The 56th Fighter Wing(FW) at Luke Air Force Base(AFB), Arizona has awarded a Prime contract to OpsLab to automate flying squadron scheduling for F35 and F16 Formal Training Units (FTU).
OpsLab started working with Luke AFB in July 2021, as part of an AFWERX SBIR phase II initiative. The primary goal of this engagement was to automate flying squadron scheduling for 56th FW’s FTU squadrons. The Wing Commander, Director of Operations (at the F16 and F35 squadrons), TRS, GTIMs contractors, Instructor pilots and civilian schedulers worked closely with OpsLab over the past 15 months, resulting in this Prime contract to put the system into production use.
Squadron scheduling at a fighter FTU is very complex because of the dynamic nature of schedule planning and reflows. Disruptions such as student non progression, weather/maintenance cancellations, pilot currency expiration, limited airspace, and Instructor Pilot unavailability result in constant schedule reflows. The squadron scheduling is primarily performed by Fighter Pilots with help from civilian schedulers. Each squadron requires 50 hours/week from Instructor Pilots and Director of Operations, on top of their flying responsibilities. This keeps the pilots away from their primary mission of staying proficient and training new student pilots. This additional burden results in poor work life balance worsening the pilot retention problem in the force.
OpsLab has already built and deployed commercial airline scheduling systems, and is able to customize the platform for the Department of Defense flying operation needs. The 56th Fighter wing has taken the lead in delivering this much needed capability for the US Air Force fighter community and OpsLab is grateful for this partnership.
OpsLab is a dual use technology company solving the complex logistical challenges in military and commercial aviation. The team has deep backgrounds in operational research and machine learning to optimize routing, allocation, and utilization of various hard assets.