Military Embedded Systems

CMOSS is rolling forward


October 18, 2020

CMOSS is rolling forward
​​​​​​​[Figure 1 | A Curtiss-Wright 3U OpenVPX CMOSS mission computer.]

By David Jedynak and Jason DeChiaro
An industry perspective from Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

The U.S. Army CCDC [Combat Capabilities Development Command] C5ISR Center’s C5ISR/EW [Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance/Electronic Warfare] Modular Open Suite of Standards (CMOSS) defines an open architecture that reduces the size, weight, power, and cost of systems deployed on ground vehicles by enabling in-vehicle hardware and software resources to be shared. A panel on CMOSS at a U.S. Army Technical Exchange Meeting held earlier this year provided details on new developments underway and areas in which the Army is looking to industry for help in taking the suite of standards from prototype to deployment.

CMOSS is seen as a key enabler for rapidly deploying new updates and enhancements, and for modifying and adapting capabilities as threats and technology evolve. By eliminating data stovepipes, CMOSS makes the sharing of hardware between systems simpler where appropriate, enabling optimized integration and utilization of all the sensor information available on the platform. Moreover, the use of open standards will greatly improve the user experience for soldiers and reduce their cognitive burden. CMOSS also promises to help drive advances in automation and the deployment of machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI) applications for tasks that can run at machine speed instead of human speeds.

To date, a number of CMOSS solutions have been prototyped and applications have been demonstrated across the entire C5ISR suite, ranging from EW and PNT [position, navigation, and timing], to wireless comms and command and control. The Army’s planned next step is to engage in operational experimentation and pursue mature solutions. As the CMOSS standard rolls forward, the Army also plans to establish labs where CMOSS-aligned hardware solutions can be integrated and their capabilities assessed.

Collaboration, assessment, and screening

One such lab, the U.S. Army’s Open Innovation Lab (OIL), is being established for prototyping and implementing CMOSS capabilities. The lab, which is currently scheduled to open in November 2020, will initially focus on standards-based assured PNT (A-PNT) solutions, with intent to support other converged capabilities later. Information on how industry suppliers can submit proposals and applications to OIL will be shared at the OIL Industry Day on November 17, 2020. This unclassified facility is being set up to bring vendors, academia, government, and other organizations together to test and collaborate on Army PNT future capabilities.

Seeking COTS solutions

The Army is actively turning to industry, seeking prototype systems to help address a number of near-term high-priority CMOSS requirements. One opportunity is for a graphical interface that can improve the user experience by displaying the information and capabilities of the platform in a unified, intuitive way. The goal is for the graphical interface to integrate mission-command capabilities, like JBC-P/MMC, along with radio controls, PNT, and EW sensor control in a multiuser environment.

Suppliers are also being asked to propose flexible digital RF and radiohead solutions, based on the CMOSS Modular Open RF Architecture (MORA) standard, for systems optimized to compete with a peer adversary using EW and other capabilities. These solutions should have the ability to leverage and utilize capable antennas and aperture systems if present on the platform. For CMOSS, digital RF enables cabling complexity on the platform to be significantly reduced. It also enables the platform’s RF assets to be rapidly and easier configured and reused in different ways. While a robust ecosystem of CMOSS transceivers already exists, the Army is seeking to rapidly grow its radiohead options in order to support the full suite of RF applications it anticipates being needed for combat vehicles.

Army system designers want to be able to deliver, rapidly update, upgrade, and deploy the full suite of comms waveforms to the soldiers in the field via CMOSS systems. The requirement spans government proprietary waveforms (such as Link 16, SINCGARS, BFT, etc.) and commercial waveforms (4G, 5G, WiFi, etc.). Implementations are being sought for nearly every type of waveform, so that CMOSS solutions can be readily dropped into platforms as necessary. Since each of the waveform types will also need a radio front end, the requirement will also drive the need for radioheads able to support them.

COTS solutions for CMOSS

As requirements for CMOSS solutions increasingly emerge, system integrators will turn to trusted leading providers of OpenVPX modules and systems that can deliver these types of card-level solutions. Curtiss-Wright has already developed a range of CMOSS-compliant solutions, including modules that are aligned with the CMOSS I/O, processor, GPGPU, and timing profiles. (Example, Figure 1.)

David Jedynak is Chief Technology Officer and Technical Fellow for Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions. Jason DeChiaro is a System Architect at Curtiss-Wright.

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

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