Tyndall Air Force Base makes strides to becoming the base of the future

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 8:11 PM CDT
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TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Dubbed the base of the future, Tyndall’s multi-billion dollar rebuild is showcasing what could pave the way for other air force bases across the nation.

You name it, they’ve thought of it. Tyndall is deploying new things that officials are certain will lead the way for other bases and the Department of Defense as a whole.

Tyndall Air Force Base is taking virtual reality to a whole new level. Officials gave NewsChannel 7 a behind-the-scenes look at how they put a campus-wide digital twin into action at the site for the new headquarters.

“I will sync up the wing headquarters building information model and we’ll be able to look through the iPad and see what the building is going to look like exactly overlaid with what the support looks like now,” Nicholas Cap, First Lieutenant and Chief of the Innovation Element for the Natural Disaster Recovery Division At Tyndall Air Force Base, said.

On a smaller scale, the base’s robot dogs were also showing off some tricks. The four-legged unmanned vehicles patrol treacherous terrain on the north end of the base.

“It does a full route, it’ll come back, it puts itself back on its charger, opens up its dog house. It’s all autonomous, unless something happens then we can intervene and say hey do x, do y, or do z,” Garey Watson Jr., Master Sergeant and Security Forces Superintendent of Plans And Programs at Tyndall Air Force Base, said. “They help us get through all of that without having to physically be there but we can actually see what’s going on in real time.”

Another task taken over by robots on base is mowing the lawn.

“If the sun goes down or you know it’s getting tiresome or it’s 110 degrees out, they don’t care. They’ll go out and cut. And they can do it 24/7 if you need to,” Cap said. “It’s important to keep the grass low because it is a bird threat. That’s kind of a nesting area for birds and if we can keep that obstruction down, it minimizes the risk to the air field which is major because you don’t want a bird destroying a $100 million aircraft.”

All of the new futuristic technologies are tied into what’s called the IROC, or Installation Resilience Operations Command and Control. It’s a prototype for what could be a game-changing solution for security and emergency response.

“What this boils down to here is this a new thing that we’re deploying at Tyndall,” Lowell Usrey, Integration Branch Chief for the Natural Disaster Recovery Division at Tyndall Air Force Base, said. “This is a prototype effort that has not been done anyway in the air force or in the Department of Defense.”

Officials with Tyndall Air Force Base said the destruction from Hurricane Michael gave them an opportunity to build back and better than before.

It’s almost a clean slate for the base to test run things other places aren’t able to. But it’s a work in progress and officials say there’s a lot more to come.

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