The Air Force Academy recently signed an agreement with Lockheed Martin for a “Flightline of the Future” cooperative research initiative and three related projects. Under Flightline of the Future, teams of academy cadets, together with some West Point cadets, will competitively develop technology for flightline-related processes, capabilities, and enabling technologies out to 2020, according to an Oct. 14 academy release. For the inaugural competition, cadets will investigate: the near-term technology and business case for 3-D printers to reduce stockpiles of spare parts; methods to apply augmented-reality technology into flightline maintenance; using radio frequency identification technology to speed up flightline logistics; and computational models to optimize the beddown of aviation forces at a bare base. In April, the teams will present their concepts to Air Force and Lockheed Martin judges who will then select the winner of the initiative’s inaugural trophy, states the release. (Colorado Springs report by Lt. Col. Tim Pettit)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.