ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (April 8, 2019) -- Another baton pass from the Army's science and technology community to its programs of record is in the works; this time the hand-off capability will simplify and modernize platform integration.
The C4ISR/Electronic Warfare Modular Open Suite of Standards (CMOSS) is a modular open systems architecture (MOSA) that will converge select Army warfighting capabilities -- such as mission command, movement and maneuver, and fires -- into one system, versus the current method of integrating a multitude of separate capability "boxes" into vehicles.
"Today, there are redundant subsystem components; complex, costly and heavy cabling; excessive heat generation; and often limited space on the platform for Soldiers," said Jason Dirner, an electronics engineer with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC), Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center. "CMOSS establishes a universal A-Kit that minimizes the need for platform-specific integration."
Once one or more chassis are integrated on the platform, subsequent capabilities can be fielded as cards, currently the size of a large cellphone, which plug into those chassis without need of any additional cabling or mounts. CMOSS also defines open interfaces that allow sensors, processors and displays to be shared among systems, reducing the size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) challenges associated with vehicle-based mission command and radio technologies, Dirner said.
The CCDC C5ISR Center is leading the service's CMOSS research and development efforts and is now planning to transfer the technology to the Program Executive Office, Command, Control Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T). PEO C3T is in charge of executing the acquisition for Army's network modernization strategy by rapidly inserting new technologies through a two-year incremental capability set fielding approach, which will begin in fiscal year (FY) 2021.
To support the capability set development plans, the first generation of CMOSS will transition to PEO C3T's Product Manager (PdM) Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P) in approximately FY 2023. JBC-P is the Army's next-generation friendly force tracking system, with a basis of issue plan for more than 100,000 platforms and command posts. CMOSS will help to mitigate the challenge of integrating systems across such a diverse range of mounted, sea and air assets. It will then transition to PM Tactical Radios in FY 2025.
Ultimately, CMOSS could be advanced just as smart phones have advanced. Initially a smart phone only had voice, text, a camera and 3G connectivity to surf the internet. Through apps development and hardware advancements internal to the phone, a smart phone user can now conduct video chat, mobile payments and a host of other capabilities. Similarly, as CMOSS matures as a fielded system, it sets the foundation for other warfighting capabilities to enter into this environment, such as electronic warfare systems, said Maj. Doug Williams, assistant product manager for JBC-P.
Since CMOSS is a MOSA that uses accessible published standards, rather than one vendor's proprietary standards, it opens up the possibility for increased industry innovation.
"Industry will help us shape innovation, concepts and ideas that fit within our framework," Williams said. "We want this to be a teaming aspect and not get locked into one vendor, which will enable us to remain fluid as new technologies emerge."
Army leaders project that a request for proposal (RFP) for the first generation of the mounted systems is approximately one year away, with market research through requests for information to industry to inform the RFP over the next several months.
In the meantime, the CCDC C5ISR Center plans to host two technical demonstration days -- tentatively planned for this summer and fall - that will allow industry to integrate their proposed technologies in the form of a card or other component like a chassis or a sensor into platforms to determine compliance with an open architecture system.
"A growing number of vendors are producing CMOSS-compliant software cards that can be integrated into vehicles," Dirner said. "Our efforts are aiming to standardize the guidelines that all vendors can work to."
PdM JBC-P is already modernizing the JBC-P software to enable convergence of stand-alone warfighting systems and applications into a centralized environment with the Mounted Computing Environment (MCE). CMOSS will allow engineers and industry partners to design the hardware configurations that support the MCE convergence of software applications into a common user interface for the operator, Williams said.
"MCE is the software link to consolidate the common operating picture; whereas, CMOSS provides the hardware link," Williams said. "By sharing hardware resources, such as where a sensor or antenna can be leveraged by multiple mission systems on-board a platform, we will reduce duplicative spending, such as three GPS antennas on a single vehicle, and also provide a foundation for future technology inclusion supporting sensor fusion and transmission path diversity."
PEO C3T's Tactical Radio program will be closely monitoring the CMOSS demonstrations with JBC-P before it fully adopts CMOSS into its portfolio; however, the overarching concept is applicable to tactical radios, said Lt. Col. Michael Baker, product manager for Handheld, Manpack and Small Form Fit, at PM Tactical Radios.
"CMOSS has the potential to significantly reduce the cost, complexity and timelines of platform integration for mounted radios," Baker said. "At the same time, it will significantly free up crew space, improve system level integration for Soldiers, and dramatically improve the Army's ability to field hardware improvements, helping us keep pace with rapidly advancing radio and computing technologies."
Because of the far-reaching effects of the CMOSS initiative, it is being included in and managed under the Sensor Open Systems Architecture Consortium, which includes participation from the three services, industry and academia. The groups will work over the next several years to explore and integrate and existing emerging CMOSS-compliant hardware; conduct testing through vehicle platforms, such as Humvee and Stryker; and host hardware/software convergence experimentation exercises.
"With CMOSS, being able to rapidly field and integrate new technology and capabilities in order to meet emerging needs is as important, if not more important, than the SWAP savings," Dirner said. "This lays the foundation for enhanced interoperability and simultaneity among C5ISR capabilities."
The U.S. Army Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical develops, acquires, fields and supports the Army's mission command network to ensure force readiness. This critical Army modernization priority delivers tactical communications so commanders and Soldiers can stay connected and informed at all times, even in the most austere and hostile environments. PEO C3T is delivering the network to regions around the globe, enabling high-speed, high-capacity voice, data and video communications to a user base that includes the Army's joint, coalition and other mission partners.
The C5ISR Center is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our Nation's wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.