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Overcoming Networking and Power Challenges of Pods


Airborne pods are compact external electro-mechanical platforms that are attached to nearly any aircraft type yet operate independently. They hold intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) systems that collect sensor data across long-range airborne missions, turning normal aircraft into warfighters. To overcome the harsh conditions in which they operate while still being highly effective and secure, pods require rugged networking and power solutions that overcome myriad related challenges.


The pod’s main raison d’etre is enabling high-speed transmission of enormous amounts of data over long distances. As such, the platform requires a networking solution – typically a switch/router that connects the many devices and sensors in the pod, and enables high-speed communication of 1G or more between the pod and aircraft. Given the sensitivity of the data being transmitted, the switch/router must provide a high level of security, and therefore, ensure electromagnetic interference (EMI) immunity. Since the pod is often attached to small-sized aircraft, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), all of its power and networking solutions must be small form factor (FF), maintaining a low size, weight and power (SWaP) profile.

Since the pod functions in harsh environments, its power and networking systems need to withstand extreme shock and vibration conditions. In addition, the platform must contend with thermal management challenges, including high and low temperatures, low air pressure, and a high vibration envelope. As a result, the pod requires a unique cooling mechanism and mechanical design to meet the many stringent environmental requirements.

We offer a range of power and networking solutions that take into account rapidly-evolving military developments and technologies to meet pod-specific challenges. We offer single-phase, three-phase, and DC input (as per MIL-STD-704 or DO-160) power supplies and high-density, multi-port switch/routers that enable pods to connect to a large number of devices and sensors. We also provide several small FF networking and power solutions that reduce SWaP so that the pod can operate on UAVs and other small aircraft.

Many of our networking solutions work at speeds of 1G and above to handle high-speed data transmission. To protect this highly sensitive data, we also provide fiber optic solutions that are immune to electromagnetic emissions (EMI) and have no electromagnetic signature for alerting traffic. Our power and networking solutions are also designed for MIL-STD-461 to ensure electromagnetic compatibility compliance.

Our power supplies, including single-phase, three-phase, and DC systems, are designed to meet the varied power requirements of pods. Capable of handling high shock and vibration levels of up to 20G to meet MIL-STD-810, our high-capacity systems maintain tension stability and low waviness under the most strenuous condition to ensure high reliability. To keep our power solutions functioning at extreme temperatures, we offer varied cooling options. These include heat sinks that move the heat flow away from the base plate, as well as black-painted power supplies that remove additional heat by radiation.

We invite you to work directly with our experienced design engineers to create a tailored solution for your unique requirements. All of our mature designs are factory configurable, enabling you to complete your project efficiently and cost-effectively.


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