THE LAST WORD: Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium

June 27, 2012
THE LAST WORD. Industry and government join forces in the FACE Consortium to build standards and business models for the aviation community.

THE LAST WORD. Industry and government join forces in the FACE Consortium to build standards and business models for the aviation community.


Name: Kirk Avery

Title: Vice-chair, FACE Consortium’s Technical Working Group; chief software architect, Lockheed Martin

Co.: The Open Group

Role: A government and industry partnership and an aviation-focused professional group to define an open avionics environment for all military airborne platform types.


What is the purpose of the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium?

The charter 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. We couple the defining of that standard with the guidance of how to use the standard and the variability and thorough process of putting together this common operating environment.

How do avionics developers use the FACE Technical Standard?

The technical standard itself provides a computing environment that enables a product line for military aviation similar to what we have in industry, but expands on it for interoperability across the DOD. The FACE environment provides a set of segments within the standard, and areas of variance where platform specifics and things like that can be incorporated into the architecture. Those segments house the software components and the services that give the warfighter capabilities and provide the glue that brings those capabilities together to create the overall system.

Is the FACE Technical 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 existing standards that 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 that we really don’t have standards. The FACE Technical Standard really fixes that problem that we’ve had in the past. We’re now adapting our product lines to the FACE Technical Standard. From our perspective, we have to conform to an interface. We’ll fit into more systems if we conform to that standard.

How will the FACE Technical Standard benefit the end user?

From a technical perspective, we would like to focus on making our capabilities better for the warflighter. When we have those common interfaces, we’re able to instantiate them across the platforms that we as a company may own and also into platforms for the government. We also can focus on extending capabilities to the needs of today’s warfighters--essentially making that better mousetrap to be brought into the platforms and getting the warfighters what they need.

About the Author

Courtney Howard | Executive Editor

Courtney, as executive editor, enjoys writing about all things electronics and avionics in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence, the Avionics Europe conference, and much more. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics geek. Connect with Courtney at [email protected], @coho on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

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