August 1, 2006 (by Jeff Hollenbeck) - Silicon Graphics today announced that Lockheed Martin has selected the SGI® Altix® 4700 server to serve as the host computing platform for the F-35 "Lightning II" Training Devices.
The F-35 Lightning II cockpit does away with most switches and gagues in favor of two 8"x10" advanced LCD touchscreens. With the addition of the Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) to the F-35 system, there is no need for a conventional Heads Up Display (HUD) on the glare shield in the cockpit. [LMTAS photo]
The F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, is a multi-role fighter which combines stealth supersonic performance and advanced sensor fusion. The SGI-powered F-35 Training Devices host computer will allow Lockheed Martin to provide pilots with a high-fidelity deterministic real time environment that realistically simulates the capabilities of this next-generation fighter aircraft, which will support the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, United Kingdom and seven other International Partner nations. F-35 Training Devices will be powered by the SGI Altix 4700 and will train pilots for the kind of uncompromised combat performance required in the 21st century.
Driven by a blade-based design built on SGI's award-winning scalable global-shared-memory system architecture, the SGI 4700 host computing platform is powered by 16 Intel® Itanium® 2 processors and four graphics pipes running Novell® SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server 9. The scalable nature of the SGI Altix architecture will allow Lockheed Martin to enhance Training Device performance in the future by adding processors. As the F-35 matures and gains additional capabilities, the Training Device architecture can take advantage of the SGI Altix design to maintain concurrency with the aircraft. The SGI Altix 4700 combines industry-standard components and the world's most powerful server architecture in a highly dense and deployable blade-based form factor. SGI has integrated its renowned scalable shared-memory SGI® NUMAflex™ architecture with blade packaging to create the first 64-bit Linux® OS-based server with a blade design that offers true "plug and solve" flexibility.
"The F-35 Lightning II Training Devices require next-generation computing power and graphics to achieve the training and simulation goals of the JSF
program," said Dave Parry, senior vice president and product general manager, SGI. "Lockheed Martin selected the SGI Altix 4700 highly scalable compute platform with integrated graphics because it provides unique benefits for critical deterministic, hard real-time capabilities and future performance enhancement. SGI is pleased to support Lockheed Martin in the deployment of this important international defense program."
The SGI Altix 4700 undergoing installation offers powerful real time features combined with a scalable, high-performance multiprocessing computational engine and graphics all in one easy to deploy shared memory package. Lockheed Martin will leverage the easy to use SGI Shared memory programming model, industry standard CPU's and graphics.
Host computing for high-fidelity training devices like the one being developed by Lockheed Martin for the F-35 Program requires fully deterministic processing. When an event occurs, a resulting action must be implemented in a fixed, very short period of time. The degree of determinism in the case of the F-35 Training Devices is hard real time, where strict timing is critical. A host-simulation computer needs to support non-degrading process priorities and locking of processes in memory, and must guarantee interrupt-handling latencies. That's the compute capability the SGI Altix 4700 provides.
About Altix 4700
The SGI Altix 4700 platform is comprised of modular blades - interchangeable compute, memory, I/O and special purpose blades for "plug and solve" configuration flexibility. The innovative blade-to-NUMAlink™ architecture enables users to mix and match eight standardized blade choices, for perfect system right-sizing. The compact blade packaging of the Altix 4700 rack also provides excellent performance density.
Socket-compatible with single and dual-core Intel Itanium 2 processors, SGI Altix 4700 platform offers easy upgrade or expansion of CPU, memory, I/O or visualization capabilities. This flexible growth path makes it possible for customers to adjust system configurations to meet current and changing requirements easily and cost-effectively; minimum risk for maximum productivity.