Military and commercial aviation communities alike are hopeful for a “revolution” that springboards our industry from today’s shortfalls in dealing with the complexity of Airworthy Open Systems platforms to a solution that allows for the rapid development of safe and secure systems. Is it such a stretch to imagine a set of models, once built, shuffled within systems diagrams, like LEGO™ blocks, forming a realistic, integrated representation of desired functionality and the end system? In such a world, systems engineers would be able to conduct open systems design trades, monitor internal data exchanges, analyze and correct performance characteristics, and ensure safe and secure operations in a systems architecture virtual or physical environment.
A solution may lie in the further advancement of leading-edge methodologies and technologies in the areas of model-based engineering of systems, systems-of-systems analysis, design, development, and verification. New modeling languages such as AADL and the FACE Data Model Language have increased the specificity with which systems models can be built and may contain hints at the next “revolution” of system development. After all, are we likely to achieve such a leap using our current modes of thinking and continuing to press the limits of our current processes and technologies, or do we need a shift in thinking, a change in point of view, a change in paradigm?