Military Embedded Systems

Kubernetes open-source system leveraged on U-2 Dragon Lady


October 09, 2020

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

U.S. Air Force photo.

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. The U-2 Federal Laboratory has leveraged Kubernetes during a local training sortie on a U-2 Dragon Lady assigned to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base. This represents the first time Kubernetes has flown on an operational major weapon system in the Department of Defense (DoD).

According to the U.S. Air Force, Kubernetes is an open-source container-orchestration system for automating computer application deployment, scaling, and management. It was originally designed by Google and is now maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

Its container-centric management environment is designed to orchestrate computing, networking, and storage on behalf of user workloads and is intended to allow for the deployment of complex microservice based applications with automation.

Within the DoD, Kubernetes will aim to allow military weapon systems to pool available on-board computing power to meet advanced system and software needs on demand. According to officials, the U-2 flight brought together four individual, flight-certified computers aboard the aircraft, leveraging the advantages of Kubernetes to run advanced machine learning algorithms without any negative effects on the aircraft’s flight or mission systems.


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