USAF exec: reduce F-35 sustainment cost focus agile software

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Unread post01 May 2018, 11:00

By Gee By Gollee - it is the Software Stupid!? USAF finks so anyways....
Air Force acquisition exec: To reduce F-35 sustainment cost, focus on agile software
30 Apr 2018 Valerie Insinna

"WASHINGTON — If the Pentagon wants to decrease F-35 sustainment costs, it needs to make sure it gets its new software modernization strategy right, the Air Force’s new acquisition executive said Friday. As the former head of the Defense Department’s Strategic Capabilities Office, Will Roper made a name for himself by pushing innovative new uses of existing tech, charting near term successes with swarming Perdix drones and other projects. But since his confirmation hearing in front of Senate lawmakers in January, Will Roper has made clear that one of his priorities will be driving down the price of maintaining the F-35 joint strike fighter.... [long article - long explanations - go read them]

...So where can the Air Force help? Maybe it’s by lending expertise to the C2D2 effort, Roper said. “Where I find software talent in the Air Force—and I have found some, it’s not as broad as I would like, but I’m trying to make sure that this talent is available on this pathfinder software activity.”

One of those places is Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts, where the program executive office for battle management “is doing some great software development,” he said. “I’m looking at them and thinking, all right, I have a small group of people who are doing software well. How do I get that knowledge everywhere?”"

Source: https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/04 ... -software/
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post01 May 2018, 13:52

MOre of the same: http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... ccess.aspx
Biggest Challenge Facing USAF’s Top Weapons Buyer? Software
30 Apr 2018 Lara Seligman

"The U.S. Air Force’s new acquisition chief wants to revolutionize the way the service develops and buys cutting-edge technology—and his first step will be fixing the Pentagon’s software problem....

...It may be time for the Air Force—and perhaps the Department of Defense as a whole—to rethink whether an acquisition system developed to buy things like submarines and ground vehicles applies to software that changes every day, Roper told reporters during a recent Pentagon roundtable. “In my view, it simply doesn’t,” Roper said. “So one of the things that I have to make the shift on in this job is getting the Air Force where we can do agile software development.”

“Agile” software development, as opposed to the traditional “waterfall” model of building and releasing software in large chunks over months or even years, involves smaller, more frequent software drops, much like the way a user gets iPhone updates....

...For the F-35 in particular, the ability to get agile software right will be crucial, both to Block 4 follow-on development and to effective sustainment. Roper believes the program could benefit from some agile software development “pathfinders” prior to Block 4 as a test run. The maintenance and sustainment side of the house, which is where most of the cost of the program will be as it wraps up development, “would be good places to begin,” Roper said.

“Things like [the Autonomic and Logistics Information System (ALIS)] or the [Mission Data Files] are things we can work on to prove to ourselves that we really can do this drop of software every couple of weeks or every couple of months and sustain that over time,” Roper said. “We don’t have all the i’s dotted, the t’s crossed but ... I see some reasons to be cautiously optimistic.”...

...“We’re not asking for something that’s crazy. We’re asking for something that’s common practice in one industry to be applied here,” Roper said."

Source: http://aviationweek.com/defense/biggest ... r-software
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post07 Jul 2018, 04:17

Two page PDF article about AGILE Software and the F-35/F-22 attached below:
Taking the Agile approach
10-16 Jul 2018 GARRETT REIM

"Software is central to the functionality of modern combat aircraft, but development can be slow and costly, so the US Air Force is adopting a method borrowed from the civilian world.

For decades, the US Air Force and its lead aircraft supplier, Lockheed Martin, have struggled to efficiently write the code that runs their aircraft. The result is numerous cost overruns, delays and aircraft dysfunction – especially in the much maligned Lockheed F-35 Lightning II programme, whose software problems have put the stealth fighter billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.

In response, the USAF and Lockheed are betting the future on a new way of doing things called Agile software development. The commercially-derived method, which emphasizes flexibility and close co-operation with users, has shown success in arresting cost overruns and speeding up delivery of functions in the commercial software industry. The USAF has seen fit to encourage its major aircraft programmes to adopt the practice....

...So optimistic is the USAF for Agile software development methods that it has pushed the most-expensive and software-intensive aircraft programme in history to adopt the process. When Lockheed fixes the F-35’s Block 3F software bugs this summer, it will be the first time the programme has organized its efforts around the Agile approach to software development....

ADVANCING THREATS
Moreover, these days, the growth of code does not stop when an aircraft finishes development. The USAF plans to keep the F-35 relevant against advancing threats from China and Russia by continuous capability development and delivery (C2D2) of improved software for the aircraft. F-35 C2D2 is a huge undertaking because the aircraft already runs 8.3 million lines of code: more than four times the volume of programming for the F-22 Raptor.

In fact, the F-35 C2D2 effort is part of a little-known, five-year-long effort by the USAF to move away from traditional means of developing software towards the incremental processes of Agile….

...By delivering code in smaller allotments, the developer and customer can isolate and test new functions, working out problems one by one as they come along. The Agile method can also give users some functionality upfront, instead of withholding multiple programme updates until the whole package is ready...."

Source: Flight International | 10-16 July 2018 Magazine
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F-35 AGILE software FLIGHT International 10 Jul 2018 pp2.pdf
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RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post09 Jul 2018, 05:26

Well, we'll see if this happens. 'Agile ' software development has been an industry buzzword for a while now.

I don't really know the concept, but whatever it is, it has to be implemented effectively. Best development efforts that I've ever seen ( product/software/hardware) had competent people, clear goals and somebody who ultimately 'owned' the design effort.

Down in the F-22 section, there's a complaint from a software developer about developing in a classified shop -- with more issues because the overall design team was spread around for political reasons. I can believe that stuff like that happens to some extent.

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Unread post09 Jul 2018, 15:13

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I feel like this is appropriate...
I'm a mining engineer. How the hell did I wind up here?
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Unread post05 Sep 2018, 00:43

F-35 AESA: The Most Advanced Jet’s Biggest Antenna
By Nick Zazulia | September 4, 2018

Active electronically scanned arrays (AESA) date back more than 20 years, but the F-35’s Northrop Grumman-built AN-APG-81 AESA is unlike any of its predecessors...

Dixon said the feedback that Northrop gets from pilots about the fused information package they ultimately receive is positive, and the military is pleased with the ripple effect of increased situational awareness for the entire fleet. He said, however, that there’s more work to do on that front, determining who gets what information through multifunction advanced datalink and Link 16.

“It’s basically the internet of the sky for all U.S. and coalition partners,” Dixon said. “You would have had to do that with your voice in the past … It’s a mix of who gets what, but I have the opportunity to choose the richness of the data that gets exchanged. I think that’s probably the game-changer at that point.”

Dixon said that the Northrop team “is spiraling capability every week” in a way that “commercial folk would find compelling.” He said that software and apps are being updated on a weekly basis, and that the platform is agile in a way belied by stories of decade-long processes for follow-on modernization to complete a goal.

He said the testing and verification process and a desire by operators to have a stable baseline for a couple of years to unify training prevents the major updates from happening as fast as they could from a developmental standpoint.

“Even though behind the scenes you’re brewing up additional capabilities for the next drop,” Dixon said, “about every two years seems to be what the warfighter is requesting. It’s perceived stability and operational performance.”

The biggest challenge in the past for Northrop and a major focus going forward, as with the JSF in general, is on affordability.

“Joint Program Office is under a lot of pressure to work affordability initiatives in, and we get it. That’s all recompete-driven, so the enterprise gets it, too,” Dixon said. “Nobody’s above reproach. We treat it that way. We’re always looking for affordability features; We’ve come down 30-40% since we started making the radar.

"…We’ve spent as much time finding ways to produce our system more affordably as we do in finding technical upgrades, which is important for the enterprise. We’ve all adjusted, I think, and there are other competitors out there who sure would like to be a part of a 3,000-aircraft buy, no matter when you cut in.”

https://www.aviationtoday.com/2018/09/0 ... est-radar/
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Unread post21 Sep 2018, 13:19

Shanahan: “Time Is Now” to Get F-35 Sustainment Right, Increase Productivity
20 Sep 2018 John TIrpak

"Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Wednesday called the F-35 a “remarkable” achievement, “critical to the high-end fight” and “our future,” but urged program managers to get its sustainment costs down and production up as quickly as possible.

Speaking at AFA's Air, Space & Cyber Conference, he expressed his “enormous respect” for F-35 leaders’ “talent and commitment” on such a complex program, but pointed out that “we’re at the front end” of F-35 service, “which means we can still set the bar high on sustainment.” He added, “The time is now. It’s tonight. It’s not next year."

Shanahan wants early and continuous improvement in combat mission capable rates, lower operating cost, and better “depot/supply chain performance.” He also said it’s “vital” that time limits be set for achieving cost and performance goals on the joint strike fighter.

With years of production looming, a stable design, “talented workforce, and stable supply chain,” conditions are right to “significantly increase productivity,” Shanahan intoned. Based on his years of building airplanes at Boeing, he said, “We have the environment” to have a “very, very long production run and achieve significant cost savings” on the F-35.

As for development, Shanahan warned that “we must improve our software development and hardware integration skills” so that the F-35 will “outpace and outperform our competitors.” He said he’s “encouraged” by efforts to “collapse software development time lines,” but “we need a similar mindset and ambition for test and certification.” No effort can be spared to ensure that the “lethality and affordability” of the F-35 continues to improve, he asserted. Further insisting, “We owe it to the Air Force to do both.”

Source: http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... ivity.aspx
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/

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