Rugged Mission Computers

Rugged mission computer manufacturers and suppliers of advanced airborne and ground-vehicle mission computers for military and defense applications
Overview Rugged Mission Computers
By Mike Ball Last updated: December 30th, 2023

Rugged mission computers provide a wide range of critical data processing functionalities for manned and unmanned aircraft, ground vehicles, naval vessels and other military platforms.

SEMIL-1300GC Series Edge AI GPU Mission Computer by Neousys

SEMIL-1300GC Series Edge AI GPU Mission Computer by Neousys

They may manage flight and navigation functions, communications, and the transformation of sensor and payload data into enhanced situational awareness for pilots and operators.

Aircraft and ground vehicle mission computers may be manufactured in a number of form factors:

  • They may be designed only for a specific aircraft or platform, or may fit common standards such as 3U and 6U VPX and VME.
  • SWaP (size, weight and power)-limited platforms such as UAVs may require small form factor mission computers.
  • Military mission computing systems may also be SOSA-aligned (Sensor Open Systems Architecture) to ensure interoperability within branches of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).
  • They may be designed around a variety of different CPUs, and may also include GPUs or other specialized embedded computing systems that enable accelerated performance for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
  • They may also be designed with an open architecture, which may allow them to be platform-agnostic and to easily integrate new technologies.

Some advanced mission computers may provide two separate computing units in the same box, making them ideal for situations requiring two operators working with separate sensors.

I/O Capabilities

Nuvo-9160GC rugged edge AI & mission computer vision platform by Neousys

Nuvo-9160GC rugged edge AI & mission computer vision platform by Neousys

Airborne and ground-based mission computers may provide a variety of I/O capabilities, including Gigabit Ethernet, PCIe, USB, RS-232/422/485 serial, VGA/DVI/SDI/HDMI/DisplayPort video, and support for ARINC 429 or MIL-STD-1553 buses. Avionics mission computers may also need to drive high-resolution cockpit and heads-up displays.

Military Specifications

Rugged mission computers may be designed to specific standards such as MIL-STD-810G, DO-178 and DO-254. They may be built with enhanced moisture and dust ingress protection and to withstand extremes of temperature, shock and vibration, and EMI. They may also require advanced security features such as AES-256 encryption and quick-erase functionality.

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