Reverse Engineering for Large Applications

System obsolescence within the U.S. military is a real and growing problem. For larger applications where processor architectures are becoming obsolete, a more comprehensive technology is required.

The solution to this growing difficulty is the Northrop Grumman developed Reconfigurable Processor for Legacy Applications Code Execution technology that allows the user to replace an obsolescent processor and still retain the use of the legacy or existing software. With this advancement, legacy software and new operating code can execute at the same time; complete rehost to a new language can therefore be spread over several years.

RePLACE™ provides a software execution environment using a state-of-the-art, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) microprocessor that executes both its own native instruction set and the instruction set of the legacy system in tandem. Using this approach RePLACE™ dramatically reduces the cost of typical software rehosts where a processor is upgraded or replaced.

RePLACE™ Implemented

The first implementation of the RePLACE™ technology is for the SKC-3007A processor which has become obsolete and will be unsupportable in the near future. This critical piece of equipment is currently used by the Special Operations Forces (SOF) on the AC-130H Gunship and the MC-130E Combat Talon I aircraft.

To execute the changeover, Northrop Grumman ported the native operational flight program (OFP) code into a COTS PowerPC processor. Then the input/output (I/O) for the new processor was mapped, and the software ported to a flight worthy card cage. The final step will be flight testing on the AC-130H aircraft.

As a result of this new and innovative Northrop Grumman approach, the user will realize significant cost, size and schedule savings to replace the SKC-3007A.

Future RePLACE™ Applications

Northrop Grumman has plans to rehost the AP-102 processor using RePLACE™ technology. The AP-102 is used on multiple aircraft including the MC-130H Combat Talon II and the MH-53J Pave Low III aircraft, and the MH-60K helicopter.

Northrop Grumman Radio Systems provides engineering services at Avionics Engineering Centers across the United States. Northrop Grumman expertise includes avionics and electronics system support for a variety of military aircraft. Reverse engineering for obsolescent systems continues this type of support.

Northrop Grumman Radio Systems is part of Northrop Grumman Space Technology, which is headquartered in Redondo Beach, California. Northrop Grumman Space Technology designs, develops and produces advanced technology systems that address critical national and tactical requirements.