Modular Open Systems Approach Solutions

Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) Solutions
Modular Open Systems Approach Solutions

Engineered for Seamless Integration

What is the Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) Directive?

On January 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) issued a memo, signed by the Secretaries of the Army, Air Force, and Navy, mandating the use of the Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA). The memo states that “MOSA supporting standards should be included in all requirements, programming and development activities for future weapon system modifications and new start development programs to the maximum extent possible.” In fact, this mandate for MOSA is even codified into a United States law (Title 10 U.S.C. 2446a.(b), Sec 805) that states all major defense acquisition programs (MDAP) are to be designed and developed using a MOSA open architecture.

The MOSA directive has accelerated the adoption of a variety of open standards, such as The Open Group Sensor Open Systems Architecture™ (SOSA) and the U.S. Army CCDC C5ISR Center’s C5ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards (CMOSS), that have been adopted by the three military branches.


The MOSA Imperative

Modular Open Systems Approach drives faster time to market, lower cost, increased software portability, technology innovation, and interoperability among systems across all defense domains. This Position Paper will guide you through why MOSA exists, its history and context, and why MOSA is ideally suited to creating the capabilities required to counter an uncertain and dangerous world of rapidly shifting threats.

Read the white paper
Trusted, Proven Solutions Based on MOSA Open Standards

Building on our years of experience and participation in the development of open standards, we design our range of semi-rugged to ultra-rugged solutions to bring the benefits of a Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) architecture to deployed ground, airborne, and naval platforms. Curtiss-Wright sets itself apart by leveraging proven components of our previously deployed, high-TRL designs and incorporating the latest rugged technology and cutting-edge capabilities. And, our hardware is manufactured through a trusted supply chain process and tested to the highest quality standards to minimize program risk.

Explore our solutions aligned to key standards influenced by the MOSA directive:

SOSA-aligned plug-in cards (PICs)
As a proud member of the SOSA Consortium, we offer a selection of SOSA-aligned PICs that includes processor, GPGPU, A-PNT timing, and networking cards.
CMOSS-aligned plug-in cards (PICs)
Our CMOSS-aligned PICs provide not only the benefits of MOSA, but the hardware foundation for next-generation defense capabilities, like machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).
SOSA, CMOSS, OMS/UCI system integration
Our system integration services leverage our CMOSS- and SOSA-aligned PICs and are available in both U.S.- and Europe-based facilities, making it easy for our customers to meet regional, ITAR, and USEO requirements.
SOSA system management
PacStar IQ-Core Software provides an intuitive user interface that makes communications setup and operation quick and easy.
Modular, small form factor systems
Our modular SFF systems are built with technologies aligned to common industry standards, such as COM Express, PCIe/104, mSATA, and Mini-PCIe, to provide the benefits of MOSA.
Modular communications solutions
MOSA-based SFF communications systems and PacStar IQ-Core Software to empower warfighters with capabilities that enable rapid response to current and future threats.
VICTORY solutions
Our VICTORY-ready solutions not only optimize SWaP, flexibility, and modularity in ground vehicle systems, but also ensure scalability and interoperability with legacy systems.
GVA solutions
Our GVA-ready solutions are engineered to optimize SWaP, flexibility, and modularity in ground vehicle systems while ensuring scalability and interoperability with legacy systems.
FACE-supporting hardware
Curtiss-Wright offers a broad range of modules and systems which have been demonstrated as hosts of FACE-conformant software applications and operating systems.

Explore the Standards

MOSA itself is not a technical standard, but an acquisition and design strategy that prioritizes the use of open standards-based technology.

C5ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards  

Enables hardware and software commonality between platforms and command posts.

Future Airborne Capability Environment  

Aims to standardize approaches to bring open standards solutions to avionics systems.


Defines common hardware and software for sensor processing systems.

Vehicle Integration for C4ISR/EW  

Promotes the use of open standard physical and logical interfaces between LRU systems.

Modular Open Radio Frequency Architecture  

Developed to offer new capabilities including reducing SWaP as well as interoperability functions.

Generic Vehicle Architecture  

Mandates the use of open, modular, and scalable architectures in the design of new and upgraded ground vehicles.

Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing  

Ensures accurate positioning, navigation, and timing information is delivered in GPS/GNSS-denied environments.

Your Essential Guide to MOSA

Introducing your essential guide to all things MOSA. This white paper explores the MOSA directive, its significance for defense technology, and MOSA-supporting standards like SOSA, CMOSS, VICTORY, GVA, FACE, and OMS/UCI.


Adopting a MOSA open architecture offers a wide range of benefits:

  • Seamless Sharing across Domains and Machines: Common standards enable seamless interplatform communications, sharing of information across all domains, and facilitation of JADC2
  • Rapid Innovation and Integration: Interoperability simplifies insertion and deployment of new or future technologies, as well as reconfigurability, portability, scalability, and reuse with little or no modification
  • Vendor Independence and Reduced Obsolescence: Moving away from proprietary interfaces increases the sources of supply and support, eliminating vendor lock-in and increasing vendor competition
  • LifeCycle Supportability: The ability to choose parts from multiple vendors lowers life cycle management risks and costs by increasingly availability and reducing required training
  • Minimized SWaP: Increased interoperability reduces the number of systems required to field new technology, which in turn eliminates clutter caused by redundant cabling and accessories

The Benefits of MOSA

Don't have time to read a full white paper? Our infographic breaks down what MOSA is, the benefits of MOSA, and which standards are considered MOSA aligned.

Leveraging MOSA for Modified COTS

Choosing a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware solution for your program reduces development time, cost, and risk, since the technology is commercially available and field proven. For certain programs, however, a COTS solution may meet a large portion of the requirements, save for a few unique specifications. In these situations, Modified COTS (MCOTS) services can deliver all the benefits of a COTS product while satisfying I/O and OS support requirements – without greatly extending timelines or adding significant NRE.