2018 at Wright-Patt: New faces, technology, readiness, training

Compiled by Amy Rollins, Skywrighter Staff

Throughout 2018, there were many significant milestones achieved by numerous organizations across Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Here are some of the milestones, events, awards and other things that contributed to the overall success of missions:

New faces

• Col. Heath Collins, program executive officer, Fighters and Bombers Directorate, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center

• Brig. Gen. Sean Farrell, director, Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate, AFLCMC

• Lynda Rutledge, program executive officer, Mobility Directorate, AFLCMC

• Chief Master Sgt. Stephen Arbona, command chief, 88th Air Base Wing

• Janet Wirth, vice director, 88 ABW

• Brig. Gen. Alice Trevino, commander, Air Force Installation Contracting Agency, AFLCMC

• Col. Thomas E. Hoskins, Defense Contract Management Agency Dayton

• Col. Parker Wright, commander, National Air and Space Intelligence Center

• Col. Mike Foutch, commander, 88th Medical Group

• Brig. Gen. Sean Farrell, commander, Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate, AFLCMC

• Col. Dale White, program executive officer, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Special Operations Forces Directorate, AFLCMC

• Maj. Gen. Carl Schaefer, deputy commander, Air Force Materiel Command

• Brig. Gen. Kenneth Bibb Jr., director, Air, Space and Cyberspace Operations, AFMC

• Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle, director, Strategic Plans, Programs, Requirements and Analyses, AFMC

• Brig. Gen. Linda Marsh, mobilization assistant to the commander, AFMC

• Col. Frank Schreiber, director, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, AFMC

• Chaplain (Col.) Scott Rummage, command chaplain, AFMC

• Col. Jeannine Ryder, command surgeon, AFMC

• Yancy Mailes, command historian, AFMC

• Capt. Matthew Hebert, commander, Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton

• Lt. Col. Andrea O’Connor, commander, 10th Field Investigations Squadron

• Tim Sakulich, director, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, AFRL

• Joseph Gordon, program director, Air Force Technology Transfer Program

• David Tillotson III, director, National Museum of the U.S. Air Force


• Leveraging the U.S. silicon manufacturing industry’s expertise in rigid electronics and novel efforts in high-performance electronics 3D printing, a collaborative effort between the Air Force Research Laboratory and American Semiconductor has resulted in a new flexible, silicon-on-polymer chip that combines the best of the old and new to augment new networked realities.

• Experts at AFRL continue to expand the scope of their technological expertise, rising above the Earth’s surface to meet the power needs of next-generation military spacecraft. A collaborative effort between AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing and Space Vehicles Directorates, the Space Industrial Base Working Group and SolAero Technologies has resulted in state-of-the art, multi-junction solar cells destined to reduce costs and increase power efficiency for military space applications.

• Natural or man-made disasters can result in large-scale catastrophes for vast populations, but through a technology licensing agreement with local innovators, AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate is looking to ease the burden and put bio-technology to use for humankind. When large groups of people are suddenly cut off from electricity, shelter and medical supplies, the initial crisis may be only the tip of the iceberg. Sanitation issues, disease and physical fatigue are among the many widespread and lingering problems that may arise from poor conditions. AFRL, along with Dayton-based innovators, S.A.Wyze (Situational Awareness Wisdom) hope to help alleviate this suffering with the help of ultra-stable antibody liquids.

• The U. S. School of Aerospace Medicine is the first research facility in the Department of Defense to use new Dynamic Athletic Research Institute 3D biomarkerless technology to predict injuries before they happen, allowing for intervention to prevent injuries and improve recovery rates. The DARI system looks at how a person is able to move his or her body while performing functional tasks and can predict where an injury might occur up to two weeks before it might happen.

• Materials Engineer Dr. Larry Brott of AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, led an effort to improve glow stick technology for use in military applications. More commonly referred to as “chemlights” in military circles, these handy devices can be used for a variety of applications. They can be used as a wand for directing vehicles or providing emergency lighting, or the fluid inside can be splashed onto a surface to mark routes or positions. The Materials and Manufacturing Directorate Technology Transfer office, led by Sunita Chavan, identified the researchers’ work to the Technology Acceleration Project, or TAP. TAP is a pilot project of the Entrepreneurs Center, a Dayton-based technology incubator that seeks to bring together researchers and entrepreneurs who are interested in taking technologies to the next level.

• The Air Transportability Test Loading Activity, also known as ATTLA, of AFLCMC’s Engineering Directorate, Crew Systems Branch, has a team of engineers representing a diverse variety of engineering specialties to certify all types of cargo for transport. They ensure cargo is safe for flight and is compatible with the capabilities of the plane. One of their projects has been NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which is 100 times more powerful than the Hubble telescope and will allow astronomers to see deeper into the universe than ever before. The James Webb Space Telescope is slated to launch on an Ariane 5 rocket from a European launch complex located near Kourou, French Guiana, in 2019.

• Using a helium droplet method that chills molecular species to nearly absolute zero, researchers in AFRL’s Aerospace Systems Directorate’s Turbine Engine Division are able see carbon clusters, including soot precursors in combustion, in a completely new way – at record low temperatures [-272.78° C]. The C3 molecule is a soot precursor often found in flames, explosions and other combustion processes, as well as astronomical bodies, such as comets and stars. This discovery is key to improving a variety of models used in propulsion and space vehicle applications.

• Researchers at AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate are “turning up the heat” in the field of polymer additive manufacturing. In conjunction with researchers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center and the University of Louisville, the team successfully printed the highest-temperature capable, reinforced polymer composite parts using additive manufacturing. Consisting of a high-temperature thermoset resin infused with carbon fiber filaments, this state-of-the-art material breakthrough sets the stage for next-generation, cost-efficient Air Force manufacturing needs.

• With support from the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program, Ohio-based Frontier Technology Inc. produced a modeling and simulation capability to allow military operations planners to more realistically assess potential maintenance and logistics situations in combat. Also known as ISWAT – for Integrated Sustainment Wargaming Analysis Toolkit – this analytical model addresses the overall impact of sustainment systems on the Air Force’s ability to conduct prolonged operations. Frontier Technology matured ISWAT with additional support from the Air Force SBIR/STTR Commercialization Readiness Program and the Air Force Rapid Innovation Fund so it could be used by AFMC.

• A collaborative effort between AFRL and industry partners through the Nano-Bio Manufacturing Consortium has led to the development of next-generation wearable patches that can detect electrolyte levels present in human sweat. Using novel AFRL-developed sensor materials and microfluidic technology, the patches can measure sodium and potassium levels present in sweat and transmit this information wirelessly for scientific analysis.

• Through a small business innovation research project with Luna Innovations Inc., scientists at AFRL and the Air Force Corrosion Prevention and Control Office supported the development of an improved system for coating materials performance evaluations that will accelerate the screening, qualification and implementation of new aircraft coatings. The new corrosion and coating evaluation system, CorRES, measures the ability of coatings to protect aircraft structures by using sensor panels that perform electrochemical measurements during corrosion testing. Unlike conventional coating tests that rely on an expert’s visual evaluation of a test panel at the conclusion of a test cycle, CorRES records corrosion rate data throughout a test and transmits the data to a base station for evaluation. This enables researchers to know not only if a coating fails but exactly when this occurs during a test.

• Researchers from the Junior Force Warfighters Operations in AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate increased a pilot’s capability to survive, escape and evade through near-term, short-turnaround projects. They worked to develop materials that will last longer in operational environments so that isolated personnel have the equipment readily available. A subteam of JFWORX, the Ejection Seat Survival Kit Enhancement, Modernization and Optimization team, worked to improve the current ejection seat survival kit for the Air Force. The kit contains more than 50 items.

• Using a process developed by Google called a Design Sprint, in less than one week’s time, AFRL researchers defined, conceptualized and prototyped a new waterproof medical bag for the National Guard’s 103rd Guardian Angel Personnel Recovery Unit, a team of medics trained in high sea personnel recovery. The project, code named “Med S.W.O.R.D.” for “Medical Supply Waterproof Ocean Rescue Duffel,” provided the Angels with quick-turn prototype solutions for a mission-critical need and gave the researchers a chance to test new ways of innovation and learning in the process.

• Although still in the research and development phase, a team of scientists and engineers in both AFRL and AFLCMC is working to complete a second-generation sensor package called the Real-Time Air Quality Sensor, or RTAQS, that will sense and assess cockpit air quality in real-time on high-performance aircraft during flight.

• Engineers from the AFRL’s Manufacturing Technologies Division held a successful demonstration of the advanced capabilities of the Advanced Automation for Agile Aerospace Applications (A5) Robotic System at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. The 22,000-pound A5 robotic system is the first multi-purpose robot designed for use on the aerospace factory floor capable of using real-time sensor feedback to conduct work in a localized environment. By capitalizing on advancements in man-machine interfacing technologies, the A5 robot is anticipated to cut depot maintenance times for aircraft coating removal up to 50 percent, saving time and money over the lifecycle of a platform.

• AFRL is making it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to turn vision into reality with Express Technology Licensing. The groundbreaking effort is a new approach to moving AFRL laboratory technologies into the commercial sector. Through Express Licensing, innovators and entrepreneurs can simply visit a website and discover AFRL-developed technologies that are available for license, learn more about them, and quickly and easily determine if a licensing opportunity fits their capabilities.

• To provide junior military engineers with hands-on experience solving engineering challenges impacting the Department of Defense and the Air Force, AFLCMC created a pilot program called the Junior Engineer Development Initiative or JEDI. The idea for the initiative came from Maj. Richard Hanberg, an aerospace engineer in the F-22 Program Office, who was inspired after touring the Rapid Development Integration Facility on base. The RDIF, which is part of the Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Special Operations Force Directorate, is a 20,000-square-foot manufacturing and modification facility, which started as an organization that quickly modified aircraft and weapon systems to meet special operator needs and timelines. It has evolved to where it quickly designs and manufactures mechanical and electrical solutions to include modifications for military aircraft and weapons systems around the world.

• Computer use at Wright-Patterson AFB migrated from the AFNET into the “Cloud” under a directive by Air Force Space Command to better align resources and to outsource services, like email, under the Air Force Cloud Hosted Enterprise Services Program. Users also received a second cloud-based service, Skype for Business.

• A research project intended to enable more precise imaging of space objects moved from lab bench testing to field testing at the John Bryan State Park observatory, illuminating night skies with a green laser beam of light. The project was a collaboration between the Electro-Optical Space Situational Awareness Team of AFRL’s Sensors Directorate and AFIT’s Department of Engineering Physics. Analyzing these measurements will provide scientists with valuable information when imaging objects in space.

• Researchers at AFRL are doing their part to make the next Mars rover mission an astronomical success. At the request of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and project partners, AFRL concluded a series of tests in the Particle Erosion Test Facility, located in the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate’s Coatings, Corrosion and Erosion Laboratory. For this effort, AFRL experts evaluated the effects of dust, particulates, and small rocks on the protective surface coatings of the Mars 2020 rover vehicle.

• The Junior Force Warfighters Operations in AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate hope to patent a new and improved “milk stool” for the C-130 aircraft. The milk stool is a wooden support placed under the rear loading ramp of a C-130 aircraft for stability during heavy loading operations. The project seeks to cut costs and prevent injuries to Airmen.

• Nine teams of scientists and engineers from AFRL joined other top innovators and creative minds from around the country at the AFWERX Fusion Xperience, June 20-21 in Las Vegas to highlight technology ideas designed to identify innovative solutions to enhance Air Force areas of focus. AFWERX was established in 2017 by the secretary of the Air Force and is a catalyst for agile Air Force engagement across industry, academia and non-traditional contributors to create transformative opportunities and foster an Air Force culture of innovation.

• A Dayton, Ohio, start-up company accelerated the research and development process by leveraging Air Force and Ohio State Highway Patrol training exercises to gather information from potential users. Battle Sight Technologies LLC, or BST LLC, was one of nearly a dozen companies that participated in tech warrior operations in April at the National Center for Medical Readiness, a Wright State Research Institute Laboratory. The event is part of the new Tech Warrior Enterprise, which is sponsored by the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program, and places developing technologies into the hands of warfighters for evaluation and feedback.

• A Reserve Citizen Airman at Wright-Patterson AFB is working to help create an algorithm to predict the outbreak of radicalized violence in Ukraine. 655th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group Reserve Citizen Airman Tech. Sgt. Clark (first name withheld), an analyst with the 49th Intelligence Squadron, is impacting an international security analysis program. Clark is combining deep linguistic expertise with cutting-edge data science to build a Ukrainian-English urban phrase “exonym” dictionary for the Coalition for Open-Source Defense Analysis (CODA) to use in creating an algorithm to predict the outbreak of radicalized violence in Ukraine. Exonyms are social responses, or hostile group-level references to an opposing group, created by combining terms to create a derogatory expression. These expressions mark the use of language as an ideological weapon with the goal to mock, diminish and/or dehumanize opponents.

• Thanks to upgrades and a team of AFRL experts, a new laboratory capability is filling a much-needed role in materials durability testing for the military and beyond. The Materials and Manufacturing Directorate’s Supersonic Rain Erosion Test Facility, or SuRE, answers a vital need for some of today’s most advanced aeronautical and mechanical systems. This highly specialized apparatus allows scientists to evaluate materials and coatings durability by directing a variable spray of water at test specimens, subjecting them to conditions simulating real-world rain and weather events. The specimens are then evaluated by AFRL specialists who determine the effect of the high-force spray on the materials and can provide expert analysis and recommendations.

• AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate and Ohio State University’s Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis have a congressionally directed collaborative research agreement in the works. The agreement pushes the limits of advanced characterization techniques over a wide range of material classes and fosters long-standing research collaboration between OSU’s CEMAS and the directorate. The program will contribute to a multitude of research topics aligned directly to respective research teams within the directorate. The idea is to explore a wide range of structural, functional and/or biological materials in innovative ways, providing innovative solutions to promote the warfighter advantage.

• AFRL is developing an innovative new tool to manage aircraft corrosion more effectively. Researchers from Materials and Manufacturing Directorate are developing and testing a device that could help pre-emptively predict corrosive environmental conditions before they can start causing damage to valuable assets. Called the WISE-MP, which stands for Weather Instrumentation and Specialized Environmental Monitoring Platform, the device can measure conditions that can be detrimental to aircraft, such as pollutants, salt and moisture. The prototype device, which consists of a gas monitor, weather sensor, chloride monitor and control box mounted on a sturdy aluminum frame, occupies a small footprint. It is portable, durable and waterproof with easy access to components. The platform is low-maintenance, requiring only occasional filter changes and minor adjustments.

• Researchers at AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate developed a way to make aircraft maintainers’ lives easier by using augmented reality to simplify and expedite nondestructive inspection. NDI is the inspection of materials or structures to detect flaws or other undesired conditions without causing unwanted damage.

• AFRL’s Small Business Office awarded $100,000 to a team from the 711th Human Performance Wing to further enhance wearable monitoring devices designed for survival training exercises. Team members from the 711 HPW completed initial design and software development activities in response to an Innovation Pipeline program called the AFRL Challenge. The Survival Health Awareness Responders Kit, or SHARK, team far exceeded the challenge by conducting field tests with end users. Team members traveled to Camp Bullis near San Antonio and lived with Air Force instructors in tents to test the monitoring devices on students.

• AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate completed an extensive effort to help certify a maintenance process that could extend the life of aircraft hydraulic system components. Through participation in a rapid innovation fund team led by AFLCMC, AFRL researchers helped develop, test and validate a cold spray coating process for the life extension of aircraft hydraulic lines. Cold spray is a technique by which metal particles are accelerated onto a surface through high-pressure application. The force of the impact bonds the metal to the surface without the need for temperatures as high as those typically associated with other deposition processes. This process was identified as a potential solution for replacement B-1 aircraft hydraulic lines, which are prone to chafing damage.

• An 11-member Mobile Application Development Team with AFLCMC’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. The team, all of whom are active-duty with varying levels of software development knowledge and experience, was pulled together on short notice. In fewer 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 include improving efficiency on the flightline by reducing the number of hours maintainers spend requesting parts.

• More than 30 companies from around the country tested innovations during Operation Tech Warrior, a technology acceleration event sponsored by the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program. Held in September at the National Center for Medical Readiness – a Wright State Research Institute Laboratory in Fairborn, Ohio – the event is part of an expanded Tech Warrior Enterprise. The idea behind the Tech Warrior Enterprise, which combines training exercises with fledgling technology, is to accelerate critical tools and solutions developed by small businesses to the warfighter. For small businesses, it provides a proving ground and fosters long-term relationships with potential end-user groups to better posture technology for commercialization and transitions. A wide range of technologies were integrated into training missions at Operation Tech Warrior. Many trainees were subject matter experts from AFRL, who would not normally get an opportunity to see how technology performs in combat. The instructors, comprised of warfighters with a myriad of combat deployment experience, also provided critical feedback to business participants.

• AFMC’s Contracting Directorate launched a new podcast, “The Contracting Experience,” to educate and inform government professionals across the globe on relevant, timely topics related to the field. It provides listeners insight into evolving issues, high-performance leadership and lessons from the field through conversations with acquisition influencers and contracting leaders, in an easy-to-listen format available on demand.

• Due in part to the relationship between the Air Force and NASA as well as the location and unique capabilities of the Defense Department’s only human-rated centrifuge, 10 astronauts underwent two days of testing at AFRL’s 711 HPW Nov. 1. The AFRL-NASA discussion began in August, which is when engineers from both teams began working to transform the centrifuge, more commonly used for fast-jet pilot training, into a system for astronaut testing.

• Ingenuity and collaboration were the keys to success as a group of AFRL engineers took a series of tests to new heights. At the request of NASA, AFRL rapid-response Systems Support researchers delved into the realm of space to help determine the effects of unintended electrical arcing on astronaut space suits during extravehicular maintenance.

Readiness & Training

• The 88 MDG Simulation Center held an open house Jan. 26 to showcase its new location, expanded services and equipment that will improve and enhance training for medical professionals at Wright-Patterson AFB. The center offers training for medical professionals in a realistic setting, allowing them to assess, treat and monitor simulated patients.

• Teamwork, the commitment of Airmen and ongoing observations of command processes were among the highlights of an exercise that concluded throughout AFMC Feb. 2. A series of AFMC-wide training scenarios had the goal of ensuring the command can execute its responsibilities in support of the Air Force mission to fly, fight and win in all operational situations.

• To foster communication within the training community, AFLCMC’s Simulator Program Office and the National Training and Simulation Association co-hosted a simulation and training forum May 8. The one-day event brought together acquisition experts, operating commands and industry partners for discussions about the simulation and training field.

• USAFSAM began offering Air Force Medical Service mid-level leaders a new Basic Leader Airman Skills Training course to empower the total force with the skills needed to provide safe, high-quality, patient-centered care beginning Oct. 1. BLAST is a five-day course that provides managerial and administrative training, including Trusted Care principles, for flight commanders, flight chiefs and medical directors from all seven AFMS corps – biomedical sciences, dental, medical, medical services, nurse, enlisted and civilian – for those currently in a position, slated to occupy a position or as preparation for a possible opportunity.

• AFLCMC kicked off a new leadership development program for high-performing mid-level employees from across the center. The Strategic Acquisition Leadership Team, or SALT, was developed to help employees who have or will soon transition from technical experts into leadership positions. SALT participants worked to solve real-world acquisition challenges facing their own organizations and experienced more than 65 hours of academic curriculum, including learning from professionals from the University of Dayton as well as Georgetown University’s Government Affairs Institute. The team also participated in weekly briefings to senior leaders, multiple workshops and a trip to Washington, D.C.

• A first-of-its-kind training exercise held at Wright-Patterson AFB’s fire training facility Sept. 28 brought together the Wright-Patterson AFB Fire Department, part of the 788th Civil Engineer Squadron; additional base personnel; fire personnel from mutual aid partners Beavercreek Twp., Xenia and Fairborn; and local dignitaries and elected decision-makers. The event, “Fire Ops 101,” saw dozens of people suiting up in personal protective gear to experience various scenarios of what firefighters and emergency response personnel experience as they protect people and property.

• A two-year pilot program to test strategies to improve the Air Force civilian hiring process began Oct. 28. Air Force Personnel Center Operating Locations at Hill, Robins, Tinker and Wright-Patterson AFBs that provide AFMC personnel support will realign to AFMC, creating opportunities to test innovative strategies for processing of civilian personnel actions. The goal is to improve civilian hiring timeliness and throughput across the Air Force.

• Dozens of employees at Wright-Patterson AFB started changing their work and private lives Oct. 31 when the Team Wright-Patt Mentoring Program held its latest kickoff. The fiscal 2019 program participants include active-duty service members and civilians and are drawn from all base organizations. The program is aligned with the principles and goals outlined by AFMAN 36-2643, the Air Force Mentoring Program.

Funding & Saving Initiatives

• AFRL’s Advanced Power Technology Office collaborated with Dover AFB Airmen and private companies Jan. 30 on programs to make the entire C-17 Globemaster III fleet lighter, safer and more fuel efficient. Three programs currently being developed by APTO to improve the C-17 fleet include the installation of microvanes, the use of synthetic tie-downs instead of cargo chains and the use of winch cables instead of steel cables.

• The Wright-Patterson AFB Recycling Center continued to lower waste and generate income by diverting 41 percent of municipal solid waste from landfills while reducing the base’s environmental footprint. The center has a full-service metals yard that takes scrap metal and improves it by separating ferrous and non-ferrous materials to get the maximum price for those commodities.

• A diverse group of senior leaders from all Department of Defense agencies met at Wright-Patterson AFB Aug. 22 to learn more about progress the Air Force Installation Contracting Agency has made in reducing total cost of common items. The initiative, known as Category Management, takes a disciplined, data-driven, strategic cost management approach to eliminate redundancies, increase efficacy and effectiveness and deliver more value and savings to the warfighter. This meeting was the second hosted by AFICA to demonstrate the progress the Air Force has made in Category Management.

• October, Energy Action Month, provided an opportunity for Airmen at Wright-Patterson AFB to learn more about the impact of energy to the Air Force’s mission. The intent of EAM is to give the Air Force as a whole an assured energy advantage by challenging each individual and agency to support protecting power in everyday activities. Organizations also looked at mission processes to find larger efficiencies that supported this initiative. The goal was to inspire the total force to be more efficient so they give the Air Force an assured energy advantage in air, space and cyberspace.

• The 88th Communications Squadron cable team completed a four-year, self-help project that will improve performance and eliminate potential outages. The team designed, engineered and implemented the relocation of an intermediate distribution frame from an old, nonenvironmentally controlled facility, called a cross connect hut, in Bldg. 840 where the 711 HPW is headquartered. The project provided the recycling center and base community with more than $36,000 of copper for recycling. By doing the work in-house, the Air Force was saved more than $750,000 in labor costs.

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