The U.S. Air Force has reported that its F-22 Raptor fighter jet hit a major milestone with a new open software stack.
According to a press release from Air Combat Command, members of the Air Combat Command Federal Laboratory, test pilots at Edwards Air Force Base, and software developers from the 309th Software Engineering Group achieved several milestones on an in-flight F-22 Raptor, Aug. 24. The achievement is the first instance of third-party software running on a fifth-generation fighter and the first in-flight use of open-source container orchestration software on any fighter aircraft.
Fifth-generation fighter aircraft are historically unavailable to third-party software integration. To fix this problem and lower the barriers to entry, the team built and flight-tested their new Open Systems Enclave, or OSE, consisting of a government-owned software architecture with existing on-board hardware. This new enclave proved it can rapidly integrate new technologies from first line of code to flight in less than 60 days. In recognition of this value proposition, there is now a formal requirement for the establishment of OSE on F-22 at the direction of the chief of F-22 requirements.
“This breakthrough fundamentally changes how we can deliver combat capability to the warfighter,” said Maj. Allen Black, F-22 test pilot and project co-lead. “We’ve proven the ability to rapidly evaluate and integrate next-generation technologies developed by experts in government, industry, and academia at a lower cost with software portability across defense platforms.”
Established in 2018, the ACC Federal Laboratory functions under the Office of the Chief Scientist and operates with a vision to summon and coalesce a “Confluence of Warfighters, Developers, and Acquirers” while bridging advanced technologies with fielded ωεɑρσռ systems. The result is an inspired defense industrial base with intellectual property protection and increased safeguards to mission critical systems.