Pittsburgh ARS pursues joint AI research, medical readiness programs

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Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station is surrounded by a host of strategic opportunities, and senior leadership at the base wishes to capitalize on their geography. Leading the innovative charge are 911th Airlift Wing Commander Col. John Robinson and Vice Commander Col. John Boccieri, who are building strong collaborations in their partnership portfolio.

Among those collaborations are efforts to expand a cultural shift from the way airplanes are maintained as the unit converts from a C-130 Hercules tactical airlift mission to a C-17 Globemaster III global strategic airlift mission. Maintenance policy has shifted away from “fly to fail” on parts and components on the aircraft. Instead, policy now emphasizes predictive, conditions-based maintenance, or CBM, which can save costs and allow a more efficient use of resources.

“A great opportunity is in front of us,” Robinson said. “Artificial intelligence research conducted by Carnegie Mellon University has its roots in machine learning, an emerging field of science that uses computer-based algorithms to identify when parts need to be changed. Over the long-term this new CBM model can extend the life of weapons systems like the C-17.

Pittsburgh IAP ARS is beginning to discuss these strategic research opportunities while working with Carnegie Mellon University professors and the Air Mobility Command. Ultimately, this new research will involve additive manufacturing initiatives through the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Air Force Rapid Sustainment Office.

Another big push for personnel at all levels of the Air Force is readiness. The 911th AW partners with Robert Morris University  to develop scenarios to simulate medical patient situations to provide training for Airmen. This focused training saves time and money as well as trains students to be ready to take care of wounded warriors. Airmen gain the necessary knowledge and experience to prepare for real world patient care, as well as identify clinical issues that Airmen may have prior to deployment.

“This community partnership expands the scope of connection to university academic programs and adds military value to these engagements,” Robinson added. Since 2019, Airmen have been participating in medical robotic training at RMU, which allows these Airmen to deploy rapidly and fully trained – a benefit for all involved.