Sponsored By Oxley Developments
17 Sep 18. USAF transforms existing program office into its new software development hub. The U.S. Air Force’s program executive office for battle management has been redesignated PEO Digital, but it’s more than a name change, the service’s top acquisition executive told Defense News. Instead, it’s about taking one of the Air Force’s most diverse acquisition portfolios — covering everything from JSTARS ground-surveillance planes to certain communications gear — and transforming it into the headquarters of agile software development as the service moves forward with evermore sophisticated information technology programs, said Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics. In at least the beginning, it will look much like the service’s program office for buying services.
“It won’t do all of the software development for the Air Force. There’s no way it could,” Roper said in a Sept. 7 interview. But the hope is that it will be able to manage agile software development for some of the Air Force’s most tricky programs, while at the same time providing expertise and software development tools to the rest of the program offices.
“As programs shift to agile development, where they’re pushing code out every month, where they are working directly with the user, where they are measuring their output using metrics that tell them whether it’s good code or bad code, PEO Digital will provide Air Force standards for doing it and a playbook for making it work,” Roper said.
Steve Wert, the former leader of PEO Battle Management, has been tapped to take the reins of PEO Digital as it moves forward. Key to that will be ensuring the service adheres to industry best practices for software and coming up with metrics it can use to evaluate whether it is developing good code quick enough.
“We’re figuring out what’s the right timeline for that piece of code being left with the operator and [whether] the operator’s happy. How do you decide what’s too big of an increment of code and break it up? It’s stuff that we’re going to have to have a standard process [for],” Roper said. “It won’t be perfect on Day One. But we know the analog has worked well for service contracts. We just need to perfect the unique twist that software adds, starting with pathfinders that are low hanging but still impactful for the Air Force,” he said, adding that the F-35 program or various space programs could provide possible opportunities.
Both the Air Force and major defense primes have struggled in the past to create software quick;y enough to match the pace of threats. Air Force officials have cited that problem as central to driving the cost and schedule growth associated with the service’s next-generation GPS ground stations, known as OCX. It was also a core reason why the service decided to cancel the Air Operations Center 10.2 program and reimagine it as a pathfinder program where new bits of software are added like iPhone apps and updated as needed.
The service has made major progress since then with the creation of its “Kessel Run” software lab, named for a famous bit of “Star Wars” lore. At the lab, located in Boston, airmen and developers from commercial software companies create, test and roll out new software — most famously an app for the Combined Air Operations Center that helped streamline its aerial refueling schedule.
Kessel Run was previously managed by PEO Battle Management, and will stay under the PEO Digital umbrella. Its success has helped prove that it’s possible for the government to create good code, and that the Air Force itself has a well of untapped talent, Roper said.
However, since not all airmen will be able to deploy to Boston for a stint with Kessel Run, the challenge is creating other software factories across the Air Force, he said. “How do you manage its lead and cycle times, velocity, backlog and deficiency retirement so that the taxpayer and war fighter get quality code for their dollars? For services, you do that with good metrics,” he said. “For instance, you know you’re getting good IT support if you have enough bandwidth, don’t have many outages and pay a fair market price.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
13 Sep 18. This new wireless communication device fits on your teeth. There’s a new wireless communication device, but it doesn’t go in your ears. Instead, it goes on your teeth. Yes, your teeth. California-based Sonitus Technologies is working with the Defense Department to implement the Molar Mic, a miniaturized traditional headset that clips to a user’s back teeth, according to the news release. The device ditches the need for ear pieces, microphones and wires on the head. The custom mouthpiece clips onto the user’s back teeth and contains a tiny microphone and speaker-transducer for hearing, the company said. The device uses the teeth and jawbone as a new path for hearing.
Molar Mic is supposed to help communication continue even in extreme conditions that might normally break down radio communication between troops. By placing the device on the teeth, it uses the person’s body to block external noise while reducing gear weight on the user’s head. The Defense Department contracted Sonitus Technologies for a multiyear, $10m deal to finish development of the Molar Mic, according to the company and Defense One.Pararescuemen with the California Air National Guard’s 131st Rescue Squadron in California tested prototypes of the device during rescue operations when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston last year.
“Sonitus Technologies is honored to bring this game-changing technology to our country’s elite military, making them safer and more effective by enabling them to communicate clearly — even in the most extreme situations,” Peter Hadrovic, CEO of Sonitus Technologies, said in the release. “The voice interface sustains communications in dangerous and challenging environments. The Molar Mic is the first in our family of solutions that conventional approaches are unable to address.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Military Times)
Oxley Group Ltd
Oxley specialises in the design and manufacture of advanced electronic and electro-optic components and systems for air, land and sea applications within the military sector. Established in 1942, Oxley has manufacturing facilities in the UK and USA and enjoys representation worldwide. The company’s products include night vision and LED lighting, data capture systems and electronic components. Oxley has pioneered the development of night vision compatible lighting. It offers a total package incorporating optical filters, equipment modification, cockpit and external lighting along with fleet wide upgrade services including engineering, installation, support, maintenance and training. The company’s long experience of manufacturing night vision lighting and LED indicators, coupled with advances in LED technology, has enabled it to develop LED solutions to replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting in existing applications as well as becoming the lighting option of choice in new applications such as portable military hospitals, UAV control stations and communication shelters.