Curtiss-Wright Announces New Networked Data Storage System for Unmanned Platforms

By Mike Ball / 13 May 2016

Curtiss-Wright Data Transport SystemCurtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions division has announced a new small form factor SWaP-optimized solution for storing large amounts of data on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV), and Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft.

The new Data Transport System 1-Slot (DTS1) addresses the rapidly increasing demand for high-capacity secure storage on deployed unmanned vehicles and ISR platforms. The single-slot Network Attached Storage (NAS) device weighs only 4.0 lb. and measures only 1.5 x 5.0 x 6.5” (38.1 x 127 x 165.1 mm), with up to 2 TB of storage and support for advanced encryption to protect critical data-at-rest.

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Because the DTS1 functions as a NAS file server it helps system designers greatly reduce SWaP by eliminating the need for independent storage in each of the platform’s computer, display, or management devices. It enables any network-enabled device to communicate with any other similar device, to retrieve stored data or save new captured data. Networked devices using heterogeneous operating systems (Linux, VxWorks, Windows etc.) or CPUs that support industry standard protocols (i.e, NFS, CIFS, FTP, or HTTP) can share and store data through the DTS1. The DTS1 is ideal for rugged applications that require the storage, removal, and transport of critical data such as cockpit data (mission, map, maintenance), ISR (camera, I&Q, sensors), mobile applications (ground radar, ground mobile, airborne ISR pods), heavy industrial (steel, refinery), and video/audio data collection (flight test instrumentation).

“Our new data transport system delivers a lightweight, compact solution for adding Terabytes of secure, networked data to SWaP-constrained unmanned platforms,” said Lynn Bamford, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Defense Solutions division. “It combines the cost-effectiveness of COTS hardware with high levels of ruggedization and support for FIPS validated encryption, all in a compact 4 lb. package.”

The lightweight, low-power DTS1 is easily integrated into network centric systems, providing an easy to use, turnkey, rugged NFS. The DTS1 houses one Removable Memory Cartridge (RMC) that provides quick offload of data. The RMC can be easily removed from one DTS1 and installed into any other DTS1 providing seamless full data transfer between one or more networks in separate locations. It also supports a packet capture software (PCAP) option. This Ethernet recording capability allows DTS1 users to record all Ethernet packets flowing over a platform’s LAN during the course of a mission. This enables the system to record network traffic for later analysis.

With its optional DTS crypto module, the DTS1 supports demanding military applications that require secure data-at-rest. To ensure the security of critical data, all data is passed through the FIPS 140-2 certified in-line media encryptors prior to being read from or written to the RMC. The standard DTS1 encryption module incorporates AES-256 bit cryptographic algorithm and hardware that are NIST validated to FIPS 140-2. The encryption key can be passed to the encryption module by an outside agency, or special key management concepts can be developed depending on the application. The modular encryption capability also supports options for no encryption if the data is not sensitive.

Unlike systems that use proprietary memory devices, Curtiss-Wright data transport systems (DTSx) use commercial off-the-shelf 2.5” SATA solid state drives with storage capacities ranging from 128 GB to 2 TB. With a wide variety of SSDs, the DTS memory can be scaled to meet the application needs. Each disk consumes only 2 W of power and weighs only 0.7 lb (317 g). An RMC is small enough to fit in a shirt or flight-suit pocket and yet rugged enough for transport. Error correction, wear-leveling, and bad block management are performed to ensure data integrity.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact