Press Releases

SanDisk And Targa Equip U.S. Military Helicopters, Jet Fighters And Bombers With Flash Memory Cards

Oct 16, 2001

Rugged Cards Store More Critical Mission Data
Flash Replaces Other Storage Technologies In Military Applications

SUNNYVALE, CA, Oct. 16, 2001 - SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK) and Targa Electronics Systems, Inc., announced today that Targa storage systems equipped with SanDisk flash memory cards are being used on a growing number of U.S. military helicopters, jet fighter planes and bombers. More than 20 types of aircraft, including the B-2 Stealth Bomber, NATO AWACS, C-5 Galaxy, F-15 and F-16 now fly with the storage systems and flash cards.

SanDisk has been supplying Targa, a leader in providing ruggedized data storage solutions to the military and aerospace markets, with standard, industrial grade Type II flash memory PC cards for many years and more recently started shipping smaller-sized SanDisk industrial CompactFlash™ (CF™) cards to Targa. Removable SanDisk PC cards primarily are integrated into Targa Data Transfer Units (about the size of a video cassette) that are installed in the cockpits of the aircraft.

Joseph Fronsee, Targa's vice president of sales and marketing, said, "SanDisk's solid-state (no moving parts) flash cards are exactly what we need for these harsh and rugged applications where our storage systems store mission data, boot-up programs, area maps, video imagery and other data that is classified. We use only SanDisk industrial grade flash cards so we can meet the temperature requirements of these systems."

He added, "These SanDisk cards are small and compact enough to fit into our systems. And they are very advantageous because they have an industrial standard interconnect. You can take out the cards and plug them into virtually any ground station or laptop and analyze the data on the card. Before flash cards were installed, we mainly used large, cumbersome cartridges with CMOS RAM technology with battery backup. Flash cards are a much better way to go. Because the cost of flash has come down so much, it also has enabled new applications such as the HUMS (health and usage monitoring systems) now used frequently on helicopters."

Those monitoring products essentially are maintenance prediction systems that record the wear and tear taking place on the aircraft. They are equipped with advanced software, temperature, vibration and strain sensors and SanDisk PC flash cards with capacities up to 256 megabytes that capture and store all the data being collected.

The CF cards are employed in a Targa data cartridge product used in air combat training flights. The cartridges are housed in a pod under the wing where they collect flight data that is later downloaded via the removable cartridge and analyzed. SanDisk PC cards also fly on the B-2 bomber where they replaced optical disks. Fronsee said that "the disks were not nearly as tolerant to heat, cold and vibration as are the flash cards."

Mitch Cohen, SanDisk's vice president for industrial products, said, "Our industrial grade flash cards meet very rigorous standards for ruggedness, reliability and operation in extreme temperatures. Targa is a valuable ally for SanDisk because they have been involved in important military and aerospace programs since 1981. We are delighted that they selected SanDisk as the exclusive supplier of their flash cards."

David Saunders, Targa's vice president of engineering and program management, said, "Over the years, we have selected a few flash cards from other companies and compared them with SanDisk cards. We were able to destroy the other cards with a little testing but the SanDisk cards continued to work. One of our customers subjected the SanDisk cards to the most rigorous temperature and vibration stress that its testing equipment would generate including taking it down to -70 Celsius and up to +120 Celsius. They were unable to break the SanDisk cards, and they passed all the tests."

He also noted that "in our business, we carefully assess the lifetime cost of ownership. You can try to get the lowest priced flash card to save a few dollars and end up spending thousands of dollars with product failures and recalls. SanDisk is the best of the breed in the quality of its products, yet it is competitively priced."

Targa, headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, is a world leader in providing solid-state data storage solutions for military and aerospace applications.

SanDisk, the world's largest supplier of flash data storage products, designs, manufactures and markets industry-standard, solid-state data, digital imaging and audio storage products using its patented, high density flash memory and controller technology. SanDisk is based in Sunnyvale, CA.

The matters discussed in this news release contain forward looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties as described under the caption, "Factors That May Affect Future Results" in the company's annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The companies assume no obligation to update the information in this release.

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