The U.S. Navy is canvassing industry interest in a program to demonstrate potential open avionics architectures for the planned Future Vertical Lift (FVL) advanced rotorcraft and F/A-XX next-generation air dominance fighter.
The idea is to establish prototype reference architectures at government laboratories using the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) technical standard for open, reusable software.
Developed by government and industry, FACE defines a common operating environment that enables software-based capabilities to be developed as modular components that are portable and reusable between platforms.
In addition to reducing development costs and timescales by enabling reuse of existing software modules, FACE is expected to cut costs by increasing competition for software components and allowing insertion of third-party applications.
The 50-member FACE Consortium, managed by the Open Group, has just released a second version of the technical standard with enhanced requirements for data exchange among software components to promote interoperability and portability.
Naval Air Systems Command, meanwhile, has released a solicitation to identify potential sources of a prototype FACE environment to be established in government laboratories at the Naval Air Warfare Center’s Aircraft Division at Patuxent River, Md., and Weapons Division at China Lake, Calif., as well as the Army’s Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center in Huntsville, Ala.
These laboratories will be used to validate, baseline and mature reference architectures using version 2.0 of the FACE technical standard with the goal of influencing the avionics architectures of future platforms including FVL and F/A-XX.
The prototype FACE environment will replicate a generic mission system using flight-representative hardware, and allow sensor packages and associated software to be plugged in.
Beginning in January 2014, industry would be able to bring new software components to the FACE laboratories for integration with the reference architecture, to enable demonstration and experimentation collaboratively with government programs.
The Navy and Army have embraced FACE, having so far included conformance with the technical standard in two requests for proposals, eight requests for information, two broad area announcements plus other solicitations, according to Open Group information.
The Navy’s Next Generation Jammer program and the Army’s Joint Multi Role Phase 2 mission-system demonstration are among procurements requiring FACE compliance. The first procurement to require conformance with FACE is’s $30.8 million upgrade for Navy C-130T cockpits.