What kind of software costs $920 million?

Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman contract will help Air Force move off of legacy systems software

Some big defense contractors got even bigger this week as the Air Force  awarded a $919,640,000 deal for the development of its critical mission planning software. 

The Air Force said Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, DCS and BAE Systems and will split the massive award which involves ridding the service of its legacy mission planning system and replacing it with a with a single common system that will allow common,  collaborative planning, the Air Force stated.  

Saving Unix one kernel at a time 

According to the Air Force, military personnel use mission planning software to arrange everything from training to combat missions -- including weapon delivery and airdrops. The system allows personnel to bring in data, such as maps, photos, weather, and graphically or textually work within the program to develop a specific plan. The plan can be developed alone or in collaboration with planners for other elements of the mission.  

Typical output from this work will include printed material for the platform operators, such as charts, communications data, or a flight plan and electronic material which may be loaded into a data transfer device and sent to an avionics system. For unmanned aircraft such as the Predator or missiles, the electronic data may be the only output, the Air Force stated.  

According to the contract information, the Air Force has three legacy programs operating its current Mission Planning System.  That system runs on a Unix operating system with SunSPARC hardware, Windows-based Portable Flight Planning Software and AMC's Advanced Computer Flight Plan which runs a Windows client served by DEC ALPHA hardware running Tru64 Unix. The Mission Planning Systems program will replace these legacy systems with interoperable standardized data formats, running common commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) operating systems and hardware, the Air Force states.

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8   

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