Innovations enabling AEDC spirit to soar

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, TENN. -- AEDC engineers and researchers are a restless bunch. They’re constantly improvising and coming up with new and innovative ways to be more effective and efficient while reducing risk and avoiding significant costs.

Innovation is a key focus in the U.S. Air Force Vision. This vision recognizes the fact that President Harry S. Truman played an important role in the current mission by establishing an independent Air Force in 1947 to better protect America, its citizens, and its allies. From those humble beginnings, the Air Force has innovated itself into a global projection of military power through air, space and cyberspace. Today, complex security and fiscal challenges demand that the Air Force develop innovative Airmen who find better and smarter ways to fly, fight and win.

To maintain this forward-thinking focus, the AEDC Technology Innovations Branch is emphasizing new technical competencies to support its innovative workforce.

There have been many innovative approaches in engineering, manufacturing, test support, logistics and information technologies which have noticeably improved our effectiveness and efficiency.
Brian Roebuck, an AEDC test operations engineer in the Space and Missiles Combined Test Force needed to keep heat-treated materials on hand to support impact testing in the CTF’s hypervelocity ranges. He enlisted the help of the AEDC Model and Machine Shop to heat treat these materials so they would be ready-to-use when needed.

Doing this reduced system-under-test fabrication time one to two days, which in turn reduced the test facility down time in supporting critical projects.

In addition to this, Roebuck worked with Larry Campbell, another member in the AEDC Space and Missiles CTF, on long hone modifications for the Range S-1 barrel as a way to repair expected damage from operations and reduce the likelihood of new damage during future launch operations.

“The existing hone for the 0.75-inch bore barrel was only adjustable at the hone head, making adjustments only possible when the hone was out of the bore,” Campbell said. “This resulted in some trial-and-error in determining the correct stone diameter to achieve proper honing action at a given point in the barrel.”

To alleviate this productivity setback, an existing custom-manufactured remote adjusting long hone rod for the smaller 0.50-inch bore barrel was adapted to fit the 0.75-inch hone head.

“We designed and built an adapter for the 0.50-inch long hone rod assembly to accept the 0.75-inch head,” Campbell said. “As a result, the barrels will be honed much quicker, now that in-barrel adjustments can be made.”

Dr. Woodrow Whitlow, an AEDC technical director, has noted that innovations such as these are enabling the workforce to accomplish the mission more effectively and efficiently.

“Innovations in our daily work are occurring in all areas across AEDC, such as Human Resources, Security Procurement, and others,” he said. “All of our employees are using their ingenuity and creativity to make this a better place to work.”

If you have an idea on how to make testing or any other area more efficient, contact the Technology Innovations Branch at 931-454-4951.