Advanced Model-Based Approach to Scalable Multi-Function Radio Frequency (SMRF) Specification, Analysis, Development and Obsolescence Reduction (Ambassador)

Dec 3, 2014

Start Date: 01/2012
End Date: n/a.
Participating Countries: NL, FR, UK, DE, SE, ES
Other partners:Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast-Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (TNO), EADS Systems & Defence Electronics, SAAB, THALES Netherlands BV, INDRA SISTEMAS S.A., Thales Air Systems, BAE Systems

The Ambassador (Advanced Model-Based Approach to Scalable Multi-Function Radio Frequency (SMRF) Specification, Analysis, Development and Obsolescence Reduction) project aim was to demonstrate that a modern architectural framework is a valuable way to deal with the definition of a new system and specially one as complex as Scalable Multifunction RF System (SMRF). Besides, the project analysed the need of a standardised system engineering framework to describe the creation and modifications of SMRF systems. The project participants agreed that their preferred system engineering methodology should be based on INCOSE. The project showed that the main advantage of using models is seen in the risk reduction while for costs and schedule the benefits are identified as real but not necessarily significant.

Project goals

  • To demonstrate the need and the benefit of a modern architectural framework in the definition of new systems and specially those as complex as Scalable Multifunction RF (SMRF) Systems
  • To demonstrate the need and the benefit of a standardised system engineering framework to describe the creation and modifications of SMRF systems
  • To develop roadmaps and way forward for the development of SMRF systems

Detailed description of the project 

The AMBASSADOR project was focused on the requirements of a simulation framework, a survey and assessment of Model Based System Engineering (MBSE) and the development of roadmaps and way forward in the application of Systems Engineering to complex projects as those dealing with Scalable Multifunction RF Systems (SMRF).

Requirements for a Simulation framework: The consortium identified the requirements for a simulation framework which lead to the need of an extension to Architectural Framework, System Engineering Framework and High Level Architecture considerations.

It is thus a recommendation that it is required, when defining a new system, and especially one as complex as SMRF, that a modern architectural framework is utilised. In the same way, a standardised system engineering framework is needed to describe the creation and modifications of a SMRF system preferably based on INCOSE system engineering methodology.

In terms of simulation tools, Simulink was proposed as a modelling interface tool. However, further research into the actual functionality of this tool with respect to the variety of modelling packages has to be done.

Survey about MBSE: It appeared that MBSE was perceived and expected to enhance the communication between all stakeholders, internal and external, enabling a common understanding and a defined workflow during the development process. As such the general trend seen by the interviewees was that the scope and usage of MBSE will increase in the future.

The most common strategy for introducing MBSE among the interviewees seems to be small (“non-threatening”) pilot projects and trial and error approaches. Some elucidate that it was important to view MBSE as a life-long investment to be implemented incrementally in a controlled way.

Value Assessment of MBSE: A value assessment of MBSE application to product development was run using state of the art techniques, with the following results:
1. Development cost reduction for the system by about a third
2. Reduction of time, needed for the development by about a third
3. Reduction of risk in development cost by about two thirds 
4. Reduction of risk in development schedule by about two thirds

Consequently, the main advantage of using models is seen in the risk reduction. For costs and schedule the benefits are identified as real but not necessarily significant.

Besides the standard activities of the project, contacts were initiated with the European Commission and EDA to participate to the development of standards in this field.It could be a good way to promote the programme and even perhaps start a parallel one dedicated to standardization.

SMRF Roadmaps: The SMRF Roadmap is confirmed with proposals for the interaction of the various future projects. The most prevalent source of interactions lies in the consortium belief that these frameworks require to be developed around one application case first and then to be eventually broaden to all types of SMRF systems. Hence the opportunity to use the output of the “Architecture proof-of-concept” as the application case should be defined early in the SOW of each project to ensure coherency through common meetings in the initial stages and cross-validation of the deliverables.

Way Forward: The next project should deal with the “Simulation Framework development”. “Simulation framework applications” envisioned activities were also sketched. More importantly, its expected results are listed: initial development of three new systems, but also very useful models of three existing systems. These types of model have proven to be invaluable in the management of changes and resolution of operational problems in operating products.

Looking at the immediate way forward it should at least define: application cases, work share between projects and how to pursue contacts with European standardization bodies. 

Finally, it was recommended to anticipate upcoming projects in the following subjects: 1. Internal validation by the industrial partners of the Rational/Eclipse tools for requirements and interfaces modelling
2. Definition of a common Architecture framework and simple description of at least one application case by the SMRF Management group.


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Participating Member States

  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech
  • Germany
  • Estonia
  • Ireland
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Italy
  • Cyprus
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Hungary
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Austria
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • UK