Under a recently awarded contract from Naval Air Systems Command, Northrop Grumman will provide FlightPro Gen III mission computers for the UH-1Y and AH-1Z aircraft, becoming the first aircraft to use its next-generation FlightPro mission computer.
"This contract underscores the critical role our proven avionics equipment has in enhancing C4ISR capabilities through helicopter upgrades," said Ike Song, Vice President, Situational Awareness Systems, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems.
The lightweight, open-architecture FlightPro Gen III mission computer integrates advanced mission, weapons, and video-processing capabilities into a conduction-cooled computer capable of driving four independent, multi-function displays.
FlightPro Gen III will be using Green Hills Software’s INTEGRITY-178 Time-Variant Unified Multi Processing (tuMP) operating system on Freescale QorIQ P4080-based single-board computers.
According to Song, “Our team has integrated INTEGRITY-178 tuMP on FlightPro Gen III and has started flight testing of the combat mission computer and display system. We are now preparing for the developmental test phase of the program.”
So far, results achieved to date on the Green Hills Software tuMP operating system “have met our expectations, while the advanced scheduling capabilities of tuMP have enabled our developers to manage and efficiently utilize all eight cores of the P4080 processor in our system,” said Song.
Northrop Grumman will provide identical mission computers for the UH-1Y and AH-1Z aircraft that make up the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadrons, resulting in increased commonality across multiple platforms through a shared integrated mission equipment package.
Dual-mission computers are part of Northrop Grumman's integrated avionics system (IAS) that powers the helicopters' digital cockpits. The mission computers provide centralized control of the IAS and show aircraft performance and flight instruments, onboard sensor and survivability displays, and improved situational awareness and health monitoring information.
Aligned with the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) standard, the IAS and mission computers feature open, modular architecture that allows for easy system upgrades including the rapid insertion of new and emerging technologies and integration of other platform avionics, communication, onboard sensors, and survivability equipment.
Northrop Grumman also provides the operational flight program software that controls the IAS while providing full government purpose rights for Northrop Grumman-owned software, helping to avoid issues often associated with vendor lock. The scalable and fully integrated architecture design allows the same hardware solution to be applied to numerous platforms.
Green Hills has been shipping INTEGRITY-178 tuMP to customers for more than four years and provides a multicore framework for integrating applications of different programming languages and portable operating environments. The scheduling capabilities of INTEGRITY-178 tuMP have enabled Northrop Grumman’s software architects to effectively utilize the eight cores of the QorIQ P4080 while continuing to meet their mission and flight-critical requirements.
The tuMP multicore operating system builds upon a proven fourteen-year service history and certification pedigree by incorporating multicore operating system capabilities, including support for AMP and SMP.
INTEGRITY-178 tuMP defines groupings (called affinity groups) of how cores will be utilized by one or more applications, with the grouping of cores and applications being permitted to vary over time.
Sets of affinity groups are then scheduled independently of other sets of affinity groups, permitting time-lines that closely correspond to application requirements, yet also permitting other sets of affinity groups to be developed that can make use of time windows where cores are not being utilized. Multiple schedules support extends the tuMP scheduling capabilities, permitting tailoring of available applications and processor time resources based on the vehicles’ operational needs, such as flight or combat phase.
The tuMP operating system extends partitioning support beyond single-core processors, ensuring flexible capability can continue to be effectively used to host multiple applications while preserving resources for application growth without concern about future availability of new single-core processor designs. INTEGRITY-178 tuMP is an ARINC-653 operating system.