Industry and government join forces in the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium, a managed consortia of The Open Group, to build standards and business models for the aviation community.
What is the purpose of the FACE Consortium?
It is comprised of a Business Working Group and Technical Working Group. The Business Working Group is developing, implementing, and communicating industry-government business models that incorporate the FACE vision and mission, and is defining necessary changes in the acquisition process to enable government to procure common components across multiple systems. The objective of the Technical Working group is to bring about a technical standard that defines a common operating environment and supports portability and reuse of software capabilities and services across U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) aviation systems.
How do avionics developers use the FACE Technical Standard?
The technical standard provides the reference architecture for a common operating environment that enables a product line for military aviation similar to industry product lines, but expanding it for interoperability across the DOD. The FACE environment is divided into a set of segments or areas of variance where platform specifics can be incorporated into the architecture. Those segments house the software components and services that bring the warfighter capabilities and interface through standardized interfaces for the glue that brings those capabilities together to create the overall system.
Is the FACE standard a radical departure from current standards?
We didn't invent standards where they already exist. We really took it upon ourselves to make sure that we used the standards we all use today where they existed and used the FACE Technical Standard to normalize those interfaces for portability purposes, as well as filled the gaps between areas for which we really don't have standards for today. From an industry perspective, many of us in the industry have already made the standard part of our forward plan. Today, we don't have a standard addressing all our portability needs; we implemented our interfaces based on what makes sense for our platforms and our reuse strategies from a company perspective. The FACE Technical Standard fixes that problem we've had in the past. We're now adapting our product lines to the FACE Technical Standard. Our products will fit into more systems if we conform to the standard.
How will it benefit the end user?
From a technical perspective, we would like to focus on making our capabilities better for the warfighter. When we have common interfaces, we're able to instantiate more capabilities into our company and other DOD platforms in an affordable fashion. We also can focus on extending these capabilities to the needs of today's warfighters, making that better mousetrap and getting warfighters what they need more affordably.
Name: Kirk Avery
Title: Vice-chair, FACE Consortium's Technical Working Group; chief soft- ware architect, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors Ship and Aviation Systems
Co.: The Open Group