BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
Air Force Global Strike Command recently announced their 2020 Spark Tank finalists, who are competing for the chance to have their project funded for development.
Air Force Spark Tank is an open call for Airmen to bring forward their best ideas that build upon senior leader priorities to: restore readiness, cost-effectively modernize, and drive innovation.
With the motto “Certare Vel Mori,” (Compete or Die), Gen. Tim Ray, AFGSC commander, feels innovation should be at the heart of the Striker culture.
“By developing new methods and using new tools in new ways, we guarantee that our force will not only remain relevant, but will outpace the competition on every front,” he said. “By emphasizing teams and innovation, we will achieve the dual goal of encouraging our Airmen to view themselves beyond the individual, as well as exhibiting the command’s dedication to an innovation culture.”
Air Force Global Strike Command’s Spark Tank finalists are:
7th Bomb Wing, 7th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal shop at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.
Project members Maj. Anthony Bunker, 1st Lts. Wilfred Chan and Matt Gerada, and Staff Sgts. Alex Geml and Sumitr Saetan developed a proposition to augment EOD robots with a modern camera system attached to the actuation arm. This standalone system could be attached to any device that would benefit from real-time video feed, solving the problem of low-definition video feeds on their current robots.
In their proposal, the team explained the value of such a project.
“The EOD optics upgrade will allow EOD robot operators to have a panoramic 3D view of the ordnance they are examining, preventing inadvertent contact with potential explosive devices,” the team said. “The possible safety benefit of a system like this would be enormous, potentially avoiding personnel injuries or fatalities.”
In addition, the team feels such an upgrade would prevent Air Force equipment from being unnecessarily damaged or destroyed, and operators would be able to perform their duties more quickly and confidently.
7th Bomb Wing, 28th Bomb Squadron at Dyess AFB.
Project members Maj. Anthony Bunker, Capt. Scott Cermenaro, and 1st Lts. Wilfred Chan and Matt Gerada, proposed a program, named Triage, to solve potential problems with aircraft over-dependency on GPS navigation. The team advocated that aircraft should employ a standalone, aircraft-agnostic, non-GPS, and completely automated navigation system.
Triage software would pull from three data feeds, and be capable of navigating using any or all of the three feeds.
In their proposal, the team said the biggest impact would be heightened readiness.
“Striker aircraft will be able to maintain a tight position error tolerance in a contested environment,” the team said. “This will allow aircrew to focus on weapons employment and aircraft defense while the automated system maintains position awareness.”
AFGSC finalists will move on to a panel at AFWERX, where they will compete against winners from other major commands at the Air Force level. From there, the judge’s panel will choose six finalists from the pool of more than 20 semi-finalists (two from each MAJCOM, plus two AFWERX wildcards).
The six Air Force-level winners will then move on to the final round in February at the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, where Airmen will not only present to Air Force senior leaders, but also industry experts and investors from the CBS TV show “Shark Tank.”