Air Force Software Team Tests Kubernetes to Bring DevSecOps to Flight Test Community

Air Force Software Factory, SkiCAMP, and the 586 Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) Fly Kubernetes as a Central Piece to a New Rapid Testing Platform


Hill Air Force Base, UT, Oct. 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Reaching back to its origin as Sonikube (Supersonic-Kubernetes), SkiCAMP has always looked for ways to deliver software in a time relevant to the warfighter. The team focused on industry best practices for secure and resilient software that can keep pace with market forces. That led the team to the container and container orchestration tool Kubernetes as key pieces of the technology solution for modern DevSecOps.

SkiCAMP is the same team that showed Kubernetes could run on a modern configuration of the F-16. The team has since continued work towards bringing DevSecOps technology, culture, and processes to USAF aircraft.

SkiCAMP is a "node" or software factory that is part of the Platform One enterprise championed by USAF Chief Software Officer Nic Chaillan.

SkiCAMP is unique among software factories because it has stayed very small with less than 15 engineers. The team behind the Kubernetes effort used over half SkiCAMP’s available USAF civilian engineers.

The T-38 Talons flown by the 586 FLTS has Special Instrumentation (SI) making them uniquely suited for the first airborne deployment of a Kubernetes architecture. The 586 FLTS is leveraging delegated authorities to deploy low-risk test capabilities using Kubernetes-enabled software. It is expected the Kubernetes-enabled SI will allow future rapid prototyping initiatives such as the resilient operational flight program (OFP) and other smart agent developments. This SI infrastructure is separate from the aircraft's production avionics safety of flight components allowing rapid deployment with built-in safety/risk management.

SkiCAMP is naturally aligned with the 586 FLTS at Holloman AFB because of the commitment both organizations have to accelerate technical solutions to the warfighter using their inherently innovative approaches. SkiCAMP specializes in the software domain while the 586 FLTS is in the hardware flight systems domain.

Dr. William B Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, has a vision that USAF aircraft should "land with better software than they took off with." SkiCAMP believes that container, container orchestration, and open APIs are the key to fulfilling that vision.