U.S. Air Force selects Crystal Group rugged servers, displays for B-2 bomber communications technology refresh

HIAWATHA, Iowa. U.S. Air Force officials needed rugged servers and displays for the B-2 Stealth Bomber Adaptive Communications Suite (ACS). They found their rugged electronics systems at Crystal Group Inc. in Hiawatha, Iowa. Crystal Group specializes in the design and manufacture of rugged computer hardware, including custom and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) rugged servers, displays, power supplies, and embedded computing, networking, and data storage systems for high reliability in harsh environments.

U.S. Army selects Crystal Group rugged servers, displays for B-2 omber communications technology refresh
U.S. Army selects Crystal Group rugged servers, displays for B-2 omber communications technology refresh

HIAWATHA, Iowa. U.S. Air Force officials needed rugged servers and displays for the B-2 Stealth Bomber Adaptive Communications Suite (ACS). They found their rugged electronics systems at Crystal Group Inc. in Hiawatha, Iowa. Crystal Group specializes in the design and manufacture of rugged computer hardware, including custom and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) rugged servers, displays, power supplies, and embedded computing, networking, and data storage systems for high reliability in harsh environments.

Aircraft engineers sought updated rugged server and display options to meet critical requirements for high reliability and dependability. ​Incremental technology refreshes for the B-2 ACS infuse the aircraft with the latest advances in commercially available electronics.

U.S. Army selects Crystal Group rugged servers, displays for B-2 omber communications technology refreshU.S. Army selects Crystal Group rugged servers, displays for B-2 omber communications technology refresh

The B-2 team selected Crystal Group’s RS112 Rugged 1U Server, RS112PS18M Rugged 1U Carbon Fiber Server, and RD1119 Rugged Display for the ACS upgrades based on Crystal’s reliability, advanced rugged technology, manufacturing expertise, and customer centered responsiveness, company officials say. Crystal Group’s RS112PS18M Rugged 1U Carbon Fiber Server features ultra-lightweight construction with four 2.5-inch drive bays. Crystal’s rugged solutions provide an improved size, weight, and power (SWaP) profile.

Upgrading the aircraft’s ACS to address obsolescence started with the Air Force seeking technically advanced, rugged computer systems that reliably operate in a variety of aerial and ground environments with attention to compactness, lightweight construction, and ease of access.

Crystal Group worked closely with the Air Force to provide rugged compute capability while meeting project timing, security, and performance mandates for onboard and ground station computers and displays.

As part of the ACS upgrade, Crystal Group supplied a variety of products, including the RS112 1U Rugged Server, RS112PS18M Rugged 1U Carbon Fiber Server and the RD1119 Rugged Display. The equipment upgrade delivers technology that ensures the B-2 fleet meets current and future communications requirements, giving it the ability to operate in multiple mission profiles around the world.

Following the ACS upgrade, the B-2 team realized enhanced communication and control capabilities along with easier system maintenance access, helping keep the aircraft mission-ready. Crystal’s high-reliability, dependable technology helps ensure the B-2 fleet meets current and future communications requirements, giving the aircraft and crew superior defense capabilities in multiple mission profiles around the world.

The U.S. Air Force’s B-2 Spirit, known as the stealth bomber, is a multi-role, heavy military aircraft capable of delivering conventional and nuclear firepower to any worldwide target by slipping past hostile radar undetected. Since its introduction in 1989, the B-2 and its support systems have undergone incremental technology refreshes to keep the aircraft up-to-date and mission ready with the latest advancements, including enhanced communication abilities.

Technology upgrades are necessary to improve the B-2's effectiveness including its ability to receive encrypted mission information and to communicate with commanders worldwide during the mission.

Mission-critical systems, like the B-2’s Adaptable Communications Suite (ACS) typically require long-term compute availability with the highest degree of dependability in order to support the aircraft’s communications capability and combat effectiveness. Rugged computing systems are designed to allow reliable operation in unforgiving environments, such as extreme temperatures, strong vibrations, and humid or dry settings.

The RS112 Rugged 1U Server is designed in accordance with MIL Standards 810, 167-1 and MIL-S- 901. With a lightweight aluminum chassis and a 20” depth, the unit is optimally designed for SWaP-sensitive applications. The RS112PS18M Rugged 1U Carbon Fiber Server offers additional weight savings and a reduced 18-inch depth.

Both rugged servers feature one expansion slot and Intel CPU options. The systems’ modularity allows for easy reconfiguration and versatility. The units provide less weight, less power consumption, and a smaller size that conforms to flexible architecture configurations.

In addition to the rugged servers, Crystal Group supplied the RD1119 Rugged Display for non-flight operational duty. The RD1119 features a 19-inch display in EIA 1U drawer with SXGA resolution. The LCD display offers 1,000 nit light intensity, low reflectance screen, high ambient contrast, and full color. A special cover glass screen provides high transmissibility and low reflectance to improve sunlight readability.

The B-2 Spirit bomber, with its radar-evading stealth technology, is a versatile multi-role aircraft able to deliver a variety of munition types to targets around the world.
Equipment Details

Crystal Rs112

Crystal Group's RS112 Rugged 1U Server is available with two removable 3.5-inch drives or four removable 2.5-inch drive bays.

Crystal Rs112ps18m

Crystal Group's RS112PS18M Rugged 1U Carbon Fiber Server features ultra-lightweight carbon fiber construction with four 2.5-inch drive bays.


Benefits

  • Improved SWaP provides less weight, less power consumption, and smaller form factor size.
  • Rugged reliability and dependability.
  • Customized equipment for demanding mission profiles.
  • Ability to function in a variety of conditions and environments.
  • Accessibility to responsive customer support.
  • Reduced maintenance.


Crystal Group Inc., a technology leader in rugged computer hardware, specializes in the design and manufacture of custom and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) rugged servers, embedded computing, networking devices, displays, power supplies, and data storage for high reliability in harsh environments. An employee-owned small business founded in 1987, Crystal Group provides the defense, government and industrial markets with in-house customization, engineering, integration, configuration management, product lifecycle planning, warranty, and support services.

Crystal Group products meet or exceed IEEE, IEC, and military standards (MIL-STD-810, 167-1, 461, MIL-S-901); are backed by warranty (5+ year) with in-house support; and are manufactured in the company’s Hiawatha, Iowa, USA, facility certified to AS9100C:2009 and ISO 9001:2008 quality management standards.

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