Collins Aerospace’s Mosarc Leads the Way Towards More Open Standards in Aviation

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In the last article on The Modern Battlespace, we featured the first article in a two-part interview series conducted at the MOSA Industry and Government Summit and Expo with the members of the Mosarc team at Collins Aerospace.

During our conversation, we had the opportunity to ask the team – including Jason Kautz, Jeffry Howington, and Karen McCash – why the Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) is necessary in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) today. We also had a chance to discuss a Collins Aerospace solution called Mosarc – a family of avionics capabilities built on open standards.

During the second part of our discussion, we explored what sets the Mosarc solution apart, and how third parties are already working to successfully integrate their solutions with the Mosarc system.

The Modern Battlespace (TMB): Have other defense contractors and military partners been able to develop applications using Mosarc toolkits?

Jason Kautz: For over four years, we’ve been actively providing ARINC 661 graphics toolkits to outside vendors so they could seamlessly integrate their third-party user interface display and control software. We learned from those early integrations how to enable a more seamless pilot experience and interface.

“We are now looking at ways to provide the information and interfaces necessary for third parties to succeed at integrating their capabilities with Mosarc.” — Jason Kautz

Since then, we have built on those early approaches to add capabilities such as pilot alerting, feedback system health status reporting, and access to data and information.

We are now looking at ways to provide the information and interfaces necessary for third parties to succeed at integrating their capabilities with Mosarc. We have easy-to-use demo and evaluation (eval) kits that people have been actively using, as evidenced at the MOSA Summit, and we have multiple licenses out today with third parties for development associated with some of these Mosarc components.

TMB: How does Mosarc allow industry partners to iterate on new capabilities and functionality for aircraft? How does this approach to development benefit the military?

Jason Kautz: There are three primary things that we’ve done to allow industry partners to iterate on new capabilities and functionality of the aircraft. The first is providing the intellectual property (IP) at the interface level through an open architecture IP license. So, the ability to access mechanical, electrical, and data interfaces is widely accessible and supportable over time.

“If we provide data at the interface and stop there, that’s Title 10 compliant. But we don’t stop there because the DoD is after faster development schedules—and higher quality in the end solution.” — Jason Kautz

The second is the toolkits. If we provide data at the interface and stop there, that’s Title 10 compliant. But we don’t stop there because the DoD is after faster development schedules—and higher quality in the end solution.

We’ve developed these toolkits to add value, so that Collins and other third parties can use them to complete tasks much faster and with higher quality.

The third part is currently in development. We’re creating a collaborative development environment in a collaborative space. Having a high-fidelity collaborative development environment that is accessible and used by all parties contributing to the end solution is critical to fast cycle times.

TMB: Is Mosarc available today? Is this something that the DoD and its industry partners can utilize immediately?

Karen McCash: Because there are so many components that are a part of Mosarc: the cards, the software, LRUs, and the full flight deck, different building blocks and pieces of the puzzle can be accessed and utilized today.

TMB: What plans does Collins have for demonstrating or presenting Mosarc at upcoming events? Where can the military and its industry partners see Mosarc in action?

Jeffry Howington: Our immediate plans are to showcase Mosarc at the 2024 Combat Air Forces (CAF) Weapons and Tactics Conference (WEPTAC) in January and the 2024 Air & Space Forces Association (AFA) Warfare Symposium in February. Just as we have done since 2018, we will continue to invite third parties, including the military and its industry partners, to join in the development of and contribute components for future demonstrations of our Mosarc family of capabilities.

For example, during last year’s MOSA Summit, we incorporated the aid of nearly a dozen other organizations that contributed their components to our demonstration. This demonstration divided these components into four different sub-systems to provide a system-level look at how they fit together and interoperate.

“THESE SUB-SYSTEMS ARE JUST EXAMPLES OF HOW MOSARC TAKES MOSA PRINCIPLES TO ENABLE US AND THIRD PARTIES TO QUICKLY INCORPORATE NEW CAPABILITIES AND FUNCTIONALITY INTO COMPLETE SYSTEMS.” — JEFFRY HOWINGTON

In one sub-system, we utilize an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor from Raytheon, which uses open standards to provide the capability to recognize, identify and display images. In another sub-system, we utilize human-machine interface software hosted in standard cockpit displays to activate devices on the aircraft, such as lights, cooling and other mechanical devices. Additionally, we have a demonstration that integrates different components designed to support a flight management system.

These sub-systems are just examples of how Mosarc takes MOSA principles to enable us and third parties to quickly incorporate new capabilities and functionality into complete systems. They demonstrate how we reuse software components across different hardware, how the open interfaces, the data models, the toolkits and eventually the collaborative environments work to allow various processing platforms to provide new and different capabilities.

TMB: What is next in Mosarc’s product roadmap? How will Collins continue to develop and grow Mosarc moving forward?

Jason Kautz: There are two primary things that we’re focused on when it comes to Mosarc.

Today, we already have a lot of software development kits (SDKs) and demo or eval-type products available on a product-by-product basis. But we don’t have something packaged and available at the safety-critical avionics infrastructure level.

“Part of Mosarc’s success relies heavily on balancing partnerships with the military and industry to help build these open-source solutions that meet the customer’s needs” — Karen mccash.

We’re looking to develop a set of core software components that form safety-critical infrastructure and core pilot capabilities required for the aircraft that can be expanded based on unique mission and aircraft platform requirements.

The second thing we’re focused on for Mosarc is launching a collaborative ecosystem. We want to create a space where multiple parties can collaborate in a high-integrity, integrated verification and validation environment to help accelerate programs.

Karen McCash: Part of Mosarc’s success relies heavily on balancing partnerships with the military and industry to help build these open-source solutions that meet the customer’s needs. One way Collins Aerospace does this is through our partnerships within industry by continuing to be part of the MOSA Summit and consortiums like the FACE Consortium.

Another way we develop industry partnerships is by continuing to participate in open standards committees that help influence the avionics of infrastructures worldwide. Lastly, we lead or participate in multi-party demonstrations in collaboration with other vendors in the industry.

For additional information on Mosarc solutions, click HERE.