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August 30, 2022

USAF flight-tests new open systems enclave on F-22 fighter aircraft

This is the first time that an open-source container orchestration software has been used on a fighter aircraft.

A US Air Force’s (USAF) team has built and flight-tested a new open systems enclave (OSE) with existing hardware on the F-22 Raptor aircraft.

The team includes members from Air Combat Command (ACC) Federal Laboratory, software developers from the 309th Software Engineering Group and test pilots from Edwards Air Force Base (AFB).

Historically, the fifth-generation fighter jets are unavailable to third-party software integration and to solve this issue the team worked together to build this systems enclave.

The latest event marked the first time third-party software was used in flight on an F-22 Raptor aircraft.

It is also the first time that open-source container orchestration software has been used in flight on any fighter aircraft.

The OSE, which comprises a government-owned software architecture, was flight-tested on 24 August.

This test validated OSE’s abilities to rapidly integrate new technologies from the first line of code to flight within 60 days. 

F-22 test pilot and project co-lead major Allen Black said: “This breakthrough fundamentally changes how we can deliver combat capability to the warfighter.

 “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 defence platforms.”

Following this test, the team now seeks formal directions from the F-22 requirements’ chief for the establishment of OSE on the F-22. The F-22 Program Office is an early adopter of OSE.

The team is also assessing and integrating several warfighter combat capabilities as cross-platform solutions.

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