This document reviews the VME form factor standard, the most widely used off-the-shelf form factor used in military applications.
VME Form Factor Standard
The longest existing and thus most popular solution for military COTS applications is the VME standard, which is particularly suitable for flexible design and development due to its well-tested dependability, open architecture, durability and active support / development community. Its VMEbus hardware architecture offers high bandwidth connectivity via a backplane, which facilitates enhanced flexibility and straightforward maintenance. VME features durable connectors with 32-bit addressing and datapath.
Another advantage of the VME form factor standard is its scalable and flexible design, which makes it uniquely effective in fulfilling the changing demands of innovative military systems. This is particularly apparent with the VME64X extension of the standard, which offers a 64-bit databus together with advanced input-output facilities such as an extra backplane connector with rear I/O connections and 95 extra pins. VME has benefited from new developments from other form factors. For example, it now features Gigabit Ethernet over the backplane, meeting the VITA 31.1 architecture standard.
VME provides an economical and effectual solution for high performance, input / output and robustness. Developers have found that alternative form factors such as virtual path cross connect (VPX) complement the VMEbus architecture, but do not supersede it. Military systems can therefore retain existing performance, without requiring much in the way of additional expenditures and manpower.
Kontron has supplied 6U VME boards for a number of Mobile Radar Systems, which are vital in determining the locations of rocket launchers and long-range artillery. The equipment offers automated target recognition, high-spec networking and processing and computer assisted decision support. The VME form factor provides the required hard-wearing conduction cooling to ensure good performance in unfavourable climates. It is also highly effective for Digital Signal Processing (DSP) applications.