Two Harriers Flying Over Afghanistan

The Future Airborne Capability Environment Technical Standard enhances software portability and interoperability across U.S. Department of Defense airborne platforms. (Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps)

General Dynamics Mission Systems’ Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACETM) team delivered the third software release to the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). The software upgrades are loaded into the mission system computer (MSC) in AV-8B Harrier II aircraft used by the U.S. Marine Corps. The software release, using the FACE Technical Standard, provides improved functionality for faster, less expensive integration of MSC applications. General Dynamics received the contract to upgrade AV-8B Harrier’s MSCs with the next-generation FACE Infrastructure and capability in 2013.

“This is the first military aircraft computer to have the NAVAIR advanced computing environment,” said Carlo Zaffanella, vice president of Maritime and Strategic Systems for General Dynamics Mission Systems. “The goal of this capability will be for technical professionals working on the AV-8B Harrier to swap applications in a way that’s similar to changing and upgrading applications on a smartphone.”

“Collaborating with our customers to improve the cost-effectiveness, efficiency and agility of their mission systems is a core capability for our organization,” said Chris Marzilli, president of General Dynamics Mission Systems. “The work we are doing on the Harrier MSC continues to demonstrate that expertise.”

General Dynamics is the sole designer, developer and manufacturer of the mission system computer for the Harrier fleet and the Advanced Mission Computer used on F/A-18E, F/A-18F and EA-18G aircraft. Built on commercial off-the-shelf open architecture, advanced mission computers are designed for high-performance fighter aircraft, providing general-purpose processing, display and graphics processing input/output, video and other mission systems functions.

Following this software release, General Dynamics will begin rigorously testing additional processor and core software in AV-8B Harrier MSCs. The government will then test to ensure that the upgraded mission system computers support flight clearance and fleet introduction.

The FACE Technical Standard and business strategy strengthen the U.S. military’s ability to address software obsolescence and enhances software portability and interoperability across the various U.S. Department of Defense airborne platforms. It is designed to reduce lifecycle costs, foster a competitive avionics marketplace and facilitate the adoption of new technologies supported by an open architecture environment.

General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) combined the resources of Advanced Information Systems and C4 Systems into “General Dynamics Mission Systems” on January 1, 2015. For more information about General Dynamics Mission Systems, please visit and follow us on Twitter @GDMS.

FACETM is a trademark of The Open Group.