New Bridge Control Computer Onboard U.S. Navy Vessels

Thursday, August 26, 1999
Azonix Corp.'s ProPanel line of industrial computers is being installed aboard CVN 68-USS Nimitz. In association with Henschel Corp. and Newport News Shipbuilding, ProPanel will be used to replace dial and gauge systems used in such critical applications as remote control of flight deck firefighting equipment and monitoring of navigation, ship control and meteorology systems. In engineering trials required for qualification in the Navy's COTS (commerical off-the-shelf) program, ProPanel was subjected to extremes of shock, electromagnetic radiation and humidity. Trials included the U.S. Navy's barge test, where depth charges were detonated under a 20 x 60 ft. steel barge, holding panel- and wall-mounted ProPanels. When attached to tandem, shock-resistant mounts, ProPanels operated continuously and reliably in extremes of shock up to 100g's, achieving a "Grade A" Navy rating. According to John Caunter, Henschel, "We chose Azonix's ProPanel as a hardware platform for our software and display systems, because they have a reputation for building solid reliable equipment." ProPanel's totally sealed cast aluminum enclosure provides performance characteristics appropriate for naval control systems, including protection from EMI/RFI. Consequentially, ProPanel has successfully met the requirements of MIL-STD 461D, RE101 and RE102. In onboard control applications, this renders a dual benefit: ProPanel's electronic internals are protected from outside interference. Additionally, emissions from the control system itself are minimized, consistent with "Stealth" requirements, which help Navy ships avoid enemy electronic detection systems. As a result, Newport News Shipbuilding specifies ProPanel as EMCON Certifiable, Emission-controlled and EMI-hardened. According to Roger Kuhn of Newport News Shipbuilding, "We like the aesthetics of ProPanel. Also, its small footprint facilitates bridge installation on bulkheads and overheads in relatively small spaces, making them ideal for retrofit applications. CRTs can't do that, and unlike ProPanel, have limited resistance to shock and vibration. The Captain, Navigator and Engineering and Flight Control staffs all rely on data supplied by these systems, so we need to specify higly reliable units."
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