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Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Compliant ALE-47 Operational Flight Program Software Application


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Info Systems, Electronics 

OBJECTIVE: Develop a Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) compliant ALE-47 Operational Flight Program (OFP) software application. 

DESCRIPTION: The AN/ALE-47 Operational Flight Program (OFP) currently is hosted on two different embedded processors: the 1750A and the PowerPC (PPC). The AN/ALE-47 OFP is the “operating system” for the countermeasures dispensing system and is predominately written in Ada with some low-level C and machine level boot loader functions. The two variants of processors necessitate two separate OFPs in support of developing fleet software. The United States military services have increasingly become interested in hosting the AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispenser System (CMDS) functionality in other Aircraft Survivability Equipment (ASE). The current plan is to host the AN/ALE-47 CMDS functionality within the AN/AAQ-45 Distributed Aperture Infrared Countermeasures (DAIRCM) system as part of its Program of Record (POR). This effort will require porting the Power PC OPF to an Intel i7 or XEON processor. Development of a Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) compliant AN/ALE-47 OFP design will prepare the U.S. Navy (USN) and other services to provide a cost-effective CMDS solution that reduces cost and improves CMDS performance in key areas (e.g., latency between other warning and countermeasures systems). For example, the current system specification allows for 120 milliseconds (ms) between discrete initiation and the dispense event, where it is expected that this latency will be reduced by 50%. Cost reductions will result from having a single code base for the FACE compliant application that incorporates the CMDS functionality. The actual cost savings will depend on the number of systems that incorporate this capability This project will address all of the FACE Architectural Segments (i.e., abstraction layers) including the Operating System Segment (the operating system, file system, drivers, etc.), the Input/Output (I/O) Services Segment (i.e., interfaces and hardware control), and the Transport Services Segment (i.e., data transport and data conversion). There are plans to host the ALE-47 OFP application on other processors as part of integrated Aircraft Survivability Equipment (iASE) initiatives. The development of a FACE compliant version of the ALE-47 OFP will assist in future iASE application development efforts. 

PHASE I: Perform detailed analysis of the current AN/ALE-47 OFP and determine the complexity and path forward in developing a Portable FACE Application (usable across other FACE-compliant systems and systems that are built using the Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA)) with CMDS functionality equal to or exceeding the current functionality of the AN/ALE-47 CMDS. Analysis will include the feasibility of maintaining as much of the current OFP code base while also moving to FACE compliant abstraction layers (e.g., Operating System, Input/Output and Transport Interface). Identify methodologies and metrics that can be used to reduce latency by employing Data Distribution Service (DDS) technology. Once the analysis is complete, implement a subset of the CMDS functionality and demonstrate interface communication (e.g., programmer to sequencer). The Phase I effort will include the development of prototype plans for Phase II. 

PHASE II: Complete the (1) identification of a target hardware environment, (2) implementation of the FACE compliant test environment, development of the Portable FACE-compliant CMDS Application, and (3) system performance testing. Develop a prototype system that is capable of hosting the CMDS Application, provides the means to evaluate the performance and level of compliance of the FACE components, and meets or exceeds the current system performance specification for the AN/ALE-47 as identified in the AN/ALE-47 System Specification. Produce Generation of System Performance Specifications, Software Design Documents, and other documentation associated with the Software Development along with a technology transition plan in order for the Government to maintain organic support of the CMDS OFP and Mission Data File (MDF) fleet products. 

PHASE III: Perform final testing and verification of the system and transition to PMA 272 for official use in DAIRCM, Airborne Tactical Data System (ATDS), or Information Assurance Support Environment (iASE) applications. FACE Compliant OFP could be used in CMDS Simulation Tools and/or commercial sales of CMDS technology. 


1: "Documents and Tools." Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE).

2:  FACE 101. The Open Group.

3:  3. "TM Technical Standard Edition 2.1." Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE), 2014.

KEYWORDS: FACE Compliant; Interoperable; Reuse; Open Standards; MOSA; Countermeasures Dispenser System (CMDS) 


Robert Burkhart 

(904) 317-1759 

Glenn Marshall 

(301) 342-6735 

Carla Benavides 

(904) 317-1923 

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