AV-8B aircraft

The US Navy has placed orders with General Dynamics (GD) Advanced Information Systems to modernise mission computers in AV-8B Harrier II vertical / short take off and landing (V/STOL) ground-attack aircraft.

Under the $6.1m contract, GD will configure the mission system computers of the McDonnell Douglas-built Harrier aircraft with a second and third-generation open systems processor, to support the Pentagon’s future airborne capability environment (FACE) framework.

Upgrades to the mission computers provide a common operating environment for the Harrier aircraft to support faster, less expensive integration of common applications.

GD will conduct rigorous qualification testing of the upgraded mission computer hardware and core system software, followed by the government testing prior to fleet introduction.

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems Mission Integration Systems division vice-president and general manager, Mike Tweed-Kent, said the company will provide open architecture design to enables the US Navy, a quick, low-cost integration of emerging technologies and applications.

"This makes it possible for our customers to more rapidly and cost-effectively address their constantly evolving mission requirements," Tweed-Kent said.

"The systems can perform general purpose, input / output, video and graphics processing in the extreme environmental conditions."

Featuring commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based open architecture, airborne mission computers are ruggedised, high-performance, high-reliability mission and display-processing systems.

Easily configurable to any operating environment, the systems can perform general purpose, input / output, video and graphics processing in the extreme environmental conditions.

FACE intends to reduce lifecycle costs marketplace and facilitate integration of new technologies supported by an open architecture environment while addressing software performance issues of Department of Defense airborne platforms.

In addition, the company will provide technical support to the FACE implementation team and the US Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Directorate as part of the contract.

Image: two US Marine Corps’ AV-8B Harriers performing mission. Photo: file image.

Defence Technology