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Aircraft Mission Planning Equipment (MPE) Obsolescence


OBJECTIVE: Develop an innovative open systems architecture approach to address mission planning data transfer device (DTD) performance/storage obsolescence needs for aircraft. The solution should address life cycle requirements across all DOD aircraft systems. DESCRIPTION: The current aircraft Data Transfer Device (DTD) technologies (e.g. tape drives and tape cartridges) are rapidly becoming unavailable on the commercial marketplace. Many DTDs and their associated interfaces are based on twenty year old commercial Personal Computer (PC) standards that are no longer supported. Unfortunately, this is what is currently used in our military aircraft today for transferring information from the mission planning systems to the aircraft. Many of these DTDs are proprietary devices with no government data rights, and the commercial companies that sell them are fewer and fewer. This presents a major challenge whenever there is an aircraft or mission planning computer change. There is no insight into the device or device interface to incorporate the corresponding changes. Replacing current DTD technology also represents a huge developmental challenge. The options to the DOD are first to either replace the device readers in the aircraft with a current digital architecture, or second, develop a digital replacement for the analog DTD e.g. tape cartridges. Digital replacements will need to appear to the readers and writers as though they are tapes/cartridges, but are in fact ruggedized, digital devices with modern features and protections (e.g. encryption, zeroizable, Information Assurance, anti-tamper). The cost to do the former is absurdly high, because the cost to modify each aircraft is high, and there are many aircraft models with different DTDs and many different aircraft models. While this development will clearly be beneficial to Air Force systems, there are other legacy systems in the commercial space which also rely on the same and similar tape systems which would benefit from the development. All US Air Force platforms are currently affected and their status is being briefed at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Commander"s level. This effort will have the most impact if the project does not just develop a digital solution with advanced features that can"t be replicated in legacy-based systems, but also establishes an open standard for how such systems would interface to legacy systems. This will enable the same basic flexible solution to be adopted across the fleets of various aircraft models. PHASE I: Investigate options for a new technology developing proposing new standard for digital, removable, ruggedized, plug compatible, upgradeable system with higher capacities than current systems and has the ability to address additional"digital only"features. Specific features to be added will be addressed in the investigation, but might include on-cartridge encryption and fast zeroize feature. PHASE II: Design and develop a non-proprietary open-standards architecture for DOD legacy fighter/bomber/transport aircraft Mission Planning Equipment subsystems, DTDs, and interfaces. Demonstrate a solution applicable for two different DTDs for two different military aircraft, selected jointly with the Government. If new standards are required, those standards need to be open. PHASE III: Flight qualify a solution applicable for each aircraft/DTD selected. REFERENCES: 1. 2. 3. & hl=en & tbo=u & tbm=isch & source=univ & sa=X & ei=Yhm3UPb0C-3iyAHeiYC4DQ & ved=0CEsQsAQ & biw=1280 & bih=615
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