Abaco’s FORCE2 Flight Computer Enables National and International Ground Control Station Certification

(Image courtesy: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.)

Earlier this month, General Atomics Aeronautical System, Inc.  (GA-ASI) completed an entire MQ-9B SkyGuardian  remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) flight – from takeoff to landing – using a GA-ASI certifiable ground control station (CGCS). The milestone flight was conducted to type-certify the CGCS and meet domestic and global airworthiness standards so that the MQ-9B can seamlessly fly between national and international airspace. At the core of the CGCS is Abaco Systems Inc. ’s (Abaco’s) certifiable FORCE2  Open Reference Computing Environment.

While the CGCS’s system architecture runs mission critical payload functions alongside GA-ASI’s Advanced Cockpit system, it separates flight functions and performs those using GA-ASI’s certifiable Design Assurance Level (DAL) B software on off-the-shelf (OTS) avionics and Abaco’s FORCE2 system. Small and rugged, the FORCE2 unit consists of an avionics communications card and an SBC314 3U VPX single-board computer with a high technology readiness level (TRL).

William Kucinski  is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.

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