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Ultra-rugged USB key supports Linux

Feb 21, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

A&D Electronics is offering a flash storage key that may actually be bombproof. Aimed at the military market, and priced at $700 for a 1GB unit, the IronDrive was designed to offer protection from “moisture, vibration, shock, caustic agents, EMI, and nuclear effects,” the company claims.

(Click for larger view of the IronDrive)

The IronDrive was originally developed for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps for the HIMARS (high mobility artillery rocket system) launcher, pictured at right. A&D manufactures the IronDrive under license from the Lockheed Martin Corporation, it says.

Though it may seem expensive by consumer standards, the IronDrive actually costs less than ruggedized hard drives and other storage devices typically used in military applications, according to A&D. Additionally, the IronDrive can save test and evaluation expenses, since it has already been tested and is a “MIL Qualified Device,” according to the company. Target applications include field software upgrades, air or ground vehicle data logging, condition monitoring systems, embedded training systems, data recorders for unmanned vehicles, and telemetry/flight recorders for missiles.

Touted IronDrive features include:

  • Operation from -40 to 185 degrees (-40 to 85 degrees Celsius),
  • Storage from -67 to 203 degrees (-55 to 95 degrees Celsius)
  • 9G shock in all directions
  • Said to meet or exceed MIL-STD-810F testing requirements, as well as “Nuclear Effects Testing to MIS-30225,” the company says
  • Claimed MTBF (meantime between failures) is listed at 4.66 million hours, or 5 million write/erase cycles
  • Supports encrypted filesystems based on DES/3DES, SHA-1, RSA, AES

The IronDrive weighs 5.8 ounces and measures 4 inches in length. Except for its unusual connector and large metal case, it functions just like any normal USB storage device, retaining the “hot pluggable” characteristics of USB 2.0 devices.


The IronDrive is available in standard sizes between 32MB and 4GB. Supported operating systems are listed as Linux, VxWorks, Windows CE, Windows XP Embedded (including Windows Embedded for Point of Service), and Windows XP Pro. Also available is a foot-long adapter cable, for use with standard USB ports.

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