Thursday, August 16, 2012
Navy Marks Aircraft Computer Milestone
The Navy and industry partner General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems marked the milestone production of a key computer system used in naval aircraft during a visit to the company’s Bloomington, Minn., plant this month.
Under the Advanced Mission Computer and Displays program (AMC&D), General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems has now delivered the 1,500th AMC, including the 1,000th Type 3 AMC, which are used to replace aging AYK-14 systems on major Navy aircraft platforms.
Capt. Tracy Barkhimer, program manager for the Air Combat Electronics office (PMA-209), which manages production of the AMC&D, hailed the importance of the system to the Navy. “The General Dynamics mission computers have been and continue to be extremely versatile and highly reliable systems for our fleet users,” Barkhimer said. “They provide mission computing capabilities for many major naval aircraft platforms. The AYK-14 mission computers in the F/A-18A-Ds, E-2Cs, and SH-60Bs are still in service and have been for more than 35 years, while AMC&D products are entering their 10th year of service.”
The AMC&D system is currently used on the AV-8B Harrier, the F/A-18A-D Hornet, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the EA-18G Growler. On the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G, the AMC&D system replaces legacy AYK-14 Mission Computers and aging CRT Displays with integrated Advanced Mission Computers, network switches and high resolution displays.
The AMC&D system represents a new generation in computing capability for naval aviation, Navy officials said. Where the AYK-14 systems were limited to data processing, the AMC&D systems bring orders of magnitude increases in processing performance and memory, display and video processing capability and high-speed networks to the fleet. By integrating mission and image processing into a single system, the AMC&D computers enable pilots and aircrew to identify, track and designate targets in ways that could not be done with the older AYK-14 systems.
In addition, with the inclusion of high-speed networks, high-definition images can be transferred between systems and stored for later evaluation. On a more basic level, the AMC&D is an open-architecture system capable of drawing on the latest commercial processing, networking and software development technologies available (think iPads and PCs), unlike the AYK-14 systems that used Navy unique architectures and were limited by government funding for advancements.
Mike Tweed-Kent, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems vice president and general manager of the Mission Integration Systems division, said the milestone AMC&D production highlighted the importance of the company’s ongoing relationship supporting the Navy.
“General Dynamics has produced this core system for more than 10 years and we’re proud to be partnered with the Navy as they continue to enhance their situational awareness and combat systems capabilities,” Tweed-Kent said. “AMC is built on a well-defined open systems architecture, allowing for rapid insertion of mission-specific technologies at lower costs. We look forward to many more years of delivering high-performance avionics hardware and software to Navy warfighters.”