Travis Airmen Design, 3D Print Safe to Address Problems Facing Tanker Aircrews

TSgt. Zachary George, 60th Air Mobility Wing Phoenix Spark Lab noncommissioned officer in charge, works with computer animation software to design a safe June 25, 2019 at Travis AFB, Calif. George designed the plate that will securely attach a GSA-approved safe to the floor of a KC-10 Extender that will allow aircrew members to store weapons and other sensitive materials on the aircraft. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese.

Airmen with the 60th Air Mobility Wing’s Spark Tank lab at Travis AFB, Calif., have taken it upon themselves to address a unique problem that KC-10 crews face: how to secure classified information and documents on an aircraft that can deploy to locations without proper facilities for that data.

The airmen designed a way to attach a safe to the aircraft itself to store the information and documents on board, which has garnered interest from both Air Mobility Command and Boeing, according to a Travis release.

“This safe will provide them the means of securing weapons and other materials if they need it,” said Maj. Matthew Ables, the director of staff for the 9th Air Refueling Squadron. “Aircrews will have more time to mission plan or enter into crew rest earlier without having to run around looking for a place to store the items.”

The airmen took an already-approved safe and 3D-printed fittings to attach it to the aircraft.

AMC and Boeing are now following suit and designing prototype storage safes, according to the release.