by Wesley Farnsworth
88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
12/14/2015 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- With
budgets shrinking and the Department of Defense forced to do more with
less, every penny counts when it comes to purchasing new equipment.
Personnel at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's Rapid
Development Integration Facility understand that demand and are here to
The RDIF began operations in 2010 when the Air Force needed a way to
develop projects and do things faster and cheaper while keeping all the
data under government control.
Since then, the RDIF has received and completed more than 240 projects
on equipment like the HH-60M Black Hawk Helicopter, F-22 Raptor, B-2
Spirit Bomber, B-1 Lancer Bomber, all variations of the C130J, various
Federal Aviation Administration aircraft, and the Guardian Angel Air
Recovery vehicle, to name a few.
RDIF personnel have successfully returned more than $150 million to
customers, who could then use that money on additional projects. In
addition, the RDIF has been able to help its customers save more than 70
percent on their projected budgets.
RDIF personnel accomplish this by helping find creative answers to
problems by designing prototypes, working with the customer to fine-tune
them, testing them, and estimating the cost, said Alan Brookshire, RDIF
director. They are even able to help with the manufacturing of some
products, he said.
"When we started in 2010, our first project was a new nitrogen purge
kit, which is responsible for keeping the corrosion off components
inside infrared sensor balls on aircraft," Brookshire said. "It was
costing the Air Force more than $6,000 to make [the kits], and we would
have to wait between 30 days to six months to receive them."
Brookshire said his office was able to research this component, then
build and deliver it to the customer in 30 days for only $398 each.
"We knew once we saw those savings, we were on to something and this was worth exploring more," Brookshire said.
For the RDIF team, it's about more than just saving money for its customers.
"While saving our customers money is great, we also want to educate them
so they are better equipped to make educated decisions when buying
things for the government in the future," said Maj. Nathan Abel, RDIF
deputy director. "We encourage our customers to visit our shop and play a
part in the entire process so that they have a better understanding of
what the products are, and what goes into making them. This allows them
to be better informed for future contracts."
Brookshire echoed Abel's sentiments and pointed out a recent project in
which RDIF personnel worked with maintenance teams of the C-5 Galaxy
"The team approached us because their current lift stand did not work
effectively," Brookshire said. "So we began making modifications based
on their initial feedback. Since then, we've had them out four times,
and each time they tell us what works and doesn't work so that we can
get it just right."
At the end of the day, the customer is the one with the need, and we
just want to help them find a solution to that need, Brookshire said.
While saving money and educating their customers is important, both Abel
and Brookshire said that they love the fact that they are also able to
support the warfighter through RDIF's work.
"It's an awesome feeling to be able to come to work and have a hand in
making things that our customers will use to support the warfighter down
range," Abel said. "As long as we are able to continue to support the
warfighter by educating our customers; providing solid products; saving
them time and money, which allows them to do more with less; then we are
on the right track."