L3Harris Technologies has selected rugged computing solutions provider ZMicro to support the US Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM) Armed Overwatch programme.  

In August this year, L3Harris and Air Tractor’s AT-802U Sky Warden system was chosen for the Armed Overwatch programme.

Under the low-rate initial production Lot 1, six new, fully modified, Armed Overwatch mission-configured aircraft will be delivered by the Sky Warden team.

The programme includes the delivery of up to 75 crewed, fixed wing aircraft to support USSOCOM’s irregular warfare operations, close air support, precision strike, and armed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).

As part of this project, ZMicro’s rugged computers will be equipped onto the Sky Warden planes.

ZMicro president Jason Wade said: “L3Harris continues to be a fantastic partner to work with in terms of thinking outside the box to deliver leading-edge solutions.

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“With Sky Warden, we can meet a critical need for US Special Operations Command for a low-cost aircraft that can take off and land in austere fields, fly for long periods, and support a variety of modular payloads.”

The company will fit two ZMicro ZM3 ultra-lightweight servers in the body of each aircraft to offer situational awareness and mission management applications.

Using an optical fibre, the ZM3s are connected to a cockpit storage docking unit.

The dock consists of four ZMicro TranzPak 1 ultra-compact NVMe drives to provide crew members with quick access for on- and off-boarding, as well as to remote control the ZM3s.

Wade said: “The ZM3 was designed to provide the enterprise-class capabilities of a rack mount server in a fraction of the size and weight, making it ideal for space-constrained applications such as airborne ISR.

“It is unique because it’s the smallest, lightest rugged mission computer available that can support an NVIDIA GPU card, which is needed to run the advanced and trusted mission execution software developed by L3Harris ForceX.”