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Wind River Helix Platform Achieves Certification in Open Avionics

By Arti Loftus
September 23, 2019

There are hundreds of open source and collaborative community initiatives and organizations across the globe, and in the aviation industry, the Future Airborne Capability Environment Consortium (FACE) is leading in driving the de facto open avionics standard for “making military computing operations more robust, interoperable, portable and secure.”

Established in 2010, today FACE it is a real-time software-focused professional group made up of industry suppliers, customers, academia, and users, designed to advance innovation while also keeping government software systems affordable.

Their common operating environment promotes application interoperability and portability and is governed with enhanced requirements for exchanging data among FACE components with an emphasis on defining common language requirements for that standard.

The Open Group is a government and industry partnership to define an open avionics environment for all military airborne platform types. The FACE™ Consortium is a vendor-neutral forum that provides standardized approaches for using open standards with avionics systems. The FACE Consortium works to develop and consolidate the open standards, best practices, guidance documents and business models to achieve these objectives:

Wind River announced earlier this month their Helix Virtualization Platform had achieved conformance to the latest  Technical Standard, Edition 3.0. The certification establishes Helix Platform conformance as an Operating System Segment (OSS) that supports the Safety Base and Security Profile.

“A member of The Open Group FACE™ Consortium since its inception and first to achieve conformance to the FACE Technical Standard OSS Safety Base Profile in 2017, this achievement further demonstrates Wind River’s ongoing work promoting innovation and rapid integration of portable capabilities across global defense programs,” said Ray Petty, vice president, aerospace and defense at Wind River. “With nearly four decades of experience helping companies build safe, secure, and reliable computing systems, Wind River is committed to enhancing and bringing new capabilities to our portfolio for mission-critical commercial aircraft and military operations.”

Based on a previous award-winning foundation, the new Helix Platform is an adaptive software development environment for aerospace systems that enables support for multiple applications.

The Helix Platform supports robust partitioning, symmetric multiprocessing (SMP), and RTCA DO-297 Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) considerations to reduce safety certification costs and accelerate time to deployment. Including support for POSIX and ARINC 653, Part 1, Supplement 4 and Supplement 5, with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) RTCA DO-178C DAL A. Helix Platform provides a real-time, embedded, Type 1 hypervisor that runs on Arm®or x86 multi-core processors. Applications can be legacy or implement new capabilities, based on industry standards such as the FACE™ Technical Standard, or operating systems such as Linux, VxWorks®, and others.

“I am very pleased to congratulate Wind River on achieving FACE Conformance for their Helix Platform,” said Judy Cerenzia, The Open Group Director of Forum Operations. “This latest addition further populates the FACE Registry with the best-in-class solutions for our global warfighters and next-generation military platforms.”

Wind River listed in their announcement benefits of the certification including:

• Standardized approaches for using open standards within avionics systems

• Lower implementation costs of FACE systems

• Standards that support a robust architecture and enable quality software development

• The use of standard interfaces that will lead to reuse of capabilities

• Portability of applications across multiple FACE systems and vendors

• Procurement of FACE conformant products

• More capabilities reaching the warfighter faster

• Innovation and competition within the avionics industry

The FACE Conformance Process develops, verifies, and certifies Technology to the FACE standard. Now certified the Helix Virtualization Platform will be discoverable in the FACE Registry. Users will then be able to access this through the registry.


Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Special Correspondent

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