The Open Group Launches FACE Consortium to Develop Open Standards for U.S. Army, Navy and Avionics Industry

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SAN FRANCISCO, July 21, 2010 – Working with the U.S. Navy Air Combat Electronics Program Office, the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research and Engineering Center and several leading defense industry avionics suppliers, The Open Group’s Collaboration Services team launched the official formation of The Open Group Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium. The new consortium will develop the standards for a common operating environment allowing a more dynamic extension of capabilities across avionics computer systems platforms.

The lack of common standards among aircraft systems has hindered interoperability while also increasing the cost and time required to develop, integrate and maintain these systems. In addition, the process of adding new mission capabilities is very expensive and slow. To solve this problem, the Navy engaged with The Open Group’s Collaboration Services team to manage the process of developing a standard open architecture to which the avionics industry can create new mission capabilities in the future.

“The Open Group’s Collaboration Services team has a solid track record of managing the development of standards and certification programs for the military industry through a proven consensus based process,” said Bob Matthews, PMA-209 Mission Systems Deputy. “They are the perfect partner to drive this process for FACE and a lot of initial progress has been made right out of the gate.”

At launch, the FACE Consortium already counts 13 founding members, including Lockheed Martin, NAVAIR, and Rockwell Collins, who are Sponsor members of the consortium. Principal member organizations include ATK, Boeing, CMC Electronics, Elbit Systems of America, General Dynamics, Green Hills Software, Harris Corporation, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and U.S. Army AMRDEC.  The final open architecture and supporting standards created by the group will be adopted by the Army, Navy and possibly other service branches for future avionics capability procurements.

“The problem we see over and over is how to deliver new capabilities to our warfighters fast,” said Capt. Ralph Portnoy, PMA-209 Program Manager. “Today’s mission system upgrades are very expensive, take a long time to complete, require extensive testing and the network implementations are often not interoperable. With FACE, we are looking to develop a modern processing environment that’s open, modular, portable, partitioned, expandable and secure.”

Some of the cost improvements expected for avionics systems include rapid insertion of new capabilities, less expensive cockpit upgrades and the alleviation of long lead times and extensive testing periods for new software upgrades.

Speaking on behalf of The Open Group, Allen Brown, President and CEO, said, “We’re very pleased to provide a forum where the Navy and defense industry can work together to develop open standards that make the Navy’s aircraft computing systems interoperable.  Such public/private collaboration will also improve the security and safety of these systems for critical military operations.”

According to Dave Lounsbury, Vice President of Collaboration Services at the Open Group, “FACE has already received a tremendous amount of interest from the government, industry and academia. At last week’s kick-off meeting in Washington, DC, we had 52 attendees including representatives from the Navy, Army, and Air Force, and 11 industry organizations. We expect membership numbers to grow steadily as the news gets around and future meetings are planned.” 

For more information on FACE and The Open Group’s Collaboration Services organization readers can visit:


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