Navy picks open-systems avionics flight computers from General Dynamics for combat jets

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Navy avionics experts needed replacement and repair of flight computers for the Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, and AV-8B Harrier strike fighter and electronic warfare combat jets. They found their solution from the General Dynamics Corp. Mission Systems segment in Bloomington, Minn.

Navy picks open-systems avionics flight computers from General Dynamics for combat jets
Navy picks open-systems avionics flight computers from General Dynamics for combat jets
PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Navy avionics experts needed replacement and repair of flight computers for the Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, and AV-8B Harrier strike fighter and electronic warfare combat jets. They found their solution from the General Dynamics Corp. Mission Systems segment in Bloomington, Minn.

The Naval Supply Weapon Systems Support activity in Philadelphia is awarding General Dynamics a five-year $17.3 million contract to repair, replace, and support Advanced Mission Computer (AMC) systems, which are considered mission critical to operations of these aircraft, Navy officials say.

The Navy is awarding the contract sole-source to General Dynamics. This is an urgent requirement and only General Dynamics was asked to bid on the contract, as the company is the manufacturer of the AMC flight computers for these aircraft.

This contract includes a five-year base period and one five-year optional period, which if exercised, will bring the contract value to $36.3 million, Navy officials say.

General Dynamics designs and builds the Type 3 AMC for the Super Hornet and Growler aircraft, as well as The Mission Systems Computer (MSC) for the AV-8B Harrier jump jet.

Related: EA-18G designers blend new and existing technology for new electronic warfare jet

The AMC is a rugged embedded computer that performs general-purpose, I/O, video, voice, and graphics processing. Communication is over several buses, including 1553, Fibre Optic Fibre Channel, and Local PCI.

Single-board computers and other modules in the AMC fit in an industry standard 6U VME backplane, and the I/O configuration may be tailored with PMC mezzanine card (PMC) modules. An Ethernet interface supports software development and system maintenance.

The AMC's core system software (CSS) is a real-time operating system with embedded system software, application program interface, and diagnostic software set for the AMC. The computer's I/O includes MIL-STD-1553 drivers, Fibre Channel drivers, VMEbus drivers, and discrete and serial I/O drivers.

The AV-8B's mission computer is a VME-based processing system based on the Freescale Power-PC open-systems processor architecture. The mission computer can control mission computers and displays, digital maps, network processors, and servers.

Related: General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems wins $31 million Navy F/A-18 mission computer contract

General Dynamics, in a separate Navy contract, also is upgrading the MSC in the AV-8B with industry-standard interfaces that meet guidelines of the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE), by providing the MSC with a FACE interface structure running on top of the system's existing Wind River Systems VxWorks 5.5-based core systems software.

Navy avionics experts are ordering the FACE software upgrades to the Harrier's mission computer to enable the AV-8B's avionics to implement the required area navigation (RNP) and required navigation performance (RNAV) application.

The FACE technical standard, administered by the FACE industry consortium, providing guidelines for creating a common operating environment to support applications across U.S. military avionics systems. The standard helps enable developers to create and deploy applications across many military aviation systems through a common operating environment.

On the flight computer upgrade contract, General Dynamics will do the work in Bloomington, Minn., and should be finished by April 2023. For more information contact General Dynamics Mission Systems online at https://gdmissionsystems.com, or the Naval Supply Weapon Systems Support activity at www.navsup.navy.mil.

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