Military Aircraft Maintenance Training with Augmented Reality
“This is how today’s Airmen are learning. This is a prime example of how innovation will help our Airmen meet their true potential.”
– Shelina Frey, Chief Master Sgt., AMC COMMAND CHIEF, USAF
The United States Air Force uses the augmented reality solution Manifest® for training jet engine mechanics. With Manifest, the most skilled aircraft maintainers no longer need to be physically present to train new workers, allowing new recruits to learn and become proficient much faster, and keeping more aircraft mission-ready.
US Air Force Institute of Technology Studies Manifest’s Impact on Aircraft Maintenance
Due to high operational tempo, the US Air Force is under pressure to maintain high performance while reviewing potential advantages provided by the rapidly evolving technological industry, in the hopes that new ways to operate in an aircraft maintenance environment can be adopted. To that end, the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) designed a study to measure the impact of the Manifest AR platform on technician performance focused on completing a set of routine Technical Orders (T.O). A T.O is typically paper-based or digital content that contains all the information required to perform a maintenance task.
In this study, the T.O information was converted to Manifest AR content where visual sequential steps could be overlaid onto the technician’s field of view of a heads-up display unit. Technicians were asked to complete tasks using the traditional content and then complete different equivalent tasks with Manifest content viewed with a heads-up display. 25 experiments were performed by personnel with differing experience levels and the results were compared. The results provided strong evidence that the Manifest AR platform can significantly improve the accuracy and efficiency of technicians.
- Technicians using Manifest generated 53% less errors/discrepancies.
- Technicians using traditional methods installed parts incorrectly 57% more times than technicians using Manifest.
- There were no considerable time differences between tasks completed using traditional or AR content (or AR added no significant increases and task completion times).
Very similar to manufacturing and other business environments, militaries around the world are under increased pressure to improve performance with fewer resources. This is evident when exploring the challenges of maintenance teams in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. As history suggests, the military will deploy new technologies such as AR to address their current challenges.
And as the results from military studies suggest – including the 36-100% decrease in errors – Taqtile’s Manifest AR platform can be a significant disruptor in increasing operational proficiency within maintenance teams. Manifest is changing the very nature of maintenance, training, and instructional content to improve accuracy and decrease errors. From inexperienced apprentices to remote journeymen to experienced craftsmen, Manifest is helping make Everyone an Expert.