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Rugged Linux field computer acts as mission-critical video server

Sep 16, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 18 views

Harris Corp. announced a multimedia-enhanced PC designed for a variety of mission-critical military and public safety applications. The compact, ruggedized Falcon III RF-7800N-CP Mobile Computing Platform (MCP) runs Linux on a 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, and features 4GB DDR3 RAM, a 160GB SSD, dual gigabit Ethernet ports, and numerous Fast Ethernet, serial, and USB connections expressed via avionics ports.

The Falcon III RF-7800N-CP MCP is designed to route and serve up video and other multimedia communications for network-enabled missions, says Harris. Suitable environments are said to include both military C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) operations and the public safety sector. 

The ability of the MCP to function as a server, router, and multimedia gateway enables specific applications including remote video surveillance, multi-camera security and recording, and real-time situational awareness, says the defense IT integrator.

Falcon III RF-7800N-CP Mobile Computing Platform (MCP)

The MCP runs Linux on a 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, with the help of 4GB of DDR3 RAM, says Harris. An optional H.264 video encoder is said to be available for video-intensive applications, supporting video capture, storage, and real-time playback capabilities. A removable 160GB, SATA 2 solid state drive (SSD) "provides ample storage for long duration video recording," says the company.

Although Harris makes no mention of it, I/O appears to travel through a series of ruggedized avionics interfaces, as found on other military-oriented (like Parvus' Linux-ready DuraCOR 830, for example). Eight Fast Ethernet and two gigabit Ethernet ports are provided along with six RS232/485/422 serial ports and six USB 2.0 ports, says Harris. A CAN bus interface is said to be optional.

For video, a VGA port is available, as are four NTSC/PAL video inputs. Each of the inputs can be switched between any input mode, says the company.

MCP, showing removable, 160GB SSD
(Click to enlarge)

The 11.2 x 9.8 x 5.1-inch (28.55 x 25.0 x 13.0cm) MCP weighs less than eight kilograms (17.6 pounds), says Harris. Running on a 16-40VDC power supply compliant with MIL-STD-1275 standards, the device consumes less than 50 Watts, claims the company.

Ruggedization features are said to include 32 to 122 deg. F (0 to 50 deg. C) operating temperature support and IP65 ingress protection. The MCP is also said to comply with MIL-STD-810 and MIL-STD-461 environmental and EMI/RFI standards respectively.

Stated Andy Start, president, International Business, Harris RF Communications, "The MCP reflects a growing demand from our customers for end-to-end solutions that help receive, process, store and re-transmit information, in real-time. The MCP improves the user's operational effectiveness while safely inside the confines of a vehicle, shelter, or building."


No pricing or availability information was supplied for the Falcon III RF-7800N-CP Mobile Computing Platform (MCP). More information may be found on Harris' MCP product page.

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