Advanced Mission Computer (AMC)

The Nerve Center Of U.S. Navy Aircraft

General Dynamics Advanced Mission Computer (AMC) is the nerve center of the U.S. Navy’s F/A -18 Super Hornet and the U.S. Marine Corps’ AV-8B Harrier. The AMC is a high-performance, COTS-based, open systems architecture product, and is configurable to any operating environment. These mission computers provide U.S. pilots with the ability to see and control the battlefield with the advanced situational awareness and combat systems necessary to complete their missions. Some of the general areas to which the AMC can be applied are: 

  • Mission Processing
  • Sensor Processing
  • Display Processing
  • Stores Management
  • Information Management

Featured Program: The F/A-18 Super Hornet

On board the F/A-18 Super Hornet is a pair of General Dynamics’ Advanced Mission Computers (AMC). From advanced fiber optics to the heads-up displays and sensors, almost everything in the cockpit is managed by the AMC.

The latest version of the AMC will support the F/A-18 Block III’s advanced cockpit system, which includes a touchscreen display that will enable the pilot to better see and track long-range targets.

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The General Dynamics Advanced Mission Computer (AMC) is an integrated information processing system, providing complete hardware and software solutions. It is built on a well-defined open systems architecture allowing for rapid insertion of emerging technologies. General Dynamics supplies system design and integration services to ensure a precise fit to the requirements of each specific user platform. The AMC is a set of digital computer hardware and software that performs general purpose, I/O, video, voice and graphics processing.

  • Communication is over multiple buses, including 1553, Fibre Optic Fibre Channel, and Local PCI, and all modules integrate in an industry standard 6U VME backplane
  • I/O configuration may be tailored with PMC mezzanine modules
  • Design is scalable and expandable, with a clear and built-in path for technology upgrades and insertion
  • Well-defined avionics Application Programming Interface (API) abstracts the application software from the underlying hardware, affording system evolution to ever increasing performance standards, while effectively managing obsolescence
  • Ethernet interface supports software development and system maintenance

Because of its configurability and flexibility, the AMC can be used efficiently in a wide range of applications, ranging from embedded module functions to full-scale multicomputer configurations. The system operates reliably in avionics, ground-based and shipboard extreme conditions. Some of the general areas in which General Dynamics has experience and to which the AMC can be applied are:

  • Mission Processing
  • Sensor Processing
  • Display Processing
  • Stores Management
  • Information Management


The AMC open system architecture is based on a modular implementation that lets the configuration be tailored to meet user requirements. This building block approach also simplifies technology insertion and product improvement activities by allowing distinct components of the system to change with minimal impact to the rest of the system.

  • Standard VME-64 Electrical Interface and pinouts
  • Standard PCI Mezzanine Interface
  • Flexible, configurable user-defined I/O pinouts and front panel design
  • Optional local or cluster interconnections


The AMC open systems software architecture concept is based on a standard layered software implementation. User application-level software views the computer through a well-defined avionics API. The API buffers user software from the low-level hardware and software implementation details that will change with time. The General Dynamics product line has already successfully implemented multiple technology rolls without impacting user operational software. As processor, bus and I/O technology improvements become available, the avionics API helps assure user program portability.

  • All I/O is accessed through well-defined driver interfaces tailored to specific platform needs.
  • System startup and BIT approach are designed to let the user manage key characteristics, such as startup time, BIT coverage, error-handling, etc.
  • The API is easily expandable to accommodate platform unique functionality and performance requirements.

Core System Software (CSS) is an enhanced real-time operating system for the AMC that leverages COTS products. The CSS is a fully embedded system software, application program interface, and diagnostic software set for the AMC. Details CSS is a specification of mission-independent objects and operations, and comprises software components to support application execution. The CSS provides all I/O support, application loading capability, multi-processing support and Built- In-Test (BIT) software.

The CSS provides these basic services to the Operational Flight Program (OFP):

  • System services for managing resources and supporting synchronization and communication among concurrent activities. Includes BIT services to check the health of the mission computer and services to initialize and load the OFP.
  • Transport services for I/O operations:

    • MIL-STD-1553 drivers
    • Fibre Channel drivers
    • VMEbus drivers
    • Discrete and serial I/O drivers

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