The US Air Force (USAF) has introduced a new software factory, called ‘Spirit Realm’, to enhance the operational capability of the B-2 Spirit bomber fleet.

The software factory has been developed by Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s (AFLCMC) B-2 Weapons Systems Support Center together with industry partner Northrop Grumman.

The effort was also supported by the B-2 Software Maintenance and Innovation Team, assigned under AFLCMC’s B-2 System Programme Office.

The team provided strategy, sustainment and improvement for capability integration and software development to meet B-2 Spirit’s operational requirements.

The new capability has four main objectives, starting by minimising the risk involved with flight-test and timelines with the help of high-fidelity ground testing.

The second goal focuses on reducing flight-test burdens by collecting additional test points using targeted upgrades while the third aims to boost the integrated functional capability quality via automated testing.

The last objective is to deliver war-winning capability upgrades to B-2 Spirit stealth bomber aircraft.

AFLCMC B-2 System Programme Office B-2 Software Maintenance and Innovation Team lead captain Joel Graley said: “After development and implementation of Spirit Realm, B-2 software is now developed, tested and integrated using modern DevSecOps and Scaled Agile principles and a single software baseline.

“This approach enables fielding of highest priority capabilities at an unprecedented pace and ensures B-2 can rapidly field new capabilities to counter emerging threats.”

Spirit Realm has shortened the software upgrade timelines to three months, unlike conventional code development/testing that took 18-24 months for launch.

Simultaneously, software defects identified during regression testing have also been reduced to zero.

Graley added: “In the near future, software factory, combined with other aircraft modernisation efforts, will enable the capability to deploy software updates to B-2s flying operational missions anywhere in the world.”