Embedded Technology for Defense
Embedded computing systems are devices that serve dedicated functions within a larger system, and are typically composed of a CPU, RAM and input/output interfaces as a minimum. Other components may include GPU (graphics processing unit) cards and external storage devices such as microSD cards and SATA hard drives.
Military embedded systems are used for a wide variety of applications, including image processing, targeting, communications, encryption, robotics and much more. They will be found in all forms of military vehicle, including fighter aircraft, armored vehicles, naval vessels and unmanned systems, as well as in a variety of soldier-borne equipment.
Rugged Embedded Computers
Military embedded computing systems provide mission-critical functionality and therefore must be designed to a very high standard. These rugged embedded systems must be able to withstand harsh operational conditions, and be highly resilient to shock and vibration from impact or gunfire, extremes of temperature, water and dust, and electromagnetic interference (EMI). Common military standards that military embedded products are designed to include the United States military’s MIL-STD-810 for environmental engineering, as well as the Sensor Open Systems Architecture (SOSA) which is designed to make systems interoperable and easily upgradeable.
Critical military embedded systems, particularly those connected to communications networks and other interconnected devices, may need to be protected against hacking and cyber-attacks. Cybersecurity measures may include cryptography, security co-processors, and secure RTOS (real-time operating systems).
Embedded devices may need integrated cooling solutions, particularly those that are operating inside machinery that gives off lots of heat, are designed to be used in desert or tropical environments, or perform large amounts of computationally-intensive processing. Fans may create a mechanical point of failure, as well as provide a way for water and dust to enter, so passive cooling technologies such as heatsinks are often used. These passive technologies are also quieter and typically take up less space, making them particularly suited for SWaP (size, weight and power)-conscious designs.