New multi-domain operations software running in Air Combat Command

Two L-39 Jets fly in tandem during a mock dogfight performance at the Air & Space Expo, Joint Base Charleston, S.C., April 28, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christian Sullivan)

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The Air Force‘s Air Combat Command now has basic software that can host a suite of applications and combine data from across different operations, achieving a key milestone for technology leaders, the service says.

The software contains a suite of nine applications linked through a common data layer, a small-scale version of what the senior-most leaders in the Pentagon say the entire force will need to do to win future wars. Kessel Run, the Air Force’s software factory, built the product called Kessel Run All Domain Operations Suite (KRADOS), which crossed the minimum viable product threshold in April and was used for the first time in May.

The software is used in the Air Combat Command’s Air Operations Center Weapon System’s (AOC WS) planning and execution process.

“This is a huge milestone for Kessel Run, ACC and our users,” Col. Brian Beachkofski, commander of Kessel Run, said in a release. “Only a year after delivering stand-alone applications to support operations, we’ve fielded an MVP suite of nine applications connected by a common data layer for usability assessment and user feedback.”

Kessel Run said it had users in the design process to ensure it worked for airmen. The KRADOS system builds off an initial group of applications connected for a narrower set of functions, but now with nine applications, the system combines data across different areas of use. Building systems that can use and generate data across domains is a top priority of the department under the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept of operations.

“The AOC WS is Kessel Run’s most complex development effort, and while the program still has a long road ahead, we are definitely picking up speed and the KRADOS MVP is an important point of progress,” Col. Timothy Hofman, chief of the Air Operations Center, said in a statement.

The decades-old Theater Battle Management Core Systems is being transitioned out in favor of the newer Air Operations Center Weapon System as Kessel Run develops more code to support faster data sharing and more applications integrated into the system. The Air Force’s broad JADC2 project,  the Advanced Battle Management System, aims to do similar integration of applications and data on a much larger scale.

“This is an extremely important moment for the command and Air Force,” Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot, commander of 9th Air Force, said in a separate release on the software’s first operational use. “Improving the Air Tasking Order process makes AFCENT and our distributed command and control capabilities more efficient, and this innovation will also help improve AOC operations across the Air Force and in other combatant commands.”

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Advanced Battlefield Management System (ABMS), Air Force, Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2), Project Kessel Run
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