Cloud-Computing Development for US Navy

An SM-2 missile launches and destroys an airborne training target during a successful first test of the updated AEGIS Baseline 9 weapons system aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG-53). Mobile Bay, the first guided-missile cruiser in the fleet to upgrade from AEGIS Baseline 8 to the updated Baseline 9, is underway testing new weapons capabilities in preparation for its upcoming deployment. (Credit: U.S Navy, Chad M. Butler)

As conflicts become compressed in time and more complex, with an increasing number of data sources and platforms feeding information to warfighters, it is a challenge to build and share a complete and accurate operational picture.

To address this issue and align with the chief of naval operations’ concept for distributed maritime operations, the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the U.S. Navy’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program are sponsoring the development of a cloud-computing environment called Cloud-to-Edge (CTE). By harnessing the power of cloud computing and big-data fusion, the CTE environment will enhance the agility and responsiveness of naval warfighters across land, sea and air domains. It enables secure combat system development; automated software testing and analysis; and scalable simulation. It also improves readiness through extensive pre-mission training, feedback and assessment, and it enhances operational information gathering and decision making.

The ultimate goal is to enable the Navy to make software changes (without requiring additional authorities) and assess the performance of CTE environments either on single vessels or within larger carrier strike groups against a variety of defined mission scenarios. The result will be certified software, deployable by the Navy on demand, for all carrier strike groups.

The key component of the CTE environment is the Automated Test and Re-Test (ATRT) system, which delivers software-driven capabilities to the warfighter as quickly as possible. Virginia-based company Innovative Defense Technologies (IDT) developed ATRT after receiving SBIR funding to design technology that would promote rapid integration, testing and certification of new and updated software.

Earlier this year, the Navy successfully tested ATRT as part of the AEGIS Virtual Twin project, which involved the tactical deployment of a virtualized AEGIS Weapon System as a digital twin to the existing physical one. The virtual twin contains all of the computer code used by the existing AEGIS Weapon System. Comprising multiple computer servers, it occupies a relatively small amount of space aboard a ship, does not interfere with the ship’s combat systems and is ideal for training and software testing.

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