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ATCA-Standard Ruggedized Power



The US Navy is planning to implement a scalable Common Computing Environment (CCE) and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) infrastructure allowing the fusion of all war fighting, intelligence, and business mission area information across all security enclaves. This implementation will provide the Navy a single and highly scalable Information Operations, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (IO/ISR) network infrastructure supporting mission area application hosting and SOA service delivery across all Communities of Interest (COI).

ShipFielding the CCE will make meeting Fleet mission capabilities more efficient by enabling interoperability for hosted COI services and providing a more economical network infrastructure via a single coherent, common, and manageable network environment. The CCE’s emphasis on a consolidated IO/ISR network infrastructure promotes efficiencies by simplifying logistics support, training, interoperability, and provides a more rational technology insertion scheme  Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture (ATCA), an existing open architecture communications and computing standard provides a path to achieving the CCE today and into the future.

NOVA Power Solutions’ ±48VDC Uninterruptible Power Supply (m/n NPS2500482KXR-N) is a variant of a product already in use by the USMC and US Army which has been specifically customized for shipboard, open-architecture ATCA applications. This Rugged COTS UPS provides up to 2000 watts of ±54VDC power from a standard, shipboard 20 amp input circuit reducing the need for hot-work and rewiring meeting space, weight and power requirements and therefore significantly reducing shipboard installation costs.

Sun CT 900About ATCA – A True Open Architecture Computing Standard
The Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture, or ATCA, is an existing open architecture platform with over 400 contributing companies. Primarily used by the telecommunication industry, there is already a large, pre-existing offering of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products available that meets the requirements of this standard.

  • “This series of specifications incorporates the latest trends in high speed interconnect technologies, next generation processors and improved reliability, manageability and serviceability.“
  • Companies participating in the Advanced TCA effort have brought a wide range of knowledge of the industry. They include telecommunications equipment manufacturers, board and system level vendors, computer OEMs, software companies and chassis, connector and power supply vendors.”

Many ATCA compliant products follow the Network Equipment Building System (NEBS) standard for “safety, spatial and environmental design guidelines. While the NEB’s standards are by no-means equivalent to the Mil-std’s the Navy follows they are similar in their concern for shock, vibration, EMI and temperature/humidity.
The ATCA standard with NEBS-compliant products provides a large, competitive market from which the US Navy could draw many networking and processing products from, including Blade Servers, Storage Arrays, Power Conditioners, and Uninterruptible Power Supplies.

By using electronic equipment that accepts DC input instead of AC, and providing UPS’s that output DC power instead of AC, we can increase the amount of electricity available to our modern shipboard electrical systems by eliminating two unnecessary power conversion stages. Further, we can take advantage of open architecture products already available to the Telecomm industry by focusing specifically on a ±48VDC output power requirement.

Smart, Efficient Use of Available Power
While the power draw of modern servers has increased, their power management capabilities have typically improved with them, enabling faster processor performance at only slightly higher power consumption. The same can be said for file storage arrays. However, some manufacturers are smarter about power management than others and their components will draw less power while providing the same capabilities and performance. When components of similar capability and performance are considered, the component requiring less power should be chosen, all things otherwise being equal.

Electricity is a utility and there is only a finite amount of power available to each shipboard cabinet – typically two 115VAC 60Hz, 20 amp circuits. Rewiring for a higher capacity circuit can be cost-prohibitive. The individual components that meet the entire system requirements then must be capable of not exceeding the finite amount of energy provided with the existing shipboard electrical system configuration. Most manufacturers have begun making smarter-use of the power their products consume, but we could also benefit from smarter and more efficient distribution of the electricity supplied to power shipboard electronics. An obvious way to accomplish this is to eliminate unnecessary and inefficient power conversation stages by perating from ±48VDC output power.

±48VDC Power
The ATCA-standard requires -48VDC input power for computers and similar electronics. A standard shipboard online UPS converts incoming AC electricity to DC and then back to AC. That AC Output is almost immediately converted back to DC energy to power most computing equipment. Most ATCA products therefore will consume less electricity from DC power than AC power by eliminating unnecessary power conversion steps where electricity is converted to heat energy through inefficiencies. An ATCA shipboard computing solution powered by two ±48VDC UPS’s can actually provide more power from the same source through increased efficiencies while ensuring true electrical redundancy.

NOVA Power’s Solutions ±48VDC UPS meets the relevant MIL-STD’s for a shipboard, naval C4I application, offers a hot-swappable battery tray for easy service and reduced training, and features an industry-leading “flow-through” heat sink technology thereby eliminating the need for air filters and protecting the internal electronics from airborne contaminants.

Further, if you’re interest is in a Joint Forces application, a variant of this product has been in use in USMC and US Army applications since 2002.

For more information on NOVA Power Solutions ATCA Products, please see our White Paper and Specification Sheet posted below.

For more information on ATCA, please visit
For more information on NEBS, please visit


  • 01.09: NOVA Power Solutions Powers Sun Microsystems’s Naval Open Architecture Computer Environment- Industry team develops Open Architecture computing system based on the Sun Microsystems (ATCA) CT900 chassis to MILSTD-901D standard...more