Automated, Flexible Diagnostic and Test Capabilities
San Diego-based Combat Proven Technologies (CP Tech) portfolio continues to expand. In one instance, the company is providing rugged custom portable computer systems in support of the US Marine Corps (USMC) Virtual Instrument Portable Equipment Repair/Tester (VIPER/T) programme, furnishing the service with rugged, man-portable automated test systems.
Company President Mike McCormack noted VIPER/T is the USMC’s primary functional gear used to test and diagnose electronic, electro-mechanical and electro-optical systems in communication and weapons systems. It is currently used to test components of weapons systems and weapons platforms (for example, AVENGER, TOW2 missile, LAV-25, LAV-AD and M1A1 ABRAMS battle tank), radar systems (AN/TPS-59, AN/TPS-63, and AN/TPQ-46A), and communications gear (AN/TRC-170 and Unit Level Circuit Switch). “VIPER/T is a long-duration programme with the USMC and is using the CP Tech’s custom portable computer to upgrade the system’s capabilities,” he stated.
The VIPER/T system consists of VXI digital-to-analog instruments on a VXI board, digital- and RF instrumentation controlled by CP Tech’s rugged portable computer, which provides a 17in TFT LCD (thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal display) with 1280×1024 resolution, shock-mounted drive bay and slim-line DVD-RW drive. “The LCD is provided with a dimming feature for 0-100% brightness adjustment. The LCD is modified with a bonded anti-reflective overlay glass for enhanced high-bright viewability and to protect the LCD,” McCormack explained.
The system also includes a plug-in single board computer (SBC) with an Intel i7 processor, Q87 chip set and 8GB of RAM, expandable to 32GB. “The SBC is plugged into a 14-slot passive backplane providing one x16 and five x4 PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect express) slots, and seven 32-bit PCI slots. The customer required all connections to the system be mil-compliant. Mil-circular connectors were provided where appropriate for interfacing to the legacy VXI test equipment and military weapons systems under test. Power to the system is provided by a custom wide-range 18VDC to 36VDC 760W DC/DC power supply. An AC supply is optionally available,” Mr McCormack added.
A full-feature, full-travel fold-down keyboard protects the LCD while the unit is being transported. An included touch pad is used for cursor control. The computer system is designed specifically for rugged military environments and transportation, and is designed to be MIL-STD-810G-compliant for assured reliability. “One of the selling points is the multi-year programme support offered by CP Tech to assure future hardware availability for long life-cycle programmes such as the VIPER/T,” McCormack pointed out.
The Marine Corps has 200 VIPER/T systems in the field scheduled for upgrade, with an additional 200 on contract for delivery. Further acquisitions are on-going. As CP Tech is known for custom system design and integration, variants of the VIPER/T portable computer system are available for other projects.