UAV Mission Computing

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ADLINK UAV Mission Computing

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) changed the way battlefield information is gathered and how enemy forces are engaged. As UAV evolve and their mission requirements become more complex, their computing, I/O, and size, weight, and power + performance, cooling + cost (SWaP2C2) requirements will challenge today's small form factor (SFF) High Performance Embedded Computing (HPEC) solutions.


The UAV Mission Computer stores, controls, and operates the UAV. UAV operators input detailed flight plans into the mission computer, which in turn manages the flight computer to determine the path of the UAV and to control activation of the payload computer for sensor data processing.

Navigation is also part of the mission computer function, primarily used for flying a pre-defined pattern (or orbit) designed before the flight or loaded from a ground station while flying in line of sight. The flight and mission computers are always active, but the navigation function is only used in autonomous flight.

A UAV's mission computer demands flexible I/O, with moderate processing performance, while presenting the best balance of SWaP2C2 possible.


I/O and Processing - A UAV mission computer must possess both I/O flexibility and the right level of processing without taxing the available size, weight, power, and cooling available for the task. Driven by the need for specialized I/O—such as MILSTD-1553 and ARINC 429—to integrate between UAV process functions, a good mission computer must be flexible and configurable to match the UAV‘s platform demand. To enable battlefield programing, removable storage and USB ports are a must. All of this must be delivered in a ruggedized, standards-based platform that is of a low power, convection cooled design.

Balanced SWaP2C2 - Lengthening UAV mission duration is critical. Mission duration is influenced greatly by the overall UAV's weight and power requirements. Extra pounds of weight in either the power supply or cooling method used to support a mission computer can reduce mission orbits.

Sophisticated power management that reduces onboard power consumption is required. Mission computer size, weight, and power specifications that minimize impact to mission duration, while maximizing the processing performance available for mission computing, are ideal. Mission computers should also be cost-effective and built on industry standards. Mission computing solutions that balance the SWaP2C2 equation are the best solutions for UAV applications.


ADLINK provides a wide range of high performance, embedded, rugged computing solutions that meet or exceed the mission computing functional requirements for UAV.

3U Open VPX VPX3000 Series
Rugged 6U VPX 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processor Blade VPX6000 Series 
Many larger UAV make use of 6U OpenVPX computing solutions.
ADLINK's 6U VPX6000 Series is a rugged, air/conduction- cooled 6U single board computer (SBC) and is an ideal solution for existing 6U form factor mission computing designs. The VPX6000 processor blade is a 4th generation Intel® coreTM™ i7 processor with up to 32GB DDR3L memory soldered onboard.

Extreme Rugged™ Express-IBR
Extreme Rugged™ Express-IBR 
The PC/104 form factor offers standardized multi-vendor I/O and peripheral support. While a PC/104 solution can provide the payload processing required for UAV, its deployment benefit is often the availability of specialized I/O required in the avionics market. Having readily available third-party boards designed with widely supported standards for avionics-specific communication links, such as AIRINC 429 and MILSTD-1553, helps accelerate time-to-deployment. The ADLINK CoreModule® 920 is a PCI/104-Express SBC (Type 1) based on the 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor that provides the highest level of performance for our PC/104 product family.

Extreme Rugged™ CoreModule 920
Extreme Rugged™ CoreModule 920 
Man-pak UAV MISSION COMPUTING solutions that require the latest Intel® Core™ i7 processing delivered in the smallest possible industry standard form factor, but delivered in a unique mechanical package, need ADLINK's Express-IBR. The Express-IBR is a Type 6 COM Express® module equipped with either a dual/quad-core 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3 processor, up to 16GB DDR3 memory, and versatile IO support. Used as the processing core of a Payload Computing solution, a COM Express module provides all of the payload performance required, yet delivered in a cost-effective, rugged industry form factor.


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