Lightweight Mission Computer for GPGPU-Based Signal & Image Processing

The MIL-grade rugged 3U OpenVPX mission computer is designed for SWaP-limited vehicles By Mike Ball / 13 Jun 2022
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Curtiss-Wright MPMC-9337 mission computerCurtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions division has introduced the MPMC-9337, the newest addition to its extensive range of fully integrated rugged mission computers. The MPMC-9337 is purpose-built for deployed platforms such as UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and unmanned systems that need additional on-board processing power but have a limited size, weight and space (SWaP) budget.

The MIL-grade, rugged three-slot 3U OpenVPX mission computer comes ready “out-of-the-box” to support compute-intensive GPGPU driven applications, including cognitive signal and image processing. It is pre-configured with a Curtiss-Wright VPX3-1220 or VPX3-1260 single board computer (SBC) in the first slot and an NVIDIA GPGPU based co-processor module in the second slot.

The SBC hosts a Curtiss-Wright XMC-E01 fiber-optic XMC module (VITA 42) that delivers four channels of 10 Gb Ethernet (configurable as 4 x 1000BASE-T Ethernet ports or 4 x 10GBASE-SR Fiber Ethernet ports). The chassis’ third slot can support an optional 3U OpenVPX SATA solid-state drive (SSD) storage module or an additional 3U OpenVPX PCIe card. The MPMC-9337 also features an integrated 28 VDC power supply.At only 250 cubic inches, this compact mission computer delivers reliable and predictable performance in operating temperatures rated up to 71°C.

The system uses advanced coldplate and thermal management technology, thus removing the need for fans, vehicle supplied air, liquid, or other demands from the vehicle. Designed for operation in harsh military environments, the MPMC-9337 chassis includes heaters to support cold-starts in temperatures rated as low as -50C. I/O provided by the system includes a dual channel CAN/MilCAN offload controller, as well as USB and video ports accessible at the front of the unit.

To ensure the highest levels of performance, the MPMC-9337 was designed to meet or surpass MIL-STD-810 Qualifications for military equipment. The system has successfully passed environmental qualification tests, including but not limited to temperature, altitude, shock, vibration, fluid susceptibility, voltage spikes, and electrostatic. The circuit cards installed in the sealed compact chassis are completely isolated from external environmental conditions such as humidity, dust, and sand. Filters on power inlet and I/O signals, as well as EMC gaskets around every chassis joint, provide the unit with excellent resistance to external EMI and minimizes emissions to deliver improved reliability.

Chris Wiltsey, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions, commented: “Not every deployed platform Situational Awareness or ISR application needs the highest performance processing you can throw at it. System designers often seek a compact, lightweight mission computer that balances just the right amount of compute horsepower with the smallest possible SWaP requirement. Our MPMC-9337 hits the mark with a powerful Intel-based SBC, an NVIDIA powered GPGPU co-processing engine, and quad 10 Gb Ethernet over fiber optic cabling, all housed in a rugged three-slot chassis. Even better, if their application requires high-density data storage, the system integrator can configure the unit’s third OpenVPX slot with a SATA SSD card.”

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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