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Hardware Open Systems Technologies (HOST) Conformance Tool



TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform, Electronics, Information Systems

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: Joint Strike Fighter F-35 Lightning II Program

OBJECTIVE: Develop an innovative conformance test tool which will support and add automation to the verification of hardware conformance to the HOST Standards for form factor and functionality that is implemented either in hardware or firmware (i.e. part of the software architecture).

DESCRIPTION: Hardware Open Systems Technologies (HOST) [1, 2] is an Open Systems Architecture (OSA) which defines virtual and physical interfaces to hardware such that interoperability and reuse of hardware components can be realized. The HOST standards leverage commercial technology combined with form factor such as the VITA Standards Organization’s OpenVPX 6U standard [3, 4, 5]. In this example the OpenVPX standard allows flexibility such that vendor lock can still be accomplished. HOST constrains the use of the OpenVPX standard such that vendor lock is preventable. The intent of HOST is to establish performance and interface requirements that are open, enforceable, and testable. As diminishing supplies and obsolescence become more impactful, HOST will facilitate addressing obsolescence and diminishing supplies as well as capability growth from new and/or evolving requirements.

In order for HOST to enforce hardware interoperability, the interface requirements must be testable, both physically and logically. Currently there is no method other than a visual inspection, requirement by requirement, to assess conformance. For the purposes of this paper, visual means to read HOST requirements and search the hardware components supporting documentation to determine if the requirement is met. This process is both labor intensive and subject to errors, not to mention, not a true logical and physical interface verification. To make conformance testing more effective and less labor intensive, new methodologies to test hardware components must be developed to assess claims of component conformance and interoperability (both physically and logically).

Innovations, new methodologies and tools are required to facilitate testing so that conformance assessments can be accomplished in a cost effective manner which avoids barriers to entry for hardware suppliers. The objective of this topic is to obtain hardware/software solutions which will automate the verification testing of HOST hardware components. For the purposes of this topic, automated test refers to a combination of software and hardware which work to execute testing, report test findings and perform comparisons with the requirements in the standard as well as previous tests in a manner that minimizes human interaction [6, 7, 8]. The test tool should address form, function and electrical/mechanical interfacing of candidate HOST computer components as well as test for HOST-System Software functionality. The solution should be capable of testing OpenVPX 6U and 3U computer hardware to determine their adherence to the HOST requirements.

PHASE I: Determine project feasibility for the development of a HOST Conformance Tool. Based on industry VITA standards for OpenVPX and HOST Tier 1 and 2 standards, determine the areas of hardware conformance that are candidates for test automation. The HOST Tier 1 and Tier 2 requirements should be evaluated individually to determine on a per requirement basis which requirements can be automated for test. Determine an innovative approach to develop the tools to test the selected requirements and verify the feasibility / efficacy of the proposed approach. Document the findings and potential test tool architecture along with design decisions. Document the requirements where test cannot be automated and recommend other verification methods for each requirement.

PHASE II: Mature the test tool design and build prototype. Demonstrate a test tool capable of testing components. The form factor will be determined collaboratively with the government to determine if 6u or 3U or both are the targeted form factor.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The conformance tool should be matured and vetted such that it produces reliable results and can be relied on to output viable conformance test results. Coordination with PEO JSF to foster adoption and standardization of the HOST Conformance tool through development and test of the JSF mission computer obsolescence upgrade is required. Industry collaboration is highly recommended. Final result is a tool that can be utilized to test the HOST conformance of upgrades for the JSF mission computer that is accepted for use by the Navy and JSF platform integrators (industry). Private Sector Commercial Potential: This tool would be marketable to all HOST hardware developers and acquirers. It would likely also be valuable / applicable to those applying the standards which make up the HOST Tier II standard (e.g. OpenVPX). The work performed under this SBIR could set a new paradigm for future testing of other commercial hardware (and potentially software / firmware) standards for conformance.


  • Hardware Open Systems Technology – Tier 1 Version 1.0. (Uploaded in SITIS on 4/22/16.)
  • Hardware Open Systems Technology – Tier 2 Version 1.0. (Uploaded in SITIS on 4/22/16.)
  • OpenVPX Tutorial”:
  • ANSI/VITA 48.2, VPX REDI: Mechanical Specifications for Microcomputers Using Conduction Cooling Applied to VPX.
  • ANSI/VITA 65-2010 (R2012), OpenVPX Architectural Framework for VPX.
  • FACE Conformance Verification Matrix. (Uploaded in SITIS on 4/22/16.)
  • FACE Conformance Policy. (Uploaded in SITIS on 4/22/16.)
  • FACE Conformance Test Suite. (Uploaded in SITIS on 4/22/16.)
  • For Ref. 2, uploaded file 2 of 2 -- HOST Standard Tier 2 6U v1.0 PAO SOR (2016). (Uploaded in SITIS on 4/22/16.)

KEYWORDS: Test; Open Architecture; HOST; Hardware; conformance; OpenVPX

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