SPACE SYMPOSIUM: Over the last 18 months the Air Force and Army have charged ahead on multi-domain warfare and only Lockheed Martin has spoken publicly about its efforts to win related contracts. Today that changed as Raytheon’s VP Todd Probert sat down with me here to discuss how important Multi Domain is to his company.
Raytheon appears to have taken a very different tack from Lockheed’s, working very closely with the Air Force’s air operations centers, building apps to automate many of the functions that are currently done through chat rooms or, yes, by hand.
Perhaps the best known of these efforts has been the tanker planning app they designed, but the company, Probert said, has also worked closely with airmen to build a number of similar apps, trying to find out what the Air Force needs and then using DevOps and other automated software approaches to build apps quickly and flexibly.
In the good old days, for example, airmen doing Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) would have to request data and often photographs of the target. These were carried by hand and often requested in writing. The company has built a BDA app to allow automatic completion of the forms and much faster transfer of the data. Another one they’ve built does Dynamic Targeting, developed in a similar fashion. They haven’t yet built a great deal of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the apps but they’re beginning do so, the VP for mission support and modernization told me: “We’re looking toward AI. At the end of the day, it’s about data. It’s about speed. It’s about automation.”
The DevOps software approach, disseminated throughout Raytheon after the OCX team discovered its effectiveness and proved it to the Air Force by fixing their troubled program, is key to what Probert and others at Raytheon are doing. He said the company has, as has Lockheed, established a sort of steering board across the company to capture multi domain opportunities.
At the center of this effort is, of course, the Air Force’s effort to build what they call Multi Domain Command and Control (MDC2), as Breaking D readers know better than anyone. But it’s not just the Air Force. The Army, which has championed multi domain warfare for almost two years, is also beginning to pursue some similar acquisition programs.