AWS Public Sector Blog

Bringing cloud capability to the Air Force at the “speed of mission need”

USAF F-16 Thunderbirds Flying Above the Clouds

Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently participated in a technical demonstration, known as “On-Ramp 4,” to test edge computing capabilities for the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). ABMS is the Air Force’s contribution to the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) vision.

On-Ramp 4, organized by the Air Force’s Chief Architect Integration Office, took place at Ramstein Air Base in Germany and tested capabilities from vendors and military organizations from the United States and partner nations.

Under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with ABMS, AWS tested the ability to successfully integrate and deploy a tactical edge node solution leveraging highly resilient network connectivity and communications. Using AWS Snowball Edge, AWS was able to bring cloud capabilities to a simulated tactical edge location. AWS engineers collaborated with AWS Partner Juniper Networks’ team to deploy the tactical edge node solution. The result demonstrated capabilities such as DevSecOps and deployment of an artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) application and Kubernetes Cluster at the edge, and the ability to move development code from unclassified to classified networks.

As Preston Dunlap, chief architect for the Air and Space Forces, told reporters, the ability to transmit data over classified and unclassified networks “pushes the ball pretty dramatically forward.”

“Juniper Networks is excited to be partnered with the Air Force and AWS for the ABMS efforts. The Juniper Networks Session Smart Routing technology enabled the vision of a software defined architecture that delivers the stringent resiliency and [service level agreement] SLA requirements to meet the mission critical needs of our warfighters,” said Gregory Bourdelais, Juniper Networks director of sales for DoD.

Through the ABMS, the Air Force and industry collaborators work together to develop a digital infrastructure based on open architecture and standards that connect sensors in an Internet of Military Things (IoMT). Through on-ramps, the Air Force is able to demonstrate capabilities that could help lay the foundation of an IoMT and enable data sharing across the DoD under an established, digital architecture. AWS was awarded a spot on the Air Force’s ABMS Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract in September 2020, and executed a CRADA related to the ABMS initiative in February 2021.

“The ABMS initiative is designed to bring capability to the warfighter at the speed of mission need. With the CRADA, the Air Force has the ability to innovate more quickly, remain nimble, and provide urgent support to our sons and daughters serving around the globe,” said Cedric George, AWS director of DoD strategic business development. “We are honored to support our nation’s warfighters and continue delivering innovative solutions that support a wide range of critical missions.”

Learn more about cloud computing for defense, and cloud computing at the edge.