Collaborative Development of PNT Systems
Douglas Burch, Collins Aerospace
Alternate Number 4
The size, weight and power of C4ISR/EW systems on current and planned military platforms has become unsustainable after years of independent system installations. Singular purpose installation has led to integration incompatibility increasing integration costs, difficulty in performing technical insertions and difficulty isolating the impact of needed platform upgrades. In response to this, the US Military and Department of Defense have initiated a variety of Open System Architecture (OSA) initiatives with varying levels of interoperability between standards. The convergence of these OSA standards is occurring under the Sensor Open Systems Architecture (SOSA) Consortium with the Armed Service Committee’s HR 6395 defining CMOSS as the lead standard due to its maturity.
For the past two decades Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) has been provided by a GPS receiver. However, due to the ever-increasing threat landscape PNT systems are being architected to “pace the threat” while providing extended access to a trusted PNT source (Assured-PNT). A-PNT systems are becoming too complex for a single vertical integrator to provide as a variety of sensors, threat mitigation algorithms and logic are required. While traditional systems engineering could be used to design and implement A-PNT systems the OSA standards that have been defined for use by the DoD are enabling collaborative development across industry, academia and Government. The US Army PM PNT recently stood up the Open Innovation Laboratory (OIL) whose mission is to “bring the best technology available to the Warfighter as quickly as possible by providing an open environment where industry, academia and Government can engage in innovation, development and rapid prototyping of emerging PNT technologies.”
Collaborative development within an OSA environment enables best-in-class technologies that are modular, scalable and capable of pacing the threat while reducing overall life-cycle system costs. This is accomplished not only by conforming to OSA standards but by developing portable software algorithms and software architectures that can host 3rd party software applications (FACE). In addition, Collins Aerospace is conducting internal and external working groups to develop a common simulation environment for the collaborative development and evaluation of A-PNT systems and algorithms.
OSA standard will change how industry moves forward. The benefits to procurement, military platforms, industry, academia and most importantly the Warfighter are clear. Embracing OSA within a collaborative development environment enables the rapid fielding of A-PNT technologies that can “pace the threat” while reducing SWaP-C and operational complexities allowing the Warfighter to “focus on the fight”. The rapid innovation, evaluation and fielding of A-PNT systems within this collaborative model allows industry and academia to focus on new opportunities, creates a broader market use for products and spreads the technological burden.