By Scott Dennis, CCDC Aviation & Missile CenterOctober 2, 2019
The Utility Helicopters Project Office's Crew Mission Station successfully completed a Limited User Evaluation at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in the spring of 2019.
CMS was integrated and deployed on five UH-60M Black Hawk aircraft at the 82nd Airborne Division where it was exercised and evaluated by 44 crew chiefs.
Created under direction of the UHPO, and in collaboration with the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center and some industry partners, CMS implements a government owned open systems architecture populated with interchangeable capabilities enabled by software aligned to The Open Group Future Airborne Capability Environment Technical Standard, Edition 2.1, to improve common operating picture, situational awareness and aircrew coordination.
CMS follows the FACE approach promoting portable software and has matured along with the FACE Technical Standard. The majority of CMS core and hosted capabilities have been verified using the FACE Conformance Test Suite 2.1, which is part of the FACE Conformance Program.
For the Limited User Evaluation, CMS was configured to host the following capabilities: moving map, point of interest, display readouts, engine instruments caution advisory systems, fuel calculations, flight plan progress, external video and e-reader. These capabilities relieved crew chiefs' typical frustrations associated with interrupting the pilots and having partial and less current situational awareness. In fact, the crew chiefs were able to better assist the pilots on checklists, attitude/altitude checks, fuel management, route planning and monitoring or diagnosing aircraft health. The capabilities were effectively utilized to support missions as reflected in the provided feedback from the crew chiefs.
The general consensus was that CMS is an overall great system and provides needed capabilities to the Warfighters. Additional capabilities, including aircraft digital bus traffic information readings, communication with additional cockpit instrument panel displays with push/pull ability, real-time tactical situational awareness and conditioned based maintenance, blue force tracking interface with maintenance messaging and enhanced phased maintenance availability, are being considered for future CMS events.
"Adding new capabilities into our enduring platforms has been costly in both time and money. With emerging threats and limited resources, we simply have to provide more capabilities to our Warfighters faster with less funding" said Joe Carter, U.S. Army Program Executive Office Aviation acting assistant PEO chief information officer/information management and elected FACE Consortium Steering Committee chair. "CMS is a success story for Army aviation. Putting CMS capabilities in our Warfighters' hands is a terrific accomplishment, but CMS establishing a FACE infrastructure on an enduring platform is even more impactful. This foundation enables us to host a wide variety of new and improved capabilities from any number of technology suppliers" he added.
CMS and the Army's Rapid Integration Framework, leveraged from the CMS architecture, were previously featured during representative platform demonstrations at the U.S. Army FACE Technical Interchange Meeting in Huntsville in September 2018. These demonstrations spanned five configurations with varied hardware, operating systems, input/output components and hosted capabilities highlighting the flexibility of the architecture to rapidly integrate capabilities and not be locked into a single vendor or product. Some of the integrations took less than three days, while all integrations took less than six weeks.
CCDC AvMC provides increased responsiveness to the nation's Warfighters through aviation and missile capabilities and life cycle engineering solutions.
The CCDC Aviation & Missile Center, formerly known as the Aviation & Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, which conducts responsive research, development and life cycle engineering to deliver the aviation and missile capabilities the Army depends on to ensure victory on the battlefield today and tomorrow. 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.