Red Hat enables Lockheed Martin to deliver F-22 Raptor upgrades

Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, announced that Lockheed Martin worked with Red Hat to modernize the application development process used to bring new capabilities to the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of F-22 Raptor fighter jets.

“By working with the Red Hat Open Innovation Labs team, we changed everything ‒ our toolchain, our process, and most importantly, our culture. With our new culture firmly rooted in DevSecOps and agile, and a more flexible platform based on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, the F-22 team will continue its work to ensure the Raptor meets America’s defense needs,” said Michael Cawood, vice president, f-16/f-22 product development, at Lockheed Martin.

Through an eight-week Red Hat Open Innovation Labs residency, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics replaced the waterfall development process it used for F-22 Raptor upgrades with an agile methodology and DevSecOps practices that are more adaptive to the needs of the U.S. Air Force.

Together, Lockheed Martin and Red Hat created an open architecture based on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform that has enabled the F-22 team to accelerate application development and delivery.

The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is one of the world’s premier fighter jets, thanks to its unique combination of stealth, speed, agility, and situational awareness. Lockheed Martin is working with the U.S. Air Force on innovative, agile new ways to deliver the Raptor’s critical capabilities to warfighters faster and more affordably.

The F-22 is the world’s most dominant fighter, but potential adversaries continue to develop capabilities intended to challenge the ability of U.S. and allied air forces to gain and maintain air superiority. Maintaining that asymmetric advantage requires a constant focus on rapid innovation.

The traditional waterfall development process was not getting critical capabilities to the warfighter fast enough. It previously took five to seven years to identify requirements and release new capabilities for the existing architecture, initially built in the early 1990s.

That time-consuming process, along with code quality and integration issues, led to onerous rework and customization, resulting in a platform that no longer met Lockheed Martin’s expectations for software-led innovation.

For Lockheed Martin, keeping the F-22 Raptor out front was not simply about upgrading its hardware and deploying a modern software platform. Instead, it also sought to create a team culture rooted in innovation and collaboration to transform its approach to application development. To do this, Lockheed wanted to adopt principles and frameworks common in software lexicon like agile, scrum, minimum viable product (MVP) and DevSecOps.

Lockheed Martin chose Red Hat Open Innovation Labs to lead them through the agile transformation process and help them implement an open source architecture onboard the F-22 and simultaneously disentangle its web of embedded systems to create something more agile and adaptive to the needs of the U.S. Air Force.

Red Hat Open Innovation Labs’ dual-track approach to digital transformation combined enterprise IT infrastructure modernization and, through hands-on instruction, helped Lockheed’s team adopt agile development methodologies and DevSecOps practices.

Following a discovery session and architectural review, Red Hat stood up an environment based on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, the company’s trusted enterprise Kubernetes platform.

OpenShift is optimized for developer productivity and frictionless innovation while helping customers address the IT challenges of security, operations management, and the integration of applications and container management.

OpenShift is powered by the trusted foundation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, one of the industry’s most certified operating systems and the first with support for Linux container technology to receive the Common Criteria certification, making the platform well-suited to meet the high standards for security set by Lockheed Martin and its customers.

During the Open Innovation Labs engagement, a cross-functional team of five developers, two operators, and a product owner worked together to develop a new application for the F-22 on OpenShift.

After seeing an early impact with the initial project team, within six months, Lockheed Martin had scaled its OpenShift deployment and use of agile methodologies and DevSecOps practices to a 100-person F-22 development team.

Lockheed Martin’s agile transformation has paid off. During a recent enablement session, the F-22 Raptor scrum team improved its ability to forecast for future sprints by 40%. This summer, only one year after kicking off the project, Lockheed Martin is slated to deliver new communications capabilities on the aircraft three years ahead of schedule. Lockheed Martin is continuing to scale this approach to the entire F-22 development organization.

Red Hat Open Innovation Labs worked with Lockheed Martin to not only transform its culture, process and technologies but to also rethink how the team physically works.

By knocking down walls and creating open spaces to work in its new dojo, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor development team now has a dedicated space for continued learning, thinking and problem-solving, providing the opportunity to scale out the collaborative DevSecOps culture that is delivering new software-defined innovation to the U.S. Air Force.

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