Modified COTS: the new SWaP-C design paradigm

Modified COTS: the new SWaP-C design paradigm

The rapid pace of electronic innovation, combined with customer demands for the latest technologies, in Size Weight Performance and Cost (SWaP-C) constraints, within shorter development times and limited budgets, creates major challenges for system integrators. ECRIN Systems has an extensive catalog of rugged and industrial COTS modules, boards and systems that can respond to specific industrial and military functions and missions. If your Project requirements cannot be satisfied with off-the-shelf products, we offer you our Modified COTS services that will provide the best solution in terms of time to market, price reduction and risk management. ECRIN Systems, one of the European largest defense/Industry COTS system vendor, has over 40 years (founded in 1976) of experience in Embedded electronic technology and system designs. We have over 40.000 embedded systems deployed worldwide in aerospace, defense, navy, cybersecurity, communications, transport, industry or high physics…


Backed by an extensive library of electronics Intellectual Property, a long experience on development and test tools and a very huge Environmental Qualification Tests knowledge, ECRIN Systems Modified COTS services deliver unmatched design and development expertise for tailoring rugged and industrial computing systems. Our unique combination of 40 years embedded market experience and strong worldwide embedded industry network enable the Modified COTS team of ECRIN Systems to ease the process of designing and developing efficient, high performance, state-of-the-art rugged military and industrial electronics. All our systems are qualified to the most stringent environments (DO-160 for civilian and military aerospace deployment, MIL-STD-810, MIL-STD-1275, MIL-STD-704 and MIL-STD-461 for defense, STANAG-4435 for NATO naval…) and performance requirements, providing our customers with advanced technology solutions that are reliable, trustable at very competitive cost.

ECRIN Systems Modified COTS team offers a comprehensive selection of services that help you finish your project in time and budget limits:

  • In-depth technical requirements specification and state of work compliant matrixes fulfilled with Inspection, Analysis Demonstration and Test (IADT) verification method
  • Proven, detailed design processes, including kick-off review (KOR), preliminary design review (PDR), critical design review (CDR), test readiness review (TRR), field acceptance test (FAT), test qualification review (TQR), first article inspection (FAI), developed and enhanced through two decades of experience and our ISO-9001 Quality Management Process
  • Program management expertise with dedicated Project Manager and Project Quality Engineer that are responsible of quality, technical requirements, delivery on time and cost targets
  • In-depth and thorough mechanical engineering, thermal analysis and vibration & shocks simulations to manage mechanical risks
  • Extensive Embedded electronics, Multi-Core CPU, FPGA, GPGPU, communications, COM Express carrier, Compact PCI Serial, VPX and VME backplanes, power supply and connectors PCB development experience
  • Comprehensive board support package (BSP) development and porting
  • Optimal software driver integration, BIT integration and functional tests
  • Experienced Environmental Qualification Tests procedures and reports
  • Configuration management services
  • COTS longevity of supply, obsolescence management and counterfeit electronic parts prevention services available
  • Effective long-term product re-engineering and cost reduction strategies
  • Highly flexible development and manufacturing processes


Partnering with ECRIN Systems Modified COTS team for your next custom design delivers the following benefits:

  • Reduced and optimized Costs:
    • save 50% on project costs by leveraging our IP investment, development infrastructure and Environmental Qualification Tests passed for similar BOM systems
    • As System Integrator, ECRIN Systems is vendor agnostic. The building blocks selection is only driven by the customer satisfaction. That’s a huge difference versus boards and modules vendor that always push its product range first when he promotes system level solution
  • Reduced Risks:
    • Benefit on our experience and insights for building rugged systems.
    • Capitalize on our extensive inventory of hardware and software IP building blocks, developed through two decades of industry and defense projects.
    • Leverage the expertise of our major strategic partners so their road maps and technology directions can give you the inside track on the best approach for your next project.
    • Tap into our Longevity of Supply and technical support services, specifically designed for industry and defense program support.
    • At the systems level, our pre-qualified systems eliminate extensive and costly qualification testing and verification processes.
    • Benefit from our quality project management and delivery processes, field-proven with hundreds of customers.
  • Accelerated Time-to-Market:
    • Our intensive inside COTS building blocks usage and experienced system developers can save you months of development time. Leverage their insights and knowledge to help your project cross the finish line sooner.
    • The Modified COTS approach lets you get your application development started right away using ECRIN Systems COTS products. While you focus on developing your application, let us focus on the COTS hardware and software.

ONYX series and particularly its really new Small Form Factor µONYX variant (see attached e-News µONYX notule), is very good example of flexible COTS Mission Processor Line Replaceable Unit (LRU) that can be modified very easily by ECRIN Systems to adapt many types of different missions: C4ISR command and control, image processing and surveillance requirements. Thanks to its SFF Modular Open System Architecture (MOSA) based on COM Express computer module, PMC/XMC and mini-PCIe I/O mezzanine, µONYX is able to mix general purpose computer performance and functions we found in modern PC architectures like GigE, DVI, USB 3.0, SATA III, with venerable MIL-STD-1553, ARINC-429, ATDS, CAN buses for sensors wiring still widespread deployed on today’s ground vehicles or manned/unmanned aircrafts or helicopters.


µONYX is exactly representing the new breed of adaptable mission processor designed to minimize or eliminate non-recurrent expense (NRE) for customization. ECRIN customers can now have a tailored COTS-based mission computer solution that meets platform-specific requirements without paying for extensive development expense. Instead, a recurring per unit integration fee is added to cover the add-on hardware and assembly cost for a new variant of the standard product. Modified COTS is changing the paradigm for how COTS-based solutions can be quickly and affordably delivered to military system contractors.

Thanks COM Express standard, the performance can be improved just changing SKU from dual-Core Ivy bridge to last Quad-Core INTEL Core-i7 or XEON processor and Long Life Management covered for twenty years and more. Thanks to an ever growing ecosystem of third-party mini-PCI Express partners in extreme temperature (-40°C/+85°C) added to legacy PMC/XMC vendors, ECRIN Systems mission architects can draw upon the best that industry has to offer rugged COTS modules. That enables aero/defense primes to leverage “the commercial market for leading-edge military technology, rather than inventing its own custom-designed technology”. This hybrid open architecture approach enables ECRIN Systems architects to better leverage a wide range of open standard solutions being offered from a greater number of industry suppliers.

When answering to RFQ, ECRIN architects begin by reviewing the technical requirements and then identifying suitable COTS industrial-grade I/O modules to meet those requirements. They perform the subsystem integration into Modifiable COTS systems, adapt mechanical tweaks to the enclosure to optimize CPU/GPU/FPGA thermal management, adjust MIL-DTL-38999 connectors PCB to customer requirements if it concerns a mid-life update that needs to not modify any vehicle cabling, acceptance test the units, and deliver the Modified COTS- in rapid fashion, compared to a truly customer design. Where needed, delta qualification testing is performed or similarity analysis reports are prepared. In many cases, proven I/O modules are used that have already gone through environmental qualifications testing as part of the original COTS systems development effort, which qualification data can then be leveraged for follow-on customer-specific projects without having to re-qualified.


At ECRIN Systems, our R & D department applied same Modified COTS strategy development to all our new COTS Computers and Systems:

  • CRYSTAL multi-function Naval Consoles (see e-News CRYSTAL-23 notule), ECRIN Systems offers to its customers the capability to modify qualified COTS (PC Box performance level, Display size and resolution, OS…), personalizing the look, adding corporate logo and branding, modifying front connector and LED panel, adapting rear interface connectors to their real environment.




  • OPALE V2 Industrial PC series offer a SMART basic bare borne platform in 1U/2U and 4U 19’’ rackmount form factor. Our system architects can add COTS I/O extension and configure the system to fit exactly customer needs. To precisely meet customer requirements, even for small quantities, ECRIN takes full system development responsibility and guarantee long term availability to allow you to concentrate on your added value. From mechanical parts to industrial design, with front and remote user interfaces, user LED’s and I/O’s, easy customized front and rear connectors, specific face-plate color and design, Lexan polycarbonate sheet with your logo and brand name, we will offer you a unique look that will shape your image and promote your sales.




Military and industrial contractors are indeed discovering the advantages of open architecture Modified COTS solutions for vetronics, avionics upgrades, Naval Mid-life Updates, as they address SWaP reduction, compressed deployment schedules, and shrinking government budgets. For its part, ECRIN Systems continues to provide innovative, cost-effective and qualified Small Form Factor mission processors and systems based on open standards that are today being deployed broadly in ground vehicles, all types of manned/unmanned aircraft, and maritime vessels. Proven modular system architectures together with Modified COTS subsystem integration services and a growing base for embedded SFF COTS I/O modules will continue to reduce risk, save money, shorten schedules, and ensure mission success for customers.

For more than 40 years, ECRIN Systems and other military electronics vendors have worked hard to fulfill the promise of the COTS Initiative. We have unique insight into the nature of this challenge by working for decades with a large number of COTS industry participants within standard bodies such as VITA and PICMG to define the most rigorous bus and board open architectures, starting with industrial-grade components. Together we’ve established a strong competitive base of suppliers that build COTS solutions designed to be rugged from inception. One key differentiator between those COTS suppliers who directly meet the needs of defense and aerospace programs and those that can’t is the sophistication of the life cycle management services that they offer to reduce the risk of obsolescence. People often do not really understand COTS. We sell COTS, but usually most of what we sell is not a standard product right off-the-shelf, but rather a standard product with a bit of customization thrown in. It is more Modified COTS with tweaks to connectors or switches or different types of functions.

Let’s talk about that strategy on ECRIN Systems booth located in French Pavilion booth 223-I during IDEF’17 in Istanbul – Turkey-, next week



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