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Progress of Airworthiness Digital Transformation effort reaches new heights

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --

The Air Force Materiel Command Digital Campaign continues to drive transformation across all aspects of the acquisition realm. Recent efforts are driving digital change in the airworthiness certification process.

“The vision of the Airworthiness Digital Team is seamless and persistent collaboration between airworthiness stakeholders and digital technologists that drive the advancement and integration of digital technologies,” said Noah Demerly, Airworthiness and System Safety Program Manager and AFMC Digital Airworthiness Team Rapporteur. “This includes integration, visualization, automation, data normalization, and virtualization into the Air Force Airworthiness Certification process.”

Airworthiness is the capability of an air system layout to safely achieve, sustain and terminate flight in line with the approved aircraft usage and operating limits. In other words, airworthiness is a measure of a platform’s suitability for flight.

The overall goal of the Airworthiness Digital Transformation team is to develop solutions that help end users gain efficiencies and improvements to processes. 

This includes increasing speed and efficiency by designing, sustaining and modernizing processes to leverage an integrated digital domain.

The team has established a charter that outlines the vision, responsibilities, goals, and direction for the future of Digital Airworthiness. Multi-organizational, enterprise collaboration that includes AFMC, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, industry and others is key to the overall success of the effort.

“With regard to the future of Digital Airworthiness, we know it is essential to ‘Accelerate Change, or Lose,’ and this includes the Digital Airworthiness efforts,” said Demerly. “We are too inefficient in our current approach with airworthiness, and by integrating digital tools that both streamline processes and assist the user, we’ll be able to outperform, outdrive, and outmaneuver our adversaries in the digital acquisition environment.”

Demerly stated that if we can acquire capabilities faster, more efficiently and with greater accuracy, we can win the war of tomorrow by better suiting the warfighter.

“Wins for our team have been our charter, communication plan and succession plan, which lay the groundwork for the team structure and help with any future endeavors we have,” said Demerly.

A series of workshops were held to better understand the challenges with the current airworthiness process. One workshop focused on current challenges while the other helped prioritize the areas of focus for the future.

“The first round of workshops covered the ‘problem statement’ of Digital Airworthiness and the overall issues, challenges, etc. with the current airworthiness process,” said Demerly. “The goal was to gain inputs from a cross-section of industry and the Air Force to understand where the pitfalls and challenges lied with the current process, so we can know where we need to provide effort.” 

There were five primary stakeholder groups represented in the workshops. These included the AFLCMC/EN-EZ and Airworthiness Office, System Program Offices, Directors of Engineering, Chief Engineers and Designated Technical Authorities, non-standard airworthiness organizations (Air Force Research Labs, Air Force Test Center , etc.), and industry.

“From these workshops, the Digital Airworthiness Team received positive feedback on where the challenges and opportunities lie for the airworthiness process,” said Demerly.

Moving forward toward the future, there will be a second round of workshops focusing on solutions to the challenge areas identified in the initial meetings to help further progress in efficiency, cost reduction, schedule acceleration and performance improvements. The next round of workshop dates will be released in the nearby future. If interested in partnering with the team, Airmen can reach out directly to Demerly at noah.demerly.3@us.af.mil.

The overall campaign highlights AFMC coordinated efforts to move the activities of the enterprise, government and industry, to modern digital capabilities and processes. The desired end state is to deliver capabilities to the Air and Space Force at increasing speed and efficiency by designing, sustaining and modernizing them in an integrated digital environment.

For more information and updates on the AFMC Digital Campaign, visit https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/afmcde and https://wss.apan.org/af/aflcmc.