Enabling MOSA on Boeing Vertical Lift Enduring Platforms

April 24, 2024 in Defense

The U.S. Army and all branches of the military continue to drive home the importance of Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) to compete in multi-domain operations now and in the future. The Army describes MOSA as an “integrated technical and business strategy for managing and sustaining a system, a family of systems, and a fleet of systems, that employs modular and open principles and is tailored to meet a particular set of objectives or addresses challenges with existing architectures or acquisitions.”

Vertical Lift’s Approach to MOSA

Efforts to integrate MOSA onto existing Vertical Lift platforms is ongoing and Boeing is taking a “crawl, walk, run” approach to accomplish the mission. To help meet mission requirements, Boeing is working in conjunction with customers and sharing information across the company to learn more and identify areas to invest time, money and resources, primarily on both the AH-64 Apache  and the H-47 Chinook.

The AH-64E Version 6.5 sets the stage for Modular Open Systems Approach for maximum interoperability, faster integration and advanced capabilities fielding.

Apache Leads the Way

As the Army looks to the future of its vertical lift platforms to stay ahead of emerging and evolving threats, the AH-64E Apache continues to pave the way forward with MOSA.

The latest AH-64E Version 6.5 (v6.5) will be the Army’s first MOSA-compliant enduring aircraft, setting the foundation for future advancements for decades to come. Combined with the v6.5’s combat-proven design and unique mix of cutting-edge communications, navigation, sensor and weapon systems, MOSA will help ensure the Apache’s continued battlefield dominance in Multi-Domain Operations.

“Building on the success of our demos in recent years, we’ve continued to incorporate findings and feedback from the Army to mature the Apache’s open system to meet their MOSA requirements,” said Doug Sanders, Business Development capture lead for Apache Advanced Mission Systems.

In March 2022, Boeing successfully demonstrated that the Apache’s open system interface is capable of meeting MOSA requirements, and validated new advanced mission systems and crew station technologies.

Boeing is developing enhancements that will improve situational awareness and reduce crew workload with its design for the Apache Advanced Crew Station, which offers multiple upgrades such as full-color, large area touch screen displays.

Having operationalized Manned-Unmanned Teaming on Apache nearly a decade ago, Boeing continues to demonstrate the art of the possible, lowering risk and increasing flexibility and ease for the Army to integrate capabilities like Launched Effects.

“MOSA is the key that unlocks future capabilities for the next generation of Apaches,” said Jennifer Walker, Business Development capture lead for Apache. “We remain committed to delivering the most efficient, effective and affordable future attack and reconnaissance capabilities to the Army.”

Modernized and ready now, CH-47F Chinook Block II allows customers to add further capability improvements well into the future.

Integrating MOSA on the Chinook

Integrating MOSA on the Chinook builds on the work the company has done across the enterprise and in the Apache space.

“We have been leveraging shared information and best practices across our company, particularly with our Apache partners and sharing our findings with our customer,” said Philip Raduns, a Mission Systems engineer for the H-47 program. “The best way for us to tackle implementing MOSA on the Chinook is to continue finding synergy between U.S. Army operators, program offices and other existing vertical lift products.”

The Chinook team is making significant advancements as well. This year, Boeing plans to test interoperability with Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) in a Systems Integration environment demonstrating a digital backbone, in addition to several other key avionics upgrades. This digital backbone will be the core of the demonstration and provide a significant reduction in the integration schedule, improving “speed-to-ramp” times for avionics future capabilities.

The Chinook program is also looking at things beyond avionics to help drive towards the Army’s desired goals by upgrading platform infrastructure to support MOSA. With projects ranging from electrical distribution, equipment installation and wiring, equipment shelving and data distribution, Boeing is enabling the aircraft for a long-term open systems operations approach. 

The Way Forward

Ultimately, shared knowledge will be the key to unlocking MOSA’s possibilities on enduring platforms. With the Chinook and Apache slated to be the respective primary heavy-lift and attack platforms for the U.S. Army and international allies for years to come, investing now in our open systems architecture approach offers flexibility for customers to quickly upgrade and continuously enhance capabilities to stay ahead of evolving threats.