Aaron Frank, Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions
All vendors of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware intended for use in harsh defense and aerospace environments insist that their products are reliable as well as rugged. But without a consistent baseline for comparison, it's almost impossible for system integrators to objectively confirm whether one COTS product is more reliable than another. The VITA 47 standard gives system integrators just such a baseline as it is an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard.
How rugged is "rugged"? The answer to that question should have a clear and consistent answer that gives system integrators the confidence and surety that a specific module from a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) supplier will perform and survive in the conditions their application requires. All too often though, claims made by COTS vendors that their module will meet a certain range of durability (temperature, shock, and vibration) are not based on a common, industry standard that enables the customer to make meaningful comparisons between different boards from different vendors.