HAL Flies Hawk with Indigenous Avionics System
Giving further fillip to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.’s (HAL) increased thrust towards technology development, the State-run defence undertaking has flown the advanced jet trainer (AJT) Hawk-i in Bengaluru for the first time with an indigenous Real Time Operating System (RTOS) developed by it. Suvarna Raju, CMD, HAL, has said that the feat is another milestone for HAL as it is the first indigenous RTOS that has been developed in the country from scratch, and it is also the first instance that an indigenous RTOS has been certified by CEMILAC.
“The RTOS is the system software which provides a standard run-time environment for real-time applications execution in a safe and reliable manner. The RTOS is a key technology for concurrent execution of multiple applications and optimal use of hardware resources which is of paramount importance for increased complexity of modern avionics software,” said Raju. Advanced modules like network stack and file system have been co-developed with IIT- Kharagpur which also carried out formal method-based verification of the RTOS kernel.
At present, avionics systems in India are developed using commercial RTOS procured from foreign suppliers. The import of technology leads to high cost, provides very limited flexibility in incorporating new features and adaptation to new hardware platforms. The imported RTOS may also be vulnerable to cyber-attacks which may compromise the safety and security of the avionics system. To overcome this dependency and achieve self-reliance, HAL had earlier taken up the onus of designing an indigenous RTOS for safety-critical and mission-critical avionics systems.
The HAL-RTOS provides a comprehensive feature set based on international specification - ARINC-653, to support Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) architecture. Key features include address, space and time partitioning, priority pre-emptive process scheduling and health monitoring. The RTOS performance has been validated on the Mission Computer of HAL’s Hawk-i trainer aircraft. The complete Operational Flight Program, which includes real-time sensor data processing, navigation algorithm computations, controls and display management and interface management have been ported and the RTOS has met all its design requirements during the flight.
“With this development, the HAL-RTOS can be made as a standard Real Time Operating System for any future avionics systems development in the country. The real-time operating system is a key technology for executing multiple applications and optimal use of hardware in modern avionics software," added Suvarna Raju. The tandem-seat Hawk-I aircraft is used for ground attack, flying and weapons training at supersonic speed. Powered by Adour Mk 871 turbofan engine, it is also used for aerobatic manoeuvres.