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(PRWEB) September 25, 2002

Raleigh, NC, September 2002 – Thales Computers, a leader in providing PowerPC and Pentium-based VME computing solutions to OEMs and system integrators, has announced that Harris Corporation, a leading international communications equipment company, has selected Thales Computers’ extended temperature CPU860 multiprotocol processor board for use in the Harris/SITA second generation VHF Remote Ground Station (VGS). SITA, the world’s leading provider of global information and telecommunications solutions to the air transport industry, contracted Harris to develop the VGS in April of 1999. The Harris/SITA VGS units are used in air traffic communications applications worldwide.

Thales Computers’ CPU860, a 6U MPC860-based (PowerQUICC) CPU board, will be the central processing unit within the VGS, which enables aircrafts to link with air traffic control providers, flight operations centers, and engineering and maintenance departments. The VGS also automates routine communication procedures and enables airlines to rapidly transmit notification of events, such as flight tracking, engine and aircraft monitoring,

pre-departure clearance, air traffic information, and surface weather information.

Many of SITA's ground stations are unmanned, located on remote mountaintops and subject to extreme temperature ranges, requiring reliable equipment capable of withstanding extended temperatures. The CPU860 provides extremely high reliability in harsh environments. It has a temperature range from -40°C to +85°C (-40°F to 185°F) without mechanical fans or cooling devices that require periodic maintenance, along with low power requirements, low maintenance costs, and the ability to support both local and remote monitoring and control.

“The Thales Computers CPU860 provides the VGS the additional processing power and memory needed to support the latest VHF Digital Link protocols and customer management applications,” said Ron Demuynck, Program Manager for Harris’ SITA VGS project. “Its environmental characteristics make it an ideal choice for the varied conditions to be encountered within SITA’s global network.”

“Harris Corporation’s selection of the CPU860 recognizes our expertise in developing computing solutions for harsh environments,” said Tom Hall, President and CEO of Thales Computers. “SITA’s Ground to Air VHF system is a critical installation that will facilitate better communication service for airlines worldwide. Thales Computers stands ready to deliver mission-critical products to meet the needs of the air transportation industry now and in the future.”

Product Details

In addition to commercial (convection-cooled), ruggedized, and militarized versions, the CPU860 can be custom-configured for specific applications. It supports 512 KB or 1 MB of SRAM; and 4, 8, or 16 MB of Flash EPROM. All memory configurations use a 32-bit data path.

I/O lines are routed directly to the P2 connector and to a serial mezzanine card connector, taking advantage of the I/O capabilities of the PowerQUICC, and enabling the customer to select a specific I/O interface by eliminating functionality pre-assignment.

The CPU860 provides two PCI Mezzanine Card (PMC) slots, supporting rear-panel I/O (in the convection-cooled model); as well as a serial mezzanine card interface for function expansion and flexibility.

A VMEbus interface (Tundra Semiconductor Universe chip) provides both master and slave capabilities to the PCI and to the VMEbus. When used in a non-VMEbus environment, the host processor has the ability to turn the external power on and off, which provides an added advantage in remote installations.

The contract for supply of Thales Computers’ CPU860 runs for 8 years; the first installations are scheduled for 2002.

For more information about the CPU860 and other Thales Computer processor boards for harsh environments, please visit Thales Computers’ website at, or contact Thales Computers at

1-800-848-2330, fax 919-231-8001.


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EDITOR’S NOTE: Thales Computers, a Thales Group company, is headquartered in Toulon, France, and Raleigh, North Carolina. Thales is one of Europe's largest professional electronics groups and a world leader in three areas: Aerospace, Defense, and Information Technology & Services. In 2001, Thales generated approximately $ 16.1 billion (€10.3 billion) in revenues and now has close to 65,000 employees worldwide.

Thales Computers is the leading developer of commercial and ruggedized VMEbus hardware and software solutions based on PowerPC and Pentium microprocessors. The company’s products are optimized for a wide variety of applications in military, aerospace, communications and industrial markets and are in active use by customers worldwide, including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Toshiba, EADS, British Aerospace, Ericsson, Alcatel and the Thales Group.

About Harris Corporation: Harris Corporation is an international communications equipment company focused on providing product, system, and service solutions for commercial and government customers. The company's five operating divisions serve markets for microwave, broadcast, network support, tactical radio, and government systems. Harris has sales and service facilities in more than 90 countries. Additional information about Harris Corporation is available at

About SITA: SITA is the world's leading provider of global information and telecommunications solutions to the air transport industry. With over 50 years experience, SITA offers a total service to around 740 air transport industry members and around 1,800 customers in over 220 countries and territories. SITA contracted with Harris Corporation in April 1999 to develop the VGS, which is built on VDL Mode 2 digital technology offering bit-oriented air-ground data communications over the VHF Digital Link. This new technology provides the increased capacity required to meet the evolving needs of today's aircraft management systems and is a prerequisite for supporting the Aeronautical Telecommunications Network (ATN) standards, adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 1998.

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