What is SWaP-C?

In the world of aerospace and defense electronics, innovation is key to bringing to market new products that are optimized for today’s modern military. Today’s advanced vehicles and aircraft require equally modern solutions for improving efficiency and performance on the battlefield. 

One acronym that has become synonymous with this movement to improved efficiency and evaluating solutions is SWaP-C, referring to the size, weight, power and cost of a product. 


Military electronics optimized for size often feature a smaller footprint while continuing to deliver the necessary capabilities. As a design-build manufacturer, DSE often develops products based on a customer’s unique specifications. Our engineering team works within space constraints to ensure that all internal components are designed with size in mind. 

The VH4 video hub is just one example of a size optimization. With its miniature footprint of 6” x 6” x 1.13”, it packs powerful HD video processing and distribution in a small package. 


It’s no surprise that reducing the overall weight of a vehicle or aircraft by optimizing its internal components will have a positive impact on its performance. Electronics manufacturers leverage new materials and design processes to make products lighter. DSE typically uses milled aluminum for enclosures, which are inherently rigid but also give endless flexibility in design possibilities, act as a heat sink for dissipation of heat, and ultimately a customizable form factor for weight reductions. This approach often results in products coming in at nearly 50% of the weight limit outlined in client program specifications.  


When it comes to power, requirements often specify that products perform the necessary tasks while drawing minimum current. Operating with reduced power consumption is achieved through knowledgeable circuit design, component selection, and total system level efficiency.  These measures not only reduce total power draw but also reduce internal heat which increases the product’s expected lifespan. DSE’s engineering team leverage decades of experience building custom solutions to exceed customer specifications.


A new addition to the SWaP acronym, cost, is another factor to consider when evaluating a product. Optimizing for cost usually relies on the electronics provider standardizing common parts and driving down direct manufacturing costs, which can then allow savings to be passed to the customer. DSE applies this strategy, but also leverages its extensive library of subassemblies to reduce development costs.  


There are many factors to consider when choosing a product or a manufacturing partner, SWaP-C among them. To learn more about DSE’s 27+ years of experience engineering rugged electronics for the  aerospace and defense industry, contact our team at info@digitalsys.com.