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COVID-19 Telework Operations Create New Opportunities for 412 TW Teams

Various aircraft participating in Orange Flag Exercise (OFE) fly over Edwards Air Force Base, California,  during OFE 19-2.  COVID-19 telework operations have created new opportunities for engineers from the 412th Test Wing teams to spend more time on software development environments to support weapons analysis, and to support multi-platform multi-service analysis for large force exercises such as OFE.

Various aircraft participating in Orange Flag Exercise (OFE) fly over Edwards Air Force Base, California, during OFE 19-2. COVID-19 telework operations have created new opportunities for engineers from the 412th Test Wing teams to spend more time on software development environments to support weapons analysis, and to support multi-platform multi-service analysis for large force exercises such as OFE.

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Although the day-to-day work of avionics and flight test engineers looks dramatically different due to the advent of telework operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, a few groups within the 412th Test Wing are taking full advantage of these unique times to accelerate their development of Python analysis tool capabilities using industry standard tools.

The 412 TW continues to adapt and overcome during this new telework environment and has created new opportunities during this COVID-19 pandemic. “While some folks were challenged to adjust to a telework environment due to COVID-19, our weapons team seized the opportunity, using GitLab to ensure we come back stronger than ever,” said Dan Stevenson, director, 775th Test Squadron.

GitLab is a collaborative software planning and development environment that supports the complete development and operations life cycle of source code.

Less in-person meetings and a slower flight execution schedule have allowed engineers from the 775th ENVWX Weapons Integration Flight, members of the Foundational Data Analysis Tool (FDAT), and Tactical Reconfigurable Universal Data Analysis Tool (TRUDAT) teams to spend more time on building software development environments to support weapons analysis across base, and to support multi-platform multi-service analysis for large force exercises (LFE) such as Orange Flag.   

Leveraging a capability set in place by the 812th Test Support Squadron, these three groups, who’ve worked closely together, have been able to create and setup GitLab software repositories to support their vision and goals.  

Working in a GitLab environment has enabled each group to take an abstract vision of where their development efforts needed to go and put it into action while also bringing their development efforts in line with industry best practices.

In previous years the weapons flight has labored to maintain configuration control and compatibility of source code across squadrons, which resulted in solving the same problem multiple times over.

Consolidating their development efforts into a single repository and using the industry standard version control system, Git, will enable them to develop more robust and extensible analysis tool capabilities while reducing unnecessary parallel development efforts.

The FDAT and TRUDAT team is made up of engineers from all different avionics backgrounds with the goal of developing a “big-data” analysis tool app ecosystem, particularly for events like Orange Flag.

The team has been closely collaborating with the operational test community to develop a standing list of desired apps and features that would help answer important tactical questions from the rich data set the LFE events generate.

Similar to the weapons flight, teleworking has given the members of both these teams the opportunity to fast-track their development efforts, resulting in a couple key functional prototype apps ready to be tested with real data once normal operations resume.

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