Modern radar systems increasingly rely on the processing power of efficient, miniature computer modules, not just for locating and identifying targets, but for maintaining full security over radar data. At one time, defense CPUs and radar systems were essentially separate sub-units engineered to work together. The recent qualification of the VX6090 blade computer from Kontron for a radar application by Thales is perhaps as good as any example of the importance of advanced computing capabilities to modern radar systems.
The VX6090 system (see figure) is a six-unit (6U) high VPX dual 8-core Intel Xeon D processor blade computer that combines advanced signal-processing capabilities with secure boot protection for the Thales radar system. Qualification for the Thales radar application involves extensive, multiple-level testing under a variety of operating conditions and is a meaningful indication of the blade computer’s durability and reliability.
“We are very proud to have been selected by a worldwide leader of radar systems for the delivery of high performance blade computers,” said Alain Spors, director of sales for Kontron. “The VX6090 has met the performance and the level of quality in volume production required by our customer.”
As modern requirements for radar and electronic-warfare (EW) systems encourage the development of high-density, power-efficient modular solutions such as the VX6090 blade computer, radar, and EW system systems have learned to compress more functionality into smaller mechanical volumes. The VX6090 is designed to meet the size, weight, and power (SWaP) limits of modern systems while providing 10-Gb Ethernet data communications signal-processing speeds. It is equally suitable for streaming radar signal processing, image processing, and embedded server-type applications.
Through the addition of the Kontron APPROTECT and trusted platform module, the blade computer integrates secure-boot-based security protection “The qualification of the VX6090 in our new radar program confirms that Kontron meets the high level of quality that we expect, for both the products and the long-term services,” noted Arnaud Defaut, head of COTS purchasing at Thales.