Successful implementation of open systems standards for aviation systems requires a structural and cultural shift in how we establish requirements, fund programs and work across organization boundaries.
That was the key message the Army’s top aviation executive relayed to the more than 400 attendees at Army FACE and SOSA Technical Interchange Meeting, Sept. 14 at the Von Braun Center. The Program Executive Office for Aviation served as host organization for the event where a cross section of government industry and academia gathered to collaborate on efforts toward developing open systems across defense aviation platforms.
Brig. Gen. Rob Barrie, program executive officer for aviation, provided the keynote address for the daylong event and talked about the challenges of transforming business practices to an open systems approach for developing and fielding future aviation ecosystems.
“Changing the culture is the most important thing we must do,” Barrie said about the current platform based strategy for managing and sustaining the aviation portfolio.
He emphasized that Army aviation is moving away from individual, stove-piped acquisitions in favor of portfolio-targeted solutions that better optimize Army investments across the total aviation force.
“The challenge we have is that capability is developed in a very platform centric way. We are aligned from a resource perspective, from a requirements perspective, and then a material development perspective,” he said. “So, everything we’re doing inside PEO Aviation is trying to blow that up, where appropriate, inside platforms. Instead of having platform decisions made by a project manager that is specifically the best value and best approach for that platform, we want to take a step back and say can we make an investment in a platform, and then apply that investment across multiple platforms.”
Barrie told the audience that central to the successful development and implementation of a Modular Open Systems Approach and other open systems is the continuing interchange among all stakeholders.
“The beauty of a consortia like we have assembled here today is industry academia and government are able to collaborate,” he said. “People who know how this can succeed or fail, coming together, working through it and arriving at a path that can actually work. And the best way for these things to arrive at solutions is through that means.”
Barrie said while the Army has pursued the development of open architecture system standards in the past, it is now determined to enforce common standards and common software in a way it never has before.
“We are backed up now with policy and governance, and senior leader support that has not existed in the past. This is not just recognition that we need to do this at a low level, or a high level. They are both aligned and what we have now is momentum and energy towards solving this very critical problem,” he said.
During his remarks Barrie spent time discussing PEO Aviation’s open system initiatives. He described how the organization is changing its culture and how this is driving current and future efforts. Along with standing up a MOSA
transformation office, he highlighted current standards and open systems work in several areas across the PEO including software, sensors, and radios.
Acknowledging that getting to the desired state is not going to be easy, Barrie praised his team for the hard work and persistence to get to the current point and going forward.
“With this team and as we’re aligned across DOD, we will continue to pursue this very aggressively to the point where it will be in our source selection criteria. It will be something that we consider very early in programs. If we are not compliant with what we want to do with open systems approach, programs will get left behind,” he said.
Following Barrie’s address, technical presentations focused on the impact of open systems adoption for suppliers, integrators, end users and business representatives including MOSA implementation, products and tools certified to or aligned with the FACE technical standard, and the implementation or conceptual examples of SOSA products.
Additionally, attendees had the opportunity to visit more than 50 booths where multiple organizations provided demonstrations and displayed capabilities to showcase efforts in integrating software and hardware from different vendors into a cohesive system.