RSO seeks to scale innovation

  • Published
  • By Daryl Mayer, AFLCMC Public Affairs
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio (AFLCMC) – The Rapid Sustainment Office is charged with finding innovative solutions and looking for opportunities to apply them across the Air Force enterprise. 
“It's been difficult throughout history for weapon systems that have a problem that is an enterprise problem to solve that for themselves.  That's where the RSO comes into the picture,” said John Hedke, Chief Technology Officer for the RSO, during a recent episode of AFLCMC’s Leadership Log podcast.

For instance, a new and improved fastener designed for a specific platform, like the F-15, may also work on other platforms.  The RSO looks for opportunities to scale innovative solutions to other programs and platforms to maximize the benefit to the larger Air Force. 
“Instead of just solving that problem for F-15, it means taking that same solution and allowing every user of that particular application in the Air Force to benefit from that solution,” Hedke said.  “So scaling it would be, this is an acceptable substitute for F-15.  They've proven it, but it's also acceptable for F-16, F-22, F-35 and for B-1 and B-52 and to use it on as many platforms as possible.” 
The RSO focuses on sustainment where studies show 70 percent or more of a program’s total lifecycle costs are in sustaining the platform. 
“Platforms like KC-135 and B-52 that have been in service for more than half a century, I suspect, their numbers would be much higher, maybe 85 or 90 percent of the total cost of that platform is in sustainment.” 
One place the RSO looks for solutions is in industry, but not exclusively in the areas one would suspect, like commercial aviation.  For instance, Hedke said advances in hydraulic cylinders on bulldozers could apply to similar hydraulic cylinders on aircraft. 
Condition Based Maintenance and Advanced Manufacturing are areas that have seen significant progress in recent months, according to Hedke.  One such area is a new process, called the Technology Assessment Process, that will qualify and release technologies for use across the enterprise.   
To hear the full conversation, you can watch Leadership Log on YouTube at  You can also listen by searching “Leadership Log” on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Overcast, Radio Public or Breaker.