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Will Roper: Digital Engineering Can Drive New Capabilities for US Air Force

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Will Roper
Will Roper US Air Force

Will Roper, the U.S. Air Force’s acquisition head and a 2020 Wash100 Award recipient, said during the Air Force Digital Campaign’s first virtual industry event that digital engineering can significantly drive the development of new capabilities.

The Virtual Industry Exchange, launched as part of the Air Force Material Command’s (AFMC) Digital Campaign strategy, saw over 1,500 participants from industry and the academe, the Air Force said Wednesday.

Roper, who serves as assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, told attendees that he is coordinating with industry on leveraging digital engineering to simulate and test technologies virtually before physically executing development procedures.

Implementing digital engineering approaches in assembly and supply-chain procedures is “a noble ambition that will snowball as we continue in future programs," he added. According to Roper, the Air Force is currently using digital engineering in its Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent, Next-Generation Air Dominance and T-7 Redhawk trainer programs.

Gen. Arnold Bunch, commander of AFMC, noted during the same event that the Digital Campaign initiative comes as part of efforts to align with the National Defense Strategy. The event comes after the service branch announced its eSeries strategy aimed at using virtual and digital development concepts for aircraft, satellites and weapons.