US Air Force mulls IoT deployment

US Air Force mulls IoT deployment

US Air Force mulls IoT deployment
US Air Force mulls IoT deployment

The US Air Force wants to make use of the Internet of Things (IoT) but is trying to find a quicker way to process data, an information request has revealed.

By using connected devices and sensors, the Air Force could streamline logistics, communication and health care, but it wants to process data locally.

The request confirms that the military organisation is reaching out to tech companies to gain an insight into how they analyse data in the “fog” or at the “edge”.

Essentially, it wants to avoid having to go through large, faraway data centres. Going down this route could slow or even halt important missions.

Instead, the Air Force wants to use IoT and be able to process information at a close data hub. The importance of this is outlined in the request, with it stating “Airmen can be in environments where there is minimal or no stable internet connection. These devices need to be able to perform real-time analytics locally to still keep the mission going.”

IoT can help with fighter jet maintenance

The Air Force believes that IoT can help airmen of the future, offering up possibilities for pre-processing, filtering, data reduction and feature generation. It’s also interested in technology that can be used in both military and commercial contexts.

Graham Grose, industry director of the IFS Aerospace & Defence Centre of Excellence, sees many benefits of air forces using IoT. In particular, he says it can help in maintaining fighter jets such as the F-35.

He said at the start of the year: “Without a doubt, the growth in machine to machine (M2M) and connected devices, the transforming power of emerging technologies and revolutionary arrivals such as the F-35 military jet are going to transform the military support environment.

“The Internet of Things is now playing a big role in maintenance hangars. The next generation of warplane has arrived in the F-35, and military logistics needs to move with this.

“An F-35 jet has internal and external sensors that send real-time data to a ground-based logistics support solution, which then seeks to optimise the end-to-end (E2E) support chain.

Concluding, he said: “Hours can be saved in the maintenance bay by making sure the right equipment is available in the right place at the right time, so engineers are prepared for the task in hand, ready to return the aircraft to operational status in the shortest possible time.”