BOSTON (25 May 2021) – A Department of Defense software application was purchased by NATO and used to plan air-to-air refueling (AAR) operations during Ramstein Ambition 21, a two week exercise, recently.
The United States Air Force, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Detachment 12, also known as Kessel Run, developed JIGSAW; the tanker fuel planning application used by the United States Air Force since 2017. It has saved the DoD more than $500 million dollars in fuel costs and greatly reduced the time associated with planning refueling missions. The application has provided the DoD with enhanced combat capabilities through its increased coordination in the planning of refueling missions.
NATO purchased the application in late 2020, and the exercise serves as the first time they used it to plan AAR operations, according to a press release from the Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office.
“The coordination between Kessel Run, NATO’s Allied Command Transformation, HBN and the other DoD Agencies involved to see this Foreign Military Sale Case go from an idea, to contract, to delivery in 15 months has been tremendous,” said Scott “Zip” Willits, the Coalition Integration Lead with Kessel Run. “These software methodologies we, Det 12, have incorporated for the USAF have also potentially opened the ‘technological door’ for greater collaboration and partnerships with our allies.”
NATO’s Allied Command Transformation led the effort on behalf of NATO Allied Air Command to explore options to overcome the manpower intensive AAR planning process. Allied Command Transformation was able to procure the JIGSAW software for NATO Air Operations Centres around the world from the DoD.
“To keep our nations safe in such an unpredictable environment, we need to keep our Alliance strong,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Clow, the lead for the project. “Innovation and experimentation are critical components of NATO’s future defence, security, and deterrence.
A culture of experimentation at Allied Command Transformation allows us to consistently revamp and develop our capabilities and embrace new concepts to make our Alliance more successful.”
The Allied Command Transformation team, composed of members from Kessel Run, attended the exercise to trial the use of JIGSAW and to provide training for AAR planners from a number of Allied nations, according to a press release from the Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office.
Kessel Run has a proven track record in enhancing efficiency, saving cost and modernizing the way the Air Force operates with its agile software development. With its user-centered approach to development, Kessel Run’s mission is to rapidly deliver combat capabilities to warfighters and revolutionize the Air Force software acquisition process.
“The use of the application during the NATO exercise showcases how far reaching and influential the modernization efforts of Kessel Run have become,” said Col. Brian Beachkofski, commander of Kessel Run. “Our efforts to enhance our AOC Weapon Systems, now seem to be positively enhancing the abilities of our allies as well.”Air Force Life Cycle Management Center