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Air Force to Soon Be Able to Update Aircraft Software Mid-Flight

Cloud technology

Air Force to Soon Be Able to Update Aircraft Software Mid-Flight

The Air Force's chief software officer announced that the service is close to being able to update its aircraft's software while in flight

Software czar Nicholas Chaillan said the update is part of the Air Force's effort to modernize its software practices. He declined to share which aircraft the upgrade will be installed on.

"We need to decouple the flight controls, the [open mission systems], all the airworthiness piece of the software from the rest of the mission [and] capability of [that] software so we can update those more frequently without disrupting or putting lives at risk when it comes to the flying piece of the jet or the system," he said during a C4ISRNET webcast.

He described the software upgrade as a "gamechanger" and shared insights on the challenges linked with updating software mid-flight. The news is expected to be formally announced within the coming days. 

The Air Force has been working to take advantage of its Cloud One and Platform One environments to accelerate the development and deployment of tools. 

Chaillan said the Air Force plans to move the F-35 program to Platform One, saying he wants to environment to serve as a "software factory as a service." 

He added that he expects the service to continue adding artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities into its systems at scale over the next 18 months. 

Platform One and Cloud One, a multi-cloud environment held by Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, will be key in developing AI and machine learning systems. 

Chaillan compared the Air Force's multi-award procurement strategy to the Department of Defense's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure award structure, which he said is appropriate for advancing the Air Force's cloud technology.

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Tags: agile development AI artificial intelligence C4ISRNET chief software officer Cloud One Department of Defense DevSecOps F-35 Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure machine learning modernization multi-cloud environment Nicolas Chaillan Platform One Popular Voices software U.S. Air Force