX modules that have been enhanced with support for AFT cooling, the Hybricon AFT16 can operate at higher levels of power dissipation than conventional conduction-cooled systems that depend on heat exchangers in the system chassis. This enables system designers to cost-effectively develop and deploy more powerful computing platforms than ever possible before.”
Demand for AFT
The power density of many of today’s VPX systems precludes the use of standard conduction-cooled cards. As high performance modules reach up to and exceed 170W densities, thermal conduction losses between hot module components and the chassis’ heat exchanger severely limit thermal performance in deployed environments. AFT cooling hits the “sweet spot” for today’s high-performance modules, enabling reliable cooling of 120 to 200W cards within the boundaries of +55°C air.
The First COTS AFT Chassis
Leveraging Curtiss-Wright’s long track record of successful AFT subsystem deployment, the Hybricon AFT16 chassis supports 16 ANSI/VITA 48.5 6U air flow through slots with 13 slots of 1.5″ pitch for AFT OpenVPX cards and 3 slots for power supplies for up to 2,370W of power. This advanced thermal management approach delivers a highly efficient open standards-based cooling method that ensures optimal performance from today’s most densely integrated host boards and mezzanine modules.
About AFT Cooling
Northrop Grumman’s AFT technology improves the air cooling of advanced electronic modules through the use of a compact core style heat exchanger design that significantly increases the cooling efficiency of removable electronic modules such as VPX (VITA 46/48) cards. AFT modules are housed in rugged, sealed “shells” that enable cooling without directly exposing a module’s electronics to direct contact with air, eliminating the risk of exposure to airborne contaminants. AFT technology employs sliding air seals at the inlet and outlet of AFT cards, and enables modules to be removed and