COTS for unmanned flights

22 April 2008

Unmanned air combat is possible with multi-vendor COTS software.

It has been announced that the nEUROn European UCAV (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle) demonstrator will be standardised on Wind River’s VxWorks 653 operating system.

This technology demonstrator will be the base for a stealth platform (radar cross section and infrared) and a new method of weapon delivery from an internal bay and will also perform air to ground missions.

The objective of the nEUROn project is not to perform military missions, but to demonstrate the maturity and effectiveness of technical and co-operation solutions. The computer core system complies with the ARINC 653-1 avionics standard and can be supplied with complete RTCA DO-178B/EUROCAE ED-12B up to Level A certification documentation.

The nEUROn UCAV demonstrator is being developed with the intention of illustrating a modular and reliable avionics system, using COTS-based modular on-board computers, and high-productivity and high-quality critical real-time software. The nEUROn project is being organised by Dassault Aviation, which is in charge of the main contract implementation and five European partners.

Italian Alenia contributes a new concept of an internal weapon bay, the bay doors, and the mechanisms, as well as the design and development of the electrical power and distribution system, the air data system, and the ground and test flights. Swedish manufacturer SAAB is entrusted with the general design, the equipped fuselage, the avionics, the fuel system and part of the flight-testing. Spanish-based EADS will bring its experience for the wings, the ground station, and the data link integration whilst RUAG of Switzerland is responsible for the wind tunnel tests and the weapon interface. Finaly, HAI (Hellenic Aerospace Industry) is responsible for the rear fuselage, the exhaust pipe and the test rig.

Andi Pabinger, vice president of EMEA sales for Wind River commented: “We are seeing more unmanned systems developed internationally by disparate teams to meet diverse mission requirements. This growing complexity is driving the need for COTS components, including the software at the heart of unmanned vehicles.”

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