Air Force increases participation in FACE Consortium efforts
DAYTON, OH. Air Force officials said they will be increasing their involvement in the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium’s work to develop a standard for enabling the re-use of software applications across multiple avionics platforms. They made their comments yesterday at the FACE Air Force Technical Interchange Meeting (TIM) and exhibition near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
“I do want to see greater Air Force presence and participation in the FACE development,” Air Force Lt. Gen. C.D. Moore II, Commander of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (LCMC) at Wright-Patterson AFB said at the meeting. The FACE concept is consistent with the mission of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright Patterson AFB – it reduces the cycle time, drives innovation, and is cost effective, he added. The LCMC – stood up six months ago -- is the lone center responsible for total life cycle management covering all aircraft, engines, munitions, and electronic systems, according to the Air Force. The organization consists of about 26,000 personnel.
With the Army and Navy already fully supporting FACE as members (the Face Consortium has 59 members), obtaining Air Force involvement was a priority for FACE Consortium leadership. While some members were disappointed that the Air Force did not choose to become a full consortium member this week, they should be heartened by the increased participation by Wright-Patterson AFB and the enthusiasm shown by Lt. Gen. Moore who was only briefed on it a few months ago. The FACE concept Is not going to be a major priority with sequestration and budget cuts driving military planning, but getting increased participation in this environment is a victory in itself.
Nearly all LCMC programs can benefit from a reduction in software cost, so “from a FACE standard perspective, LCMC is a target-rich environment,” Moore said. “At LCMC we have 450 investment programs at LCMC, 500 sustainment programs and 2600 joint international cases. I support the FACE concept because it gets me to where my vision is for this organization. My goal is a 20 to 30 percent reduction in cycle time to get capability in to the field.”
Moore said he still wants to learn more about potential risks and vulnerabilities of the FACE standard – to accurately identify any downsides and make sure that they are not “building in an Achilles heel into systems” by enabling software to be ported across platforms. Current budget uncertainty also may impede progress with the FACE concept, but the Air Force is pursuing ways to increase involvement in standards organizations such as this, he continued. “The FACE concept is a capability accelerant and a cost reducer. Our objective is to expand Air Force involvement with the FACE efforts.”
In an earlier presentation Air Force Maj. Gen. Dwyer Dennis, Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Fighters and Bombers at LCMC said the FACE concept is an agile and affordable way to develop and sustain avionics systems that saves on long-term ownership costs. However, the challenge will be developing a transition/migration path to develop increments to a FACE open architecture, he added. A FACE transition will need to be done one step at a time with a different case made for each program.
The next step for the consortium members will be convincing the PEOs like Gen. Dennis, making a separate business case for each one. "If the FACE concept succeeds with the Air Force it will be with the PEOs," said the final presenter yesterday, Steven Davis, Principal Account Manager for Wright-Patterson AFB for Rockwell Collins.
The FACE Consortium is managed by the Open Group. For more information, visit http://www.opengroup.org/getinvolved/consortia/face.
For more on the FACE concept also see: