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.

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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.”