AFRL Tech Expo showcases readiness technologies

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Senior leaders from across the Air Force were at WPAFB April 15-17 for a Basing and Logistics Board. While here, they attended an Air Force Research Laboratory Tech Expo with specific interest in technologies that improve Air Force base logistics or break the constraints to readiness. This included technologies that enable manpower multipliers, airbase resiliency, and aircraft availability.

Scientists and engineers displayed technologies supporting Air Force base logistics through rapid situational awareness and assessment and ground support energy. These included use of advanced data analytics and visualization to rapidly analyze damage assessment.

Also displayed were technology solutions to alleviate constraints to readiness, including: additive manufacturing as it relates to more supportable designs as well as depot applications, additive manufacturing of resilient hybrid electronics, cyber resiliency and aircraft safety, and rapid system support using C-130 propeller blade support as a current example.

Avionics cyber resiliency and aircraft safety were demonstrated using a data diode to isolate and protect critical portions of an avionics data bus from non-critical portions while still allowing data to pass in only one direction from the critical to non-critical portions.

Additionally, two new bus data collection and playback technologies (Vampire and Transfusion) were demonstrated which enable forensic analysis of avionics bus data interactions and provide early integration of avionics sub systems.

Exhibits relating to people/manpower included virtual/augmented/mixed reality for aircraft maintenance, non-destructive inspection/evaluation, confined space monitoring and quick-turn projects for sustainment highlighting the C-5 rapid tire change tool.

The current C-5 tire change method requires a five Airman operation which drives torque reading inaccuracies and ergonomic issues due to posture of Airmen on the ground. The AFRL innovation only requires two Airmen to change a tire with a tool adjustable in height and angle for use on all tires with a faceplate designed for interoperability with all current spanner wrenches.

An outdoor operational demonstration comparing legacy versus new prototype flight line equipment included a 60 kilowatt JP-8 turbine flight line generator, 72 kilowatt two-cycle diesel flight line generator, a hybrid flight line generator prototype (battery/diesel) and hybrid light cart prototype (battery/solar cell/diesel).

“The legacy equipment has essentially been unchanged since the 1960s. The prototype equipment is needed to take the Air Force into the next generation,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Richards, the Air Force Materiel Command, lead for Common Support Equipment. “We have a great relationship with AFRL. The AFRL prototypes have allowed us to set a modernization vision that we were not able to see prior to their development.”

“What an awesome display of enterprise cooperation answering the warfighters needs,” said Master Sgt. David Marshall of Air Force Materiel Command.

The showcase depicted AFRL’s mission to lead, discover, develop and deliver game changing technology to the Air Force in partnership with other organizations.