#DigitalAF: Digital Air Force - Part One

The #DigitalAF initiative commenced June 1, 2020 by 11 individuals determined to disrupt the technology and the culture of innovation in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

Inspired by headway made at The Flight Deck outlined in The Prelude, the #DigitalAF team came together to demonstrate to the RCAF, Department of National Defence and the broader Government of Canada what a small group of talented individuals leveraging modern approaches to software development could do.

Coming in hot, the team delivered the first solution to deployed members eligible for tax relief within three weeks. It was clear that this wasn't going to be your typical government contractor engagement.

Mission Accomplished

Mission Accomplished? A slight understatement. In only 8 months the team delivered significant changes to the core of the Royal Canadian Air Force's air mobility flight operations out of 8 Wing Trenton.

Not only did the team bring powerful new features to the many heroes of the RCAF, but we also led the way in modern approaches to delivering software realizing 24/7 availability. We pushed new code to production on average 8 times a day, every day of the week. It wasn't uncommon to have a crew member drop an idea at one stop and be delighted to see it implemented by the time they had landed across the Atlantic.

A modern culture of innovation, inclusion and ambition was not left out of the mix. The military has a unique and complex culture that is unlike industry. However, at the end of the day the members are people and the organization needs to benefit from modern innovations as much as anybody. So, in addition to the core air operations features, the team also delivered the RCAF's first distributed innovation and collaboration platform to foster conversations without rank. The team also delivered an open platform to support an internal program for surfacing big ideas to the Commander of the RCAF. Within weeks it was clear that "Great Ideas Have No Rank" and that we could organically grow a platform faster than anything in the history of the RCAF (with NO orders or mandates).

Opportunity to innovate in the Department of National Defence, CAF, RCAF and Government in general is abundant, but it is not easy. One senior military leader put it best: "this project is like trench warfare, fight hard everyday to gain an inch, take a day off and lose a mile". The team fought hard every day (and many nights) to move forward more than any other initiative since WW2. Thankfully, the team was bought into the mission of supporting our service members and showing an important Canadian institution what is possible.

Above all else, the team is greatly indebted to the members of the RCAF who consistently put themselves at risk to save the lives of others and to protect Canada and our allies. Many strong friendships were developed between people that never would have met otherwise.

Just a Taste

Below are just a few of the amazing features delivered to stakeholders across the RCAF and across Canada.

Digital Flight Bag

Air crews are busy, so the team remove some of the stacks of paper they are responsible for with a modern, secure cloud platform.

Flight Risk Framework

An air force is a risky business, however, that doesn't mean we can't accurately measure and report risk with the convenience of a smart phone.

Tax Relief Processing

As a small thanks for their duty to Canada, service members are eligible for tax relief on international missions. We've streamlined this process to ensure they receive what they deserve faster with less administration.

Logbooks and Currencies

One of the most robust logbook and currency tracking systems in industry. Quick to start, powerful to scale to the unique needs of the various RCAF communities.

Crowdsourced Innovation Platform

A digital platform to foster innovation across ranks, across the country and across the world! The results thus far have been astounding.

Air Crew Information Files

A powerful solution to ensuring crews have the information they need to fly successful missions.


The Team

Many have tried, none have delivered, until now. This team came together for one purpose:
to support the RCAF with the best in software.

Tim Bartram

VP Engineering

Grace Geng

Client Success Engineer

Bradley Leonard

Full Stack Developer

Jon Loos

Full Stack Developer

Ellen McGee

UX Engineer

Brad Moggach

VP Product

Moe Omer

Director of Engineering

Nika Salamadze

Full Stack Developer

Sophia Scott

UI Designer

Eddie Sun

Full Stack Developer

Chris Young


Let's Get Digital

After a short eight months, thanks incredible partners within the air force, and an unmatched energy from #DigitalAF, the scene was set to go broader and deeper with digital and reimagining the operation of the RCAF. Read on to learn what transpired over the next three years.