What is FACE?

What is the Future Airborne Capability Environment or FACE?

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Jan 23, 2022

The Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium is a government and industry partnership that defines an open avionics environment for all military airborne platform types. This consortium is a vendor-neutral forum that provides standardized approaches for using open standards with avionics systems. It works to develop and consolidate open standards, best practices, guidance documents and business models to lower costs, enable quality software development, foster innovation and competition within the avionics industry and make procurement easier.

The FACE Consortium was launched by the Open Group in 2010 “working with the U.S. Navy Air Combat Electronics Program Office, the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research and Engineering Center, and several leading defense industry avionics suppliers.” The purpose of the consortium was to speed up innovation, reduce acquisition costs, and provide more rapid integration of avionics software capabilities for defense programs. 

Although the FACE standards are open, membership in FACE is limited to US organizations and to US persons who work for US organizations. Click here to see a list of FACE Consortium Members.

The Technical Standards of FACE define the software computing environment intended for the development of portable software components, including requirements for architectural segments and key interfaces. This avionics standard is part of the open group standard for making military computing operations more robust, interoperable, portable, and secure. The standard enables developers to create and deploy a wide catalog of applications for use across the entire spectrum of military aviation systems through a common operating environment. The latest edition of the standard further promotes application interoperability and portability with enhanced requirements for exchanging data among FACE components and an emphasis on defining common language requirements for the standard. 

By 2012, the first revision of a technical standard had been released. However, from the beginning, the FACE Consortium desired FACE to be not only a technical standard for software, but also a business strategy for acquisition.

FACE Reference Architecture

To meet the objectives of the technical approach, the FACE Technical Standard uses a standardized architecture describing a conceptual breakdown of functionality, called the FACE Reference Architecture, to promote the reuse of software components able to share common functionality across disparate systems. This architecture defines standardized interfaces to allow software components to be moved between systems, including those developed by different vendors. The standardized interfaces follow an open data architecture to ensure the data communicated between the software components is easy to integrate into new systems. 

The FACE Reference Architecture consists of logical segments where variance occurs. The structure created by connecting these segments is the foundation of the FACE Reference Architecture. The five (5) segments of the FACE Reference Architecture are:

  1. OSS - Operating System Segment
  2. IOSS - Input/Output Services Segment
  3. PSSS - Platform-Specific Services Segment
  4. TSS - Transport Services Segment
  5. PCS - Portable Components Segment

FACE is part of Open Group. The Open Group is a global consortium that enables companies to achieve their business objectives through technology standards. 

Click here to view all the documents published on FACE by the Open Group.

Click here to learn more about the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium.

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