Lalmohan wrote:JayS - avionics and weapons systems are not usually designed to be open architecture. there are a lot of reasons - security being one. but just in terms of performance - speed, weight, power consumption, etc., there is a lot of hardware and firmware optimisation before even thinking about the software. as a result, open ness and integration abilities are sacrificed due to the bespoke nature of the end product. therefore its not as simple as lashing a bunch of desktops together even if conceptually that's all you are doing
Avionics and weapons systems are being designed with open architecture for quite a while now. I think you are confusing open architecture with "openness" (as in open source) of a system. An open architecture system need not give freedom and ease of modifications to anyone but the developer. In today's world no OEM will think of making closed architecture subsystems for fighter avionics. Otherwise the cost of further modifications and development in the same system would be so much that it will quickly erode its cost competitiveness (goes for both HW and SW).
Optimisation of firmware for HW is not contradictory to requirements of modularity in the larger system, it can be accommodated within the open architecture framework as long as each module/sub-system is individually optimised. After all we are not going to install firmware (or even SW for that matter) of one radar onto other like we install Windows OS on various HW).
As far as the "openness" is concerned which can enable third party to integrate other systems with the radar, that is controlled by only API (physical or SW). If Radar OEM gives API to the third party they can do the integration with ease and at the same time Radar source code is not compromised. Having an API designed into the system and sharing it with others are two different things. Also note that with the API, the OEM can control the level of access to the source code. It can be either limited to the bare minimum interface thats required for given capability or it could allow one to access each and every functionality in the source code.
Whether a Radar is open architecture or close architecture, the interface can always be reverse engineered, as long as there is an interface. Only thing is cost and efforts increase if one has no access to API and for a closed architecture.
This is quite the same as how many commercial SW tools operate. They have a API designed for their SW. You have to buy the API license separately to be able to build own apps or integrate third party tools with this particular SW using the API. Please note I am not talking about the scripting interface that is available or user defined functionality interface that is available for the user from front end (GUI/TUI) for automation or customisation purpose. The API I am referring to link the user to the back end source code directly.