Leading the Embedded World

U.S. Marine Corps AH-1Z and UH-1Y Mission Computers

The U.S. Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter and UH-1Y Venom utility helicopter are highly integrated helicopters that require mission computers with significant yet flexible computing capabilities and the ability to be updated to support specific configurations. To help meet those computing requirements, Northrop Grumman selected the INTEGRITY-178 tuMP multicore RTOS for use in their Gen II Mission Computer for the UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopter upgrades. The Northrop Grumman Technical Refresh Mission Computer hosts the INTEGRITY-178 Time-Variant Unified Multi Processing (tuMP) capabilities using a NXP QorIQ P4080-based single-board computer.

AH-1Z Viper
(Image courtesy US Marine Corps)

The INTEGRITY-178 tuMP multicore RTOS is the foundation for the Northrop Grumman open systems architectural concept, providing a multicore framework for integrating applications of different programming languages, portable operating environments, and assurance needs. The highly capable scheduling capabilities of INTEGRITY-178 tuMP uniquely permit Northrop Grumman to effectively utilize the eight cores of the NXP QorIQ P4080.

“The advanced scheduling capabilities of INTEGRITY-178 tuMP have enabled our developers to manage and efficiently utilize all eight cores of the P4080 processor in our system,” said Ike Song, then Vice President, Situational Awareness Systems, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems.

UH-1Y Venom
(Image courtesy US Marine Corps)

INTEGRITY-178 tuMP is a unified multicore RTOS that supports simultaneous combinations of Asymmetric Multi-Processing (AMP), Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP), and Bound Multi-Processing (BMP). That flexibility enables system architects to achieve optimal multicore performance while executing one or more safety-critical applications, up to DAL A, across multiple cores. BMP is an enhanced and restricted form of SMP that statically binds an application’s tasks to specific cores, allowing the system architect to tightly control the concurrent operation of multiple cores. In BMP mode, INTEGRITY-178 tuMP directly supports the multicore requirement in ARINC 653 Supplement 4 section 2.2.1 which requires the capability for “multiple processes within a partition scheduled to execute concurrently on different processor cores.”

The U.S. Marine Corps has continued to upgrade the mission computers for both of the H-1 helicopters, and now uses Northrop’s FlightPro™ Gen III scalable mission computer. The Gen III mission computers are the heart of Northrop's integrated avionics system that powers the glass cockpit avionics of the UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters. Based on the INTEGRITY-178 tuMP RTOS, the FlightPro software is RTCA DO-178C compliant, has ARINC-653 partitioning for safety and security, and complies with the Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA). The FlightPro software is aligned with the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™) Technical Standard and has hardware-independent application software developed to MIL-STD-498, under MIL-STD-882C safety program environmental qualification.

The mission computers can accommodate future system upgrades, rapid insertion of new technologies, and integration of other avionics, communications, and survivability equipment.

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