A Next Generation Avionics Software Architecture – the ECOA® Programme
Lead Software Architect, BAE Systems
European Component Oriented Architecture (ECOA) is a joint UK-French industry research programme funded by the Ministries of Defence of both countries. The objective of the research is to reduce the cost and timescales for production and modification of complex real-time military software systems, by facilitating software portability and reuse.
The programme defines an open real-time software architecture, agreed between the programme partners, that meets the above objectives. The software architecture is based around a number of key concepts:
- Use of flexible architectural paradigms which provide event and data distribution. These are expected to be key to rapid product upgrades,
- Precise specification of software artefacts, allowing a detailed understanding of functional and non-functional behaviour,
- A better model of distributed real-time behaviour,
- Support for Model-Driven Engineering (MDE) and automated code generation to reduce development costs,
- The ability to support various underlying hardware and software platforms, ensuring the approach is able to support legacy and new build,
- The use of fault-isolation techniques to prevent erroneous software components from affecting others,
- The creation of a market for software artefacts, based on an agreed breakdown of mission systems functionality.
Initially, the programme is focussed on supporting mission system software within combat air platforms, for both new build and legacy upgrades. The intent is to publish the results as an Open Standard (Interim Def Stan 00-973 is now available), and create a support framework to facilitate effective military software reuse.The goals of the presentation are to introduce the ECOA programme, its concepts and a high level technical overview.