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PACAF Airmen enter AF Spark Tank Semi Finals

A panel of nearly 30 subject matter experts from across the Department of the Air Force met Nov. 16, 2021, at the Basic Research Innovation and Collaboration Center in Arlington, Va. and via a virtual teleconferencing platform to conduct the Spark Tank 2022 quarterfinals. Only the top 8% percent of ideas were selected to compete in the semifinals scheduled for Jan. 6, 2022. (AFWERX courtesy graphic)

A panel of nearly 30 subject matter experts from across the Department of the Air Force met Nov. 16, 2021, at the Basic Research Innovation and Collaboration Center in Arlington, Va. and via a virtual teleconferencing platform to conduct the Spark Tank 2022 quarterfinals. Only the top 8% percent of ideas were selected to compete in the semifinals scheduled for Jan. 6, 2022. (AFWERX courtesy graphic)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --

Three ideas were selected to represent Pacific Air Forces in the Air Force Spark Tank 2022 Semi Finals competition scheduled for Jan. 6, 2022.

The Spark Tank competition is an annual event where Airmen and Guardians pitch innovative ideas to top Air Force leaders and a panel of industry experts and is designed to encourage intrapreneurship, retain innovators, and speed up adoption of emerging technologies.

“Innovation is a core component of our vision and our strategy and is in our DNA as Airmen. Leaders must continue removing barriers so Airmen can drive innovation,” said Gen. Ken Wilsbach, Pacific Air Forces commander. “We must be faster and smarter as we field tomorrow’s Air Force. The pace of change is accelerating, and the Air Force needs to match that speed by developing agile and innovative ways to meet our warfighters’ needs.”

The three PACAF 2022 Semi Final selections are:

  • Any Airmen Can Build Their Own Secure App – Aloha Spark (15th Wing Spark Cell) led by Maj. Nicholas Votipka, 535th Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster pilot, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. This project builds upon the success of Airmen developed software (TRON) for the 15th Wing. This project will fund an ability for Airmen across the Air Force regardless of their skill in coding, could imagine, build and deploy their own custom web application.
  • Preparing the Warfighter for the Pacing Threat – Iceman Spark (354th Wing) led by Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Cavanaugh, 354th Wing director of innovation, Eielson AFB, Alaska. This project will secure final funding for a low-cost, threat representative jammer being developed by Air Force Research Laboratory for 5th Generation Aircraft at Eielson. Getting this funding will not only finish the creation of the jammer, but will also provide them to Eielson AFB, Alaska for use in Red Flag.  
  • Modern Logistics System for the Air Force – Major Brent “Racer” Maggard, 525th Fighter Squadron raptor driver, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. This project will create a logistics software program that will be able to track the movement of personnel and cargo while optimizing a solution for the movement of these items.

There were over 180 submissions and the top 15 ideas (8 percent) were selected to move onto the semi-finals. The selection process looked at the need for new capability as well as safety, policy, Department-wide implementation, technical feasibility, and scalability.

“This makes PACAF the most represented MAJCOM [Major Command] with 3 out of 15 semi-finalist,” said Capt. Ray Hill, PACAF Innovation Lead. “Which is an impressive feat considering the high quality of submissions from the other MAJCOMs and PACAF began the competition with the 6th most submissions.”

The semi-finalist ideas will be presented to the Vice Chief of Staff and other senior Department of the Air Force leaders in the first week in January 2022. The top six ideas will be selected from the 15 semi-finalist and be presented at the 2022 Air Force Association’s Warfare Symposium Spark Tank Finals in Orlando, Florida on Mar. 4, 2022.