Sensor Open Systems Architecture™ (SOSA)

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Abaco Systems is a proud member of the SOSA Consortium

The development of standards

In May 2006, Abaco announced the industry’s first rugged 3U VPX single board computer – the SBC340. In June 2010, the OpenVPX standard – a standard which Abaco was actively involved in creating – was ratified by ANSI.

Why OpenVPX? OpenVPX took VPX as its base, but further refined it – creating a new level of guaranteed interoperability.

SOSA - Sensor Open Systems Architecture - can be thought of as extending that guaranteed interoperability even further, more closely defining the function of more touch points.

What is SOSA?

SOSA is one of several standards that fall broadly within the MOSA (Modular Open Systems Approach) initiative, which is both a business and a technical strategy. Other standards within the MOSA initiative include FACE (Future Airborne Capability Environment), VICTORY (Vehicular Integration for C4ISR/EW Interoperability) and CMOSS (C4ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards). It is based on key interfaces and open standards established by industry-government consensus.

SOSA – which is an ongoing effort, with Version 1 expected in mid-2020 - is based on OpenVPX, and is aimed at developing a common, modular hardware architecture across C4ISR and EW systems.


The US Air Force, Army and Navy need advanced embedded computing capabilities that are easily reconfigurable and upgradable, that are highly cost-effective and that are quick to develop and deploy. SOSA is designed to ensure those goals are met.

With SOSA, standard profile definitions will emerge that will eliminate much of the requirement for VPX backplane slots to be adapted for specific VPX modules when SOSA-conformant plug-in cards are deployed. Via modular decomposition, it defines functions and behaviors and the associated interfaces (including physical, protocol, and data structure) between the modules. SOSA will enable the armed forces to do more with less, and enable faster response to changing threats.

SOSA is designed to:

  • Facilitate interoperability
  • Reduce development time, cost and risk
  • Allow faster leverage of innovation
  • Speed time to deployment
  • Lower acquisition- and lifetime cost
  • Enable simple, cost-effective upgrade
  • Increase commonality/re-use
  • Eliminate ‘vendor lock-in’

Abaco Systems and SOSA

Abaco has been committed to, and helped drive, industry standards – VME, CompactPCI, VPX, OpenVPX – ever since the company was founded 30+ years ago. As such, it is natural that we are committed to supporting the SOSA standard.

The SBC3511 is a SOSA-aligned 3U VPX single board computer featuring the highly integrated Intel Xeon E-2176M 6-core/12-thread processor (formerly known as Coffee Lake) operating at 2.7GHz with TurboBoost up to 4.4GHz, 32 GBytes of DDR4 RAM and the inclusion of up to 256 GBytes of nVME SSD. It also features a 40 Gigabit Ethernet data plane, in alignment with the SOSA technical standard.

The SOSA-aligned VP460 Direct RF Processing System is the industry’s first 6U VPX implementation of the transformational Xilinx 16x16 RF system-on-chip (RFSoC) technology combined with the Xilinx Ultrascale+ FPGA with High Bandwidth Memory (HBM). It is designed to speed and simplify the development of advanced, next generation multi-channel electronic warfare systems in application areas such as MIMO, beamforming, sensor processing, radar, SDR and signals intelligence.

Additional SOSA-aligned hardware platforms will be announced in the coming months.


Mission Computing at the Tactical Edge – Aligned with CMOSS Standards

Size, Weight, Power, Cooling, Cost, Compliance (SWaP-C3) Curve


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SOSA hardware considerations

  • Slot profiles
  • Network partitioning
  • Backplane layout
  • Chassis management
  • Power (12V, 3.3V)
  • Cooling
  • Maintenance ports
  • Compatibility/alignment with
    • VITA standards (e.g., 65, 66, 67…)
    • HOST
    • CMOSS

The SOSA Consortium

The SOSA Consortium is hosted by The Open Group, and comprises five working groups (architecture, business, software, hardware, electrical/mechanical).

Key sponsors and principals include the Air Force, Army and Navy as well as major prime contractors, while some 60 industry participants are associates.