This paper describes a lightweight but rigorous system and software development process that has been successfully deployed for the specification and realization of a “plug-and-play”, data driven architecture for manned and unmanned military vehicles. The examples shown here are drawn from two NATO Industrial Advisory Group (NIAG) studies, the results of which have been adopted by a number of global defense suppliers, and incorporated into defense standards. The objectives of these studies were to:
• Develop a common architecture in the form of a domain model, for weaponized aircraft, both manned and unmanned;
• Construct a set of generic models in which aircraft platform-specific capabilities could be specified in the form of data configurations, reducing the need to make code changes as requirements evolve, or when porting to a new platform;
• Identify all Information Exchange Requirements (IERs) between the Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) nodes and between the UAS and external systems, taking into account the range of UAV capabilities and allocation decisions that might be made;
• Minimize development and through-life costs by automatically generating code and documentation from the models, so that the models become the primary maintained artefacts.
The NIAG model outlined in this paper has now been incorporated into the Office of the Secretary of Defense Unmanned Aerial Systems Control Segment (UCS) Architecture (www.ucs.architecture.org
) as a mission effects service. The UCS Architecture is intended to apply to all DoD Unmanned Aircraft Systems where the vehicle weighs more than 20 lbs. An Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Announcement in August 2010 stated:
• “The UAS Control Segment (UCS) Architecture was developed with broad and open participation from industry, academia and Government and is seen as a major achievement in technology and innovative thought in the employment of unmanned systems.”, and
• “The UCS Architecture is a software architecture that is agile to evolving Service requirements and is supportive of affordable safety/airworthiness certification and affordable Information Assurance (IA) certification.”
The studies employed the principles of the Object Management Group (OMG) Model Driven Architecture® (MDA) to satisfy the objectives of the study. This methodology is based on the Unified Modeling Language (UML).