Active & Future Fighter Aircrafts - Around the World | Page 9 | World Defense

Active & Future Fighter Aircrafts - Around the World

BATMAN

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S

Interesting ... If really provide some outcome in actual
It will definitely bore fruits, but nothing would leak any time soon.

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Scorpio

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Indos

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There is rumors saying KFX/IFX first prototype is almost completed and could be unveil for public at this month.

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Scorpio

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KF-X Korean Fighter prototype unveiled!

Thanks to the progress made by KAI over the past several months, the first prototype of KF-X fighter has been unveiled ahead of schedule.

This milestone marks the beginning of the final assembly process, where electronics, radar, and various other subsystems will be installed until the aircraft is officially rolled out in April, 2021.

First flight will take place in 2022 and total of 6 prototypes will be built to undergo testing until production model KF-X enters service in 2026.

KF-X is a 4.5th gen fighter with future plan for 5th gen conversion. It already has space allocated for Internal Weapons Bay and the software development reflects this.

KF-X will replace the fleet of aging aircraft such as F-4E & KF-5E/F and eventually the fleet of F-16PBUs (Blk 30/32 -> 50/52) and KF-16Vs (Blk 50/52 ->70/72)

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Presenting the top five in-service military helicopters of 2020. Interestingly, these five types represent 50% of the world's "active" service helicopter fleet.
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The U.S. Air Force Has Secretly Built and Flown A Full-Scale Demonstrator Of Its Next Generation Fighter

September 15, 2020
Stefano D'Urso
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A rendering of a Next Generation Air Dominance aircraft concept by Boeing. (Image: Boeing)

The First Demonstrator Of A Next Gen. Fighter Aircraft has Already Flown With The U.S. Air Force.

Dr. Will Roper, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, announced yesterday that the U.S. Air Force has secretly designed, built and flown at least one full-scale prototype of a new generation fighter aircraft, as part of the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program.

The existence of the demonstrator was first confirmed by Dr. Roper to reporter Valerie Insinna of Defense News during the Air Force Association’s virtual Air, Space and Cyber Conference 2020: “We’ve already built and flown a full-scale flight demonstrator in the real world, and we broke records in doing it. We are ready to go and build the next-generation aircraft in a way that has never happened before.”

HUGE NEWS: The Air Force has built and flown a full-scale flight demonstrator of its next generation fighter jet, its top acquisition official announces.@WILLROP3R spoke exclusively with Defense News about this massive development: The US Air Force has built and flown a mysterious full-scale prototype of its future fighter jet
— Valerie Insinna (@ValerieInsinna) September 15, 2020
While the details about the aircraft are still classified, including its appearance, the first new fighter jet designed and flown in 20 years, since the Joint Strike Fighter competition between the X-32 and X-35, was designed using advanced Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) techniques and Digital Twin concepts to build and test a virtual version of the aircraft, before moving to physically build and fly the prototype.

The Air Force leadership assessed that this new approach for development and manufacturing, used also for the new T-7A Red Hawk trainer, could reduce the total life cycle cost of a next-generation fighter jet by 10% over 30 years compared to legacy fighters.

According to Defense News, Dr. Roper declined to comment on the number of prototypes, the manufacturer and the timing of development and first flight, the aircraft’s mission, unmanned or optionally manned capabilities, low observability and supersonic or hypersonic speeds.

Next Generation Air Dominance

Not to be confused with the homonym program of the Navy, the Air Force NGAD is reportedly intended as family of systems that could include aircraft, drones and other advanced technologies centered around a long-range, stealth fighter jet called “Penetrating Counter Air”, which would act as NGAD’s central node networked with sensors, drones and other platforms, an improved variant of the employment doctrine of the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lighting II 5th generation aircraft. The program could also produce a family of fighters, each with its own specialization.
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A rendering of a Next Generation Air Dominance aircraft concept by Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works. (Image: Lockheed Martin)

As already announced last year, the NGAD program is aiming to test a new rapid approach to develop small batches of fighters with multiple companies, completing the development and acquisition in an estimated five years.

To better explain the concept, Dr. Roper wrote a document titled “Take the Red Pill: The New Digital Acquisition Reality” where he describes how with the current approach, when an aircraft reaches 15 years of service, sustainment costs increase from 3% to 7% every year until it reaches the designed service life of at least 30 years.

The new proposed approach, called “Digital Century Series” (the name derives from the Century Series of game changing aircraft from the 1950s, from the F-100 Super Sabre to the F-106 Delta Dart), allows the Air Force to rapidly develop and buy aircraft more frequently thanks to new improved development and manufacturing techniques, buying new fighter jets approximatively every eight years and replacing them every 16 years, without the need for service life extensions or mid-life updates after the 3,500 flight-hour mark. Another advantage is development of specialized aircraft with an extremely high degree of commonality, moving away from the omnirole concept created with the F-35 and reducing the duration of the development.

According to Dr. Roper, the new approach of continuous development of the Digital Century Series could cause an increase of 25% of the development costs and 18% of the production costs, could also lead to a 79% reduction of modernization expenses and 50% of the sustainment costs.

The entire Digital Century Series should revolve around three principles: agile software development with software continuously developed, tested, released and updated based on the feedback, open architecture systems with modular hardware and software that allows rapid upgrades and integration of new, and digital engineering, or the use of advanced CAE and Digital Twin, as stated previously.
 

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US Army Experimental Test Pilots Fly Valor V-280

By Christy Barnett
September 15, 2020

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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (September 15, 2020) – In support of the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) selection program, U.S. Army Redstone Test Center (RTC) Experimental Test Pilots (XPs) conducted flights of the Bell V-280 Valor in August 2020, as part of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) preparations for the FLRAA test effort, a key element of Army Modernization.

The FLRAA is on track for full rate production by 2030. On Mar. 16, the Army awarded Other Transaction Agreement contracts to Bell and Sikorsky for the competitive demonstration and risk reduction (CD&RR) phase of the FLRAA aircraft. The CD&RR will extend over two years; informing the final Army requirements and the program of record planned for competition in fiscal year 2022.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for Army Experimental Test Pilots to fly the tech demonstrators developed under the Joint Multi-Role Technical Demonstrator Program; providing an initial familiarization with advanced rotorcraft technologies we might expect to see in the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft program of record," said Brig. Gen. Walter Rugen, director of the FVL Cross-Functional Team.

RTC, a subordinate organization of ATEC, is the Army’s primary Test Center for the test and evaluation of aircraft and aviation systems. FVL is a top priority for ATEC and RTC as part of Army Modernization.

ATEC provides direct support to Army Futures Command and relevant, timely information to Army senior leaders to make future force decisions enabling Multi-Domain Operations through requisite independent developmental testing, operational tests and evaluations.

During the week of Aug. 24, Maj. Wesley Paulsen and Mr. Adam Cowan, Army XPs from RTC, trained in the Software Integration Lab at Bell Flight Research Center in Arlington, Texas, before flying the Bell V-280 Valor.

ATEC XPs and flight test engineers are embedded in both the FLRAA and the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) programs and are dedicated to supporting this important mission in support of Army Modernization efforts.

U.S. Army experimental test pilots are graduates of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) and perform experimental and engineering flight tests. XPs are experienced officers, technical writers and highly proficient aviators. XPs bring a wealth of engineering and operational expertise and are key members of the government and industry combined test teams. XPs can provide early embedded soldier touch points to put system capabilities into mission relevant context and to ensure the warfighter gets the best capabilities possible.

Paulsen is a 2008 Mechanical Engineering graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. After graduating flight school in 2010, he spent his operational career in the 101st at Fort Campbell, serving as an assault flight platoon leader and company commander. He was deployed twice to Afghanistan. He graduated from USNTPS in 2018.

Department of the Army Civilian (DAC) Cowan served in the Army from 1993 to 2013. He flew the UH-60A/L Blackhawk for eight years conducting general aviation support, air assault operations, and MedEvac operations. He flew the RC-12P/Q Guardrail for four years conducting airborne intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance operations. He deployed to Bosnia, South Korea, Kuwait, and Iraq and graduated from USNTPS in 2008. He became an RTC DAC in 2013 after retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer 4.

In the acquisition process of fielding an aircraft, Army XPs plan, execute, and report on flight test results of the equipment to enable the Program Managers to make informed materiel decisions.

"These flights are an important milestone as the Army builds combined test teams with our industry partners and develops the experience and expertise to test new technologies for Future Vertical Lift,” said Col. Steven R. Braddom, commander of RTC. “We are focused on ensuring we are ready to meet the challenges of Army Modernization. Army experimental test pilots with the engineering understanding of these aircraft as well as significant operational and combat experience will be a critical part of the Army's development of the FLRAA and FARA aircraft.”

Similar flights are scheduled later this year for the Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant.
 

mtime7

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another article about the above.


The Air Force Secretly Designed, Built, and Flew a Brand-New Fighter Jet​

And it all happened in just one year. Yes, that's mind-blowing.

BY KYLE MIZOKAMI
SEP 16, 2020
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The U.S. Air Force revealed this week that it has secretly designed, built, and tested a new prototype fighter jet. The fighter, about which we know virtually nothing, has already flown and “broken records.” (The image above is Air Force concept art from 2018). The Air Force must now consider how it will buy the new fighter as it struggles to acquire everything from intercontinental ballistic missiles to bombers.

The Air Force’s head of acquisition, Will Roper, made the announcement yesterday in an exclusive interview with Defense News, in conjunction with the Air Force Association’s virtual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference.


The Air Force built the new fighter under its Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program, which aims to build a jet that would supplement, and perhaps even replace, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.

The Air Force built 186 Raptors, of which only about 123 are capable of the jet’s full spectrum of combat roles. And at current readiness levels, only around 64 of the fifth-generation fighters are ready to fight at a moment’s notice.

According to Defense News, the Air Force developed the new fighter in about a year—a staggeringly short amount of time by modern standards. The Air Force first developed a virtual version of the jet, and then proceeded to build and fly a full-sized prototype, complete with mission systems. This is in stark contrast to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The X-35, an early technology demonstrator, first flew in 2000, four years after Lockheed Martin signed the contract to build it. It might be better, however to compare this new mystery jet to the first actual F-35 fighter, which flew in 2006.

That means it took the Air Force just one year to get to the point with NGAD fighter that it reached in 10 years with the F-35. This appears to be the "record" the Air Force claims the new plane is smashing, and it's probably right.
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Lockheed Martin concept art for a Next Generation Air Dominance fighter.

We don’t know which defense contractor designed and prototyped the new jet, though it's almost certainly one of the big aerospace giants (Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing). We don’t know where it flew and where it is now. We don’t know how many prototypes exist. We don’t know what it looks like, what it's called, how fast it flies, how maneuverable it is, and what special capabilities it has. We don’t know anything.

So what do we do when we don’t know anything? Speculate wildly!

The Air Force designed the NGAD to ensure the service’s “air dominance” in future conflicts versus the fighters of potential adversaries. The new fighter, then, is almost certainly optimized for air-to-air combat. It’s a safe bet the fighter uses off-the-shelf avionics, engines, and weapons borrowed from other aircraft, such as the F-35 and F/A-18E/F. In fact, NGAD may look a lot like one of these fighters, though if the Air Force wanted a stealthy design to riff off, there’s only one (F-35) currently in production.

The most interesting, and perhaps revolutionary, thing about NGAD is that the Air Force developed and built it in just one year. The world hasn’t seen such a short development time since World War II. In fact, the trend has been for fighters to require longer, more expensive development times as technology becomes more complex—particularly with the adoption of stealth.

China’s Chengdu J-20 fighter, for example, broke cover in 2011 after at least 10 years of development time, while Russia's Sukhoi Su-57 “Felon” fighter still hasn't entered production, despite the fact that we first saw it in 2010.

The possibility that a 10-year development cycle has been sheared to just one year presents unprecedented opportunities. If the Air Force and industry can design a new fighter in one year, it could come up with all sorts of cool new planes.

This could encourage the development of more exotic, riskier designs that contractors would not otherwise want to devote a full decade to develop. The ability to fail—or succeed—faster will drive innovation in the world of fighter jets in ways not seen for a half century or more.

One thing we can be reasonably sure about the new NGAD fighter? It’s designed to kill fighters like the J-20 and Su-57.

The Air Force first conceived the F-22 Raptor in the late 1980s and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the 1990s. China and Russia built the J-20 and Su-57, respectively, with the F-22 and F-35 in mind, while the American fighters would have to adapt their existing capabilities to face the new Russian and Chinese fighters. But thanks to the Air Force’s new breakthrough design techniques, we could see a new, operational fighter to dominate these potential adversaries very, very shortly.

Still, NGAD enters a crowded shopping basket. Over the next 10 years, the Air Force is committed to buying and developing, if necessary, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, F-15EX Advanced Eagle, B-21 Raider strategic bomber, T-7 Red Hawk jet trainer, KC-46 Pegasus tanker, and Ground Based Strategic Deterrent ballistic missile.

How will it pay for all of them? That's to be determined. But given the Air Force’s bent toward air-to-air fighters, it seems certain NGAD will advance to the top of that list.

master.m3u8
 

mtime7

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seeing a lot about this lately with software:


B-21 And Fighters Prepare For Disruptive Software-Led Change​

Steve Trimble September 10, 2020
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Two F-22s assigned to the Edwards AFB test fleet are among the first to receive new processors that are compliant with the Open Mission Systems architecture.
Credit: Chad Bellay/Lockheed Martin

Secrecy surrounds nearly every detail of the U.S. Air Force’s new stealth bomber. Analysts seeking an estimate of the Northrop Grumman B-21’s takeoff weight are forced to scrutinize the two released renderings for possible clues such as the size and shape of the landing gear. Other fundamental features—like the number and size of the engines, the capacity of the weapons bay and even the aircraft’s unrefueled combat radius—remain shrouded in classified mystery.

A consistent and surprising exception to the Air Force’s tight-lipped discretion, however, comes with the B-21’s software.

Even as the results of ground-based testing for the engines, structural materials and sensors remain a closely guarded secret, Air Force leaders feel free to boast about the lines of software code embedded in the B-21’s computers and running as applications on an open architecture processing system. While the rest of the aircraft’s development systems are described broadly as progressing on schedule, the secretive program’s managers slip in specific details about the pace of software updates to the bomber’s systems integration laboratories.

“We’re not doing what was termed a normal OFP [operational flight program] drop every year or two,” says Randall Walden, director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO). “We’re seeing it, like, every month or two. So that level of compression of time gets after those typical errors that take a long time to fix.”

The B-21, according to Walden, is participating in a dramatic shift in software development within the military and the defense industry. It began a few years ago with a move to an agile software release schedule, with small capability increments released every few months instead of every few years. Over the next several years, multiple aircraft, including the B-21, Lockheed Martin F-22 and F-35 and Boeing F-15EX, will be fielded with architecture compliant with open mission systems (OMS).

Once the agile software method and OMS-compliant systems are in place, Air Force officials are preparing for even more profound changes. As software updates rather than new hardware begin to drive new combat capabilities, a powerful set of tools already used by commercial industry potentially becomes available to combat systems. The tools may allow developers to untangle the software code for a specific application from a military jet’s operational flight program (OFP), which would markedly reduce the cost and schedule for introducing new, software-driven capabilities on the combat fleet.

The implications for the defense industrial base could be dramatic. If the technology survives the technical, regulatory and cultural challenges that still lie ahead, some Air Force technical leaders, including Chief Software Officer Nicolas Chaillan, will seek to disrupt a pillar of the defense industry’s business model, with the government taking ownership of the valuable intellectual property (IP) embedded in the source code OFP. Instead of controlling the life cycle of a franchise weapon system, the industry’s revenues would come from developing the most valuable software-driven applications, which would generate licensing fees based on the government’s usage.

The B-21 program guards many secrets, but not its role in the shift to a new software development model. As Northrop continues assembling the first flight-test aircraft in Palmdale, California, the systems integration laboratories for the B-21 are receiving new containerized applications orchestrated by a Google-derived tool called Kubernetes.

“Kubernetes allows us to reduce the regression time because not all of the software is in this spaghetti-code makeup,” Walden says. “It’s broken up into [discrete applications] and allows us to do a much better job of . . . getting [the applications] on the airplane.”

Software development in U.S. defense programs has been a problem for decades.

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The avionics on the future Northrop Grumman B-21 have validated the ability to run software containers in ground testing. Credit: Northrop Grumman Concept

In modernization programs, the pace of upgrading existing aircraft such as the F-22 has been partly driven by a software development method known as “waterfall.” Software developers divided the code into separate applications, with each developed and tested separately. At the end of a usually two-year development cycle, the individual software modules would be integrated and tested together for the first time as a complete system.

Inevitably, the testers would find numerous deficiencies, which could take months or even years to resolve. The Increment 3.2A upgrade for the F-22 OFP suite, for example, fell a year behind schedule under the water-fall method, according to a 2018 report by the Defense Department Inspector General.

The same waterfall method also has sometimes partly dictated the pace of software development for new aircraft. Prat Kumar, Boeing’s F-15 program manager, says the typical program would begin with Air Force development requirements. At some point, a request for proposals would be released. Months later, a company would be awarded a contract, launching the software development process. A final bundle of software would finally be released to a testing organization, which would reveal deficiencies that need to be fixed. Half a decade could pass between the requirements being set and the capability being delivered.

“It could be a 3-5-year time frame, broadly speaking,” Kumar says.

The commercial industry largely moved toward agile software development methods over a decade ago, and the defense industry is now starting to come along. In an agile process, the goal is to deliver new capabilities in smaller increments, which can then be tested at the integration level much sooner. The agile process does not eliminate software bugs, but in theory the method simplifies the resolution.

In many cases, some form of agile development method is already the norm for the Air Force’s most advanced combat aircraft. The F-35 adopted the Continuous Capability Development and Delivery process for Block 4 modernization, although the Government Accountability Office recently noted that the method fell short of expectations during the first full year of production in 2019. The F-22 program, meanwhile, has adopted the Raptor Agile Capability Release process, which broke up the Tactical Mandates upgrade program into a series of smaller capability insertions delivered more rapidly.

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U.S. Air Force Chief Software Officer Nicolas Chaillan (center, in purple tie) in front of an F-16 systems integration laboratory with the Hill AFB software team during a Kubernetes demo. Credit: Capt. Justin Marsh/U.S. Air Force

Though in production for nearly a half-century, Boeing’s F-15EX also is making a similar transition. The Air Force plans to order a minimum of 144 F-15EX aircraft, and the first lot of eight aircraft will be delivered with Block 9.1X software for the OFP. Starting with Lot 2 aircraft deliveries in 2023, the Air Force has contracted Boeing to deliver Block 9.2 software, which will set a new fleet-wide baseline, Kumar says. That means new F-15EX and older models, including the F-15C and F-15E, will use a common software suite.

At the same time, Boeing is working on a new Phantom Works-developed mission systems processor for the F-15EX. The new computer hardware is compliant with the Air Force’s OMS architecture. As the processor enters service beginning in 2023 on Lot 2 jets, the possibilities for new upgrades will change. Applications developed by vendors outside Boeing’s proprietary software standards will have an easier path to integration on the F-15EX. The OFP will continue to be updated in roughly yearly intervals, Kumar says.

The OMS architecture also is spreading to Lockheed’s stealth jets. A new, OMS-compliant processor has been installed on the first five F-22s for development testing at Edwards AFB, California, and Nellis AFB, Nevada, says O.J. Sanchez, Lockheed’s vice president for F-22 programs.

“We’ll start to see that retrofitted in the fleet after it’s approved for release next fall,” Sanchez says.

Beyond agile development and OMS-compliant architectures, the Air Force’s next push will be to containerize new software capabilities. To software developers, the idea of using virtual containers to deliver new applications is nothing new. Containers are commonly used for the software that runs applications for consumers and even information technology services in the defense industry.

A container allows a computer processor to run a new application without entangling the source code of other systems on the jet. A cottage industry of containerizing tools, such as Docker and OpenShift, allows developers to create the new applications. Depending on the number and complexity of containers involved, the developers can use Google’s Kubernetes automated orchestration tool.

For now, containers do not yet exist on flight-certified applications for any aircraft—much less the Air Force’s most advanced combat jets. But that could begin to change.

On Nov. 7 Chaillan and Will Roper, the Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, met at Hill AFB, Utah, to attend a major milestone: For the first time, an internal Air Force software factory inserted a new containerized application into flightworthy hardware. In this case, the hardware belonged to the F-16 systems integration laboratory (SIL), a ground-based testing rig.

The Air Force integrated new map and sensor applications into the display of the F-16 SIL purely as a proof-of-concept demonstration, Chaillan tells Aviation Week. Roper and Chaillan had challenged Hill’s software factory to develop the code, integrate Kubernetes and run the application on the F-16 SIL’s existing computers within 45 days. Using a traditional, noncontainerized approach, the same upgrade could require additional weeks or months of regression testing to verify that the software would not interfere with other systems on the jet.

As the RCO’s Walden confirms, the Air Force later performed the same demonstration on the B-21, although further details have not been released.

“People were always saying: ‘Well, you know we can do all this stuff on business systems, but, we cannot do it on weapon systems. And we knew [that] was wrong and was completely possible,” Chaillan says. “We wanted to demonstrate that in 45 days, so we picked the F-16 to show it could be done on legacy hardware, and it’s not required to replace any component.”

Following the proof-of-concept demonstrations on the F-16 and B-21 SILs, the Air Force is seeking to obtain flight certification for containerized software updates, allowing the mission systems for jets to be updated wirelessly during flight. Aircraft certification standards for software now require extensive validation and verification for every line of software code before they can be installed on a jet on the ground, so the new approach represents a significant change. The Air Force is now seeking to approve the new certification policy and achieve safety-of-flight certification, Chaillan says, but he cannot offer a timeline for completing the process.

Chaillan considers containerization critical to the future of combat aircraft technology. If future fighter and bomber pilots want to stay relevant, they cannot wait for software developers to complete the same level of regression and security testing used today for new updates, he says.

“I don’t think we have a choice,” Chaillan says. “I think if we don’t do it, China and Russia are going to be 20 years ahead. The last 30 years of innovation was driven by hardware. The next 50 [years of innovation] are going to be software-defined. It’s going to be artificial intelligence software that’s going to be able to make decisions before you even have the time to touch the button.”

If flightworthy software containers become reality, Chaillan foresees profound changes for the defense industry. Upon entering U.S. government service after a successful career as a technology entrepreneur in France, Chaillan found the military’s relationship with defense contractors over the rights to software source code backward compared to the commercial industry. The government pays defense companies to develop the source code for an aircraft OFP, but industry keeps the IP rights to the code. Chaillan wants to reverse that approach.

“We paid for the software and yet we didn’t own the IP. That will never happen on the commercial side,” Chaillan says. “On the commercial side, if you go to a company, and you say, ‘I’m going to hire you to build whatever capability, and I’m going to pay 100% of the cost of developing it,’ well, guess what, you better own the IP.”

Defense companies could still make money, but the business model would change. Instead of basing a business case on owning rights to the OFP source code, defense companies could develop new, containerized software applications, Chaillan says. Each application could be licensed by the company to a military, government or even a commercial customer, with fees paid for how often the application is used.

“It’s a recurring revenue model,” Chaillan says. “You can sell the same piece of software as a monthly fee or a consumption-based fee.”

As the OMS architecture and software containers replace proprietary OFP source code on military aircraft, the new model also could lower barriers to entry for traditional technology companies to develop new applications for the military. Chaillan acknowledges the transition is likely to take several years.

“It’s not going to happen in a year; it’s going to happen in 10 years,” Chaillan says. “If we don’t do it, we’re going to get behind.”
 
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