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A UAV hovers over sunlit clouds

Rugged Servers for Military UAVs: Powering Sensor Payload Control & Analysis Software

About the Project

A major manufacturer of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) for the military approached Trenton Systems with a need for 3U rugged servers to power their multimillion-dollar combat RPA’s integrated sensor and image analysis software.

The software in question is used to control the RPA’s sensors, analyze and exploit the environmental data collected by the sensors during overland and maritime missions, provide dynamic map displays, among other features.

The RPA in question is world-renowned, has seen decades of success in the field, and is operated by the U.S. Air Force, as well as international military forces.

A multi-sensor surveillance camera pod on a military drone, or UAV

The Problem

The harsh environments the rugged servers would ultimately encounter during transport and operation required them to be certified to DO-160 and MIL-STD-810 vibration and humidity standards to ensure long-term durability, reliability, and functionality in the field.

Normally, humidity and vibration tests aren’t a problem for Trenton. Ruggedization is our specialty, after all, and we do most of our vibration, humidity, and shock tests in-house at our headquarters in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

But occasionally, a customer may ask for certain tests that require us to call upon some outside testing experts, either because the tests are a first for Trenton, or because we just want to ensure we get it right for the customer.

More on this in the “Challenge” section.

The Goal

  • Work with our secure, trusted network of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to acquire the hardware necessary to support the customer’s RPA sensor software
  • Call upon outside testing experts to assist us with completing the customer’s unique DO-160 and MIL-STD-810 tests
  • Stress the systems to the max to verify operational efficiency and ensure timely delivery to the customer

The Challenge

Certain aerial vibration tests requested by the customer required Trenton to partner with a third-party testing laboratory for its assistance and expertise.

Luckily, Trenton maintains a robust, frictionless network of partnerships with highly capable third-party testing labs that assist us with meeting and verifying compliance with such unique, highly specific requirements.

Indeed, it wasn’t long before the customer had the aerial vibration testing certifications they needed.

The Result

Trenton designed the customer’s systems based on one of its standard 3U rugged rack mount servers: the TRS3501, a reliable, long-life, all-in-one solution for aircraft programs and applications.

The system design consisted of:

  • Trenton’s SSP8268 Intel® Xeon® dual-CPU motherboard
  • Dual Xeon® Silver 4214 processors – 12 cores, 24 threads, and 2.20/3.20 GHz per CPU
  • 128GB of DDR4-2666 memory
  • Four eight-drive 2.5” SATA HDD and SSD carriers for the system’s 5.25” drive bay
  • An NVIDIA Quadro P2200 GPU – 1280 CUDA cores
  • An Excalibur EXC-8000PCIe multi-protocol card and M8K1553Px module
  • Two BlackMagic Design DeckLink mini recorders
  • 9460-16i Tri-Mode HBA
  • A HighPoint Bootable M.2 carrier card
  • A 650W fixed power supply
  • A SlimDVD Writer MAX 8x DVD±R
  • OEM Windows 10 Professional x64

At the end of the customer’s frictionless journey, the customer had secured reliable 3U rugged servers with plenty of front-access space for RAID-ready storage drives, high-definition graphics and video capabilities, CPU power, primary memory capacity, and all other components and capabilities necessary to effectively support its RPA’s sensor payload control and analysis software, for the long haul.

Do these specifications resemble something you need for your aircraft or other program or application?

Check out the TRS3501 today or reach out to us to discuss your specific requirements.

TRS3501 Datasheet

Contact Us Today

*Due to strict non-disclosure agreements in place, we are prohibited from mentioning company and/or project names.

Trenton Systems' TRS3501 rugged server superimposed over a UAV-in-flight background. Trenton's logo is pictured as well.

 

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"Overall the process was very easy. I have ordered 4 systems over the past few months. One system came in with a damage and you are working to get it repaired in as timely a process as can be done."

Raytheon

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