SOA is everywhere: even driving drone aircraft

A framework 'analogous to the hardware and operating system used by a tablet computer' will give the government more flexibility with the software running its pilotless drones.

Raytheon Company says it is employing a service-oriented architecture framework to integrate weapons systems and sensors within its fleet of pilotless drones.

The Raytheon press release has an interesting definition to explain SOA, saying its SOA framework "is analogous to the hardware and operating system used by a tablet computer," the company says. "A domain manager is analogous to a computer application."

In this case, the framework provides the necessary infrastructure while the apps control the weapons, sensors, communications and other vital UAS mission-level functions. And it's seen as providing a lot more flexibility to add or take out subsystems.

As Bob Francois, vice president of advanced missiles and unmanned systems for Raytheon Missile Systems, puts it:

"Raytheon's SOA solution could make expensive rewrites of UAS proprietary software a thing of the past. Our open, service-oriented infrastructure can exist separately from the flight-critical software of the UAS. Raytheon's system is plug and play, non-proprietary and platform independent."

Raytheon's SOA framework resides on a computing platform sized to fit within the available space on a wide variety of unmanned aircraft. Raytheon has completed development of an effects domain manager for sensor and weapon integration and is creating other domain managers for key UAS functions.

David Wichner of the Arizona Daily Star provides some additional details on Raytheon's SOA strategy, noting that the flexible architecture would save the US government money, since services could be built into common interfaces. "The government would essentially own the interfaces and provide open access to developers."

(Photo Credit: US Navy.)