AFCENT's 609th AOC shifts to user-focused software suite

  • Published
  • Kessel Run and Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central)

The Air Force’s combined air operations center responsible for operations in the Middle East is running on new software.

On Nov. 20, Airmen from Kessel Run, the Air Force’s system program office for the Air Operations Center Enterprise, replaced the 609th Air Operations Center’s legacy Theater Battle Management Core System with its own suite of applications. Adopting the software, known as the Kessel Run All Domain Operating System, or KRADOS, marked the first time in history that air tasking and airspace control orders were operationally built and flown in that CAOC without TBMCS and the master air attack planning toolkit.

“KRADOS is yet another example of how the Air Force is leading from the front on making Joint All Domain Command and Control a reality, but more importantly, it is an integral element in making our adversaries’ targeting problem more complex and making U.S. C2 capabilities more resilient to both kinetic and non-kinetic threats,” said Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) commander and the Combined Forces Air Component Commander for U.S. Central Command.

Kessel Run has maintained TBMCS since 2017, while simultaneously working with warfighters to develop a user-focused replacement. KRADOS gives Airmen a level of situational awareness that could not be achieved with TBMCS alone, while laying the groundwork for the continued development of future capabilities for the entire AOC enterprise.

“This is one of the most significant updates to an AOC’s capabilities in decades,” said Andrew Ross, Kessel Run KRADOS product lead. “What we learned here will enable more flexibility in Air Force operations and build momentum as we look toward future software upgrades at other AOCs.”

Warfighters at this CAOC said adopting the full KRADOS suite makes today’s work easier, but also lays the foundation for even more.

“KRADOS gives us an unparalleled level of flexibility, agility and survivability,” said Col. Kevin Ogle, 609 AOC commander. “We now own the capabilities, which sets the standard for every partner we’ll work with in the future. We’ve just scratched the surface, and I’m excited about the potential.”

Over the past few years, while observing KRADOS being tested, stakeholders at the CAOC like Ogle, Air Combat Command and the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center provided critical feedback to Kessel Run. Airmen in the unit, which is a division under the Air Force Lifecycle Management Center, are seeing their work pay off with this software implementation.

The four applications, now operational today, are significantly enhanced by the way they work together, with better training, and a user-focused approach to software development. Their unique capabilities optimize tanker mission planning, enable airspace planning and management, develop air tasking orders and give commanders greater insight into friendly orders of battle.

“Are we done? Not even close,” said Col. Rich Lopez, Kessel Run’s senior material leader. “Our next major focus will be in the Pacific, where we plan to take all we’ve learned with the 609th AOC and apply it to building robust warfighting capabilities for Airmen at the 613th AOC in Hawaii and the greater enterprise. We know this region is different, and the pace of operations is unique. Our true mettle will be shown as we embrace this new challenge and deliver the best capabilities to the warfighters.”