Army uses open standards for helicopter avionics

U.S. Army officials-in an effort to keep costs down and, at the same time, integrate commercial hardware and software technology-worked with Rockwell Collins engineers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to develop the Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS), which is implemented through open standards on hardware and software. The program is still in use today across the whole Army helicopter fleet.

About 15 years ago, government systems at Rockwell Collins had an open system architecture initiative on the commercial side to develop avionics more rapidly regarding capability enhancements, says Dan Toy, principal marketing manager in the mobility and rotary wing business area at Rockwell Collins. "We made that decision together with the commercial side of the business."

For the government side, we initially branded it for an upgrade to the Air Force KC-135 GATM program, Toy continues. "We then brought it to the U.S. Army special operations MH-47 Chinook and MH-60L Black Hawk helicopters and that became CAAS.

"We built CAAS around a large number of open standards, such as a Compact PCI in hardware systems," Toy says. "The whole reason we went to open standards was to leverage larger technology being used across the world" and help manage obsolescence, he adds.

"We look at the entire market, then roadmap technology such as microprocessors, watching how they evolve, Toy says. "We don't look at just single vendors, such as Intel or Freescale. We try to find the best in class, watch them mature, and decide the best time to do a technology insertion."

Rockwell Collins is currently managing avionics upgrades on the CH-47F and MH-47G Chinook Special Operations helicopters through CAAS, with new digital flight controls, displays, and other avionics, says Boe Svatek, programs manager for advanced rotorcraft programs. The CH-47F program with CAAS will keep the aircraft flying until 2030.

The company's multifunctional display (MFD) 268 is used across all CAAS systems today and implemented on the Chinook 47, Svatek says.

The Software Configurable Digital Air Data Computer on the MH47 is from Curtiss-Wright Controls in Charlotte, N.C., says Chris Thompson, vice president of sales for Curtiss Wright Controls Integrated Sensing. It is designed so that the operator can load in software applicable for a particular helicopter, so it can work with several helicopters, he adds.

Click to Enlarge
The CH-47F cockpit's avionics were developed with the Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS).

"We are adding a lot of capability to the Chinook," Svatek says. It is being upgraded through a multi-year procurement strategy, which locks in configuration early on so the taxpayer can benefit from consistency.

"The beauty of the Chinook is that it got a new life, almost like it was a brand new platform" because of CAAS, Svatek says. "It's a model program."

"Traditionally, the military industrial complex developed all the standards," but CAAS enables the use of commercially available processors, Compact PCI, Ethernet, and standard software systems such as POSIX, Toy says. These solutions enable greater efficiency and more affordable products, he adds.

"We predominantly use the [LynuxWorks] LynxOS-178 real-time operating system (RTOS), as it was part of our initial designs," Svatek says. "Our people went through the entire RTOS and refined it to be certified to DO-178B."

That said, "we could host VxWorks from Wind River Systems in Alameda, Calif., or any similar system," Svatek adds.

Army officials did develop the capability to create their own software and integrate it into the CAAS system, but in the long run found that leveraging commercial technology and standards across several helicopters is very effective, Toy says.

More Military & Aerospace Electronics Current Issue Articles
More Military & Aerospace Electronics Archives Issue Articles


Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:


  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles


Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:


  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

XCalibur1645 | Freescale Eight-Core P4080 Processor-Based Conduction-Cooled 6U VPX Module

The XCalibur1645 is a high-performance, 6U VPX, single board computer supporting Freescale QorIQ ...

Optical Switches

Multiport (N x M) Optical Switches from large core, multimode and Plastic Optical Fiber (POF) for...

NVIS Gooseneck Map Light

NVIS MIL-STD-3009 White Gooseneck Map Light. 0 to 100% brightness control. Tactile feedback and ...

XPedite7574 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI Module

The XPedite7574 is a high-performance, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the 5th genera...

NVIS White Post Light Cap Insert

Blue Wolf’s MIL-STD-3009 Post Light cap inserts are specifically designed for illuminating instru...

Dual Mode NVIS 4 Inch Pod Light

Blue Wolf’s new DUAL Mode NVIS 4 inch pod lights is fully rotatable thru 320 degrees, can be fixe...

XCalibur5090 | Dual Virtex-7 Based Digital Signal Processing 6U LRM FPGA with Quad 2500 MSPS DAC and 3200 MSPS ADC

The XCalibur5090 is a high-performance, reconfigurable, conduction-cooled 6U LRM module based on ...

NVIS White Utility Light

Blue Wolf’s NVIS MIL-STD-3009 Utility Lights is specifically designed for easy handling and spot ...

Round Dome Light - NVIS

Blue Wolf’s NVIS MIL-STD-3009 Dome light is designed for cabin illumination or cargo areas. It ha...

TELESIS® LASER MARKING MACHINES

Telesis offers a broad range of laser marking solutions. By working with all major laser marking ...

Related Companies

Blue Wolf

Blue Wolf has been designing Night Vision (NVIS) LED lighting products for Government and Commercial vehicles since 2...

LiquidCool Solutions

LiquidCool Solutions is a technology development firm with patents surrounding cooling electronics by total immersion...

Fibersense & Signals Inc

Develops and manufactures fiberoptic, optoelectronic, photonic and laser-related products for aerospace command and c...

TEN TECH LLC

Is a mechanical engineering consulting company headquartered in Los Angeles, CA with operations in Billerica, MA, pro...

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...

MiltechUK

Mil Spec EMC/NEMP/ filters and EMC product solutions for military applications.

Telesis Technologies Inc

Specializes in product identification and processing technologies. Provides a range of permanent and programmable DPS...

Southwest Antennas

Southwest Antennas designs and manufactures high-performance RF & Microwave antennas and accessories designed for tod...

ISVI Corp

ISVI designs, produces and sells machine-vision camera systems combining high-speed and high-resolution sensors with ...

Premier Polymers

Provides seamless epoxy flooring and industrial resinous coatings

Webcasts

Harsh Environment Protection for Advanced Electronics and Components

This webinar will offer an opportunity to learn more about ultra-thin Parylene conformal coatings – how they are applied, applications they protect today, and the properties and benefits they offer, includin...

New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

Press Releases

CURTISS-WRIGHT AWARDED CONTRACT BY SIERRA NEVADA CORPORATION

Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has received a contract from Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to supply its small form factor ...

Innovative Integration Announces the FMC-Servo

Camarillo, CA June 19, 2015, Innovative Integration, a trusted supplier of signal processing and data acquisition hardware and software solutions, today announced the FMC-S...

METADATA SUPPORT ENHANCES INDUSTRY-LEADING HD VIDEO MANAGEMENT SYSTEM FROM CURTISS-WRIGHT

Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has further enhanced its innovative VRD1 high definition (HD) video management system (VMS) w...

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

August 2015
Volume 26, Issue 8
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE