Astronics Announces a New Family of Rugged COTS Avionics Control and Communication Devices

The ‘NG’ Family is a New Generation of Ballard Boxes for Avionics Interfacing and Computing that are Secure, Right-Sized for the Application, and Ready to Deploy.

  • Astronics Corporation is launching a new family of flexible, compact, 64-bit avionics I/O computing platforms for problem-solving and tech insertion in areas such as mission computing, distributed control and avionics data conversion.
  • Astronics’ NG Family of rugged Ballard Boxes provide three levels of avionics I/O capability for computing, controlling, and converting operations on military and civil platforms. (Graphic: Business Wire)
  • Astronics’ NG Family of rugged Ballard Boxes provide three levels of avionics I/O capability for computing, controlling, and converting operations on military and civil platforms. (Graphic: Business Wire)

The NG Family consists of three distinct series of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products with varying capability for use on fixed wing, UAV, rotocraft and ground vehicles. These highly-flexible, low SWaP (Size, Weight, and Power) systems include multi-protocol avionics I/O coupled with a high-throughput Ethernet backbone for inter-device communication and compatibility with a variety of avionics systems. The NG Family meets the demands of DoD open system business and technical strategies such as MOSA (Modular Open Systems Approach) and OMS (Open Mission Systems).

The NG Family shares similar design features and each variant is optimized for different levels of deployment:

  • NG3 Series Avionics I/O Computers,available for order now, feature the highest level of capability and I/O, along with 64-bit processing and audio/video, for the most demanding applications.
  • NG2 Series Avionics I/O Controllers,available in 2020, feature the same processing power as the NG3, but in a smaller size with a corresponding reduction of I/O, when lower SWaP is critical.
  • NG1 Series Avionics I/O Converters, available in 2020, are extremely compact and optimized for converting avionics protocol data to Ethernet for interfacing to the NG3/NG2 or other avionics systems.

“The NG Family builds on the success of our highly-popular and ground-breaking AB2000 and AB3000 avionics I/O computer products,” said Jon Neal, President of Astronics Ballard Technology. “The NG Family provides our large installed base of users with a direct upgrade path to 64-bit processing, robust security features and higher performance, extending the useful life of their programs for many years to come. The NG Family will also appeal to new users as flexible, problem-solving platforms for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) programs.”

The NG3 Series is currently ready for customer evaluation for in-progress and upcoming programs. Key features include:

  • Latest Generation Intel Atom® E3950 64-bit quad core processor to run newer 64-bit operating systems that provide higher capability for today’s cybersecurity requirements.
  • Rugged, maximum-density, modular architecture provides flexible I/O combinations from the factory, including MIL-STD-1553, ARINC 429, 708, 717, discrete I/O, and Ethernet. These units arrive pre-configured, pre-validated and ready for quick deployment.
  • Cyber-security enablement consists of built-in tools to help customers build proprietary security solutions, including secure storage and operation, security SSD features and flexible write-protect capability.
  • Two solid-state drive (SSD) media are user-removable and include sanitize discretes to enable users to declassify NG3 if necessary.

Easy system migration for current AB3000 customers looking for low-risk technical refresh and insertions. This drop-in, form-fit replacement shares the same programming interface, size, and mounting configuration, with many variants being pin-to-pin compatible.

Mini PCIe expansion slot allows I/O expansion while maintaining the ability to keep the same chassis envelope and size. This provides a low cost, low risk method to integrate additional I/O.

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