Tech

February 25, 2013

Academy cadet’s research could save Air Force $4.9 billion

Tags:
Don Branum
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Air Force Academy Cadet 1st Class Chris Kirk developed a method that would let the Air Force purchase Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles and extended range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles at significantly lower prices, saving more than $4 billion over five years. Kirk is a management major and native of Burlington, Iowa.

An Air Force Academy cadet’s research into how the Air Force buys missiles could save the service as much as $4.9 billion over five years while increasing the Air Force’s inventory.

Cadet 1st Class Chris Kirk found that the Air Force can buy some of the missiles regularly used in combat operations using economy of scale, much like large retailers do to buy products at substantial discounts, according to a briefing the cadet presented to Air Force Chief Scientist Dr. Mark Maybury here Feb. 1.

“Simply put, Cadet Kirk’s research promises more munitions for less money,” Maybury said. “Even my boss (Secretary of the Air Force Mike Donley) would pay attention to that.”

Kirk, who is majoring in management, spent several weeks at the Pentagon working with officials at the Air Force Acquisitions Directorate as part of the Academy’s Cadet Summer Research Project, which sends cadets to installations across the Air Force each summer as interns to conduct research on operational Air Force issues.

Kirk’s research examined three procurement methods the Air Force could use to reach inventory levels of 100 percent for its missiles. The first, called the minimum sustainment rate, purchases munitions at the lowest level possible without jeopardizing the supply pipeline. The second, called the economic order quantity, offers an ideal quantity for both the Air Force and the contractor. Finally, the maximum rate determines the contractor’s overall production capacity.

Anyone who’s been to the commissary knows the value of purchasing at wholesale cost: commissaries generally save customers an average of 30 percent on grocery purchases, according to the Defense Commissary Agency website.

The same concept applies to Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles, or AMRAAMS, and to extended-range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles, or JASSM-ERs, according to Kirk’s research. The procurement changes would cut AMRAAM procurement costs by $1.5 billion and JASSM-ER procurement costs by $2.6 billion.

“Proposals for reducing the costs of new procurements are very important to defense planners,” said Col. David Chelen, chief of the Global Power Programs Directorate’s Weapons Division and an ’89 Academy graduate.

Uncertainty about future defense spending due to the threat of sequestration has kept the Pentagon from implementing Kirk’s proposals, Chelen said, “but his suggestions and the research that drove those ideas will remain useful into the future.”

Maj. Daniel White, an instructor in the Academy’s Management Department, called Kirk an outstanding student for the quality of his work and his proactive attitude.

“What impresses me the most about his missile procurement research is his ability to get a handle on such a large amount of information in such a short period of time and bring useful conclusions from it,” White said. “He’s also very good at thinking on his feet in front of very distinguished audiences.”

Kirk, who saved the life of a civilian involved in an accident June 9, 2012, on Interstate 495, called his chance to conduct research at the Pentagon and his time in Washington an “awesome” experience.

“It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve been able to do, just being in the Pentagon, working on this project, and taking trips all over D.C.,” he said. “There’s so much going on.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
nasa-global-hawk

Global Hawk 872 return marks 100th NASA flight

  NASA Global Hawk No. 872 is pictured on the ramp after landing at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Va., at sunrise following its 10th and final science flight Sept. 28–29 in the agency’s 2014 Hurricane and S...
 
 
NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich

Two NASA Armstrong technologies recognized by tech transfer consortium

NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich NASA Armstrong researchers Mike Dandachy, Ricardo Arteaga and Duc Tran (from left) were honored for their technology development work on the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast, or ADS-B, S...
 
 

ONR features technology for Marines of future

From virtual training to laser weapons, the Office of Naval Research is showcasing a range of technologies at Modern Day Marine exposition Sept. 23-25 that will prepare Marines as they continue to face an increasingly complex security landscape. ONR program officers will be in booth no. 2305 during the event, held at Marine Corps Base...
 

 
University of Alaska-Fairbanks photograph by Chris Larsen

NASA airborne campaigns focus on climate impacts in Arctic

University of Alaska-Fairbanks photograph by Chris Larsen Changes in more than 130 Alaskan glaciers are being surveyed by scientists at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in a DHC-3 Otter as part of NASA’s multi-year Oper...
 
 
NASA/SSAI photograph by Edward Winstead

ACCESS II confirms jet biofuel burns cleaner

NASA/ORAU photograph by Richard Moore NASA’s DC-8 research aircraft leads one of the ACCESS II sampler aircraft across the early morning California sky.   Flying high above the California desert, NASA researchers rec...
 
 

Sparks fly as NASA pushes limits of 3-D printing technology

NASA has successfully tested the most complex rocket engine parts ever designed by the agency and printed with additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, on a test stand at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. NASA engineers pushed the limits of technology by designing a rocket engine injector – a highly complex part that...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>