Battlespace Tech

Air Force looks to get the MOAST out of open architectures

The Air Force wants to accelerate the speed at which it can add new systems to aircraft and, like other components of the military, it sees open architectures as the way to get there.

The service’s Mission Systems Open Architecture Science and Technology, or MOAST program, is looking to expand the emerging open architecture standards of the Open Mission Systems and Unmanned Aerospace Systems Command and Control Initiative for current and next-generation weapon systems.

The Air Force released an initial presolicitation for MOAST in July and has provided updates on the proposal from an industry day earlier this month.

The program seeks to conduct research and development efforts that will “provide robust, open architecture solutions to enable affordable capability evolution, reduced integration risk, sustained competition across the life-cycle, as well as make these systems resilient to cyber attack,” the solicitation states.

Tapping into open systems is becoming a priority in the military, which sees building modular, plug-and-play technologies as a way to more quickly (and inexpensively) keep up with new technology—and, by extension, any adversaries. The Navy, for instance, has an open architecture effort called Future Avionics Capability Environment (FCAE) to standardize aviation components. That effort is backed by the Open Group consortium, which includes the three military branches and many of the largest defense contractors.

And the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is also involved in both MOAST and FACE, has a program called System of Systems Integration Technology and Experimentation (SoSITE) that likewise seeks to create open architectures to allow for the rapid integration of new systems.

MOAST will include the integration of mission-critical and flight-critical systems on both manned and unmanned platforms and ground systems. 

Program goals include providing mature, robust open architecture solutions for current and next-generation Air Force weapon systems, ensuring that the solutions accommodate built-in cybersecurity features and promotion of interoperability with additional open standards. Program objectives consist of evolving OMS and UCI standards for more platform challenges, developing innovative and affordable avionics cybersecurity technologies that will augment OSA implementations, exploring emerging concepts for future OSA implementations and conducting advanced technology demonstrations of mature open architecture capabilities. 

Technical Areas of Interests include:

  • Evolution of open system architecture standards
  • Cyber resiliency of open system architectures
  • Open system architecture emerging concepts and technologies
  • Open system architecture risk reduction studies and experimentation
  • Open System architecture advanced technology demonstrations.

The Air Force estimates that an official broad agency announcement will be released in October or November.

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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