Tyndall continues “Digital Twin” innovation

  • Published
  • By Steve Warns and Sarah McNair
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Air Force Civil Engineer Center's Disaster Recovery Division at Tyndall AFB is hosting its second “Digital Twin” data capture event June 4-6, continuing its path toward becoming the Installation of the Future.

Air Force engineers are capturing data by drone to digitally map Tyndall’s facilities from an aerial perspective during this event. This data, combined with data collected through other mapping methods in March, gives engineers the tools to create the Digital Twin virtual replica of the installation.  

A Digital Twin is a collection of digital data that represents a real-world physical asset, process or system incorporating structural information and real-time streaming data — in this case an Air Force base.

“Most people are familiar with the Google cars that take photos for street mapping,” said Lowell Usrey, AFCEC division integration branch chief. “It’s a similar concept, but we’re mapping much more than just our streets.”

Portable cameras and scanners, vehicle-mounted scanners and small unmanned aerial systems collected imagery to populate the Digital Twin. Usrey said the data will feed into the Installation Resilience Operations Center, or IROC, to create a common operating picture of the base that will be the foundation of several new capabilities.

“The Digital Twin will create a virtual reality and augmented reality world for things like enhanced maintenance and modeling and simulation,” said 2nd Lt. Derrick Jochmans, AFCEC division innovation team lead.  “Security forces can practice high-risk, realistic situations in a virtual setting and run simulations to quickly identify vulnerabilities."

The Digital Twin was one of several smart technologies the Air Force awarded for development in September 2020. The PMO awarded approximately $15 million in contracts as part of AFWERX’s Installation of the Future initiative, including an Other Transaction Agreement to develop the digital replica of Tyndall AFB.

This technology will provide the ability to train on a wide variety of scenarios through digital simulation, including areas of high-risk responses, capability testing, security procedure guidance and construction and equipment applications, said Maj. Jordan Criss, 325th Security Forces Squadron commander.

“The Digital Twin will provide the foundation for numerous security applications, which will tremendously increase our Defenders situational awareness across the installation, saving time, money and lives,” said Criss. “The analysis gained through these digital simulations will provide senior level leaders with the data and knowledge to make preliminary adjustments before an incident occurs.”

Data captured is a monumental step toward the future for the Disaster Recovery Division and 325th Fighter Wing as they work together to build a resilient, efficient and innovative base of the 21st century, said Usrey.

“From increasing cybersecurity and perimeter defense, to enhancing facility operations and planning future development — a digital twin gives base leaders a common operating picture we can use to analyze the effectiveness of operations and give the Air Force a competitive advantage for continued mission success,” said Usrey.

The Digital Twin module is on pace to reach 50-percent completion by the end of this fiscal year and anticipated to reach 100-percent completion by the end of 2023. This is just one of many innovations the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Disaster Recovery Division is employing to construct the most advanced and capable installation in the Air Force.

For more information about the rebuild, visit https://www.tyndall.af.mil/Rebuild/.