Many military computer applications require computer systems with intense processing power and the ability to operate in diverse and sometimes harsh environments. In the realm of persistent surveillance, where multiple small targets must be tracked in real time across air, land or sea for reasons of security, safety, defense, and intelligence, this is certainly the case. Chassis Plans computers have helped fulfill this requirement.

Broad-based Customer Requirements


One of our customers needed computer systems that could be mobile, operate on ships, or work in tented command centers in desert environments. Rugged cameras would be mounted on aerostats, towers or buildings, and our computers would process the data for the real time tracking of multiple ground-based targets. These systems needed to be designed for a long program life-cycle assuring identical systems could be delivered and deployed many years in the future.

Due to the amount of data being collected, exceptional processing capability was needed, but the space requirements were also very tight, which created a challenge as heavy computer processing generates a lot of heat. Diverse operating environments also had to be accommodated, including high temperature desert locations. The customer was relying on Chassis Plans to design a system that could meet these requirements based on their broad specifications.

Unique, Space-Limited Rugged Solution

Chassis Plans provided a 4U rugged chassis with three individual Single Board Computers (SBCs), in essence providing three separate computers in one enclosure. The system was housed in a 20-inch short-depth enclosure due to the space limitations of the equipment vans. Housing multiple SBCs in such a small system was challenging to assure adequate cooling, but with correct component placement and Chassis Plans’ SysCool® thermal management system, the temperature range requirements were met. The system was tested in 115˚F heat and operated without issue. The system was designed for revision control and a long program life of 5-7 years.

The program was so successful that a follow-on design project for an even smaller computer has been in process. A 2U rugged computer with a dual core Xeon® server, which meets many of the same challenging requirements, is in preproduction. By offering an even smaller form factor, we have been able to help our customer meet the more restrained space requirements of their end customers.

Chassis Plans has over a decade of experience solving customers’ custom computer design requirements.

U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Travis Vallery