New Center at Base to Help Reduce Costs

September 8, 2012

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — The Air Force Institute of Technology has launched an “acquisition center of excellence” to reduce costs and better manage the test and evaluation of U.S. military weapons and programs from the KC-46 aerial refueling tanker to anti-missile defenses, a program leader said.

The Defense Department initiative will partner with 20 acquisition programs worth more than $150 billion across each branch of the military to outline plans to more rigorously test weapon systems and other programs in development, said Darryl Ahner, director of the Scientific Test and Analysis Techniques in the Test and Evaluation Center of Excellence. The center is based at AFIT’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The center has a staff of six and a $1.5 million budget. Center authorities will act as mentors to key managers in other programs, he added.

Among other programs, the center will partner authorities overseeing the Navy’s Aegis shipboard missile system, a new Air Force combat rescue helicopter, the Army’s M-113 armored personnel carrier and similar tracked vehicles, and a new hovercraft to ferry Marines from ship to shore.

“Many times there’s technology development that’s going along with these acquisition programs,” Ahner said. “This technology needs to be tested to see if it’s meeting the performance mission or not. … We provide them an additional capability that they might not necessarily have organically in order to inject more rigor into their testing.”

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