Blind Mating Connection for 19-inch Electronic Industries Alliance Racks in AEGIS Computing Infrastructure
Navy SBIR 2019.2 - Topic N192-102
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam -
Opens: May 31, 2019 - Closes: July 1, 2019 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Blind Mating Connection for 19-inch Electronic Industries Alliance Racks in AEGIS Computing Infrastructure


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Battlespace, Electronics, Sensors ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PEO IWS 1.0, AEGIS Program Office

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 3.5 of the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.


OBJECTIVE: Develop a universal blind mating connection compatible with the 19-inch Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) standard server rack that allows easy removal, replacement, and upgrading of rack mountable Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) computing system components.


DESCRIPTION: The AEGIS ship computing infrastructure equipment resides in a Mission Critical Enclosure (MCE) cabinet, which is similar to a commercial datacenter’s 19-inch EIA rack. The equipment is hand-wired inside the cabinet and is very difficult to remove. To remove a piece of equipment, the technician must manually disconnect each wire; and, when installing the equipment, must manually wire the new replacement. The current

process for a Technology Insertion (TI) upgrade on an AEGIS ship is to remove the computing cabinets by cutting a hole in the side of the ship and replacing the equipment with new computing cabinets. This increases the Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) for AEGIS computing equipment. The Blind Mating Connector (BMC) addresses the development of the Computing Infrastructure (CI) solutions across all Navy surface ships to reduce cost and accelerate the development, integration, and installation of the CI common components. The universal BMC will be a component of the overall process used to address the need to reduce the MTTR by 20%, reduce life cycle and upgrade costs by 50%, and the ability to upgrade the next TI equipment suite from the current schedule of 40 weeks down to 10 weeks.


The current BMC technology is based on the component manufacturer design to an open standard BMC design (Ex. OPEN19, Versa Module Europa (VME), Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture (ATCA), etc.) This method limits the Navy’s options to only manufacturers that have adopted the open standards. The Navy seeks a BMC technology that is universal to the COTS datacenter components used in the CI. It will open the choices for the Navy to all manufacturers. Currently there are some individual BMCs in the market for power and copper data connectors but AEGIS CI electronic components include a connection for a multimode fiber, single mode fiber, RJ45, Small Form-factor Pluggable (SFP), Quad SFP (QSFP), serial, USB, Audio, Display Port, HDMI, VGA, DVI, 115VAC, and 220VAC. The new BMC(s) will need to include all these connections and must be self-aligning.


The initial design of the BMC needs to take into account that the final product must pass the Environmental Quality Testing (EQT) referenced in the following documents: MIL-S-901D (Shock), MIL-STD-461 (EMI), MIL-STD-810 (Temperature), MIL-STD-167 (Vibration), MIL-STD-1399-300 (Power), DoD-STD-1399 (Ship Motion) which will be specified in Phase II.


The BMC must be component independent and able to accommodate all types of computing system connections needed in the AEGIS CI including, but not limited to, power, network (fiber and copper), USB, serial, video, and audio type. One portion of the BMC will reside in the back of a 19-inch EIA standard server rack while the other half will be attached to the back of the 19-inch rack mountable COTS component, similar to COTS components found in a commercial datacenter, to allow for easy removal and replacement. The AEGIS CI computing components include 1U servers, 3U servers, Ethernet SFP based switches (copper and fiber), storage devices, and power control devices. While the width of the components is a standard 19-inch, the depths vary from approximately 14 inches to a maximum of 22 inches. The BMC needs to be adaptable in order to accommodate different component depths and designs of the AEGIS CI with minimal change to the footprint of the component. It would be ideal to have one BMC design to accommodate all the different COTS components, which would allow a technician to interchange components within the rack with minimal rewiring.


The Phase II effort will likely require secure access, and NAVSEA will process the DD254 to support the contractor for personnel and facility certification for secure access. The Phase I effort will not require access to classified information. If need be, data of the same level of complexity as secured data will be provided to support Phase I work.


Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. Owned and Operated with no Foreign Influence as defined by DOD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been be implemented and approved by the Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this contract as set forth by DSS and NAVSEA in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advance phases of this contract.


PHASE I: Develop a concept for a universal BMC compatible with the 19-inch EIA standard server rack and computing system connections needed in the AEGIS CI. Demonstrate that the technology can feasibly meet the requirements of the Description. Demonstrate BMC feasibility through modeling. Develop a Phase II plan. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.

PHASE II: Produce, evaluate and deliver a prototype BMC compatible with the 19-inch EIA standard server rack and computing system connections needed in the AEGIS CI. Test the prototype in a Government-provided computing cabinet with Government-provided computing hardware. Demonstrate that the prototype meets all the requirements of the Description.


It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details).


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Navy in transitioning the technology to Navy use in the AEGIS CI. Deliver the technology, which will be installed on the associated components in Navy cabinets. Support the Navy with EQT testing and with the redesign of any failed BMC components.


Commercial Cloud and Web services datacenters can use the BMC design on their selected components, and achieve the rewards of reduced upgrade costs and increase datacenter availability, while improving their computing infrastructure capability and MTTR.



1.  "The Open19 Project.” 2017 OPEN19 Foundation. 30 January 2018.


2.   Luo, Kevin. “Blind mating supports energy system installation and maintenance.” Harting Technology, Newsletter, 30 January 2018. installation-and-maintenance


3.   Kangovi, Rakshan. “What equipment is needed to run a data center?” Quora, Oct 21 2017.


4.   MIL-S-901D, Shock Tests, H.I. (High-Impact) Shipboard Machinery, Equipment, and Systems, Requirements, 17 March 1989.


5.   MIL-STD-461G, Requirements for the Control of Electromagnetic Interference Characteristics of Subsystems and Equipment, 11 December 2015.


6.  MIL-STD-810G, Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests, 15 April 2009.


7.   MIL-STD-167-1A, Mechanical Vibrations of Shipboard Equipment (Type I- Environmental, and Type-II- Internally Excited), 02 November 2005.




9.   DOD STD-1399 Section 301A, DoD Interface Standard for Shipboard Systems, Section 301A, Ship Motion and Attitude, 21 July 1986.


KEYWORDS: Blind Mating Connector for Computers; 19-inch EIA Standard Server Rack; Datacenter Components; Self-aligning Computer Connectors; Optical fiber Connectors; SFP Connectors



Kanoko Esheim






William Pedler






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