Linux gains acceptance in mission-critical defence app

Concurrent's win at Lockheed Martin is another step towards more widespread adoption of Linux in mission-critical applications

Real-time Linux systems vendor Concurrent has won a contract to provide mission-critical Linux software to aerospace manufacturer Lockheed Martin Space Systems.

Lockheed Martin selected Concurrent's RedHawk Linux operating system for its United States Army Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) programme, according to Concurrent.

The move into such an important government contract marks a major step forward in the Linux community's efforts to get the open source OS accepted in mission critical computing applications.

Lockheed Martin will use RedHawk real-time Linux in hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation testing of strategic missile defence subsystems. HIL simulation is a critical product development process that provides for thorough testing of components in a virtual environment in which other subsystems are replaced by mathematical models. Components to be tested are inserted into a closed loop that is reproducible, systematic, fast and more reliable than actual bench testing.

RedHawk Linux is a Posix-compliant, real time version of the open source operating system that is suitable for use in simulation, data capture and systems control environments. Its uses Red Hat Linux with a special, multi-threaded, low-latency kernel. To maximise real-time performance it uses symmetric multi-processing, load-balancing and CPU shielding have been used.

In selecting Lockheed Martin for the THAAD programme, the defence contractor said it was because of "the precision and guaranteed response time of RedHawk Linux's real-time operating system".

Concurrent iHawk systems are powered by up to eight Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron processors and up to 64GB of memory in rack mount and tower enclosures.