The use of cloud computing services for military communication systems, especially Air Force, started 10 years ago. Americans were the first to transfer their military data onto the cloud. It makes the defense sector more efficient, provides ultimate security against cyber threats, and reduces costs. In simple terms, the main goal of incorporating SaaS solutions into the air force was to reduce the number of data centers and develop single security architecture. SaaS has been proven to be an extremely beneficial tool for Air Force, because of its diverse applications.
How is SaaS Used in Air Force?
Other than developing a common service base, the main reason for introducing SaaS in the air force is to establish a single operational network management structure and improve the quality of military information service provided by Dynamic Interrogative Data Capture (DIDCs). SaaS has many applications in the air force and some of them are listed below.
1. Supply Chain Modernization
SaaS solutions help the air force improve warfighter support by modifying supply planning capabilities to produce a supply. Not only that, but it also modernizes the distribution plan to correlate the purchase and distribution orders, aligned with current or future demands. Distribution planning supports weapon system availability, by aligning assets, and actively managing the shortages of different types of materials at operating locations.
2. Demand Planning
SaaS technology helps the air force with demand planning of the generation of dependent (scheduled) and independent (unscheduled) forecasts, including different forecasting algorithms, and the effective application of many other factors, such as flying hours.
3. Inventory Optimization
SaaS modifies the inventory optimization, which further aids the defense sector in specified weapon system availability, while simultaneously adhering to different financial constraints, combining aircraft uptime Readiness Based Sparing (RBS) Principles, and minimizing inventory investment.
4. Data Storage
SaaS is used to store big data and facilitate better collaboration. It significantly reduces the cost of the initial software setup and further updates, and the hardware required to run it. Instead, the same software and infrastructure are provided by a vendor, for a monthly subscription.
The software is updated frequently and new features are added seamlessly, without stopping the system or causing any disturbance. The stored data is accessible to the air force staff from any location, on any device. SaaS stores the data of the defense sector and does following
- Facilitates communication
- Provides a straightforward system for collaboration and data sharing
- Provides intuitive accounting and payment systems, and enables accurate monitoring of customer activity, highlighting the potential areas for development
5. Improved Cybersecurity
The air force secures its information and data in more than 1000 locations, which is nearly impossible to secure because of the different cyber-attacks and other untimely cybersecurity practices. Eventually, it keeps the defense sector from keeping pace with emerging technological advancements. Traditional data processing applications are inadequate for storing this type of large and complex data.
SaaS technology, on the other hand, helps the air force with the storage of all kinds of data. As a result, application owners no longer require particular computing resources, rather they use a contract for these resources as a service from a CSP, which, effectively hosts data and applications in a shared and safe computing environment – dropping the costs of software licensing through centralized delivery. Resultantly,
- The cybersecurity posture of the air force improves dramatically.
- Instead of more than 1000 open connections to the network, DOD aims to have fewer than 85.
- Centrally managed software operating system also speeds up the implementation of fixes and lowers many hands-on labor requirements.
Nowadays, in many countries, the air force also uses a cloud pilot program, equipped with an off-premises commercial CSP. It helps the pilot in evaluating the security capabilities and also enables him to shape the security requirements for cloud access points (CAPs), which provides modernized boundary security for the Department of Defense Information Network.
6. Exception Management
SaaS technology actively improves the exception management in the air force practices, with robust event management capabilities and error reporting, to alert users about relevant information and also make autonomous recommendations. Allowing the discrete planner to work, SaaS reconciles exceptions for supply planning and inventory optimization.
The power of SaaS in the air force is not limited to the modernized supply chain management, but it also improves the performance management capabilities with data stratification, analytics, reporting, metrics, and dash-boarding capabilities to support what-if analyses.
7. Weather Forecast
Because of the up-to-date integration of the cloud with wireless sensor networks, SaaS analyzes the continuously changing weather data and notifies the users to stay alert during, and ahead, of these weather disasters. The occurrence of such unforeseen circumstances affects lives and also damages the great assets of the air force. Planning, according to the weather, helps the air force a great deal and enables it to make better and low-cost decisions in the future.
Different Countries Incorporated SaaS in their Defense Sector
SaaS made its way to the air force long ago, but nowadays, different countries are experimenting with its cutting-edge applications in the air force and the results can be no less than spectacular. Let’s have a look at it.
- Generally, the Air Force of the Republic of South Korea applies Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud-computing technology, and its applications distributed nationwide are transferred to two Defense-integrated Data Centers (DIDCs). However, to improve the quality of their information service, Korean Air Force expanded the cloud-computing service from IaaS to SaaS level.
Many organizations were already working with similar applications that were redundant.
SaaS was introduced to reduce the costs of management overhead and IT services, by eliminating all redundant applications and effectively integrating them into common services.
- In 2017, the United States Air Force collaborated with Parametric Technological Corporation (PTC) Service Parts Management SaaS, to optimize its supply chain and improve weapon systems availability. The main goal of partnering up with this computer software and services company was to enhance weapon system support at different Air Force Sustainment Centers around the world. Additionally, this PTC SaaS solution was meant to,
- Provide forecast accuracy
- Reduce planning workload
- Implement comprehensive supply planning with supportability
- Achieve real-time supply chain metrics
- Optimize aircraft availability by location
- Improve logistics cost estimation.
Adobe Provides its Products Worth $145 Million to the Defense Customers
In 2016, Adobe announced that the company will provide its products worth $145 Million to many defense sector customers via a software as a service (SaaS). The cloud-based offering allowed users to easily share more data and integrate it across different organizations. According to Dave Lavanty (vice-president of Amazon Web Services), incorporating SaaS into the air force and other military sectors will provide them a platform for rapid innovation.
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Air Force with SaaS – Faster than Ever!
Like many other businesses and governmental organizations, SaaS also made its way to the air force. It helps the defense sector with the modernization of the supply chain, improves cybersecurity, and logistics cost estimation, and optimizes aircraft availability by location. Air force workers are now able to collaborate and share information in a reliable environment. With the detailed and advanced planning processes, SaaS is on its way to digitalizing and modifying the Air force communication systems, like never before!