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Mission planning team supports JADC2 through agile software development

A F-16 Fighting Falcon flies during a mission at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida in Feb. 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. John Raven)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon flies over Eglin Air Force Base, Florida in Feb. 2019. The F-16 utilizes mission planning software developed by the Airspace Mission Planning Division at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., to connect pilots with critical pre-flight data for training, refueling, and operational missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. John Raven)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – In an effort to facilitate Joint All-Domain Command and Control, a team at Hanscom recently demonstrated a new agile cloud-based aircraft mission planning application.

JOMS Core Mission Planning, or JOMS CMP, is an aircraft transit planning software that leverages CloudOne to identify users and shape the mission planning environment for that individual planner.

Program manager Jeff Flowers believes this Core Mission Planning application will “provide a more tailored planning session that integrates squadron and user preferences, which reduces workload and optimizes fuel usage.”

CMP is an application that uses the JMPS Open Mission System, or JOMS, platform. Under development by the Airspace Mission Planning Division, headquartered here, JOMS is a collaborative cloud-based mission planning tool that uses an open systems micro-service based architecture to modernize aircraft mission planning. JOMS helps decrease mission planning time, introduces on-line air crew collaboration, and automates a number of planning tasks.

The Air Force’s current aircraft mission planning software, known as the Joint Mission Planning System, or JMPS, uses a monolithic architecture comprised of millions of lines of code.

“JMPS software architecture needs to be modernized, and that is exactly what we are doing,” said Col. Jason Avram, former senior materiel leader, Airspace Mission Planning Division. “Opposed to the tightly coupled architecture of JMPS, our new software JOMS allows users to access a number of containerized services that are tailor-made for what they need in their particular environment.”

Over the last 30 years, the division has used a number of planning applications to connect operational users in the cockpit with pre-flight mission data. Beginning in 2008, every Air Force bomber, fighter, tanker, and helicopter migrated to JMPS for training, refueling, and operational missions.

While the team is busy developing the Air Force’s agile mission planning software of the future, they are also continuing to improve and sustain the current software. To make JMPS more agile and user friendly, the team has been collaborating with program managers, developers, industry partners, training teams, as well as the user and test communities, to plan and synchronize JMPS sustainment efforts.

“We are working to modernize JMPS with a service-oriented architecture that will increase speed, automation, and improve user experience,” said Emily Coppin, program manager, Airspace Mission Planning Division. “By incorporating a process that is shaped by user feedback, we have been able to synthesize requirements four times faster and provide more flexible and efficient management of developer resources. Through this JMPS sustainment effort, we have been able to shift, even in that old architecture, to a far more agile approach to mission planning software development.”

In addition to working on JMPS agile sustainment and JOMS AgileDevOps, the team is currently partnering with the Navy, Air Combat Command, and other organizations, to integrate their mission planning software with JADC2 infrastructure in order to push new capabilities to their users via the cloud.

“In order to support the (Department of Defense) JADC2 vision, we have to move toward a cloud-enabled capability,” said Avram. “In the future, we can’t have multiple disconnected applications that don’t speak to each other. Our users deserve better than an app-by-app solution, so we need to give them something that drives automation and integration for their specific operational environment. And the cloud is the best way to do that.”

In October 2020, the team held the first ever JMPS test event where they successfully demonstrated a virtual JMPS mission-planning environment using CloudOne. During the demonstration, the team logged 75 percent faster reporting times and received instantaneous feedback from numerous locations.

The mission planning team is currently on track to fully deploy JOMS by 2027. In the meantime, the mission planning team is releasing additional capabilities to operational users as they are developed.

The Airspace Mission Planning Division is a division of the Digital Directorate, also headquartered here.