Rugged, Scalable, Flexible Servers for Demanding C4ISR Missions
General Micro Systems (GMS) products are in service throughout the US military forces. For the last three decades, the company, based in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, has designed and built rugged, mobile systems and servers for demanding C4ISR applications. Chris Ciufo, GMS’ chief technology officer, pointed out the company is the exclusive provider of powerful rugged server and display systems that run the US Army’s multi-function video display mine-clearing software and computer system within Type II medium mine protection vehicles, and that these systems will also be used within unmanned vehicles. GMS systems are also in different variants of HMMWVs and Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) and the company is also highly involved in the Army’s Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) programme.
The company’s expanding defence portfolio can be gleaned from its US Navy (USN) end users. Mr Ciufo noted GMS participates with primes like Lockheed Martin “in modernisation programmes such as AEGIS and DDG, aimed at advancing the weapons systems and capabilities of the existing destroyer fleet to meet current national security strategy, thereby lengthening the fleet’s service life[…] General Micro Systems’ hardware is integrated into the Navy’s most technologically advanced destroyer ship to date, the DDG-1000 ZUMWALT.” Below the weapons platform level, GMS also works with Raytheon on programmes like the SEA SPARROW missile control system and, in an adjacent warfare domain, the PATRIOT missile launcher/controller. GMS involvement with the USN also includes significant computer system upgrades to provide the computing power necessary to operate updated weapons, radar communications, navigation, engine control and other shipboard systems. “Recently, they took advantage of GMS’s upgradeable hardware to perform technology refresh (‘recapitalization’) of legacy ship control systems and smart displays. We provided form, fit and functional upgrade products for various VME blade servers and shipboard display systems—equipping them with Intel’s 7th Generation Core i7 CPUs,” explained Mr Ciufo.
GMS is also prominent in the aerospace and commercial aircraft markets. The company’s contracts with primes, like the US Air Force, Lockheed Martin, and L3Harris, include providing network attached storage in the B-1B Bomber, and equipping several VIP aircraft with its innovative technology like servers, small form factor computers and networking equipment.
As observed at AUSA, GMS is in a very competitive sector. Mr Ciufo offered that “What truly sets GMS’s products apart are their high density and expandability, with programme-specific customization for any application or platform requirement – and all together in the size that meets the needs of increasingly small applications.” Noting that ‘rugged’ is used so commonly in this market, he emphasized “it’s like saying ‘natural’ on soda and candy at the market. It can mean next to nothing. But our datasheets list the actual metrics for temperature, shock, vibration and more that quantify what ‘rugged’ means to GMS. The specs speak for themselves.”
GMS is prominently displaying TITAN – said to be the industry’s “first sealed, fanless, conduction-cooled rackmount server family with mil-circular (38999) connectors for superior ruggedness in the most demanding defence and aerospace applications.” Mr Ciufo added “it is a fully configurable server that truly includes everything a designer wants in a deployable rackmount server: superior processing performance, reliability and ruggedness, and more expandability options and secure data storage than found in any other 1U [a flat server that takes up one unit of space when mounted in a rackmount or pedestal server chassis] or 2U rackmount server.”
TITAN also is said to use up to four of Intel’s latest second-generation Scalable XEON processors, with all features coming together in a 1U or 2U chassis to provide the performance, mil-spec reliability – and near silence – required for extremely rugged battlefield environments. While the TITAN family of rackmount servers is new, GMS has already won several programmes with interest from unspecified others, in the US and internationally. The company’s industry partner list includes: Cisco; Intel; Broadcom; NetApp; AMD; VMware and Avnet.
Mr Ciufo placed several items on MON’s editorial ‘watch list,’ emphasizing “purpose-built, pre-configured systems. We are not going into the systems integration business and are not going to compete with our customers…but there is a need for us to add more capability into our systems and release to the market systems with limited software functionality […] As well, expect to see us add more networking equipment – which is built into our servers, but some customers would like to see capability broken out and stand-alone. Lastly…our Red/Black network isolation products are popular: we’ll do more variations on these.”