According to a recent company press release, Northrop Grunman is incorporating its newest cockpit technology and open architecture design into both fixed-and rotary-wing platforms to minimize life cycle cost and enable simplified software upgrades into the future.
The new digital cockpit solution features an integrated architecture that can be applied to a number of platforms, including AH-64D/E Apache, H-60L Black Hawk and CH‑47D/F Chinook helicopters, through a single software package. The model-based design for operational flight program software is certifiable under the new DO-178C standards and allows the pilot vehicle interface to be easily replicated on multiple platforms, simplifying aircrew training and transition between multiple aircrafts.
Ike Song, vice president, Situational Awareness Systems at Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, said about the new technology, "By incorporating the latest open architecture technology into our mission equipment package, which is highly open and upgradable, we have achieved a system architecture that protects the government's investment over the long haul for multiple platforms."
While the system’s open architecture will allow software developers to make changes and additions as needed, the need for regression testing will likely increase, ensuring any changes have not impacted existing code. The Northrop Grumman Mission Equipment Package employs a Federal Aviation Administration/European Aviation Safety Agency certified flight management system that is fully compliant with U.S. and European communications, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management standards.
With the announcement of Northrop Grunman’s latest cockpit technology and open architecture design, regression testing’s role will likely expand as software upgrades can now be easily made heading into the future.