The Air Force, at the direction of the F-35 Joint Program Office, is standing up an organic capability to sustain software on fighter jet. (Master Sgt. John R. Nimmo Sr./Air Force)

Air Force developing software sustainment for jet

By Mark Pomerleau, Defense News

As almost everything in today’s commercial and military world is underpinned by some type of software capability, the sustainment of that software is of critical national security importance.

The services around the military are beginning to take internal looks at how they do software sustainment from an organic standpoint either at depots — which traditionally focused on hardware and platform maintenance — or software sustainment centers.

One recent example is the organic software sustainment capability the Air Force is standing up at the Air Force Sustainment Center for the F-35 fighter jet.

The F-35’s joint program office assigned the Air Force nine software workloads for the F-35, and gave nine to the Navy.When most think of the F-35, they think of it as a fifth-generation fighter that can do amazing things, Lt. Gen. Lee Levy, commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, told C4ISRNET in an interview on the sidelines of the Air Force Association’s annual conference. But instead, think of it as a fifth-generation software package that can do amazing things, he added.

“The power of the F-35, it’s great that it has low observables, a great engine. But what really makes it powerful is the software,” he said. “The software in the F-35 is really the special sauce. … How we take care of that software over time is really important.”

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