Ruggedized Electronic Chassis

Electronic chassis platform manufacturers and suppliers of ruggedized chassis for defense and aerospace applications, including VPX, VME, PXI, CompactPCI and ATR chassis
Overview Ruggedized Electronic Chassis
By Staff Writer Last updated: April 24th, 2024

Military electronics chassis serve as the structural framework for housing and organizing electronic components utilized in defense applications, offering ruggedized protection against harsh environmental conditions and electromagnetic interference.

These chassis play a pivotal role in supporting the integration and deployment of critical electronic systems within military vehicles, aircraft, naval vessels, and communication networks, facilitating mission-critical operations with heightened durability and reliability.

Backplanes & Standardization

DK3-SAVE Development Chassis by LCR Embedded Systems

DK3-SAVE Development Chassis by LCR Embedded Systems

Military electronic chassis commonly feature a backplane that acts as a central hub for interconnecting the electronic cards within, ensuring a shared power supply and communications interface.

The configuration of the backplane, including its insertion slots and other electronic design elements, varies depending on the specific form factor. Noteworthy standards encompass VPX (VITA 46), OpenVPX, CompactPCI, PXI, PXI Express, and alignment with the Sensor Open Systems Architecture (SOSA) initiative to support U.S. Department of Defense applications.

Military electronic chassis are available in various standard sizes, such as 3U and 6U, providing slots for cards and power supplies, as well as bays for removable hard drives and data storage devices. The front panels of these enclosures often feature diverse I/O capabilities, including MIL-STD-38999 circular connectors.

Electronic Chassis Cooling

Military and defense electronic chassis and enclosures typically employ cooling mechanisms to mitigate the heat generated by electronic components. Cooling methods include forced air cooling using fans, conduction cooling using heatsinks and thermal conduction, liquid cooling, or a combination of these methods.

Ruggedized Chassis Protection

Designed to adhere to rigorous military standards like MIL-STD-810 and MIL-STD-461, as well as aircraft-specific guidelines such as DO-160, ruggedized chassis ensure the resilience of electronic systems under adverse conditions. Rugged chassis for military electronics must withstand environmental extremes such as:

Chassis SFF-4 Lightweight Conduction-Cooled Chassis by Atrenne

Chassis SFF-4 Lightweight Conduction-Cooled Chassis by Atrenne

  • Temperature extremes
  • Shock
  • Vibration
  • Moisture
  • Dust
  • Electromagnetic interference (EMI)
  • Chemical exposure

Materials & Applications

Typically constructed from durable materials like aluminum, stainless steel, or reinforced plastics, ruggedized chassis provide housing for cards and electronic modules essential for tasks ranging from image and video processing to mission computing, flight control, signals intelligence (SIGINT), electronic warfare (EW), radar, payload management, and communications. In aviation contexts, these enclosures are often referred to as Air Transport Racks (ATR).

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