DOD Lab Day to showcase groundbreaking technologies

  • Published
  • By Derek Hardin
  • Air Force Research Laboratory
The Air Force Research Laboratory will have a unique opportunity to showcase some of its groundbreaking technologies at the first ever Department of Defense Lab Day to be held at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., May 14.

The goal of the event is to increase awareness of DOD laboratory research projects and examples of successful technology transition with Pentagon senior leaders, program sponsors and managers, members of Congress and others.

Students from several science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) participating high schools and news media are also invited to the Pentagon’s courtyard to see scientists and engineers from each of the DOD labs demonstrate how they provide science, technology and engineering solutions that give U.S. service members a warfighting edge while keeping them and the homeland safe.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work will speak at the opening ceremony for DOD Lab Day. The event is hosted by Mr. Frank Kendall, the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics.

AFRL, along with the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and DOD medical organizations, will exhibit a total of more than 100 innovations ranging from advanced weapons to support for global disaster relief.

"We're really excited about this event," said Maj. Gen. Tom Masiello, the AFRL commander. "The DOD labs are vital to the force of the future. Our scientists and engineers are engaged in some of the most exciting (science and technology) work in the nation. We intend to share how AFRL provides revolutionary, relevant and responsive support to our warfighters, helping to keep our Air Force the greatest in the world."

Masiello said AFRL leadership is keenly aware that science and technology investment is more important now than ever, in order to provide the Air Force a qualitative advantage over potential adversaries. American military technological dominance is no longer assured, and other nations are making huge investments in their own technologies. Space, cyber and the electromagnetic spectrum are increasingly contested.

AFRL is researching game-changing technologies like autonomy, hypersonics, directed energy and nanoscience to give Air Force warfighters the edge in any fight. As the Air Force's technology executive officer, Masiello is responsible for managing the $2.1 billion Air Force S&T investment and an additional $2.3 billion in externally funded research and development.

A few of the 26 technologies that AFRL will highlight at DOD Lab Day include: the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS), which automatically takes control of a fighter aircraft to avoid impending ground collisions and which has already saved two pilots and F-16 Fighting Falcons; Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided kNowledge (BATMAN), a family of capabilities that enhance warfighter performance, making battlefield Airmen lighter, smarter and more lethal; Directed Energy and Electro-Optics for Space Superiority (DEOSS), focused on understanding threats in space; and the Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK), a mobile geospatial infrastructure that promotes unprecedented team collaboration, allowing teams to share situational awareness information and collaborate in real time.

The DOD Laboratory Enterprise has 38,000 scientists and engineers at more than 60 labs across 22 states. AFRL is the only Air Force laboratory, comprised of nine technology directorates and the 711th Human Performance Wing.