US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa is offering $175,000 to a wing that finds the most innovative ways to save money and man hours and another $50,000 for second place. The money will be used to support unfunded mission requirements, according to a USAFE-AFAFRICA release. During the inaugural contest last year, nine wings submitted 477 “innovations,” saving the Air Force at least $28 million and 115,000 man hours. The 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein AB, Germany, claimed top prize, earning $250,000 for offering innovations such as adjusted schedules to avoid weekend and holiday work, repairing aircraft communications in-house, and training medical personnel on-station. This year’s contest includes a total of six awards for the wings to vie for, including an award for the most Facebook “likes,” according to USAFE-AFAFRICA. The overall winner will be announced March 31.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.