A major development toward the real-world application of open-systems architecture in avionics occurred March 7 when Harris Corp. [HRS] was verified compliant with the Future Airborne Capabilities Environment.
The Open Group, which oversees conformance to FACE standards, announced that both Rockwell Collins [COL] and Harris Corp. have obtained verification for software products.
Rockwell already verified its Mission Flight Management software in 2016. Harris recently passed muster with its FliteScience digital map software. To achieve FACE compliance, software must pass a test of general interoperability and have an underlying open architecture base that allows it to both work with an accept upgrades from non-proprietary sources.
The FACE Conformance Program defines the processes to verify, certify, and provide formal recognition that registered software conforms to the FACE technical standard. FACE seeks a computing and communication environment in which all military aircraft can seamlessly operate and share battlefield data.
“Through the FACE Conformance Program, buyers get reliable assurance of conformance to standards and best practices as well as increased confidence in portability and re-use,” according to the announcement. “Product value is increased since it also minimizes the need for independent conformance testing by the buyer, bid analysis is greatly simplified and procurement complexity reduced.”
Rockwell previously highlighted the importance of meeting the FACE standards for its flight management software.
"This is an important milestone for reducing system costs," said Heather Robertson, senior director of rotary wing solutions at Rockwell Collins. "Conforming to the FACE standard ensures that our Mission Flight Management Software product is architected to work across multiple avionics implementations, reducing test time and ultimately increasing rapid, affordable fielding of new and enhanced capabilities."
The FACE™ Conformance Program defines the processes to verify, certify, and provide formal recognition that registered software conforms to the FACE™ Technical Standard. Through the FACE™ Conformance Program, buyers get reliable assurance of conformance to standards and best practices as well as increased confidence in portability and re-use. Product value is increased since it also minimizes the need for independent conformance testing by the buyer, bid analysis is greatly simplified and procurement complexity reduced. All this, coupled with easier integration and faster time into the field, results in lower cost and risk than that normally associated with software procurement. Total Cost of Ownership is also reduced both at the outset and as the technology is inserted and refreshed throughout the life of the system or platform.
“Conformance activities ensure that our customers receive quality solutions that meet the growing need for common software architecture”, said Doug Williams, Chief Systems Engineer at Harris. “The standards established by the FACE™ Consortium are a significant step forward in open architecture initiatives.”
Two additional software products have recently completed the FACE verification process: the Army’s Reusable Radio Control Component (R2C2) software product and Wind River, for its VxWorks 653 Platform, a real-time COTS operating system
Wind River VxWorks 653 Platform is the first commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) product to achieve FACE certification.
“Now that we have trail blazed and have all the artifacts for this first commercial OS product, the work to complete the next versions shall roll-out much quicker,” said Stephen Simi for TES-SAVi. “Yes, the FACE Strategy is now open for business”.
“As a member of the FACE™ Consortium since the start, we are proud of the work that our Wind River team and the FACE™ membership has performed”, states Chip Downing, Senior Director of Aerospace and Defense at Wind River. “Successfully completing the FACE conformance verification tests launches a new era of rapid integration and deployment of global avionics software. This verification directly removes risk from programs building next generation systems”.
Steve Nunn, President and CEO, The Open Group, said, “The conformance certification of Rockwell Collins’ and Harris Corporation’s software products, as well as Wind River’s successful operating system verification, represent significant milestones in the industry’s approach to the procurement of software for avionics systems. Buyers can now procure based on vendors' warranting conformance to a standard arrived at through industry-government partnership. This will undoubtedly accelerate the adoption of the FACE™ Technical Standard, bringing benefits to buyers and vendors alike.”
The Air Force is hosting a Technical Interchange Meeting in Dayton, Ohio, on March 28.