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Two U.S. Navy ships at sea, the front ship waiving a U.S. flag



Software delivery to U.S. Navy ships in decades past happened when engineers and scientists packed volumes of CDs or 4MM tapes, and in many cases scheduled flights to wherever the ship was at that time.

Weeks were then spent aboard the platform loading the latest version of software, testing it, and then going through a turnover with ship’s company for acceptance once everything was up and working.

NIWC Pacific has changed that paradigm by realizing the promise of DevSecOps for rapid and responsive software development, along with “Over the Air” (OTA) delivery of new software and version updates to Navy ships anywhere in the world.

Changes to methods in software development - from the traditional “waterfall model” to the "iterative model,” then the “spiral model” to “agile,” and now to “DevSecOps” - have evolved the process of software delivery to provide rapid capability advancements to warfighters wherever they are, whenever they need it.

Additional design and development patterns have changed from monolithic large-bang applications to a smaller micro-service architecture, where containers and smaller applications are delivered enabling more efficient use of the limited bandwidth available to ships.  

The result is the creation of a DevSecOps environment that provides Command and Control (C2) capability to ships and submarines across the U.S. Navy.

The naval C2 environment is both highly complex and extremely critical to our success, requiring Navy C2 systems and software to rapidly react to mission needs for ships at sea in bandwidth-challenged environments.

NIWC Pacific has responded to this challenge by creating a robust DevSecOps environment and methods for deploying software “Over the Air” (OTA), with limited to no onboard support for installation. This environment also provides for the possibility of rolling back to a previous version should a new install prove problematic.

The challenge of delivering rapidly responsive software capability OTA for C2 has provided many lessons learned as we continue to overcome challenges that are applicable to the larger weapons systems software development community.

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