Trusted Computing in Aerospace and Defense

In October of 2017 U.S. Air Force researchers launched a program to develop trusted computing implements within microelectronics to expedite a broader use of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components in military defense systems. The Assured and Trusted Microelectronics Solutions (ATMS) program has the intention to make the electronics used in military defense equipment as error-free as possible. Because embedded computing, or computing that involves an encryption key inaccessible to the rest of the entire system, must be so airtight, you need elements that will protect you from more than just cybersecurity issues. In a world where technologically changes and improves every day, you need to make sure your equipment and computers are running as perfectly as possible.

What is Trusted Computing and Why Is It Important?

A computer is engineered to behave in expected ways.  Computer hardware and software implements will enforce those expected behaviors. Trusted computing can come in the form of any hardware and software, design, tool, algorithm, or any other component that ensures computing results. As you know, accuracy in real-time life- and mission-critical computing is a crucial element in your world. Lives depend on precision, and you can’t afford less than perfection with your computers. Imagine a few scenarios, if you will:

  • Timing issues and delays could occur, devastating a tactical network
  • A computer chain in multicore parallel processing can get out of sync
  • A computer bug can infiltrate the system and threaten the integrity of computers, thus threatening countless lives and missions. Trusted computing is a broad system of security that closes in on potential threats from all angles. It improves cyber defense, anti-tamper implements, precision networking, and more. It also ensures that no critical data or intellectual property (IP) will benefit U.S. enemies, should the hardware cross hands.

The Future of Trusted Computing

With the ATMS program, you can expect to see increased availability of COTS microelectronics. These products will perform with reliability and precision for military mission lifetimes. Military leaders are hoping to make COTS ASICs, systems-on-chip, and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) with trusted computing enhancements to defense flexibility, increased performance, and less need for unique DOD systems. Air Force researchers are also developing new microelectronics test and measurement technologies to verify the assurance of key systems. These components include embedded ASIC structures for post-fabrication analysis, high-volume technologies to limit supply chain risk, non-destructive test techniques, low-cost evaluation techniques, and fusion technologies to capitalize on several data sets. So, we can also expect some new designs and manufacturing for trusted computing radiation-hardened electronics in next-generation strategic systems.

Research is still clearly in development and the ATMS is working towards ensuring the availability of trusted computing products. However,  the future looks bright for tightening up defense technology. For any more questions about trusted computing and what that means for your company, contact us today.