From the Editor

New Year, New Editor

The Genesys avionics system featured in a TH-73 helicopter. (Image: Genesys Aerosystems)

Welcome to the February 2023 edition of Aerospace & Defense Technology (A&DT), the first issue that I have taken over as the editor from Bruce Bennett. I join SAE Media Group after spending 10 years with Avionics International Magazine, where I traveled all over the world covering the latest advancements in commercial and military aircraft communications, navigation and surveillance systems. I know that Bruce leaves behind some huge shoes to fill, and in this role, I will stand on the shoulders of giants while looking to introduce some new digital content elements well.

Immediately in this new role I want to get as much feedback from our readers about what new and exciting aerospace and defense technologies, topics and industry trends you’re most interested in seeing featured in our publication this year. This is an exciting time to be taking the editorial lead of this historic publication, working with brands in SAE Media Group, SAE International and Tech Briefs that I have been reading and engaging with through industry events for many years now.

In this issue, I want to highlight an interesting two-sided perspective of a topic that has been growing in aerospace and defense industry interest in recent years: Modular Open Systems Architecture (MOSA). As most of you already know, In January 2019, U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy officials signed the MOSA memorandum to outline a standard new embedded computing design approach to developing and upgrading electronic warfare, signals intelligence, radar and communications applications for U.S. Navy, Army, and Air Force airborne and ground-based systems in the future.

Since then, most major aerospace and defense OEMs and their embedded suppliers have been developing prototype electronics that incorporate open systems architectures. One such example is the U.S. Army’s CMOSS Mounted Form Factor (CMFF), a standard “plug-and-play” approach explained in a July 2021 post by the Army Program Executive Office (PEO). CMFF uses the C5ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards (CMOSS) that gives the Army the ability to “insert cards, each embedded with networked capabilities such as Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT), mission command applications, or radio waveforms, into a common ruggedized chassis” inside a tactical aircraft or vehicle, according to Army PEO.

In recent years, I have interviewed many different industry and government officials about the adoption of open systems architectures and even recently visited a site operated by Collins Aerospace in Alabama where several ready-to-fly MOSA prototypes are in various stages of development. The majority of news and technical literature that I have seen around the Department of Defense’s (DOD) adoption of open systems architecture in aircraft has focused on the re-use and flexible upgrade benefits that such an approach can yield for operators. Now, as new MOSA technologies start to transition from prototype to testing and becoming operational, A&DT provides two articles that look at the positives and negatives of MOSA.

The cover story for this issue gives an example of how an integrated flight deck developed by Genesys Aerosystems is already demonstrating MOSA adoption inside some upgraded Army Blackhawk cockpits, among other aircraft operated by other DOD agencies and several of its international allies. Another article provided by General Micro Systems presents a different perspective on MOSA. While acknowledging the re-use benefits of open systems architectures such as CMOSS and CMFF, the article questions whether such an industry-standard plug-and-play slot-card form factor could stifle innovation among embedded electronics suppliers.

What would you like to see covered in A&DT this year? Drop me an email and let me know. I hope to meet some of you at the events I’ll be attending this year. Thanks for reading!

Woodrow Bellamy