MOSA Has Momentum

February 26, 2021

MOSA Has Momentum

Published in New Electronics
Written by Paul Garnett

The last couple of years have seen the US and UK military adopt open architectures as the preferred alternative to custom and proprietary electronics technology designs. The Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) Initiative was first introduced in 1994 but, arguably, the real paradigm shift took place in 2019, when the U.S. DoD issued a memorandum mandating the use of the Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) for all weapons systems going forward and which was then made law, requiring all defence acquisition programs (MDAP) to be designed and developed using a MOSA.

According to the DoD, the use of MOSA solutions will “support a more rapid evolution of capabilities and technologies throughout the product life cycle through the use of architecture modularity, open systems standards, and appropriate business practices.” Among the MOSA-related open systems standards supported by COTS suppliers are the module, backplane, and chassis standards defined by the VITA trade association, including 3U and 6U form factor OpenVPX (VITA 65) board and backplanes, the C5ISR Modular Open Suite of Standards (CMOSS), and the Sensor Open System Architecture (SOSA), currently working towards its rev. 1 release, sometime this year.

The move to MOSA is driven by the fact that each new capability or function that’s added to a platform is a complete system with its own subsystems, the duplication of physical and logical components increases complexity and costs. It’s an unsustainable approach, especially as platforms and budgets continue to shrink in size.

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Paul Garnett

Paul Garnett

Systems Architect

Paul Garnett is the System Architect in the UK Systems Engineering team at Curtiss-Wright. His 30 year career in electronics has encompassed design and architecture of SBCs, fault-tolerant computers, rugged embedded systems for MIL/Aero, high speed data acquisition and FPGA signal processing. Paul is a graduate of Imperial College, London with a Master's degree in Computer Science. He holds 73 US patents.

Modular Open Systems Approach

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

  • Seamless Sharing across Domains and Machines
  • Rapid Innovation and Integration
  • Vendor Independence and Reduced Obsolescence
  • LifeCycle Supportability
  • Minimized SWaP

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.