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NIU1A - Airborne System

Global Hawk Airborne System Aerospace Design ExampleA key military integrator needed additional discrete I/O capability quickly for an existing airborne system— with minimal space to do so. Adding capability to the existing qualified chassis was not a cost-effective solution.

The integrator connected NAI’s small compact NIU1A subsystem to the existing Ethernet network. The versatile NIU1A provides full, multichannel I/O capability and allows for different I/O function modules to be used, depending on payload requirements. The low-cost, SWaP-optimized NIU1A interfaced directly with the existing system. Using the onboard ARM for local I/O control required minimal Mission Processor bandwidth, and fit easily into a space-constrained environment with a limited power budget. Just another example of using COSA's modular design flexibility for each sensor payload.

NAI provides a no-cost Software Support Kit (SSK) which greatly reduced application software development time. Using the SSK Library calls, application software was easily created and avoided the pitfalls of software driver integration issues.

Multiple NIU1A's (Nano Interface Units) were configured with a variety of I/O functions. The functions included:


  • Serial, CANBus, 1553, A/D, RTD and discrete
  • 28 VDC input
  • Dual Gig-E ports
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