Original Date: 05/17/1993
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Conversion from Magnetic to Optical Media
Grumman Aircraft Corporation, under the EA-6B contract, has successfully converted the traditional disk drive media for automatic test benches on the Navy's EA-6B Prowler aircraft program to optical disk format. These system tests encompass digital, exciter, and transmitter tests. The original test program software was stored on ten megabyte magnetic disks used on the HP7906 Disc Drive which was then considered relatively fast, low cost, and supportable. However, as the system aged, the disk drives became more susceptible to head crashes and overall maintenance was considered a weakness. Reliability also appeared to be poor when compared to existing technology such as optical disk drives.
An optical disk program was chosen to address those shortcomings. An added advantage is the reduction of the physical storage space requirement by almost 30 to one compared to the magnetic media, which gives a definite advantage for carrier-based operations. With program conversion from magnetic media to optical media, much of the program editing can be done on a PC. Although the access speed was estimated to be slower for the optical disk system, field users had reported that the optical disk drive is fast enough for its application. The capacity of the optical drive system is almost 60 times that of the magnetic system. The media cost for the magnetic media was reduced from $8.00 per megabyte to $0.04 per megabyte for the optical media. The Crane Division-Naval Surface Warfare Center concluded that optical disk drive for program storage is a viable alternative for upgrading out-dated magnetic program media.
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