Case Study – Lockheed / CIA


Our client contacted us to design a crash survivable memory module for the A-12 aircraft, the successor to the U-2 and the precursor to the SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft. The unit was required to survive the impact and the resulting fuel fire of an aircraft crash. Our design was the only unit in the avionics community to successfully complete the required aggressive level of environmental testing in June of 1994.

A cast stainless steel, twelve faceted polyhedron was designed that weighed less than three pounds and contained an insulated, laser welded inner stainless steel enclosure containing one cubic inch of solid state memory. The custom insulation was designed to change state during the fire to absorb the intense heat over the duration of the testing to prevent overheating and destruction of the solid state memory.Unit environmental testing consisted of:

  • 30 minutes of fuel fire @ 1100 degree Celsius.
  • 1,700 g impact.
  • 5,000 pound crash force.
  • 500 lb. falling from 10 feet impacting unit with .25 inch diameter hardened pin.
  • Two year immersion at 2,000 feet of sea water.