AV-8B Harrier II

The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has taken delivery of the third software release from the General Dynamics (GD) Mission Systems future airborne capability environment (FACETM) team.

The software upgrades are loaded into the mission system computer (MSC) in the US Marine Corps’s (USMC) AV-8B Harrier II aircraft.

Using the FACE technical standard, the software release offers enhanced functionality for faster, less expensive integration of MSC applications.

GD Mission Systems Maritime and Strategic Systems vice-president Carlo Zaffanella said: "This is the first military aircraft computer to have the NAVAIR advanced computing environment.

"The goal of this capability will be for technical professionals working on the AV-8B Harrier to swap applications in a way that’s similar to changing and upgrading applications on a smartphone."

GD is the designer, developer and manufacturer of the MSC for the Harrier fleet.

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The company is also responsible for development of the advanced mission computer used on F/A-18E, F/A-18F and EA-18G aircraft.

"This is the first military aircraft computer to have the NAVAIR advanced computing environment."

The advanced mission computers provide general-purpose processing, display and graphics processing input / output, video, and other mission systems functions for high-performance fighter aircraft.

According to GD the FACE technical standard and business strategy will allow the US force is able to optimise its capacity to address software obsolescence and improves software portability and interoperability across the various US Department of Defense airborne platforms.

GD will now start testing additional processor and core software in AV-8B Harrier MSCs.

Following this test, the government will carry out checks to ensure that the computers support flight clearance and fleet introduction.

Image: A USMC AV-8B hovering. Photo: courtesy of D Miller.