A northwest Louisiana business is solving a challenge that faces the largest section of security forces in the U.S. Air Force.
The Collaborative Environment, via its Partnership Intermediary Agreement between Cyber Innovation Center and Air Force Global Strike Command, has contracted with Beta Flix, based in Ruston, Louisiana, to develop training for changing the A-Circuit in AFGSC’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile fields.
“This trainer is an improvement that affects the largest concentration of security forces Airmen in the Air Force,” said Jeff Beene, CE director, “the technology has great potential to be applied to solve other AFGSC needs.”
The A-Circuit is a security device – similar to a vault door – safeguarding ICBM fields that require periodic changing of combinations.
Because the device is delicate, being off on the combination or even bumping the locking mechanism can cause a user to be “locked out.” Unlocking it again is costly and time consuming for teams of Airmen.
Beta Flix will develop Mixed Reality — Augmented/Virtual Reality software and a physical device — to train Airmen on the A-Circuit. The A-Circuit Trainer will be an immersive learning experience comprised of the best components from different modes of learning.
“We are excited for this opportunity to continue our work in technical education,” said Jim Davison, owner of Beta Flix. “Global Strike has been using the same type of training for decades, so to be able to bring the latest learning technology forth to impact the command is rewarding.”
Since May 2019, there were 41 documented issues with the A-Circuit. There were 23 destructive actions taken to remedy these issues that resulted in the loss of the A-Circuit.
During that same time frame, there was an expenditure of $376,189.61 due to destructive actions taken. Maintainers also spent a minimum of approximately 2,176 man hours because of these issues.
AFGSC Chief Scientist Dr. Donna Senft notes that MR technology is a cost-effective method of training in day-to-day operations.
“Developing this technology shows we are serious about making innovative technologies the norm in AFGSC,” Senft said. “The A-Circuit Trainer is a great proof of concept for this type of training to be adaptable to other efforts in the command.”
Beta Flix will develop the trainer’s components by October 2021. Once a prototype is developed, it will be transitioned from CE to AFGSC, where it has applications that can positively impact other command needs.
“To have technology that can be applied to solve more, varied needs of Global Strike Airmen, who all keep our nation safe, feels like a big responsibility,” Davison added.