Natural Convection Cooling, Expanded I/O Packed into Aitech’s New Lightweight NightHawk Rugged Control Unit

CHATSWORTH, Calif. , Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ — Aitech Defense Systems Inc., the world's first and largest independent manufacturer of open architecture electronic boards and subsystem level products for harsh, environmentally-demanding defense and aerospace applications, now offers the NightHawk RCU, an extremely rugged, compact Intel Atom-based, self-contained control unit that weighs only 4.5 lbs, almost half that of similar models currently available. The NightHawk will make its debut at CMSE 2010, the premier conference on the engineering, design and use of electronic components in military and space electronics, in Los Angeles, Calif. on February 8th .

(Photo: )

This weight reduction, combined with a slimmer profile and natural convection/radiation cooling that dissipates up to 22 W at +55 degrees C in stagnant (non-flowing) air, or at up to 71 degrees C with an optional low pressure fan or baseplate, makes the rugged control unit ideal for a variety of military, aerospace and commercial environments. These include data concentrator and remote interface applications such as manned and unmanned, ground or airborne vehicles as well as low SWaP (size, weight and power) data concentrator unit (DCU) and remote interface unit (RIU) applications.  

For military tracked and wheeled vehicle applications, the NightHawk RCU can provide Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) functionality to reduce the overhead costs of preventative vehicle maintenance.

Based on the low-power Intel Atom processor operating at 1.6 GHz, the new NightHawk provides up to 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM as well as between 4 and 8 GB of SSD memory with an optional expansion up to 250 GB for extended and remote data collection and storage applications.  

The new NightHawk RCU offers the highest number of off-the-shelf and standard PC I/O interfaces available in a low-power, environmentally-sealed rugged controller.  With a complete set of standard PC I/O interfaces, the NightHawk also provides two Gigabit Ethernet ports, six USB 2.0 ports and four multi-function RS232 serial ports, dual graphics/video ports, keyboard/mouse and stereo audio in/output ports as well as an I/O set specifically tailored for embedded military and severe industrial applications.  

Optional I/O includes MIL-STD-1553B , ARINC-429 and ARINC-708, CAN Bus, WiFi and WAN ports as well as video capture and processing, discrete and analog I/O and an eight-port Gigabit Ethernet switch.  All I/O is available via a flexible, user-defined configuration of MIL-DTL-38999-style connectors mounted conveniently on the unit's front access panel.

The unit uses conductive silicon rubber O-rings and flat EMI gaskets to keep sand, dust, humidity and contaminant splash out and its EMI/RFI filter protection meets MIL-STD-461 emission and susceptibility limits.  External surfaces are finished with black hard anodize for excellent corrosion resistance, with other colors and CARC (Chemical Agent Resistant Coating) paint available upon request. Internal surfaces are chemical conversion coated for corrosion resistance as well as to ensure high electrical conductivity.

Operating temperature is -55 degrees C to +71 degrees C in extreme environments up to 40 g peak single half-sine shock and 10 g RMS sine vibration at 5 Hz to 500 Hz.  The NightHawk RCU is compliant with MIL-STD-1275 , MIL-STD-704 , MIL-STD-461 and MIL-STD-462 and features an input voltage range from 18 VDC to 36 VDC with reverse polarity protection.  Total power supply output is 50 W to power optional, user-defined I/O.

Supported operating systems include Windows Embedded XP, Linux and VxWorks.

For more information please call 888-Aitech-8 (888-248-3248), visit or e-mail .

For an electronic copy, please visit

For high res photo, please visit

For additional news releases from Aitech Defense Systems, please visit

Subscribe to Aitech's RSS feed.

Follow us on Twitter: AitechDefense


CMSE; LAX, CA; February 8 – 11

AUSA – Winter; Ft. Lauderdale, FL ; February 24 – 26


Established in 1983, Aitech offers military and space-qualified, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) embedded computing products for rugged defense, aerospace and astronautics (space) applications as well as provides radiation tolerant and full MIL-SPEC solutions.  The company provides industry-standard, open architecture VMEbus, CompactPCI and high speed serial fabric-based boards, power subsystems, mass memory, enclosures and hardware subsystem integration along with logistics, configuration control, component obsolescence and earned-value management services.

Having pioneered the development of true military VMEbus products for use in mainstream defense and aerospace applications, Aitech utilizes its broad base of off-the-shelf products and technologies to also develop customer-specific solutions, deliver superior cost-performance and reliability, and expedite time to market.  Applications for its products range from mission processors, fire control, mission control and autonomous robotic subsystems for ground vehicles as well as surface and subsurface naval platforms to tactical and strategic fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, and low- to high-earth orbit and deep space vehicles.

SOURCE Aitech Defense Systems

0 comments on “Natural Convection Cooling, Expanded I/O Packed into Aitech’s New Lightweight NightHawk Rugged Control Unit

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.