The 48th Fighter Wing division of the U.S. Air Force that operates out of Royal Air Force Lakenheath in the United Kingdom has issued a request for information (RFI) concerning plans to outfit its aircrews with a wrist-worn biometric device capable of measuring and capturing data about the wearer’s health.
The 48th Wing aims to use the data capture from what the RFI refers to as an “Aircrew Performance Tracker” to address and prevent the ongoing problems of neck and back strains experienced by its overseas aircrew. As NextGov reports, the RFI also states that the 48th Wing is looking for a device that is able to track biometric data such as heart rate, nervous system metrics, and sleep health around the clock, and that can upload the data for analysis by doctors and officials.
“This presents an approach to the prevention of neck and back injuries that result in increased training costs, result in lost productivity, increase disability costs, result in a [decreased] quality of life, and result in the premature departure from the Air Force for some fighter aircrew,” reads a statement that accompanies the RFI.
Other requirements are that the device must not have any form of WiFi or GPS location tracking due to the sensitive nature of military work, must not have any sort of screen distractions, and needs to be “rugged, water resistant, and have an adjustable strap.”
“The U.S. Air Force, 48th Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom is looking to purchase a wearable device to track our aircrew’s performance both in and out of the jet and make them more lethal,” reads the statement. “This device and its data needs to be tailorable to each aircrew and monitored by our squadron leadership as well as our squadron health care providers.”
This news comes less than a week after the United States Navy issued its own RFI looking for a partner to outfit it with wearables to help track the movement of its personnel in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The solution that will result from this RFI is likely to be worn by aircrew across the 48th Wing’s RAF Lakenheath crew, which includes five F-15 squadrons conducting operations around the world. Vendors have until July 27th to present their options to the Air Force.
July 21, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis