GridRaster, a leading provider of cloud-based extended reality (XR) platforms, recently won a contract with the United States Air Force. The project will support the Air Force’s fleet of CV-22 Osprey aircraft, providing a high precision augmented reality tool set to improve aircraft maintenance and wiring.
Aircraft Maintenance: A Major Readiness Degrader
The US Air Force has been in tech news lately primarily for cybersecurity and cryptocurrency topics. However, USAF also recognizes how advances in technology can help with other aspects of its mission. For example, USAF is adopting augmented reality to help maintain its complex airframes. Aircraft maintenance tasks are the biggest degraders of readiness.
A major factor in maintaining CV-22 mission readiness is the nacelle wiring. In fact, this wiring accounts for approximately 60% of the overall maintenance effort for the fleet of CV-22 aircraft. This toolset will help aircraft maintenance technicians complete their maintenance tasks much more efficiently. Even as the complexity of aircraft increases, the mechanics will find it easier to keep up with advances.
The complexity of USAF aircraft wiring continues to increase with the fielding and deployment of advanced communications, integrated aircraft survivability systems, and aircraft data collection systems. Maintenance technicians must maintain extraordinarily complex wiring installations, routing, clamp, and abatement placements and are required to know all variants of the systems. With V-22 variants expected to be in service beyond 2040, capability enhancements and readiness initiatives are program priorities, not only for the USAF, but also for the Marine Corps and Navy.
The GridRaster toolset offers pattern recognition. It provides precise, intuitive visual overlays of all the parts of the aircraft in relation to surrounding structures. Using iPads, maintenance technicians can locate the schematics they need and view them overlaid on real imagery of the components.
Rishi Zanjan, CEO and founder of GridRaster, says the company’s solution hopes to “solve the CV-22 wiring maintenance mission need by reducing maintenance man-hours, eliminating errors, and improving installation accuracy of aircraft wiring harnesses in congested spaces of the aircraft.”
XR Has Uses Even Beyond the Maintenance Hangar
In fact, GridRaster’s cloud-based solution will let the Air Force do much more than just aircraft wiring. Once a 3D model of an aircraft is ready, the Air Force can use it for multiple purposes. The models will help in everything from maintenance to training simulations for the aircrew. Even better, the tools are cloud-based, allowing aircraft crew members to train together even when stationed at different locations.