EMS Provider Upgrades Aircraft
Intercom System with VIPAC
Gigantic Defense Department budgets are essential to develop the latest and greatest military systems – armored vehicles, fighter aircraft, warships – to maintain supremacy in a dangerous world. At least, that’s the perception of many. In fact, however, the military is more likely to continue maintaining and using its major systems long after a comparable commercial system would have been replaced. A couple of good examples are the C-130 military transport and the B-52 strategic bomber. Both have been in continuous operation for over 50 years. Of course, maintenance and upgrades of their numerous systems and subsystems occupy armies of suppliers continuously as long as these aircraft – or any other major military asset – are in service.
Much of this maintenance and upgrade work – including even such necessary tasks as return/repair services – is done by contract manufacturers rather than the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), especially since the emergence of outsourcing. While the OEM may still be in the loop, subcontracting enables them to focus on their current business. A leading EMS (electronic manufacturing services) provider that offers services from product design through manufacturing included a Vicor power supply in a product upgrade.
The application was an intercom system retrofit for older military aircraft. The original intercoms had limited functionality and low voice quality because of the simple electronics. Current headset quality has also improved substantially since the original. The power supply being used is a VIPAC AC-DC configurable power supply with a 115 Vac input at 400 Hz, with two 39 V outputs (two 36 V Minis trimmed up to 39 V). The system incorporates a low-noise, autoranging FARM modular front end that provides EMI filtering, transient protection, and inrush current limiting.