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Chimera – Open Source Solution for Your Toughest Mission System Integration

Integrated Mission Systems
Mar 5, 2024 | 3 MINUTE Read

The tool, developed by the company’s Tulsa, Okla.-based Aeromet business unit and in use since 2017 supports faster development times and reduces the cost of managing platform mission systems and eliminates the dependency on vendor required updates and ensures adaptability for future mission needs.

This year, L3Harris has released its Chimera solution to the public with the introduction of Chimera 4.0 into the Lesser General Public License (LPGL) 2.1 open-source library.

Chimera Origins

“We named our solution Chimera after the mythical beast,” said Colin Oetken, Senior Manager, Business Development, L3Harris. “The Chimera of Greek mythology is a hybrid creature comprised of the body parts of a lion, a goat and a snake each part contributing unique strengths to the whole.” Like the mythical creature, our Chimera 4.0 software development kit (SDK) allows developers to combine the best-in-class algorithms and functions in a modular open system approach (MOSA) framework into a whole system that surpasses the sum of its parts.

The Benefit of MOSA

MOSA, the Department of Defense’s preferred method for implementation of open systems, MOSA promotes the development of complex systems with an emphasis on modularity, openness and interoperability to reduce risks involved with integration efforts.

Chimera was created with MOSA at its core, and the open-source framework allows software developers to create processing systems that follow architectural best practices including reusability, modularity, maintainability and testability. 

“We provide complex mission integration services on all types of aircraft platforms, and we developed Chimera to simplify the integration process,” Oetken said.  “Now that Chimera has been proven and refined over multiple years, we realized the potential the software has to help others in their system integration processes.” 

Applications Supported by Chimera

Data in Chimera resides in a central location with pointers used in the modules to access the data allowing Chimera to optimize the handling of large data by minimizing data movement. This process eliminates storage of excess data copies and reduces redundancy by eliminating the need to update numerous instances of the data. The solution supports various applications, such as tracking applications, command and control, distributed computing, artificial intelligence/machine learning inference engines, containerized applications, modular open system applications and future airborne capability requirements.

Benefits to Using Chimera

Chimera schedules task processing and uses a plug-in approach to connect multiple systems. Its modular design enables faster development times and reduced cost. Agility and cost reduction is achieved through: 

  • Rapid and scalable open architecture mission system design and modernization
  • Significant reduction in recurring engineering tasks
  • Increased processing efficiency through intuitive data flow and manipulation to support dynamic resource use and management
  • Self-managed data queues and scalability at a thread, process, or processor level to maximize flexibility
  • Growing library of Chimera modules available for integration. 
  • Coding modules:
    • Removes the need for developers to write and maintain complex code
    • Enables simplified units of code that concentrate on critical processing
    • Does not require Chimera source code changes
    • Supports independent module verification and built-in type protection for an extra layer of integration safety and effective unit testing

Chimera promotes open standards encouraging transparency and collaboration. With a community of developers and experts continually scrutinizing the modules, the opportunity to recognize vulnerabilities and address points of susceptibility happen more rapidly leading to a more robust system.

Tough System Integration and the Release of Chimera Pro

Military platforms are increasingly complex and require adaptability to respond to ever changing threats. Chimera promotes interoperability and enhances communication between modules in a system ensuring a comprehensive and coordinated application strategy.  Chimera, coupled with modern DevOps tools and techniques, minimizes time to develop and deploy critical updates in the field.

As businesses evolve, Chimera allows for growth. New modules can be added, substituted or upgraded while reducing the risks that are typical with upgrading systems. Chimera promotes adaptability and ensures long-term viability and the continued relevance of the system. 

The Chimera Pro version will be released later in 2024 and will feature enhanced developer capabilities and tools for system monitoring. “The Chimera suite will continue to grow to address the needs of L3Harris programs, our customers’ mission challenges and support integrators tackling the toughest integration systems,” said Oetken.


  • Chimera Data Sheet

    Chimera Data Sheet

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