Imagine, in order to do your daily job, you had Linux for email, an Apple II for web browsing, an old Windows 95 tower for excel spreadsheets, and a DOS machine for word processing. Rotary phones only work for some people you need to call, and you need a cellphone for others. Floppy drives, zip disks, punch cards, tape spools, fax machines, scanners, and a dot matrix printer… and the various hardware is all proprietary, yet necessary. Not only is there no room for you at your desk, you seem to spend a lot of time (on your touch-tone phone) with technical support.
Like the image above, modern combat vehicle electronics can resemble a bowl of hardware spaghetti. Different “bolt-on” devices and adaptors are stitched together by multiple suppliers who may be using different standards and interfaces. With barely enough room for a soldier wearing body armor, integration and interoperability have become key concerns.
Working with embedded companies such as Curtiss Wright Controls Defense Solutions, GE Intelligent Platforms, and Themis, this problem is exactly what the US Army is looking to solve. Once completed, the Vehicular Integration for C4ISR Interoperability (VICTORY) Standard will provide a unified hardware “backbone” with a modular architecture for any vehicle electronic system. As the concept is proven in Army systems, the vision is to also roll out similar solutions for other Military branches, including NATO.
After five years of research in vehicle electronics, the VICTORY standard is becoming a reality. In a webinar hosted by John Keller, Editor-in-Chief at Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine, each company describes how emerging designs contribute to the goal of complete system interoperability.
For example, legacy serial bus, 1553, Radio, analog voice communication and other devices will have an adaptor to allow communication through the VICTORY databus. Based on open hardware standards such as VITA’s VME and VPX, VICTORY will integrate current legacy systems with “plug-and-play” modern GPS, MTS, and other COTS equipment into a mission-ready vehicle.
You can imagine, as experts in obsolescence and legacy equipment we were curious about the impact of VICTORY on existing and legacy hardware obsolescence, and were encouraged to find that older systems must be accommodated.
Eliminating the need for a forklift upgrade (or yet another bolt-on), VICTORY will be a welcome change for the warfighter.
A good “one to watch.”
Steve & the GDCA Team