By Chip Downing
With the release of the Technical Standard for Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™), Edition 2.1, a standard of The Open Group, the FACE standardization momentum is gaining traction and now moving into “production” mode; ready for business and laying the foundation for next-generation avionics deployments. The FACE Technical Standard is a standard of standards, leveraging over 100 existing standards, including ARINC 653 and POSIX, to support four distinct profiles – Security, Minimum Safety, Extended Safety, and General Purpose. These profiles enable FACE deployment across a broad range of use cases.
Interoperability using a modular open systems architecture (MOSA) is an underlying foundation of the FACE environment. For example, software applications running on a mission computer in a helicopter platform could be re-used on other helicopters or even unmanned air systems. The FACE utilization model is similar to that of Android, where applications from multiple vendors can be used across multiple hardware and system platforms.
The FACE standard enables the military to gain efficiency by being able to rapidly integrate new software capabilities from a wide supplier ecosystem – at an affordable cost. The FACE approach will potentially save the government billions of dollars in the long run and will drive more capability to the war-fighter faster.
Membership in The Open Group FACE Consortium has now grown to over 80 organizations – including every large US defense prime contractor. In addition to FACE Technical Standard 2.1, the FACE Shared Data Model, FACE Conformance Test Policy, Conformance Test Suite, and the Conformance Verification Matrix and User’s Guide that are aligned with the FACE 2.1 Technical Standard were also published and available on the FACE website. These releases empower the US military to widely adopt the FACE approach, in both new and upgrade environments.
Wind River, a principal member of the FACE Consortium, continues to enhance our software platforms to enable the latest FACE standard support. One example is our VxWorks 653 real-time operating system (RTOS) for ARINC 653 time-and-space partitioned environments. This product is now used by over 180 customers, 330 program design wins, on over 70 global aircraft. We are bringing major enhancements to VxWorks 653 to support a mix of both ARINC 653 and POSIX applications for FACE solutions. Stay tuned for exciting news in early 2015!