IT ‘Backbone’ Top Priority for AFMC’s Digitization Drive: Bunch
WASHINGTON: Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) will hold an industry day Monday to kick off its Digital Campaign to overhaul lifecycle management using computerized tools for everything from designing new weapons to maintaining aging aircraft.
AFMC head Gen. Arnold Bunch yesterday said his highest priority for the digitization effort, which he leads in tandem with Air Force acquisition czar Will Roper, is upgrading the information technology (IT) at AMFC facilities. This is because modern IT is required for personnel to be able to efficiently use digital design, digital engineering and predictive maintenance tools.
“We will need to ensure that we have a robust IT infrastructure, to be able to make the proper linkages to share and protect and all that in a digital environment,” he told reporters in a roundtable yesterday on the margins of the Air Force Association’s annual fall meeting. “We need to define what that IP backbone needs to be and we’ll need to invest there.”
The digitization effort, Bunch said, is needed across all AFMC mission areas. “It should touch AFRL, the Lifecycle Management Center, the Nuclear Weapons Center, the Sustainment Center and the Test Center, he said. He added that the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center also can benefit, because use of digital tools would enable personnel to more easily track and understand the status of facilities.
The campaign, Bunch said, has six key lines of effort — starting with IT. According to AFMC’s website for interested companies, the other lines of effort are:
- Integrated Environment – Models and Tools
- Standards, Data and Architectures
- Lifecycle Strategies and Processes
- Policy and Guidance
- Workforce and Culture
The goal of the industry day is to outline AFMC’s strategy and needs, Bunch said, as well as explain Roper’s new digital strategy paper published Tuesday, called “Take the Red Pill: The New Digital Acquisition Reality.”
“This event will highlight digital engineering activities of select exemplar programs to scale lessons learned, best practices, and results across the enterprise,” the industry day notification adds.
The Air Force currently has three key weapon system programs that are using digital engineering to develop virtual models, now dubbed “e-series” systems. Roper told reporters Tuesday that the “e” designator applies only to the digital models themselves — and perhaps the first prototypes built from those models — not the actual aircraft or satellites that eventually roll of the production line. The three programs are:
According to the industry day notification, the goals of the event are “to inform industry and academia on the overall Department of the Air Force Digital Transformation vision and strategy, share how the Air Force and Space Force expects to conduct future business, and request feedback, partnerships, and collaborations to move the Department and its partners towards one digital future.”
“I really want industry feedback,” Bunch stressed.
AFMC intends to conduct industry exchanges on the Digital Campaign every six months or so to update partners and potential partners on “progress and breakthroughs being made,” the notification says.