The United States Air Force is interested in partnering with Wichita State University and Kansas businesses.
Representatives of the Air Force had high praise for the technology at the university after a tour of the experiential engineering building and the National Institute of Aviation Research. The Air Force is focusing on increasing the lifespan and sustainability of their airplanes.
"[We] saw a ton of things here that could help us," said Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. "We saw augmented reality to help us train people faster, get them through the pipeline where they can fix planes at higher levels of proficiency. A lot of additive manufacturing that would help us make and certify parts ourselves."
Being able to utilize Wichita State's technology to produce parts could significantly lower the cost of parts for the Air Force that are no longer in production. There will likely be other visits from the Air Force to Wichita State and Kansas to better examine how the military branch can take advantage of the university's advancements.
"There was a lot of enthusiasm and we saw a lot of technology that I think would be able to fit into the Air Force's path as we go forward," said Under Secretary of the Air Force Matthew P. Donovan.
After visiting Wichita State, the Air Force representatives went to Spirit AeroSystems and discussed potential future partnerships.
"We want Spirit and other manufacturers in Kansas to grow their defense business and we want to use this as an opportunity to connect the Air Force with a supplier or with a future supplier," said Sen. Jerry Moran, who also partook in the tour.
Stephan Bisaha, based at KMUW in Wichita, is an education reporter for the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. Follow him on Twitter @SteveBisaha. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at email@example.com.