NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.–The AV-8B Harrier jet and the C-130T transport aircraft are the first systems being developed to meet the Navy’s avionics software standards under the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) initiative, officials said April 7.
Launched in 2010 out of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), FACE seeks common technical standards for avionics software, which will make it reusable for multiple systems. The initiative moves naval aviation away from sole-source, proprietary software that can be expensive and reduce competition.
“We were spending the same kind of money over and over again on the same kind of thing–and we just couldn’t afford to do that anymore,” Capt. Tracy Barkhimer, air combat electronics program manager, said at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space exposition.
The avionics suites on the AV-8B and the C-130T will go through a verification process to ensure they meet FACE standards. Eventually, systems will also go through a conformance process to be added to the FACE software library. NAVAIR has previously described the library as an “app store for military avionics.” NAVAIR is working to determine the authority that will provide the conformance stamps to software that has been verified.
Barkhimer said no systems are under formal contract to conform to FACE, but she expects to see FACE transfer into the contracting process in the future.
While contractors make large profits off of proprietary software, FACE will give engineers the opportunity to build off of investments they’ve already made in development.
“They don’t want to be paid to reinvent the wheel,” Robert Matthews, avionics architecture integrated product team lead, said at the expo.