Army considers new FACE 1.5-compatible avionics control display unit to consolidate voice and data radios

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 3 July 2012. U.S. Army leaders are debating the design of a next-generation helicopter avionics control display unit (CDU) that could integrate control of most, if not all, voice and data tactical radios into one control and display device, and meet guidelines of the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) version 1.5 standard. A CDU typically consolidates control of communications, as well of navigation, weapons, and defensive aids.

Officials of the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is sending out feelers to industry on behalf of the Army to obtain information on aviation-qualified CDU that could blend control of all voice and data tactical radios.

AMRDEC officials released a request for information (W31P4Q-12-R-0840) last week for a CDU replacement. They caution that they are conducting a market survey at this stage, and are not releasing a request for proposals.

The Army's program manager for aviation mission equipment (PM AME) is looking for mature, aviation-qualified CDUs that could integrate voice and data tactical radios across the Army's bused and non-bused manned helicopter fleet.

AMRDEC want to capitalized on existing technology to facilitate a rapid integration of a modern CDU for Army helicopters and possibly fixed-wing aircraft. The CDU needs to be software configurable so that the government can host its own software, as well as support two MIL-STD-1553 interfaces, two Ethernet interfaces, and two serial RS-422 interfaces.

Such a CDU also must be able to work with night-vision goggles and other night-vision equipment, and have qualification documentation to support airworthiness qualifications.

CDU hardware should include processor, memory, and nonvolatile data storage; communications control interfaces; support 28-volt DC power; measure 5.75 inches wide, 3.4 inches high, and 12 inches deep; have a nigh-vision type 1, green A compatible screen; meet MIL-STD-810 and MIL-STD-461; operate in temperatures from -40 to 71 degrees Celsius; operate to altitudes as high as 20,000 feet.

CDU software should be able to host Army and 3rd party applications, per the AMRDEC Software Engineering Directorate (SED) developed Reusable Radio Control Component (R2C2) which is a C++ application that provides configuration and control of radio devices.

The CDU also should provide a software-programmable general-purpose computing environment; have enough processing power and RAM to run a real time operating system (RTOS) and host third-party software applications. Army officials recommend 64 megabytes RAM, and at least a Pentium III microprocessor able to process 500 million instructions per second.

The CDU's real-time software should be certified to DO-178B Level B for flight software airworthiness; Green Hills Integrity, LynuxWorks LynxOS, and Wind River VxWorks are examples.

Army officials will review and approve submissions based on the criteria of Open Systems Architecture (OSA). The system objective requirement is to conform with the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) version 1.5 standard, and responses that include a FACE task are be favored over those that do not. The Army prefers solutions that leverage COTS technologies wherever practical.

Companies interested should respond no later than 15 July 2012 by e-mail to the Army's Rachel Jackson at For questions or concerns phone the Army's Terrance Jennings at 256-876-1785.

More information is online at

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