SOSA Briefing Outlines Future Defense Sensor System Architectures

Avionics International

Published in Avionics International 
Article written by Woodrow Bellamy III

A Sensor Open Systems Architecture (SOSA) technical standard briefing at the Association of the United States Army annual conference outlined the future embedded computing design approach to developing and upgrading electronic warfare, signals intelligence, radar, and communications applications for U.S. Navy, Army, and Air Force aircraft systems in near future.

SOSA is one of four open system standards that was mentioned in association with the Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) memorandum signed by Air Force, Army and Navy officials in January. Currently, the standard is in its preliminary second phase, with a final initial version expected to be completed by mid-2020, according to John Bowling, a U.S. Air Force technical expert for avionics architectures and interoperability who participated in the SOSA briefing.

The standard uses VITA’s OpenVPX architecture to allow the design and implementation of high-speed, high-power switched fabric-based systems that are capable of integrating single board computers into sensor platforms. What that could mean for flight control systems in the future is the easier introduction of new capabilities that only require the slotting in and out of cards with new capabilities on existing systems, rather than the type of massive re-wiring and hardware replacement that typically takes years to complete across defense aircraft programs.

“The end-user pilot may not notice the difference between a proprietary box and SOSA built box, but everything behind it in terms of the operational energy and supply chain interaction will be radically different,” Curtiss Wright Chief Technology Officer Dave Jedynak said during the question and answer portion of the briefing.

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