Leading COTS Vendors Support Latest VME Specification for Mil-Aero

1/20/2004 - At the Bus & Board Conference, Dy 4 Systems, Mercury Computer Systems (NASDAQ: MRCY), Radstone Technology (LSE: RST), and VISTA Controls jointly announced support for the latest VME standard to address the needs of deployed military systems. Together these leading defense VME manufacturers are ensuring the next VME specification meets the I/O, processing, and power distribution requirements of the military and aerospace market. The proposed VITA 46 standard enables significant high-speed backplane I/O concurrent with switch fabric communications in addition to VME or PCI connections over the backplane. The specification also addresses the use of high-speed connectors in harsh environments.

"The military segment is a key driver of the growth for the VME market," said Eric Gulliksen, embedded hardware practice director at Venture Development Corporation. "The military/aerospace sector is projected to constitute nearly 40% of VME single-board computer shipments in 2004. VITA 46 addresses the key issues involved in bringing switch fabrics to deployed military systems. This is vital to ensure the growth of the VME architecture over the next several years."

The goal of the VITA 46 standard is to provide high-speed signals for both serial switch fabrics and high-speed I/O, as well as legacy VME or PCI protocols, for the spectrum of commercial and military systems. Support for the legacy parallel buses allows users to upgrade their systems with an evolutionary road map that enables hybrid architectures that leverage existing investments in commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) VME or PCI-based modules. By replacing the venerable DIN connectors on a VME board with contemporary high-speed connectors capable of supporting signaling rates to 5 Gbps and beyond, VITA 46 provides 4 switch fabric ports of 10 Gbps each in the initial configuration, and the capacity for more than 20 ports in fabric-only configurations. The specification also greatly expands the high-speed user I/O capacity and provides a broader ability to map high-speed user I/O or fabric connections from the emerging XMC (VITA 42) mezzanine standard to the backplane.

In many respects, the VITA 46 standard represents a convergence of many outstanding ideas around the next generation of VME. For example, some earlier proposals address only commercial environments or only 6U form factors. The VITA 46 standard addresses both the 6U and 3U form factors, the latter of which is becoming more important as integrated components enable system sizes to shrink. No other VITA standard has brought high-speed signaling support to the 3U form factor. By explicitly including deployed military environments in its charter, the VITA 46 working group is addressing upfront, important issues such as stress testing, vibration testing, and compatibility with conduction-cooling techniques. The VITA 46 module format will provide defense and aerospace system integrators with a platform capable of leveraging new switch fabric standards, such as Serial RapidIO and PCI Express, ultimately enabling systems with higher performance and lower cost.

About Dy 4 Systems
Dy 4 Systems (www.dy4.com) designs leading-edge Commercial-Off-The-Shelf embedded solutions. Based on open systems architectures, Dy 4’s boards, software and systems are deployed in mission-critical, high-reliability applications. Dy 4 also provides life cycle management, program management and tailored customer support services. Dy 4 is a division of Force Computers, a Solectron company.

About Mercury Computer Systems, Inc.
Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY) is the leading supplier of high-performance embedded, real-time digital signal and image processing computer systems. Mercury’s products play a critical role in a wide range of applications, transforming sensor data to information for analysis and interpretation. In military reconnaissance and surveillance platforms the company’s systems process real-time radar, sonar, and signals intelligence data. Mercury’s systems are also used in state-of-the-art medical diagnostic imaging devices including MRI, PET, and digital X-ray, and in semiconductor imaging applications including photomask generation and wafer inspection. Based in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Mercury serves customers in North America, Europe and Asia through its direct sales force and a network of subsidiaries and distributors.

About Radstone
Radstone Technology is the world’s leading independent supplier of high-performance, embedded VME-based computer products for severe environment applications, chiefly in the industrial and defense markets. Radstone’s products are all based on leading-edge commercial technologies and include the most innovative and rugged single board computers, digital signal processors, graphics and imaging processors, networking and communication modules.

About VISTA Controls
VISTA Controls, with operations in Santa Clarita and Oakland, Calif., and Littleton, Mass., designs and develops a wide variety of leading-edge defense electronics systems and board-level items including SBCs, graphics, high-speed data fabrics, I/O, memory, chassis and security sensor products. The company specializes in the design and development of electronics systems, turnkey power control, security networks and distribution subsystems with emphasis on manufacturing engineering, configuration and obsolescence management for military programs. Applications for its products range from mission processors, fire control and power distribution subsystems for ground vehicles, surface and subsurface naval platforms, and tactical and strategic fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, to low- and high-earth orbit space vehicles and security sensors for fixed asset platforms.

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