An 11-member Mobile Application Development Team with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Business and Enterprise Systems Directorate recently developed its first organic mobile application prototype and presented it to Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Heather Wilson during the Air Force Information Technology Conference in Montgomery, Alabama, in August 2018.
The team, all of whom are active-duty with varying levels of software development knowledge and experience, was pulled together on short notice over the summer. In less than 42 days, they were able to create the Integrated Logistics System – Supply (ILS-S) app.
With a focus on operational effectiveness, the app, if fielded, could allow maintenance personnel on the flightline to check the quantity, location and order status of aircraft parts as well as issue orders for parts needed for the aircraft.
Potential benefits of the app include improving efficiency on the flightline by reducing the number of hours maintainers have to spend to request parts.
For example, if a maintainer is working on an aircraft and needs to replace a part, he or she can pull up the ILS-S app on a mobile device and order a needed part instead of bringing a handwritten order form to the warehouse. This ability would reduce dead time for supply requests and allow the maintainer to continue working on the aircraft.
Prior to developing the ILS-S app, the team created a calendar application for BES leadership, with the intent to create something simple and learn from it. This effort allowed the team to sharpen their skills for the next phase of mobile application development.
“It’s not a secret we use smart phones to execute more and more activities in our personal lives,” said Richard Aldridge, program executive officer for Business and Enterprise Systems. “But unfortunately, we come to work and are chained to desktop computers. So we harvested a team of our sharpest young enlisted coders, gave them our challenge and like innovative Airmen do, they gave us something in six weeks. The team delivered a product literally with the cost of a white board and markers, and they trained themselves on mobile app development from YouTube videos, articles and by asking experts. I couldn’t be prouder of the team and what they accomplished.”
The next challenge for the team will be to create a scalable mobile application development capability that will meet the needs for all Air Force business systems mobile application needs.