Air Force Research Laboratory.
The Air Force Research Laboratory Deployment and Sustainment Division (AFRL/HES) conducts research to improve Air Force ogistics functions at the retail and wholesale levels and protect Air Force personnel in potentially toxic environments at deployed locations. Applications cover a broad spectrum of field, depot, and space operations with customers throughout the Air Force, Department of Defense, other government agencies, academic institutions, and US industry.
To obtain more information about the following ongoing research projects, contact the program managers listed below or visit the Deployment and Sustainment Division's home page at www.he.afrl.af.mil/hes/index.htm
Objective. Enhance Air Force aircraft battle damage assessment and repair (ABDAR) by providing battle damage assessors, technicians, and engineers with quick and easy access to assessment and repair information.
Approach. A contracted research effort with four major phases began in August fiscal year 1995. In Phase I, a requirements analysis was performed to identify information required by assessors and engineers to assess damaged aircraft. In Phase II, the design effort focused on providing ABDAR information to the user through a portable maintenance aid (PMA). The PMA will contain all the information required, including assessment and repair logic, technical orders, parts information, wiring diagrams, schematics, and troubleshooting data. A graphical user interface will allow the user to easily access and comprehend ABDAR information. The Phase III effort involved implementing the software design, authoring technical data, and integrating the system. Data for a specific test-bed aircraft were developed for presentation on the PMA. Finally, in Phase IV, system enhancements were made and a field test was conducted to evaluate system effectiveness and user acceptance.
Payoff. Fast and accurate battle damage assessment and repair will lead to improved combat effectiveness, by reducing the time to get damaged aircraft back to mission capable status. Less experienced users will have better access to ABDAR information, reducing the reliance on highly trained assessors. Minimizing the amount of paper technical data and supporting information presently required will enhance deployment capabilities.
First Lieutenant Steve Grace, AFRL/HESR, DSN 785-8422, Comm (937) 255-8422, email@example.com
Monocular Display Devices and Alternative Computer Control Devices to Aircraft Maintenance
Objective. Assess promising new monocular display and alternative computer input technologies for the presentation and retrieval of maintenance technical information for flight-line and depot maintenance.
Approach. A series of experimental studies is being conducted to evaluate the devices for supporting various maintenance tasks. Initial efforts focused upon evaluating monocular display devices (MDD) and alternative computer control devices (ACCD) in a variety of environments. Efforts are focusing upon testing a variety of newly developed MDD and ACCD technologies. MDD devices include occluding and see-through displays. ACCDs include state-of-the-art speech-based controls and electromyographic (EMG) controls. EMG devices use electrical signals accompanying muscle contractions to input user commands. Seven studies and numerous usability evaluations conducted since 1991 have demonstrated significant improvements in performance of technicians using MDDs under a variety of conditions and for a variety of tasks. Initial ACCD studies using speech recognition technology have shown significant benefits to the technology but have also identified problems encountered due to noise. Studies are planned for using advance d speech recognition and special microphones placed in the ear. This work is being conducted as a joint effort with the AFRL Crew Systems Interface Division.
Payoff. The payoffs to the Air Force will include improved maintenance performance, reduced maintenance down time, and reduced maintenance costs.
Barbara Masquelier, AFRL/HESR, DSN 986-7005, Comm (937) 656-7005, firstname.lastname@example.org
Deployable Waste Management System
Objective. Develop and evaluate a deployable waste management system to support bare-base operations. The system will process the primary types of waste produced during deployed operations, including municipal solid waste, medical waste, petroleum, fuels, waste water, and air emissions.
Approach. The initial step will be to characterize (identify) materials that must be processed at typical deployed operations sites. Characterization of waste streams is necessary in order to ensure that the system will handle all materials encountered throughout a deployment. Concurrently, innovative technologies will be evaluated for application in the system. The technologies include revolutionary new processes as well as commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) systems. The most promising technologies for processing each type of waste will be identified. Also, opportunities to minimize waste at the source will be investigated. Preliminary system designs will be developed for evaluation of the most promising technologies and waste reduction techniques. Analytical models of the designs will be tested to evaluate the processing of waste streams expected from a bare base. The analysis results will be used to determine which design will be fabricated for testing. After completion of the system, performance testing wil l be conducted involving individual component tests as well as total system tests. Following individual component testing, the system will be assembled to evaluate overall performance. Initial tests will be conducted in the laboratory, followed by tests in the field.
Payoff. This effort will demonstrate the feasibility of a DMWS that provides cost-effective processing and neutralization of waste products produced during bare-base operations. Proper management of the waste materials will provide a safer, healthier environment for Air Force personnel, reduce the amount of cleanup required at the completion of the operations, and reduce environmental damage, promoting better relations with the host nation.
Jill Ritter, DSN 986--4391, Comm (937) 656-4391, email@example.com
Logistics Control and Information Support
Objective. To provide logistics personnel at all echelons within the wing-level complex proactive access to real-time, accurate information needed for decision support, and more effective utilization of logistics resources.
Approach. The Logistics Control and Information Support (LOCIS) program is researching and developing technologies for an enhanced command and control capability for wing-level logistics personnel. LOCIS will provide easy access to logistics information to support proactive problem identification and resolution. LOCIS technologies will automatically collect and synthesize information required for key logistics decisions. The most important pieces of information will be retrieved from existing maintenance, supply, munitions, and fuels information systems. Using advanced information technologies, LOCIS technologies will automatically supplement this information with data from legacy information systems to provide immediate, useful information to logistics decision makers. In addition, LOCIS will use automated data collection technologies to supplement existing data with real-time data. LOCIS technologies will provide logistics decision makers with a look-ahead simulation capability to identify problems in the planning/ replanning process.
Payoff. LOCIS will provide logistics personnel the information and tools needed to better perform their duties. Through the use of real time, accurate information, and the application of advanced decision aids, logistics personnel will be more effective in the day-to-day use of their assets and in short-notice deployment operations.
Barbara Masquelier, AFRL/HESR, DSN 986-7005, Comm (937) 656-7005, firstname.lastname@example.org
Logistics Contingency Assessment Tool
Objective. To demonstrate new technologies and processes to improve the deployment planning process, reduce deployment footprint, reduce deployment response times, and use deployment resources more efficiently and effectively.
Approach. The logistics contingency assessment tool (LOGCAT) is a vision for improved wing-level deployment planning and replanning. Currently, the LOGCAT vision comprises four integrated initiatives, survey tool for employment planning (STEP); unit type code cevelopment, tailoring, and optimization (UTC-DTO); beddown capability assessment tool (BCAT); and logistics analysis to improve deployability (LOGAID). STEP will use advanced integration of computer hardware and software to automate the collection, storage, and retrieval of deployment site survey information. STEP consists of three major subsystems: a suite of computerized/multimedia site survey data collection tools, deployment site knowledge database, and graphical and collaborative user interface for retrieving information from the deployment knowledge database. Transition of the STEP to the Standard Systems Group (SSG) for operational implementation was completed IN fiscal year 1998. UTC-DTO uses advanced software to automatically develop UTCs, aut omatically tailor UTCs based on individual deployment scenarios, and optimize the packing of UTC equipment onto 463L cargo pallets. BCAT uses advanced database design to compare deployment site force beddown capabilities against deploying force requirements and produce a list of resource shortfalls. Transition of the BCAT to the SSG for operational implementation was completed in fiscal year 1998. LOG-AID is analyzing the deployment process firsthand to define requirements, identify additional opportunities, and improve deployment-planning processes. Where appropriate, additional planning tools and processes will be developed and integrated with the BCAT, STEP, and UTC-DTO tools to form a demonstration deployment planning system. The deployment planning demonstration system was evaluated in a field test at Mountain Home AFB in September 1999. Current efforts are focused on assisting the transition of the technology for operational use.
Payoff. Improved wing-level deployment planning and execution will increase Air Force combat capability. Reducing the mobility footprint will reduce requirements for scarce airlift assets, enabling deployment of additional combat capability. Reducing deployment response time will increase the deterrent effect of our military forces on distant enemies and allow policy makers to respond more quickly to aggressive actions should deterrence fail. More efficient and effective use of mobility resources will allow the Air Force to maximize its power projection capabilities.
Captain Adrian Crowley, AFRL/HESR, DSN 986-4558, Comm (937) 656-4558, email@example.com
Logistics Research Requirements Survey
Objective. The primary objective of this effort was to determine the feasibility of using a Web-based survey instrument to identify needed research in the logistics and maintenance environments. The ultimate goal is to develop a methodology to help identify research opportunities that directly support the expeditionary airpower and mobility capabilities.
Approach. The basic approach was to select a specific area of logistics to test the proposed survey methodology, develop survey questions relevant to that area, collect responses from personnel in the field via the Internet, and analyze the data collected to evaluate the methodology and identify specific research requirements. Supply was selected as the specific area of study because of its focused and defined boundaries. Once it was determined that supply would be the chosen area, the survey team conducted field interviews with a wide variety of supply personnel to determine key themes and concepts to be addressed. Questions were developed, a COTS survey tool selected, and questions were created and validated with follow-up interviews. The survey was then made available over the Internet for supply personnel to input their responses. The availability of the survey was announced to supply personnel via the supply management chain. The response from the field was very positive, and a large amount of data was collected. The final report is presently being prepared.
Payoff. The laboratory will be able to respond more quickly and accurately to current research needs in the areas of maintenance and logistics. Technologies to reduce costs and increase operational capabilities will be made available to the warfighter.
Cheryl Batchcelor, AFRL/HESR, DSN 986-4392, Comm (937) 656-4392, firstname.lastname@example.org
Predictive Failures and Advanced Diagnostics
Objective. The objective of this effort is to develop technology to reduce aircraft down time by enhancing the capability of maintainers to identify the causes of system failures through better diagnostics and, where possible, the imminent system failures (failure prognostics) so that repairs can be made before an actual failure occurs.
Approach. Research the various areas that make up the diagnostics and prognostics process and focus on the improvements that offer the best return on investment. Initial efforts will involve an analysis of the diagnostic process, identification of those variables presently used to diagnose faults, identifying other variables for which data may be available (such as built-in test sensor data), and identification of historical information (such as failure rates and component failure histories for specific aircraft/components and for fleet aircraft/ components). These data sources will then be used to develop advanced diagnostic algorithms. The algorithms will employ state-of-the art pattern recognition techniques, data-mining applications, intelligent agents, and self-adapting artificial intelligence techniques. The algorithms will then be tested using an aircraft subsystem as a test bed. In Phase II, the diagnostic algorithms will be extended and adapted to predict system/ component failures. This capability will be based upon recognition of patterns of system behavior that typically occur just before a component fails, plus other factors such as time between failure.
Payoff. This effort will yield advanced capabilities in two areas: diagnostics and prognostics. The diagnostics capability will significantly increase the accuracy with which technicians are able to diagnose the causes of system failures, thereby restoring the aircraft to operational status sooner and reducing the consumption of spare parts. The prognostic capability will make it possible to replace about-to-fail parts before they fail, reducing system failures, in-flight aborts, and aircraft accidents. It will provide for more effective provisioning and placement of parts, ensuring that the right part is in the right place at the right time. It will provide a critical capability for Agile Combat Support and will be an enabling technology for the Air Expeditionary Force scenario.
Paul Faas, AFRL/HESR, DSN 986--4390, Comm (937)656-4290, email@example.com
Cognitive Process Modeling
Objective. Develop and demonstrate advanced modeling and simulation techniques that can easily generate high-fidelity computer models of human behavior as well as state-of-the-art intelligent agents for use in synthetic environments, distributed simulations, and information systems.
Approach. The maturation of intelligent agent technology has created the opportunity to apply such technology to the modeling and simulation of human and organizational behavior and the development of advanced human-computer interfaces. In the area of modeling human behavior, the Research Laboratory is applying intelligent agent modeling techniques to the development of advanced command and control echelons, technical controllers, and human performance organizational models. The development of such models will increase the realism of joint synthetic battlespace exercises while reducing their cost. In addition, these types of models will allow the simulation of information operations. One of the major goals of the effort is to provide users with a flexible scenario generation capability that will enable them to easily adapt available models to a wide variety of exercises with minimal effort.
In the area of human computer interfaces, intelligent agents are applied to the creation of interfaces that use agents to selectively monitor and react to state changes in the world. When user-specified conditions are met, the agents become active and perform actions on behalf of the user. New capabilities being developed include standard user-interface profiles (by position), the ability for a user to request customized information (from disparate data systems), and look-ahead and what if scenario planning tools. While the target demonstration is Air Mobility Command's Tanker Airlift Control Center, the technology developed in this effort will be applicable to a wide range of logistics applications. It is intended that users with no programming experience will be able to program the intelligent agents, thus allowing users to decide what information they wish to track and how they want the intelligent agents to respond to changes in the world. The goal is to make the tasking of agents no more difficult than using a spreadsheet. In addition, the agents will operate over computer networks, thus allowing users to monitor and retrieve information at remote locations
Payoff. With the Air Force and the Department of Defense relying more on modeling and simulation technology for a variety of applications--including acquisition, testing, training, wargaming, mission rehearsal, and operational representation of the battlespace--the development of advanced intelligent agent technology will satisfy critical technological voids in these simulations by providing realistic representations of human cognition as well as advanced agent technology to enhance the effective utilization of military information systems.
Dr Michael J. Young, AFRL/HESS, DSN 785-8229, Comm (937) 255-8229, firstname.lastname@example.orgTh.af.mil
Modular Aircraft Support System
Objective. Design, build, and demonstrate proof-of-concept aerospace ground equipment (AGE) that supply electricity, cooling air, nitrogen, hydraulic, and related utilities for aircraft maintenance in modular, multifunction carts. Increase the affordability and reduce the airlift required to deploy AGE through modular designs with advanced concepts and technologies.
Approach. The Modular Aircraft Support System (MASS) program is supported through an integrated product team (IPT) with members from the Air Force support equipment community and laboratories. The IPT will jointly develop requirements, provide customer input, coordinate research and development (R&D) efforts, and support technology transition. Phase I included a series of MASS design studies emphasizing technology assessment, cost/affordability analysis, and the reliability/maintainability analysis of AGE. This early research resulted in a large knowledge base of existing problems and preliminary specifications for MASS machines. Phase II will bring this concept through an R&D cycle, culminating in the creation of a MASS prototype unit and field test/demonstrations in fiscal year 2000
Payoff. Introduction of modular support equipment will reduce the deployment footprint in a direct, objective way. Making support equipment smaller, multifunction, and modular allows for reduced numbers of ground support equipment items while maintaining flexibility. Maintenance modularity allows for reduced down time for repairs, increasing availability. At the same time, MASS machines will be more reliable and maintainable than current support equipment, resulting in reduced MASS ownership costs in manpower, spares, and training. Cost savings should span from initial acquisition through disposal.
Matthew Tracy, AFRL/HESS, DSN 785-8360, Comm (937) 255-8360, email@example.com