US Air Force hosts Pitch Day for virtual reality training systems

24 September 2019 (Last Updated September 24th, 2019 12:39)

The US Air Force (USAF) has hosted a Pitch Day to assess the feasibility of using commercially available virtual reality (VR) training systems in military applications.

US Air Force hosts Pitch Day for virtual reality training systems
Mass Virtual CEO John Brooks receives contract offer at the Inaugural Pitch Day hosted by the Robins Spark Cell and Air Force Sustainment Center Contracting. Credit: USAF / Tommie Horton.

The US Air Force (USAF) has hosted a Pitch Day to assess the feasibility of using commercially available virtual reality (VR) training systems in military applications.

Robins Spark Cell and Air Force Sustainment Center Contracting (AFSC) located at Robins Air Force Base conducted the Inaugural Pitch Day at the Advanced Technology and Training Center in Warner Robins.

The pitch day is an initial prototype effort and significantly reduces the time taken for the acquisition process.

Robins Spark Cell and AFSC aim to acquire VR technology for the 461st and 116th Aircraft Maintenance Squadrons working with the USAF’s Northrop Grumman-built E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft.

The VR technology would provide training scenarios and modules for Team JSTARS members for aircraft maintenance.

Team JSTARS is a joint manned force that provides airborne command and control, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and combat support to commanders.

The objective of the effort to procure a VR training system is to improve the mission effectiveness of JSTARS aircraft maintenance personnel.

At the pitch day, the USAF awarded other transaction authority (OTA) contracts.

Robins AFSC operational services contracting chief Elizabeth Midkiff said: “The innovation and responsibility other transactions give back to the contracting officer and the evaluation team is refreshing and just what is needed to be able to execute an award faster and more efficiently.

“Pitch days allow the customer and contractors to interact, have live dialogue about the proposed solution, and receive meaningful feedback.”

A total of 15 companies were invited to pitch proposals on VR technology. The team then shortlisted some of them to give a presentation to a panel at the Pitch Day.

Robins Spark Innovation chief lieutenant colonel Jay Vizcarra said: “The combination of innovation initiatives and rapid agile contracting is the trend in the airforce as a whole and the innovation hub intends to work closely with AFSC Contracting at Robins to bring warfighter capabilities here today and the future faster for Robins.”