First Raspberry Pi-Powered Mission Computer for Defense & Aerospace Applications

Curtiss-Wright’s DuraCOR Pi is the first MIL-STD rugged mission computer to deliver 100% compatibility with the vast Pi Developer Ecosystem in a fully MIL-STD rugged sealed housing By DA Staff / 15 Mar 2022
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Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions has introduced the Parvus DuraCOR Pi, the embedded industry’s first Raspberry Pi (RPi)-powered mission computer for defense and aerospace applications.  

The Ultra-Small Form Factor (USFF) DuraCOR Pi, fully ruggedized to deliver optimal performance in harsh operating environments, is the first mission computer to deliver 100% compatibility with the vast Pi Developer Ecosystem in a fully MIL-STD rugged sealed housing. 

Based on the industrial Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 (CM4), the DuraCOR Pi provides defense and aerospace system designers with a stackable unit that offers 100% compatibility with all software developed by the RPi environment’s 7 million-plus user base. Small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, the DuraCOR Pi mission computer weighs only 0.5 lbs and measures 1.20 x 2.49 x 3.34” (30.5 x 63.2 x 84.8 mm).

Parvus products can be stacked to extend functionality and performance via their Expandable Ring system design. This enables system designers to configure the exact mix of DuraCOR Pi mission computers and Hardware Attached on Top (HAT) modules required for their specific application. The USFF DuraCOR Pi can also be combined in a stack with the similarly miniaturized Parvus DuraNET 20-11 network switch, which provides true carrier-grade Ethernet software Level-2+ management features including support for IEEE-1588v2 Precision Timing Protocol (PTP).

DuraCOR Pi also supports I/O expansion via a standard RPi 40-pin HAT connector. The DuraCOR Pi unit can be easily extended with one or more HAT modules via a flexible expansion ‘ring’ system that allows additional module rings to be stacked on top of the unit housing. To support common I/O options and HAT application development, GPIO and serial I/O and signals from the 40-pin HAT connector are also accessible via a MIL-STD-38999 connector on the unit’s front-panel.

“Curtiss-Wright, an industry leader in delivering rugged ultra-small form factor high-performance compute and network systems for battlefield edge computing, has redefined ultra-small MOSA computing with the introduction of the industry’s first fully Mil-rugged Raspberry Pi based mission computer,” said Chris Wiltsey, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions. “Our new DuraCOR Pi delivers 100% compatibility with RPi software and the HAT expansion ecosystem, in a fully rugged and sealed design our customers expect from the Parvus product line. By providing system designers with immediate access to the vast open-source RPi ecosystem, this pocket-sized mission computer will drive entirely new application and system design possibilities.”

With the DuraCOR Pi, Curtiss-Wright introduces a whole new class of affordable, ultra-small open standards-based processing for use on the most Size, Weight and Power, and Cost (SWaP-C)-constrained aerospace and defense platforms, from Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) to Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The DuraCOR Pi is designed to bring compute and connectivity capabilities to the edge of the battlefield for deployment where larger, heavier alternatives are unacceptable. With its widely familiar RPi development environment, the DuraCOR Pi simplifies the integration of mission computing capabilities into manned and unmanned platforms that must operate in the harshest environmental and noisiest electrical conditions. The DuraCOR Pi meets the demanding requirements for extremely low SWaP-C in deployed applications, such as edge computers, Internet of Things (IoT) gateways, and wearable systems. 

With its built-in wired Ethernet interface and support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the DuraCOR Pi is designed to speed and ease network connectivity for mission computing. With MIL-STD-38999 connectors, a MIL-grade power supply, and a sealed IP67 chassis, DuraCOR Pi delivers high reliability in a military grade design. The unit meets stringent MIL-STD / DO-160 environmental standards (MIL-STD-704F, MIL-STD-1275D, MIL-STD-461F, and RTCA/DO-160 for civil and military use). The DuraCOR Pi has no moving parts, supports extended temperature operation (-40°C to +85°C), and is resistant to high shock/vibration, humidity, altitude, and dust/water ingress.

Because it is 100% compatible with the Pi Development Ecosystem, DuraCOR Pi is able to run all software developed for the RPi operating environment, such as Pi operating systems (NSA STIGd Raspian Linux, VxWorks, Windows IoT Core, etc.), Pi toolsets, and programming frameworks (i.e., Python, Java, C, and C++).

In the ten years since it was first introduced, over 40 million of the credit-card sized RPi modules have been sold around the globe, creating the single largest user community for any open architecture. The RPi ecosystem provides system designers with immediate access to vast amounts of pre-existing open-source code and a multitude of HAT expansion modules, enabling system designers to jumpstart their application development and speed deployment.

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