By Paul Parkinson
In case you missed the news, the article ‘COTS for unmanned flights’ (Electronic Product Design, 22nd April 2008) describes how the nEUROn UCAV programme (Airforce Technology) has standardized on the VxWorks 653 RTOS.
nEUROn is a technology demonstrator programme involving five
European companies, which in itself is not unusual, but it does have a
significant objective – to demonstrate the maturity of technologies by
producing modular safety-critical avionics systems
running on COTS-based on-board computers. The development of avionics
systems for a UCAV are in some ways even more challenging than for a
military fast jet, given that it will provide a similar level of
capability, but yet has less Space, Weight and Power (SWaP)
available. This is one of the driving factors behind the ARINC 653
software architecture, enabling multiple applications to be hosted on a
common computing platform (see ‘ARINC 653 software weighs less‘ for background).