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Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has selected CONNEXT DDS from Real-Time Innovations (RTI) as the connectivity software for its OPAL application framework, the company announced on 13 July.

OPAL serves as the infrastructure for networking connectivity, data sharing, and operative actions for air, land and naval forces. By using CONNEXT to manage data communications, IAI is able to help defence industry customers implement new applications rapidly, while reducing operational costs, decreasing development complexity, and enabling faster time to market. In addition, the OPAL framework built on CONNEXT DDS will readily enable companies to meet the requirements of the Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) programme – now a mandatory requirement for US DoD.

Under combat conditions, critical variables, such as poor visibility and unpredictable enemy behaviour, highlight the imperative for troops to securely and reliably communicate at all times. However, if each friendly force operates on an individual basis, interoperability and joint operations become challenging, if not impossible: important data can easily remain stalled in operational silos, and not be instantly accessible to C2 system operators. Overcoming this barrier and introducing real-time interoperability capabilities is critical to securing optimal results from any new operational application added to a combat platform. Traditionally, the process of adding these new applications to an airborne platform and achieving full integration is measured in years and hundreds of millions of dollars.

Shortening these implementation cycles was the primary motivation for IAI to develop OPAL. By implementing RTI’s CONNEXT DDS, IAI was able to reduce said cycle from roughly 60 months to just five. RTI enabled a turnkey approach that now allows defence customers to introduce new applications faster than ever before, equating to significant cost savings and accelerating time to market. CONNEXT DDS also delivers the software architecture needed to achieve real-time situational awareness and unified communication, to develop a comprehensive operational picture of the battlefield.

Another key benefit is that this aligns OPAL with the  Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) technical standard, edition 3.1, which defines an open avionics environment for all military airborne platforms. In addition, deploying an Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) architecture enables OPAL to efficiently introduce new applications while reducing the impact of change and advancing the FACE approach. With this standards-based architecture, OPAL can continue to evolve and deliver even broader compatibility and capability for global avionics platforms.

We created OPAL to provide a solution for different platforms to communicate with one another. RTI CONNEXT serves as a critical component within the OPAL, to provide our customers with seamless cross-platform interoperability, while reducing time to market dramatically,” commented Tal Zaharoni, Deputy General Manager, Conversions and Upgrades Division, IAI.

The ability to communicate between joint operations forces is one of the most critical and complicated aspects of the warfighting environment when each entity has developed their own unique and proprietary system,” added Chip Downing, Senior Director, Aerospace and Defense at RTI.

An OPAL simulator. (Photo: IAI)

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