Tyndall tests augmented reality technology in ongoing ‘base of the future’ plans
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — Tyndall Air Force Base is considering using state-of-the-art augmented reality technology to help improve facility operations and development plans.
Tyndall is continuing to live up to its new motto of “base of the future” by testing augmented reality goggles to help with operations. It and other technologies were discussed during a summit event Wednesday.
The testing comes a little more than two months after the base began using state-of-the-art, four-legged robots for security services — one of many decisions to reposition the base as it rebuilds from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael in 2018.
Unlike virtual reality, which creates a completely digital world that users can interact with, augmented reality technology overlays virtual images over the real world in real time.
For example, leaders on the flight line can wear the augmented reality goggles and see if they can place a building to host some operations of the flight line at the base. The goggles can show them whether a new building would be in the way of aircraft coming in to land.
The goggles could also be used to improve the pavement of the flight line by showing flight line crews how the pavement would react to different aircraft.
That will lessen the chance of having to shut down bases because of cracked flight lines.
Tyndall Project Management Office Integration Division Chief Lowell Ursey said the technology is like Superman’s X-ray vision. The maintainers of base facilities will be able to see the plumbing, electrical and structural elements hidden behind walls.
Part of the Tyndall rebuild from Hurricane Michael is centered on fighter jets that are expected to land in late 2023.
“Here at Tyndall, specifically, we’re getting a fifth generation fighter, the F-35, and that will be the operational fighter here at the base,” Usrey said. “This is a great opportunity to take all of the flight line ideas from all across the Air Force and implement at the same time.”
Tyndall is not only important because of its layout and air space being the Gulf of Mexico, but it’s the prototype of what Air Force bases could look like all over the world. The Air Force is watching the development of Tyndall to possibly kick-start redevelopment of other bases.
The summit brought leaders from all across the Air Force and the Pentagon to learn about these installations. New communications technology was also discussed.
The communication aspect that will available to the maintainers of the flight line is something Lt. Col. Richard Wilson of the 325th Fighter Wing is most excited about.
“Getting all that tech together, so our maintainers are talking to our pilots, our pilots are talking to operations, and our operations is talking to the wing,” Wilson said. “A sense of how we communicate broadly to affect the mission, I’m looking forward to what technology our leaders use and how we do that in the future.”
Wilson described the possibility of Tyndall setting the stage for transforming other Air Force bases as “humbling.” He said the project of bringing in different technology in some of the hangars is on a scale he’s never seen before.
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