Open Systems Architecture Puts Six Bombs on Target

Naval Air Warfare Center-China Lake
1 Administration Circle
China Lake, CA 93555-6100
December 17, 1998
Contact: Ralph Lachenmaier, Project Manager
(760) 939-7832

On November 18 the Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC)-China Lake and the Boeing Company conducted a flight demonstration at China Lake culminating the nine month Open Systems Avionics Technology II (OSAT II) project. The purpose of the demonstration was to investigate the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) for suitability in open-architecture avionics applications.

The OSAT II project, funded by the DoD Open Systems-Joint Task Force, was performed jointly by Boeing and NAWC-China Lake. Boeing developed the open architecture mission computer system in its St. Louis laboratories, and NAWC-China Lake integrated it into one of its AV-8B aircraft and conducted the flight demo nstration on its Baker range. This effort emphasizes the application of an emerging commercial software technology, real-time object request brokers, to military aircraft avionics. The commercial off-the- shelf mission computer contains two PowerPC processor cards on a VME 64 backplane. The object request broker (ORB) resides between the commercial operating system and the application software components. The ORB manages the data communication between elements of the flight software across multiple processors; relieving software developers of low level distributed processing complexities.

The demonstration scenario entailed a pilot-commanded simulated fault of processor #2, performed in the midst of a bombing dive, seconds before weapon release. In both bombing runs of this nature, the pilot, USMC Maj. Gary Munroe, reported a smooth transition between computers with no visible stwitch the Head Up Display (HUD) as the fault was inserted. Both Mk76 practice bombs hit the target. This means that the ORB recognized the loss of processor # 2 and shifted all processing to #1 within a single 20 Hz frame, with no loss of data or performance. This was the first flight test of this real-time ORB, and constitutes an important step toward adopting ORB technology to systems with hard real-time constraints.

Four other bombing runs were made in steady state conditions, with either one or two processors active. All six total runs were scored as hits under standard fleet criteria. The application software consisted of a mix of C++ and Ada 95 components, drawn from last year's OSAT-I demonstration and from the AV-8B OSCAR program.

The ORB utilized for OSAT-II was developed by the Distributed Object Computing (DOC) Group, in cooperation with Boeing and other sponsors. Boeing intends to apply the technology in planned updates of the mission computers of both the F-15 and F/A-18 under the Bold Stroke advanced avionics initiative. Also, the findings of the demonstration will directly feed the development of an emerging set of real-time extensions to the commercial industry standard for ORBs, the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA).

Target Publications:

Military and Aerospace Electronics
Defense Electronics
EE Times
Defense News
Janes Defense Weekly
Aviation Week and Space Technology

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Last modified 11:34:24 CDT 28 September 2006