Ball Aerospace To Build Prototype Data Processing Framework For U.S. Air Force’s FORGE Program

Image Credit: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

December 4, 2018 – Ball Aerospace was selected to build an adaptable, open-source framework testbed to support ground processing needs for the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC). This prototype works with third-party processing applications and helps visualize the time-critical processing performance in satellite ground systems, ensuring timely and reliable missile warnings, battlespace awareness and technical intelligence.

The Mission Data Processing Application Framework (MDPAF) testbed enables data to be collected for the Air Force’s Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution (FORGE) program for Overhead Persistent InfraRed (OPIR) ground processing. OPIR is crucial for the U.S. Air Force and decision makers to understand threats and make time-critical decisions, while gathering long-term technical intelligence data on foreign missile systems.

“Ball will leverage a modern system design approach which merges development, security and operations, known as DevSecOps, or DevOps with security built into the process,” said Steve Smith, vice president and general manager, Systems Engineering Solutions, Ball Aerospace. “We will begin with the practices and services Ball developed for DARPA’s Hallmark program and adapt them to the mission needs of SMC.”

Ball Aerospace has been on the leading-edge of OPIR development for many years with an understanding of the objects, events and unique processing requirements necessary to translate the data into actionable information. This includes both real-time processing for missile warning/missile defense missions and near-real-time technical intelligence/battlespace awareness missions. FORGE provides Ball the opportunity to leverage its OPIR knowledge and the mission-adaptable Hallmark architecture to ensure ground processing mission success today and anticipate the emerging capabilities of tomorrow.

Through the adoption of a self-service integrator model, Ball has developed a framework where third-party developers can use its DevOps pipeline without the need for additional integration support – eliminating any potential bottlenecks. Ball’s secure DevOps approach enables continuous integration and continuous deployment of new capabilities into operational ground systems without any loss of time in operations, an approach used today in the commercial marketplace. This DevOps environment allows independent stakeholders to quickly and effectively integrate their applications into one architecture while providing maximum deployment flexibility for the government. Ball’s deployment solution is infrastructure-agnostic, allowing the government to search for best price among cloud-processing vendors.