The Army has awarded three vendors through an other transaction authority to begin developing the Aviation Mission Common Server, the service's program executive office for aviation told Inside Defense in a statement today.
Elbit Systems of America, Mercury Systems and Physical Optics Corp. were awarded three separate OTAs through the C5 Consortium for stage one of the AMCS/Environment Exploitation System modular capabilities demonstration.
The AMCS will be the service's "digital backbone" of aircraft and handle the processing, storage and transport layer while in the air, former Program Executive Officer for Aviation Maj. Gen. Thomas Todd told Inside Defense at last year's Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting.
"You're building, essentially, a flying network that not only can plug into the Army network but that can host onboard system requirements and data requirements," Todd said. "Whether it be the greater visual environment, telemedicine, situational awareness to blue force tracking and the data that comes with that, active protection systems and onboard power that's required ultimately to process new data that's going to be coming into the crews of those aircraft."
The development effort is structured into five stages: Analysis, preliminary design, critical design, demonstration, and qualification testing and deliveries.
"The end of stage five will result in productive-representative AMCS prototype hardware line replaceable units, components and software. . . . The staged structure, with the means to perform a down select, is expected to promote innovation and efficiency," the statement reads.
The contracts were signed by all vendors on July 9, an Army spokesman told Inside Defense.