Open Standards Drive Flexibility in Defense System Designs

Microwaves & RF

Published in Microwaves & RF

Backed by broad support from government and industry, the release of SOSA Technical Standard 1.0 promises a new era of open standards-based system integration with flexibility and interoperability as its hallmarks.

What you’ll learn:

  • What is MOSA?
  • How SOSA and CMOSS are related to MOSA.
  • The elements of a SOSA Technical Standard-aligned system

The open-standards approach to defense electronics has made great strides in recent years. Helping to drive the accelerated adoption of open architectures, such as the OpenVPX module and backplane architecture overseen by the VITA trade association, is the Modular Open System Approach (MOSA) memo issued by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in January 2019. The memo, supported by the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, mandates that all new systems “shall be designed and developed, to the maximum extent practicable, with a modular open-system approach to enable incremental development and enhance competition, innovation, and interoperability.”  

Specific mandates for MOSA now reach down to the Program Executive Office (PEO) and Program Manager (PM) level, and requirements for and interest in MOSA solutions continues to grow rapidly. This mandate was also codified into law (Title 10 U.S.C. 2446a.(b), Sec 805), requiring all new defense acquisition programs to be designed and developed using MOSA.

MOSA Expectations and Compliant Standards

For designers of military sensor systems, the MOSA-aligned standard leverages modular design and widely supported, consensus-based, non-proprietary standards for key interfaces that are expected to:

  • Accelerate fielding of new capabilities
  • Reduce integration cost and risk
  • Streamline development
  • Simplify modernization and sustainment
  • Mitigate obsolescence challenges
  • Facilitate interoperability and reuse
  • Enable rapid composition of capabilities from conformant elements

Examples of open standards that satisfy the MOSA mandate and the services for which they’re most relevant include:

  • CMOSS: C5ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards
  • SOSA: The Open Group Sensor Open Systems Architecture (Fig. 1)
  • FACE: Future Airborne Capability Environment
  • HOST: Hardware Open Systems Technologies
  • MORA: Modular Open Radio Frequency Architecture
  • OMS/UCI: Open Mission Systems/Universal Command and Control Interface
  • VICTORY: Vehicular Integration for C4ISR/EW Interoperability

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