VITA 60 standardizes a ruggedized alternative for VPX applications

As standardization of high-speed interconnect systems converges with the increased demands of military and aerospace applications, the need for more advanced technology in a ruggedized package has been highlighted. To meet this technology gap, VITA 60 (Alternative Connector on VPX) was launched to define a new interconnect platform consistent with the evolving VITA 46 (VPX) form factor yet designed and tested for more ruggedized environments. VITA 60 is a footprint-compatible alternate connector to VITA 46 with increased stiffness and environmental resistance. VITA 60 offers an option for VPX applications where greater resistance to fretting corrosion, often induced by high levels of vibration, is required. This standardization effort evolved in parallel with the VIPER interconnect system from Amphenol. VIPER is a new VPX-style connector designed from the ground up to serve the mil/aero and industrial ruggedized embedded markets.

VME technology as the foundation

Leveraging VME technology – which has been the COTS standard for nearly 30 years – VITA 60 builds on the VME progeny called VPX. This new generation of VME addresses many of today’s demanding serial switched fabric applications with high-speed differential processing while meeting increased requirements for processing speed to support 10 GbE, Serial RapidIO, PCI Express, or other demanding video, storage, or FPGA architectures.

By building on the VPX foundation, VITA 60 offers an intermountable alternative to VITA 46. Accordingly, VITA 60 can mount to the same Printed Wiring Board (PWB) layout. This intermountable alternative leverages the benefits of established PWB configurations and the industry’s broad spectrum of high-speed slot card products available today with minimal changeover costs. This approach also leverages the modularity of VPX with VIPER equivalents for many custom configurations as well as standard 3U and 6U formats in both top side and Rear Transition Module (RTM) formats.

Leveraging new technology

At the heart of VITA 60’s higher vibration performance is a newly developed contact system. The VIPER interconnect system builds on Amphenol’s 40 years of fork and blade technology with a new four-points-of-contact system that minimizes mating forces while employing multiple contact points to ensure maximum performance. This high-performance contact system, incorporated into a VPX form factor, is the key enabler for VITA 60’s objectives and ongoing efforts.

Future vision for VITA 60

The vision for the VITA 60 specification structure is to emulate that of VITA 46. The eventual specification family could look similar to VITA 46 with “dot” specifications covering those application areas where mechanical differences exist between the two specifications. Follow-on activity has also been initiated on a compressed-footprint version of VITA 60, allowing additional outbound clearance for liquid-cooling quick disconnects. This effort is underway as VITA 64 (Optimized Footprint for VITA 60).

Testing and performance

Although VITA 60 is still in committee, the VIPER connector platform has successfully completed environmental testing to VPX levels with additional durability and vibration tests in process through VITA-sponsored activity. As VITA 60 nears completion, recent integration into several ground and avionics programs – including dual Mechanical Transfer (MT) fiber and SubMiniature Push-on Micro (SMPM) RF connector modules – will continue to push the standardization activity forward.

VITA 60 pushes the limits – now and into the future

As the need for high-speed ruggedized VPX applications continues to grow in military and aerospace applications, VITA 60 will continue to proliferate where mission assurance demands the need for increased resistance to high vibration and environmental conditions.

David Dix is marketing manager at Amphenol Backplane Systems. He can be contacted at