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Abaco Systems announced on 23 July that its rugged 3U VPX SBC347D single board computer (SBC) has been selected to be at the heart of a new electronic warfare (EW) system to be deployed in both manned and unmanned airborne platforms and in fixed and mobile ground applications. Between two and four units will feature in each system, depending on the evolving demand of the customer, a major international defence electronics firm. Order value to Abaco over the coming four years is expected to total $3.5 million (€3.13 million).

The SBC347D was chosen not only for its high performance, enabled by its x16 PCI Express bandwidth, but also for its ability to maintain that performance even at the high temperatures expected in the deployed systems. An innovative cooling architecture means the computer, based on the 12-core Intel XEON D-1500 processor, can operate at full speed at temperatures up to 75°C. Not only does this deliver better performance in a wider range of SWaP-constrained environments, it also makes that performance more predictable – essential in mission-critical applications requiring real-time determinism.

Traditional solutions see the central processing unit being throttled by up to 50% of its core frequency, causing a substantial deterioration in performance. This throttling is in order to maintain the processor within its rated temperature range to avoid failure.
The SBC347D will manage system-wide communication, including activity detectors and exciters, wideband antennae, T/R switches and wideband receivers. It can optionally initiate signal-initiated jamming; sequential jamming; multi-carrier jamming; and wideband/barrage jamming.

The SBC347D is unique in its ability to maintain its maximum performance even at high temperatures – which makes it a compelling solution for customers who demand the predictable performance that is essential in mission critical applications that require real time determinism […] Abaco has an important competitive advantage when it comes to delivering solutions that are rugged enough to withstand deployment in the most challenging environments, especially in the area of cooling – and the SBC347D, and this order, are evidence of that advantage,” commented Abaco Systems’ Chief Growth Officer, John Muller.

The Intel XEON processor has a maximum power of 45W and is a lidded component, which adds additional thermal resistance. In Abaco’s SBC heat frame designs, removing this heat from the high-performance processor is a challenge to achieve good thermal margin and full processor performance at high card-edge temperatures. Abaco has combined its traditional solution for removing/spreading heat with a reliable space-grade technology to move heat through the heat frame with a low temperature drop, while maintaining 500V electrical isolation.

The SBC347D features versions of the XEON D-1500 processor that offer support for up to 16 cores. It is specifically designed for demanding high-performance embedded computing (HPEC) military and aerospace applications, such as command and control, intelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance, signal processing, radar/sonar and EW.

Designed for multiple roles in SWaP-constrained applications, the S347D features the Intel XEON processor. (Image: Abaco Systems)

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