New Rugged Computers for USSOCOM Armed Overwatch Sky Warden Aircraft

Each AT-802U Sky Warden aircraft will include two ZMicro ZM3 ultra-lightweight servers for situational awareness and mission management applications By DA Staff / 06 Oct 2022
AT-802U Sky Warden
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L3Harris Technologies has selected ZMicro to provide rugged computing solutions for the AT-802U Sky Warden aircraft for the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)’s Armed Overwatch program. 

Each plane will include two ZMicro ZM3 ultra-lightweight servers for situational awareness and mission management applications. Located in the body of the aircraft, the ZM3s are connected via optical fiber to a storage docking unit in the cockpit, which includes four ZMicro TranzPak 1 ultra-compact NVMe drives. The cockpit storage dock gives crew members immediate access to drives for on- and off-boarding and enables remote control to power the ZM3s on and off.

Sky Warden is designed to perform in austere, disaggregated combat environments with limited infrastructure. It merges the features and functions of larger Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and armed aircraft into a single cost-effective, resilient platform that provides the operator the agility and flexibility to identify, track and immediately react to counter threats.

“L3Harris continues to be a fantastic partner to work with in terms of thinking outside the box to deliver leading-edge solutions,” said Jason Wade, President of ZMicro. “With Sky Warden, we can meet a critical need for US Special Operations Command for a low-cost aircraft that can take off and land in austere fields, fly for long periods, and support a variety of modular payloads.”

The ZM3 uses a Type 7 COM Express module to support a 16 Core Intel Xeon D Processor with up to 96G DDR4 RAM. It can accommodate double-wide COTS high-end graphics cards and an additional PCI Express card for custom user expansion.

“The ZM3 was designed to provide the enterprise-class capabilities of a rack mount server in a fraction of the size and weight, making it ideal for space-constrained applications such as airborne ISR,” said Wade. “It is unique because it’s the smallest, lightest rugged mission computer available that can support an NVIDIA GPU card, which is needed to run the advanced and trusted mission execution software developed by L3Harris ForceX.”

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