In the last 60 years, software development has become exponentially more complex. Take the space missions of the early 1960s, which required less than 100 lines of code, and compare that to the billions of lines needed to run the online and mobile tools of today.

With our insatiable appetite for technological innovation, faster and more effective software development is in demand. This is especially true in the aerospace and defense (A&D) industry, where organizations are trying to meet the challenges of securing an ever-evolving and more complex world.

The F-35 is the most complex aircraft in the world, and 80% of its requirements are implemented through software.
The F-35 is the most complex aircraft in the world, and 80% of its requirements are implemented through software.

A new way to look at software development

To stay ahead, companies have evolved their software development approach to be faster and more agile. An example of this is the adoption of DevSecOps (development, security, operations), the enhanced software-creation technique that was born in the commercial tech industry in the early 2000s. It’s the latest iteration of DevOps and elevates the importance of security checks throughout the development workflow.

“DevSecOps is a great example of our mission to modernize our approach to engineering,” said Ross Niebergall, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at L3Harris. “Unlike the traditional software development approach, DevSecOps is a process in which software development never ends. Products are constantly updated and improved without disrupting the end-user. It allows us to deliver mission-critical solutions much faster to our customers.”

Software development is an integral part of L3Harris’ DNA, which makes an industry-leading 4% annual investment in internal research and development. Forty percent of all engineering work is related to software, and nearly 5,000 of L3Harris’ 20,000 engineers are software engineers.

DevSecOps dramatically speeds up the software development cycle by delivering versions of a product to customers while a continuous loop of development, testing, monitoring, feedback and improvement ensues in the background. It also focuses on automating many of the manual steps in the software development process.

“Our customers require a variety of cutting-edge solutions with programs that can span months or years,” said Omar Fathi, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at L3Harris. “Regardless of the duration, we need to transform our software development and embrace modern methodologies like DevSecOps and Agile to meet customer demand and maintain our competitive edge.”

A need for automation

DevSecOps can be implemented in many ways. To maximize its benefit, L3Harris developed a standard, repeatable and automated process for deploying DevSecOps. It uses a common framework with pre-selected tools that will be needed throughout the DevSecOps process and can be applied to a variety of environments like cloud, on-premises and classified. L3Harris also partnered with Nutanix, a leader in enterprise cloud computing, to automate DevSecOps deployment and make standard environments available to L3Harris software engineers across the globe.

The result - DevSecOps on Demand.

“Our partnership with Nutanix enables the one-click creation of standard DevSecOps environments from computer infrastructure to tools along with metrics,” Fathi said. “By leveraging Nutanix hybrid cloud technology, we are able to accelerate the adoption of DevSecOps within our engineering centers, which in turn enables us to accelerate the value creation for our customers.”

Software development is an integral part of L3Harris’ DNA. At L3Harris, 40% of all engineering work is related to software, and nearly 5,000 of L3Harris’ 20,000 engineers are software engineers
Software development is an integral part of L3Harris’ DNA. At L3Harris, 40% of all engineering work is related to software, and nearly 5,000 of L3Harris’ 20,000 engineers are software engineers.

Conquering the complexity

In the world of technology, great ideas often require a great deal of complex code. L3Harris’ adoption of DevSecOps and its partnership with Nutanix are making this complexity more manageable.

“Our software engineers are embracing DevSecOps; even those who have been developing software the traditional way for decades,” Niebergall said. “They recognize the qualities of speed, agility and cost-savings that DevSecOps delivers. It’s a game-changer for our industry, and it’s a key driver in our efforts to digitally transform engineering.”