Research Topics

Below is a list of research topics supported by the AFRL. Use the filters and keyword search below to find research topics of interest. You can apply for up to 3 topics on your application.




Scholars are encouraged to contact any mentors whose projects they find of interest. To contact the mentor, use the link included at the conclusion of each project description.

Accelerating the Generation of Practical Spatially varying Lattices Through Parallel Code on CPU and GPU Clusters
Mentor: Jimmy E Touma, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

Current methods for analyzing photonic crystals and spatially variant lattices limit the size and speed with which simulations can occur. These limitations can be overcome by taking advantage of parallel computing in high performance computing environments, where the simulation is split among several processors. Splitting the simulation up in this manner allows each processor to work on a part of the problem. AFRL is seeking a graduate level researcher to continue and improve on the parallel implementation of our algorithms and to port them to HPC and GPU clusters. The candidate should have a strong background in C++, MPI, and GPU/Cuda programming on Linux workstations and HPC centers.


Adaptive Dynamical Learning and Control for Flight Vehicles
Mentor: Scott Andrew Nivison, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

This project will involve learning from, building upon, and accelerating currently on-going work related to the development of online real-time data-driven estimation and control methods for flight control systems. The current goal of this research is to make decisions (e.g., between trajectory-following and hover) or improve performance based on this real-time data. Depending on the background of the scholar, the project could involve: developing reinforcement learning or adaptive control theoretical results, implementing algorithms/software on test platforms (e.g., quadrotors or UAVs) and testing, extending existing work to a multi-agent domain, or software testing/development.


Aerodynamics estimation/measurement/modeling
Mentor: Ken David Blackburn, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

Intern will work on aerodynamics estimation/measurement/modeling. Intern will review current aerodynamic model formats in use for estimation and simulation. Intern will work on verifying and updating Matlab/Python code for the AFRL/UF wind tunnel.


Air Superiority Lethality/Vulnerability Modeling and Simulation
Mentor: Robert Patrick Bush, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

The goal of this project is to modify target vulnerability data (TVD) based on methodologies generated during engagement level and high fidelity level Modeling and Simulation studies that would impact the various damage mechanisms. Weapon effectiveness analysts will modify current TVD to account for direct hit, fire, and blast effects during weapon/target engagements. This requires changes to the 3D geometric models and system material properties files associated with specific targets of interest. Furthermore, the effort will also require analysis studies to test the enhanced TVD.


Analysis of Fluid-Thermal-Structure Interaction Effects in High-Speed Regimes
Mentor: Daniel Archer Reasor, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

The combined aerothermodynamic loading flight vehicles experience when traveling in hypersonic regimes leads to undesirable thermostructural effects. Aeroelastic effects, which involve complex coupling between aerodynamic pressure and the elastic modes of the vehicle structure, pose one issue. Aerodynamic heating, which roughly increases with the cube of velocity, could lead to severe material degradation to the point of structural failure. Proper prediction of such effects requires practical, accurate, and coupled solution of the governing equations of fluid motion, thermal, and structural dynamics. This begs the development and use of (1) efficient coupling techniques; (2) high-performance computing; and (3) reduced-order modeling. A potential student would support the improvement of accuracy, speed, and efficiency of coupled workflows, develop reduced-order methods, or directly solve problems related to such high speed effects. Activities will include model building & grid generation, material modeling, running FEA/CFD computations on DoD HPCMP resources, and presenting research results via updates at a bi-weekly meeting to a group of students and mentors researching related topics.


Analysis of NVIDIA Jetson Products for Parallel Processing
Mentor: Robert M Watson, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

The Weapon Simulation and Analysis Branch is seeking a graduate level candidate to investigate NVIDIA Jetson products and their applicability for parallel processing. The scholar will assist in the development of algorithms for testing and evaluation of the Jetson boards as well as linking the hardware together. The scholar will develop and implement algorithms utilizing different parallel architectures such as Open MPI and CUDA.


Applications of Spatially Varying Photonic Crystals
Mentor: Kathleen Mary Dipple, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

Inhouse and collaborative research has identified new phenomena in spatially-varying photonic crystals (SVPCs) that demonstrates light focusing and bending capabilities with minimal power loss and frequency and polarization selectivity. The Integrated Sensing and Processing branch at Eglin AFB (AFRL/RWWI) is seeking a PhD candidate to study and characterize SVPCs of interest. In particular, the candidate will explore possible applications enabled by the multiplexing capabilities of SVPCs. The candidate will use our inhouse developed software to model and simulate the SVPC structures. The candidate must have experience in computational electromagnetic simulation techniques. Python and C/C++ on the Linux platform are required.


Autonomous Vehicles Lab: Multirotor System and Algorithm Development
Mentor: Kevin Brink, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

This is a large summer program with multiple PhD and masters students, postdocs, and potentially government contractors, who will be working together at the AFRL/UF REEF flight lab to build up quadrotor system capabilities. There is a need for students with backgrounds in Estimation and/or Control theory and students should also have Hardware experience (i.e. quadrotors or other vehicles, Pixhawk autopilot or other microcontrollers).

Project goals are to develop a hardware/simulation/algorithm suite and related capabilities that allow for proof-of-concept demonstrations of autonomous aerial systems. Emphasis will be placed on GPS-denied and cooperative estimation in general and vehicle localization in unstructured environments, including transition between environments (indoor to outdoor, etc.). Students should have a working knowledge (or gain a working knowledge prior to the internship) or ROS and C++ or Python.


Behavioral Study in Honey Bees
Mentor: Grant Travis Welch, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Ph.D.

The study of certain biological species’ ability to sense the geomagnetic field (GMF) is a topic which has applications in flight navigation. Experiments on honey bees, using a Helmholtz coil to alter the ambient GMF, will provide behavioral flight data and information on the capability of the bee magneto-receptive mechanism. Environmental data, including light, heat, wind, and pressure, will be incorporated into our behavioral model, further expanding our understanding of the mechanism’s facility. The results of this experimentation will present an opportunity to design a magneto-receptive device with sensitivity calibrated as needed to the GMF. AFRL/RWWI is seeking a graduate student to assist in this study. The student will work closely with AFRL researchers to setup behavioral experiments, collect data in the bees’ natural environment, and incorporate those into a behavioral model. The student will also assist in writing software to control the induced magnetic field and collect data from other sensors. The candidate is expected to program in Python on Linux and microcomputers like the Raspberry Pi.


Behavioral Study in Honey Bees
Mentor: Grant Travis Welch, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate

The study of certain biological species’ ability to sense the geomagnetic field (GMF) is a topic which has applications in flight navigation. Experiments on honey bees, using a Helmholtz coil to alter the ambient GMF, will provide behavioral flight data and information on the capability of the bee magneto-receptive mechanism. Environmental data, including light, heat, wind, and pressure, will be incorporated into our behavioral model, further expanding our understanding of the mechanism’s facility. The results of this experimentation will present an opportunity to design a magneto-receptive device with sensitivity calibrated as needed to the GMF. AFRL/RWWI is seeking a graduate student to assist in this study. The student will work closely with AFRL researchers to setup behavioral experiments, collect data in the bees’ natural environment, and incorporate those into a behavioral model. The student will also assist in writing software to control the induced magnetic field and collect data from other sensors. The candidate is expected to program in Python on Linux and microcomputers like the Raspberry Pi.


Biological Sensory Systems
Mentor: Jennifer Talley, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate

Biological systems are a relatively untapped resource for unique solutions to many of the challenges the Air Force is facing regardingautonomous platforms that are small, lightweight, low cost, and low power. Insects have noisy, often redundant sensory systems that result in robust behavioral output. We seek to understand what these sensors measure, how information is processed, how information is integrated, and what motor commands result.


Building Blast Simulations
Mentor: Brian D D Taylor, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

Simulations of explosive blasts inside of buildings will be conducted using the latest version of high-fidelity research CFD code (LESLIE), which the computational RWML team is transitioning to, and/or the Apollo blast simulator code developed in Germany by EMI. The simulations will investigate the physical effects of single/multiple blasts and, potentially, the influence of mesh refinement in the obtained solutions. If experimental data becomes available, then computational/experimental comparisons will be made. Post-processing code is to be written as required. Use of modern post-processing programs Paraview and DPlot as required.


Complex Electromagnetic Structures (Metamaterials & Subwavelength Photonics)
Mentor: Jeffery W Allen, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

Opportunity in electromagnetics, radar, imaging, holography, electromagnetic materials and composites, and interest in applied research efforts and engineered electromagnetic materials /Metamaterial. The work covers a broad range of frequencies from UHF to W-band/mm-wave and optical wavelengths and may include component design/integration and characterization. Simulation/design will be carried out in CST/HFFS/COMSOL as well as in house CEM codes. The efforts will include designing, fabricating, and testing prototype devices as part of larger collaborative efforts. The candidate will utilize test equipment, optical and microwave simulation software, and the micro-fabrication facilities to support these efforts. Topics of interest include wide-scan wideband planar arrays, low-profile arrays on conformal platforms, planar and conformal electromagnetic structures, frequency selective surfaces, electrically small antennas, conformal arrays and lens designs.
Opportunities exist in fundamental physics of electromagnetic radiation matter interaction and electronic properties. This will include propagation, mechanisms for absorption and emission, scattering and quantum effects. One focus of the work will be to explore how to control the spatial anisotropic properties of materials or material systems, natural or engineered, to control electromagnetic radiation. We will also be exploring new analytical, quasi-analytical and homogenization techniques to describe engineered electromagnetic materials so they can be applied to practical devices and systems


Complex Electromagnetic Structures (Metamaterials & Subwavelength Photonics)
Mentor: Jeffery W Allen, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate

Opportunity in electromagnetics, radar, imaging, holography, electromagnetic materials and composites, and interest in applied research efforts and engineered electromagnetic materials /Metamaterial. The work covers a broad range of frequencies from UHF to W-band/mm-wave and optical wavelengths and may include component design/integration and characterization. Simulation/design will be carried out in CST/HFFS/COMSOL as well as in house CEM codes. The efforts will include designing, fabricating, and testing prototype devices as part of larger collaborative efforts. The candidate will utilize test equipment, optical and microwave simulation software, and the micro-fabrication facilities to support these efforts. Topics of interest include wide-scan wideband planar arrays, low-profile arrays on conformal platforms, planar and conformal electromagnetic structures, frequency selective surfaces, electrically small antennas, conformal arrays and lens designs.
Opportunities exist in fundamental physics of electromagnetic radiation matter interaction and electronic properties. This will include propagation, mechanisms for absorption and emission, scattering and quantum effects. One focus of the work will be to explore how to control the spatial anisotropic properties of materials or material systems, natural or engineered, to control electromagnetic radiation. We will also be exploring new analytical, quasi-analytical and homogenization techniques to describe engineered electromagnetic materials so they can be applied to practical devices and systems


Data Visualization
Mentor: Jimmy E Touma, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

The Integrated Sensing and Processing branch at the Munitions Directorate is seeking an undergraduate level candidate to design and develop an interactive visualization tool for flight data. The tool should be modular and platform independent, run in a browser and AR/VR devices, and make use of the latest web technologies. The candidate will implement that can be used on previously collected flight data, insect trajectory, field-of-view computation and overlay, and multiple component articulation in the same view. Also, the candidate would implement these capabilities: Display orientation as a function of time with respect to some coordinate system: up, downrange, crossrange or North, East, down; Display and animate control surface deflections; Display maneuvering jets (on and off, like an animation sprite). The candidate should have a strong programming background in Python, Unity, JavaScript and web technologies. A working knowledge of D3.js, Cesium, interactive map technologies, and publisher/subscriber model is desired


Design and Functionality Analyses of Autonomous Agent-Based Systems
Mentor: Eduardo Lewis Pasiliao, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

This topic will address the fundamental challenges that arise from integrating the data-driven paradigm in settings where agents seek to make strategic decisions in a decentralized manner, and in particular, seek to establish optimal network connections in uncertain and often contested environments. It expands efforts in modeling the structural behaviors of functioning network models, aimed at facilitating transmission of information for inference and decision-making capabilities. The main thrust of this topic is the design and functionality analyses of autonomous agent-based systems, where each agent dynamically processes the data coming from their connected neighbors and makes local decision or inference about the strategic construction (or revision) of connections for reliable exchange of information across the whole network. This topic aims to combine research in social and neural networks as well as behavioral economics to motivate and model actor-centered agent-based autonomous and cooperative systems.


Efficient, Scaleable Computation for Fluid-Thermal-Structural Interactions Analysis
Mentor: Daniel Archer Reasor, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

High speed vehicles experience high energy, combined loading from aerothermodynamics and structural response which drive complex fluid-thermal-structural interactions. These FTSI interactions introduce uncertainty in the loads and performance due to their path dependent nature. Analysis of these vehicles requires solution of the coupled fluid, thermal and structural equations at disparate time scales. Practical solution of these problems presents a need for efficient coupling techniques between fluid- and thermo-structural solvers, reduced order modeling techniques to reduce computation time and leveraging the capabilities of high performance computing resources. Possible contributions from this work could include a computational framework for coupling computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and computational structural dynamics (CSD) analysis codes, application of novel reduced order modeling methods or the use of hybrid computing architectures (GPGPU or Intel Xeon Phi accelerators) to provide faster, more accurate analysis at reduced computational cost.


Electrodynamics and light matter interactions
Mentor: Jeffery W Allen, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

Opportunities exist in fundamental physics of electromagnetic radiation matter interaction and electronic properties. This will include propagation, mechanisms for absorption and emission, scattering and quantum effects. One focus of the work will be to explore how to control the spatial anisotropic properties of materials or material systems, natural or engineered, to control electromagnetic radiation. We will also be exploring new analytical, quasi-analytical and homogenization techniques to describe engineered electromagnetic materials so they can be applied to practical devices and systems.


Flight Test/Data Analysis
Mentor: Randy Dean Liebl, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

During our C-130 aircraft flight and ground testing, there is an enormous amount of data collected. This data needs to be thoroughly massaged, analyzed, reported and archived. Collected data needs to be analyzed and presented in a way to answer specific Measure of Performance for each test we conduct. We are always looking for ways to grow our analysis toolbox through investigation of new tools or innovative ways to use our existing tools that will streamline and standardize our analysis processes.


Flight Test/Database Designer
Mentor: Randy Dean Liebl, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

During our C-130 aircraft flight and ground testing, there is an enormous amount of data collected. This data needs to be thoroughly documented, sorted, and archived. Collected data needs to be archived and presented in a way to allow Data Analysts, Test Engineers, and Instrumentation Engineers the ability to quickly retrieve or add to the data collection. We are looking for ways to expand our data archiving ability to act as a data repository, information collection, and configuration management tool during all aspects of aircraft testing.


Flight Test Experimental Design
Mentor: Teresa Dailey, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

In modeling and simulation, often times the control/input factors that launch the simulation runs do not provide the insight required to truly understand what’s driving system performance. There are intermediate factors/conditions that have a significant impact on overall system performance but cannot be independently controlled as simulation inputs. The challenge is gathering enough information over varying settings of the intermediate conditions in order to truly understand their impacts on courses of action in the simulation and/or decisions made by system algorithms. There is a need for an integrated, automated, and iterative experimental design process to control the settings of intermediate factors/conditions that impact the overall system performance based on settings of the factors that can be controlled. As a result, the data on the intermediate factors will provide rigorous analyses that inform system optimization, algorithm development and design decisions. Additionally, system developers can focus test programs on setups that provide the greatest system insight based on having information on the complex system behaviors.


Flight Test Operations Research and Schedule Optimization
Mentor: Teresa Dailey, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

The Air Force test ranges and organizations use various methods for prioritizing and scheduling missions. There have been discussions on whether or not the ranges are operating at capacity and can the capacity be increased. Operations research methods exist for scheduling and optimization but would have to be modified to handle complex and dynamic constraints and conditions. Each test range/organization has a unique set of operating conditions which challenge the standard scheduling processes, however all would find value in characterizing and optimizing their scheduling process leading to increased efficiency and throughput. Ideally, a tool would be developed for each organization that allows for the unique constraints, scheduling complexities and priorities to be updated on an as-needed basis.


Flight Test Requirements
Mentor: Jonathan Tellefsen, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters

For large modification programs requiring rigorous flight test programs, there are usually thousands of requirements to be analyzed and tracked for planning, execution, and reporting. Current strategies typically apply large manpower expenditures tracking the requirements, refining the evaluation method, and placing these requirements into a method of test. Strategies to decompose requirements more efficiently and ways to track progress in a more automated and less manpower intensive approach are desired. Looking for the innovative use of software tools to aid in connecting requirements with test planning as well as scoping requirements to testable events.


Guidance, Navigation, and Control Research with Application to Defense Aerospace Vehicles
Mentor: John Michael Rask, Industry Internships
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate

Aerospace vehicles that use innovative shape change processes in place of and in addition to traditional flight-control surfaces to achieve aerodynamic control present a challenge to traditional methods of modeling, simulation, guidance, and control. This research project will focus on Guidance and Control element of research using an existing 6-DOF simulation environment and study vehicle.


Heterogeneous Teaming for Target Search and Tracking
Mentor: Emily Doucette, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

The utilization of autonomous agents can support mission success in dynamic, uncertain, and contested environments by augmenting human operator capabilities. Specifically, cooperative autonomous systems can provide enhanced situational awareness, which can inform decision support for target engagement scenarios. To leverage the full capabilities of autonomous agents in a dynamic and uncertain battlefields, a common framework to update situational awareness between all agents, both human and autonomous, is required. This need for enhanced situational awareness across a heterogeneous team of agents is also challenged by dynamic communication topologies in decentralized command and control architectures. To support this work, students shall address this challenge by conducting research in the areas of nonlinear estimation, vision-aided navigation, cooperative networked systems, and risk-aware human decision aids. A student that supports this work shall have interest in advancing the aforementioned fields both theoretically and in hardware demonstration.


High-Speed Weapon Aerodynamic Design & Flight Characterization
Mentor: Ron H Taylor, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

There are two project objectives, and the intent is to sponsor multiple Scholars. 1) Evaluate aerodynamic characteristics of a high-speed weapon concept with simulations and/or experiments. Scholars will design weapon airframe components, set up and execute CFD simulations, plan and execute wind-tunnel experiments, and/or analyze aerodynamic data. 2) Evaluate flight performance of a high-speed weapon concept with 6-DOF simulations. Scholars will develop scenarios incorporating various airframes, guidance and control implementations, and propulsion sources at different flight conditions to ascertain weapon performance.


Hypersonic Material Characterization
Mentor: Elizabeth Kay Bartlett, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

Accurate constitutive models relating stress, strain, and temperature implemented in finite element analysis are critical for predicting the mechanical behavior of structures in the hypersonic regime. For this research project, interns will use an integrated approach to characterize the mechanical behavior, develop constitutive models, and simulate the response of materials for hypersonic applications.


Integrated Control and Estimation
Mentor: Adam James Rutkowski, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

The goal of this project is to use trajectory planning and perturbation to improve the navigation accuracy of an autonomous vehicle when GPS is unavailable. The concept of Integrated Control and Estimation (ICE) is to command a vehicle in a manner that minimizes navigation uncertainty and directs the vehicle to a goal location while observing constraints on travel time, energy, and maneuverability. Using ICE, navigation accuracy can be significantly improved in vision-aided, radio frequency-aided, and cooperative scenarios compared to baseline trajectories that simply minimize travel time. This project will examine various simulated and experimental flight paths and perform analyses to compare the navigation performance among the different paths. This project may also involve path planning algorithm development, image processing, and trajectory analysis.


Invertebrate Targeting Behavior
Mentor: Jennifer Talley, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: High School

Biological systems are a relatively untapped resource for unique solutions to many of the challenges the Air Force is facing regarding autonomous platforms that are 1) small 2) lightweight 3) low power and 4) cheap.
Predatory flying insects are an autonomous system that combines visual information regarding the color, size, speed, etc of moving objects to 1) classify that object as a target 2) decide to take off and pursue the target and 3) capture the target or break off pursuit. We will record high speed trajectories of predatory flying insects chasing live prey or artificial targets to understand the algorithms they use for this task.


Machine Learning for Computational Fluid Dynamics and Heat Transfer
Mentor: Daniel Archer Reasor, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

Deep Neural Networks have become the tool of choice for Machine Learning practitioners today. They have been successfully applied for solving a large class of learning problems both in the industry and academia with applications in fields such as Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, Big data Analytics and Bioinformatics. Increasingly neural networks in general and deep learning in particular is being applied to the physical sciences. Deep learning systems are also being adopted in different engineering disciplines like aerospace, electrical and mechanical engineering. Inspired by the success of these applications, under this project, we plan to study the use of deep learning systems for solving problems in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and heat transfer.

This project will consist of teaming with another AFRL Scholar working on research in computational fluid dynamics or computational heat transfer. One member of the team will be responsible for generating the training data and validating the solutions against experimental results. The second member of the team will be responsible for generating a machine learning framework using existing libraries and architectures, e.g., TensorFlow, Scikit-Learn, Theano, and Pylearn. The outcome of the framework will be a fast-running, many orders faster than the CFD or FEA solver used to create the training data, reduced order model (ROM) that can reproduce the underlying physics of the training data. This ROM will be used to generate initial conditions for future high-fidelity simulations and to perform sensitivity analysis on input conditions to the simulation, e.g., freestream flow properties, wall temperatures, material properties. The framework should be adaptable to different classes of problems and scalable to large data sets, e.g., O(TB), on DoD high performance computing resources.


Mechanical Property Characterization of Cellular Structures
Mentor: Philip Flater, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

Cellular structures have the potential to improve the strength and reduce the mass of munition components. Therefore, the goal of this project is to understand the deformation mechanisms of complex cellular structures to identify and leverage design capabilities. The objectives are to manufacture, test, and evaluate various lattices and cellular structures through laboratory mechanical property testing. Structures will be produced in metal using additive manufacturing (AM) techniques. Mechanical property testing will be conducted in a laboratory using low strain rate and/or high strain rate testing hardware, and digital image correlation (DIC) will be used to quantify the deformation mechanics. Students will be responsible for analyzing mechanical property data and identifying differences in structural performance. Students will be trained on DIC testing methods and equipment and be expected to work as a team with technicians and scientists to accomplish tasks related to mechanical property testing.


Modeling and Simulation of Missile System Breakup
Mentor: Robert Patrick Bush, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

The goal of this effort is to use Finite Element Analysis (FEA) models such as Department of Energy (DOE) codes to assess the breakup of a missile system given a warhead detonation using various Modeling and Simulations (M&S) techniques. A generic missile system will be used to determine component separation during the warhead detonation. The component separation data to be captured will include mass, velocity and material properties. Additionally, the separation environment will include a combination of low and high altitudes given various missile velocity regimes. The data will be post processed to be used in fast running model simulations and to be used for visualization purposes.


Multi-agent, Cooperative Navigation
Mentor: Kevin Brink, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

This effort is intended to extend the current state-of-the-art in the area of robust, cooperative navigation in GPS-denied/degraded environments. The effort will consist of theoretic development and simulation/hardware proof-of-concept demonstration (with COTS vehicles/sensors/processors) at a local university flight lab run by AFRL.

The flight lab will host several interdisciplinary efforts (undergraduate through Postdoc/visiting professors) over the summer. There will also be a full-time university employee to help facilitate the use of existing lab equipment and algorithms to expedite summer development/demonstrations.


Munitions Cyber Lab - Missile Simulator to Aircraft Avionics Interface Development & Prototyping
Mentor: Cal T Roman, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

Project is to, working as part of a small team, design, develop, and prototype a two-way communications interface between an existing aircraft avionics cyber test suite and a virtual missile system software simulator. The protocol being implemented is MIL-STD-1760, which is a common aircraft-to-weapon interface specification. Implementing this interface will allow AFRL to experiment with weapons cyber security methodologies and their effectiveness, specifically to study how cyber effects and mitigations both may propagate throughout a weapon and aircraft and to understand how these low-level interactions may impact a weapon system's performance in full mission context. Accomplishing this project will include making software modifications to our Digital Missile Simulator, software modifications to our Avionics Cyber Test Bench, and hardware prototyping the physical and electrical MIL-STD-1760 interface. Upon completing this project, the interns will be well verses in how aircraft and weapons communicate, how aircraft systems manage weapon stores, and will advance their knowledge of embedded system communications and networking.


Network Optimization and Control
Mentor: Eduardo Lewis Pasiliao, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

Networked systems are ubiquitous in Air Force missions, both in physical and in cyberspace domains. According to the Air Force Doctrine Document 3-12 (Cyberspace Operations), a “contested cyber environment” involves circumstances in which one or more adversaries attempt to change the outcome of a mission by denying, degrading, disrupting, or destroying our cyber capabilities, or by altering the usage, product, or our confidence in those capabilities. These adversarial impacts may be of diverse nature and origin, such as “cyber” attacks, as well as “physical” attacks, which can temporarily or permanently disrupt nodes and/or links of a networked system. Clearly, design and operation strategies for modern multi-agent networked systems should take into account potential adversarial conditions; moreover, these systems should be able to effectively reconfigure and adapt to uncertain adversarial impacts. The objective of this research effort is to develop a comprehensive mathematical modeling and algorithmic framework for inherently flexible and reconfigurable operation of networked systems in contested environments. Consequently, this research will enhance autonomous weapon concepts and capabilities, as well as provide optimal network connectivity patterns for multi-agent coordination in contested environments.
This research also addresses the fundamental challenges that arise from integrating data-driven paradigms in settings where agents seek to make strategic decisions in a decentralized manner, and in particular, seek to establish reliable network connections in uncertain and often contested environments. The work expands efforts in modeling the structural behaviors of functioning network models, aimed at facilitating transmission of information for inference and decision-making capabilities, based on fault-tolerant protocol settings. The main thrust of this research is to present design and functionality analyses of autonomous agent-based systems, where each agent dynamically processes the data coming from their connected neighbors and makes local decision or inference about the strategic construction (or revision) of connections for reliable exchange of information across the whole network. In particular, we explore stochastic actor-centered modeling: the framework that was introduced to describe network formation in the social network domain analysis, under the assumption that each actor (here, a networked agent or any rational entity) cooperatively or non-cooperatively makes moves to optimize its objective function based on the structure of its local network, which is comprised of the actor and its nearest neighbors. This research focuses on the aspects of the data-driven paradigm in connection with behavioral-embodied assumptions of the actor-centered network models and aggregation of the information supplied via local agent interactions; and further propagating this information throughout the whole network.


Network Optimization and Control
Mentor: Eduardo Lewis Pasiliao, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate

Networked systems are ubiquitous in Air Force missions, both in physical and in cyberspace domains. According to the Air Force Doctrine Document 3-12 (Cyberspace Operations), a “contested cyber environment” involves circumstances in which one or more adversaries attempt to change the outcome of a mission by denying, degrading, disrupting, or destroying our cyber capabilities, or by altering the usage, product, or our confidence in those capabilities. These adversarial impacts may be of diverse nature and origin, such as “cyber” attacks, as well as “physical” attacks, which can temporarily or permanently disrupt nodes and/or links of a networked system. Clearly, design and operation strategies for modern multi-agent networked systems should take into account potential adversarial conditions; moreover, these systems should be able to effectively reconfigure and adapt to uncertain adversarial impacts. The objective of this research effort is to develop a comprehensive mathematical modeling and algorithmic framework for inherently flexible and reconfigurable operation of networked systems in contested environments. Consequently, this research will enhance autonomous weapon concepts and capabilities, as well as provide optimal network connectivity patterns for multi-agent coordination in contested environments.
This research also addresses the fundamental challenges that arise from integrating data-driven paradigms in settings where agents seek to make strategic decisions in a decentralized manner, and in particular, seek to establish reliable network connections in uncertain and often contested environments. The work expands efforts in modeling the structural behaviors of functioning network models, aimed at facilitating transmission of information for inference and decision-making capabilities, based on fault-tolerant protocol settings. The main thrust of this research is to present design and functionality analyses of autonomous agent-based systems, where each agent dynamically processes the data coming from their connected neighbors and makes local decision or inference about the strategic construction (or revision) of connections for reliable exchange of information across the whole network. In particular, we explore stochastic actor-centered modeling: the framework that was introduced to describe network formation in the social network domain analysis, under the assumption that each actor (here, a networked agent or any rational entity) cooperatively or non-cooperatively makes moves to optimize its objective function based on the structure of its local network, which is comprised of the actor and its nearest neighbors. This research focuses on the aspects of the data-driven paradigm in connection with behavioral-embodied assumptions of the actor-centered network models and aggregation of the information supplied via local agent interactions; and further propagating this information throughout the whole network.


Nonlinear Fiber Optics
Mentor: Trevor Laurence Courtney, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

The Electro-Optics Seeker group is studying nonlinear processes in gas- and liquid-filled hollow-core photonic crystal fiber (HCPCF) to further the development of multispectral lasers for active imaging systems. Stimulated Raman scattering, optical parametric generation, and four-wave mixing in HCPCF are methods under investigation for creating flexible wavelengths in the short-wave and mid infrared spectral regions. The long interaction length and high intensity threshold of HCPCF relative to bulk materials can be used to offset the lower nonlinearities of gases and liquids. Additionally, the spectral and dispersion properties of HCPCF are being explored and incorporated into this laser source development. The group’s research facilities contain pulsed solid-state and fiber lasers, various hollow-core fibers including photonic bandgap and antiresonant HCPCF, gas and liquid fiber fill media, temporal and spectral detection instrumentation, and indoor and outdoor test ranges. Research will include the experimental investigation of nonlinear phenomena and related modeling and data analysis.


Nonlinear optics in gas/liquid filled hollow-core photonic crystal fiber
Mentor: Christian Keith Keyser, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

The Electro-Optics Seeker group is studying nonlinear processes in gas- and liquid-filled hollow-core photonic crystal fiber (HCPCF) to further the development of multispectral lasers for active imaging systems. Stimulated Raman scattering, optical parametric generation, and four-wave mixing in HCPCF are methods under investigation for creating flexible wavelengths in the short-wave and mid infrared spectral regions. The long interaction length and high intensity threshold of HCPCF relative to bulk materials can be used to offset the lower nonlinearities of gases and liquids. Additionally, the spectral and dispersion properties of HCPCF are being explored and incorporated into this laser source development. The group’s research facilities contain pulsed solid-state and fiber lasers, various hollow-core fibers including photonic bandgap and antiresonant HCPCF, gas and liquid fiber fill media, temporal and spectral detection instrumentation and indoor and outdoor laser test ranges. Research will include the experimental investigation of nonlinear phenomena and related modeling and data analysis.


Odor Source Localization
Mentor: Jennifer Talley, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Ph.D.

Biological systems find the source of relevant odors among a background of smells. This is an engineering challenge that humans are still working to accomplish. The task can be broken down into 1) locating a chemical plume being carried by the ambient flow 2) detecting that chemical amongst a host of other chemicals 3) not confusing the relevant chemical with a non-relevant chemical 4) traversing the chemical plumes and 5) determining source location. The challenges include but are not limited to 1) sensor development 2) platform development 3) guidance algorithms. We will work on overcoming some of these challenges in accomplishing some of the tasks outlined above.


Opto-Mechanical Control for Large Field Dynamic Projection Capabilities
Mentor: Joshua Lentz, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate

AFRL/RWWG requires projection capabilities to cover very large Fields of Regard (FOR) with a high resolution fixed Field of View. An innovative method of providing this projection using opto-mechanical systems will provide a compact alternative to the traditional Flight Motion Simulator (FMS) technology currently implemented in hardware in the loop test environments. The FMS is a hydraulically driven mechanical device that physically moves a projection system, introducing a variety of hazards into the laboratory environment. The proposed alternative approach will provide a tech refresh of the lab but will require a brand new set of controls. AFRL/RWWG is seeking an undergraduate student to provide a combination of skills in the development of this invention. The student will work closely with AFRL researchers and other students to provide mathematical analysis, create system models/simulations, develop software control of the mechanical elements, assist in measurements and characterization of components and system as well as to provide documentation.


Opto-Mechanical Control for Large Field Dynamic Projection Capabilities
Mentor: Joshua Lentz, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters

AFRL/RWWG requires projection capabilities to cover very large Fields of Regard (FOR) with a high resolution fixed Field of View. An innovative method of providing this projection using opto-mechanical systems will provide a compact alternative to the traditional Flight Motion Simulator (FMS) technology currently implemented in hardware in the loop test environments. The FMS is a hydraulically driven mechanical device that physically moves a projection system, introducing a variety of hazards into the laboratory environment. The proposed alternative approach will provide a tech refresh of the lab but will require a brand new set of controls. AFRL/RWWG is seeking a graduate student to provide a combination of skills in the development of this invention. The student will work closely with AFRL researchers and other students to provide mathematical analysis, create system models/simulations, develop software control of the mechanical elements, assist in measurements and characterization of components and system as well as to provide documentation.


Plasmonic and Optical Devices
Mentor: Monica Suresh Allen, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: High School

The major objectives of this work are to design, simulate and fabricate plasmonic and micro-/nano-resonant structures and devices for optical and photonics applications. Examples of such structures may include metallic media, semiconductor patterned structures, Fano-resonant antennas, plasmonic metamaterials, or resonant nanocavities. Theoretical models and computational simulations will be developed for these structures to describe the electromagnetic behavior as well as to optimize these devices. The resulting fabrication techniques and modeling methods will lead to new technology for devices that can be tailored for specific detection schemes for optical signal enhancement and detection. It is anticipated that the modeling/fabrication/characterization efforts will be iterative towards the development of a highly sensitive optical platform that is robust and wavelength scalable.


Plasmonic and Optical Devices
Mentor: Monica Suresh Allen, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate

The major objectives of this work are to design, simulate and fabricate plasmonic and micro-/nano-resonant structures and devices for optical and photonics applications. Examples of such structures may include metallic media, semiconductor patterned structures, Fano-resonant antennas, plasmonic metamaterials, or resonant nanocavities. Theoretical models and computational simulations will be developed for these structures to describe the electromagnetic behavior as well as to optimize these devices. The resulting fabrication techniques and modeling methods will lead to new technology for devices that can be tailored for specific detection schemes for optical signal enhancement and detection. It is anticipated that the modeling/fabrication/characterization efforts will be iterative towards the development of a highly sensitive optical platform that is robust and wavelength scalable.


Plasmonic and Optical Devices
Mentor: Monica Suresh Allen, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate

The major objectives of this work are to design, simulate and fabricate plasmonic and micro-/nano-resonant structures and devices for optical and photonics applications. Examples of such structures may include metallic media, semiconductor patterned structures, Fano-resonant antennas, plasmonic metamaterials, or resonant nanocavities. Theoretical models and computational simulations will be developed for these structures to describe the electromagnetic behavior as well as to optimize these devices. The resulting fabrication techniques and modeling methods will lead to new technology for devices that can be tailored for specific detection schemes for optical signal enhancement and detection. It is anticipated that the modeling/fabrication/characterization efforts will be iterative towards the development of a highly sensitive optical platform that is robust and wavelength scalable.


Plasmonic and Optical Devices
Mentor: Monica Suresh Allen, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

The major objectives of this work are to design, simulate and fabricate plasmonic and micro-/nano-resonant structures and devices for optical and photonics applications. Examples of such structures may include metallic media, semiconductor patterned structures, Fano-resonant antennas, plasmonic metamaterials, or resonant nanocavities. Theoretical models and computational simulations will be developed for these structures to describe the electromagnetic behavior as well as to optimize these devices. The resulting fabrication techniques and modeling methods will lead to new technology for devices that can be tailored for specific detection schemes for optical signal enhancement and detection. It is anticipated that the modeling/fabrication/characterization efforts will be iterative towards the development of a highly sensitive optical platform that is robust and wavelength scalable.


Projectile and target interaction
Mentor: Javier Enrique Ahumada, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: High School

During an impact event, there are many variables that can affect the projectile survivability, such as, projectile strength, impact velocity, change in velocity, and target strength. There is some basic material properties such as elasticity, plasticity, shear behavior, hardness, and toughness that can help us predict if the projectile will fail under a given test. Predictions are based in models that after a given experiment will be updated.
During the internship, the student will learn about different types of testing and the material responses for high rate testing and constitutive models. In addition, the student will subject a set of representative post impacted experimental targets (different concrete strength and construction techniques) and post impact projectiles. This information along with measurements of the deceleration profile will be analyzed to determine the likelihood of the projectile penetrating or perforating the target at different velocities. This analysis would give us insight into different target and velocity factors that are important to identify under the test requirements.


Quadrotor Flight Lab: Cooperative Estimation, Unstructured SLAM
Mentor: Kevin Brink, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate

This is a large summer program with multiple PhD and masters students, postdocs, and potentially government contractors, who will be working together at the AFRL/UF REEF flight lab to build up quadrotor system capabilities. There is a need for students with Estimation, Control, and Hardware experience who are comfortable working as part of an interdisciplinary team. Project goals are to develop a hardware/simulation/algorithm suite and related capabilities that allow for proof-of-concept demonstrations of autonomous aerial systems. Emphasis will be placed on GPS-denied cooperative estimation in general and vehicle localization in unstructured environments, including transition between environments (indoor to outdoor, etc.).


Radar imaging implementation for conformal and distributed arrays
Mentor: Ashley Joseph Trowell, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate

Radar imaging is an essential Air Force capability which allows target identification at great distance, day or night, in all weather conditions. Implementation of these imaging techniques in hardware is an essential step in validating simulated results of new techniques, such as cooperative multi platform imaging or range anti-aliasing for conformal antennas. In this project, simulations will be verified by implementing radar imaging algorithms in software defined radar hardware. This will require learning elements of experimental design, radar hardware, digital design, and radar signal processing.


Rubber Chicken
Mentor: Jamie Gantert, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will influence the future of the Air Force. It is our responsibility to quantify the viability of current AI/ML techniques and to facilitate transitioning of robust solutions to meet AF needs. This project is multifaceted. At one spectrum, we would like to develop a Data Science Tool Kit consisting of a library of statistical analysis tools written in C++ and Python programming languages. The development of this toolkit would require optimizing and translating existing code into an organized library capable of being extended for future developments. The other aspect of this project will be centered on using the statistical analysis tools to reveal information within data sets that uniquely identify objects of interests. Potential candidates for this topic should be critical thinkers, analytical, and possess skills in software development, math, and statistics.


Sample Stabilization of HE for Correlative Microstructural Characterization
Mentor: Garrett Olsen, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

The RWMES/AFRL HERD microstructural characterization laboratory’s mission is to document the internal features of pressed or cast polymer-bound and raw energetic materials. These materials in their as-processed state are not mechanically sound and can be easily damaged while handling or during sample preparation for analysis. A project or projects to either stabilize the samples with an external coating (which has no negative effect on the subsequent analysis) or with mechanical supports is critically needed.


Scene Generation and Visualization for Weapon Effects
Mentor: Eric Lewis Scarborough, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

The Lethality, Vulnerability and Survivability Branch is responsible for assessing weapon effects against buildings and vehicle targets. Branch personnel use computer simulations to carry out these assessments. The applicant will learn how to run some of these simulations and how to develop software for use in the Endgame Framework (EF) simulation architecture. The student project will consist of developing modules that can be used in EF to perform various task needed to support development of a scene. One example is a “wiring tool” where users could connect components or buildings to model electrical connections between them.


Signal Processing for Small Airborne Radars
Mentor: Victor Torres, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

Radar seekers enable search, acquisition, and tracking of targets from air-delivered weapons in all-visibility and all-weather conditions. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is a valuable radar imaging mode that provides high resolution, two dimensional images of terrain for extraction of target information. While typical SAR systems are used in trajectories perpendicular to the area of interest, radar seekers require operation in head-on trajectories characterized by higher grazing angles, higher squint angles and steeper dive angles than the traditional geometries. This requires optimization of the signal processing algorithms to offer adequate real time performance for these trajectories while reducing Cost, Size, Weight, and Power (C-SWaP). Improvements in processing engines such as high performance Field Programmable Arrays (FPGAs), General Purpose Processors (GPPs) and Systems on Chips (SoCs) are enabling these optimizations even under tight SWaP constrains. The primary focus of this study will be the implementation and evaluation of optimized SAR image formation algorithms and other similar radar algorithms in programable devices.


Small-scale experiments to characterize explosive initiation
Mentor: Benjamin Raymond Wilde, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

The focus of this project will be conducting, analyzing, and designing experiments to improve understanding of the physical and chemical processes that occur during initiation of military explosives. Detailed understanding of explosive initiation is critical to design effective, reliable, and safe fuzing systems. The scholar selected for this project will work closely with research engineers and technicians to support ongoing experimental efforts designed to characterize the properties and performance of different explosive formulations. Experiments may include initiation threshold experiments designed to determine the minimum input required to initiate detonation, small-scale planar impact experiments to characterize the unreacted equation of state, and photon doppler velocimetry measurements of electrically driven flyer plates. The scholar will be expected to analyze and report results and will have the opportunity to contribute to technical publications based on the work performed.


STEM Outreach
Mentor: Angela Spence Diggs, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: High School, Professional Educator, Upper-level Undergraduate

Florida panhandle schools, the Doolittle Institute, and the AFRL/RW have a robust partnership to deliver Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) lessons to K-12 classrooms. The I LOVE Science (ILS) program specifically targets K-5 grade classrooms with 1 hour lessons taught once a month. The ILS lesson plans tie directly to state standards for mathematics and science and include a volunteer handout, teacher information sheet, and student datasheets. It is the goal of AFRL/RW, in collaboration with Doolittle Institute, to extend the ILS lessons to include 6-8 grades. In this project, the Professional Educator will be requested to (1) review FL state standards for 6-8 grades, (2) identify complementary standards, and (3) develop one-hour ILS lessons for use in 6-8 grade classrooms. The Professional Educator may also help with several STEM camps targeting outreach to 3-10 grades or prepare for the FIRST Lego League season.


STEM Outreach
Mentor: Lauren Danielle Bierman, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: High School

The Doolittle Institute manages FIRST Robotics for K-12th graders in 16 counties across the panhandle of Florida. This involves supporting 300 robotics teams, and managing over 30 events. During the summer months Doolittle Institute also provides challenging week long STEM camps for rising 6th – 10th grade students. In this project, AFRL Scholars would assist with preparation for FIRST robotics teams by managing and preparing materials as well as creating curriculum. Scholars would also assist in preparing curriculum and leading lessons in the STEM camps.


STEM Outreach
Mentor: Lauren Danielle Bierman, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate

The Doolittle Institute manages FIRST Robotics for K-12th graders in 16 counties across the panhandle of Florida. This involves supporting 300 robotics teams, and managing over 30 events. During the summer months Doolittle Institute also provides challenging week long STEM camps for rising 6th – 10th grade students. In this project, AFRL Scholars would assist with preparation for FIRST robotics teams by managing and preparing materials as well as creating curriculum. Scholars would also assist in preparing curriculum and leading lessons in the STEM camps.


STEM Outreach
Mentor: Lauren Danielle Bierman, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: High School, Masters, Professional Educator, Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate

The Doolittle Institute manages FIRST Robotics for K-12th graders in 16 counties across the panhandle of Florida. This involves supporting 300 robotics teams, and managing over 30 events. During the summer months Doolittle Institute also provides challenging week long STEM camps for rising 6th – 10th grade students. In this project, AFRL Scholars would assist with preparation for FIRST robotics teams by managing and preparing materials as well as creating curriculum. Scholars would also assist in preparing curriculum and leading lessons in the STEM camps.


STEM Outreach
Mentor: Jennifer Stacy Kiel, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: High School

The Doolittle Institute manages FIRST Robotics for K-12th graders in 16 counties across the panhandle of Florida. This involves supporting 300 robotics teams, and managing over 30 events. During the summer months Doolittle Institute provides challenging week long STEM camps for rising 6th-10th grade students. In this project, AFRL Scholars would assist with preparation for FIRST robotics teams by managing and preparing materials as well as creating curriculum. Scholars would also assist in preparing curriculum and leading lessons in the STEM camps.


STEM Outreach
Mentor: Jennifer Stacy Kiel, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate

The Doolittle Institute manages FIRST Robotics for K-12th graders in 16 counties across the panhandle of Florida. This involves supporting 300 robotics teams, and managing over 30 events. During the summer months Doolittle Institute also provides challenging week long STEM camps for rising 6th-10th grade students. In this project, AFRL Scholars would assist with preparation for FIRST robotics teams by managing and preparing materials as well as creating curriculum. Scholars would also assist in preparing curriculum and leading lessons in the STEM camps.


STEM Outreach
Mentor: Jennifer Stacy Kiel, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: High School, Masters, Professional Educator, Lower-level Undergraduate, Upper-level Undergraduate

The Doolittle Institute manages FIRST Robotics for K-12th graders in 16 counties across the panhandle of Florida. This involves supporting 300 robotics teams, and managing over 30 events. During the summer months Doolittle Institute also provides challenging week long STEM camps for rising 6th-10th grade students. In this project, AFRL Scholars would assist with preparation for FIRST robotics teams by managing and preparing materials as well as creating curriculum. Scholars would also assist in preparing curriculum and leading lessons in the STEM camps.


Structural Analysis and Weapon Effects on Structural Components
Mentor: Bryan Thomas Bewick, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters

The Lethality, Vulnerability and Survivability Branch is responsible for assessing weapon effects against buildings and vehicle targets. Branch personnel use computer simulations to carry out these assessments. The applicant will learn about developing target structures, performing response analyses for weapon-target structure interaction (WTI) scenarios, and developing strategies for collapse analyses of damaged structures. The applicant will be challenged to develop new methodologies for target structure development, WTI scenarios, and damaged structure stability. Applicants should have structural analysis backgrounds, with some experience of structural dynamics and progressive collapse.


sUAS Acoustic Signature Reduction
Mentor: Steven McClendon, Industry Internships
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D., Upper-level Undergraduate

The growing prevalence of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) has resulted in a wide array of commercial platforms that provide dual-use capabilities for the Department of Defense. However, commercially developed sUAS do not always meet DoD specific requirements. For instance, Special Operations Forces require sUAS that can accomplish their mission without being seen or heard. The goal of this project is to study, design, and test a rotor for a commercial sUAS that will decrease the acoustic signature while maintaining endurance and payload performance. Rotor design analysis may include CFD, FEM, and Aeroacoustic modeling tools. The student will be responsible for laying out a study plan, conducting the analysis and testing, and documenting the results in a written report. Students will be trained on equipment and be expected to work as a team with technicians and engineers to accomplish testing.


Swarm Autonomous Behavior
Mentor: Ken David Blackburn, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

Intern will work on swarm autonomous behavior. Intern will review literature and current work and analysis at AFRL/RW. Work will be coding/software and software/hardware integration focused.


Target Geometric Model Development of Susceptible Components
Mentor: Robert Patrick Bush, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: High School

The goal of this effort is to develop non-existing 3D CAD Target Geometric Models (TGM) that represent various critical components used in various military vehicle systems or structures. The work would require research into component details such as dimensions, mass, and material properties. Additionally, the effort may require fieldwork to obtain measurements of selected components of interest. The mentor will work with the AFRL Scholar to ensure that the TGM will meet the target description standards for ballistic survivability that were create by the Army Research Laboratory and is used by AFRL. The TGM generated will be added to a database of existing components that can be used to merge with other TGM to create a full target model of interest.


Topology Optimization for Efficient Structural Design and Additive Manufacturing
Mentor: Philip Flater, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters, Ph.D.

A goal of the AFRL Munitions Directorate is to develop ordnance structures with increased energy density, improved survivability, and tunable output. However, it is a challenge to optimize a structure under transient loads, based on multiple constraints and objectives, all while ensuring feasibility of manufacturing. Therefore, the objective of this project is to establish a systematic process for the design, fabrication, and testing of optimized structures. Design will be accomplished for benchmark problem sets using topology optimization (TO) and finite element computational tools. Test articles will be fabricated using additive manufacturing (AM). Mechanical property testing will be conducted in a laboratory using low strain rate and/or high strain rate testing hardware. Students will be responsible for running the design problem using existing and/or advanced, customizable TO tools. Students will be trained on AM equipment and be expected to work as a team with technicians and scientists to accomplish tasks related to mechanical property testing.


Virtual/Augmented Reality Model Generation System
Mentor: Eric Lewis Scarborough, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

The Lethality, Vulnerability and Survivability Branch is responsible for assessing weapon effects against buildings and vehicle targets. Branch personnel use computer simulations to carry out these assessments. The applicant will learn about these simulations and be challenged with developing software to develop an interactive environment where users can create building models, enter them and place components in the building. This project will be hoisted on Augmented and/or Virtual Reality devices like the Oculus Rift and/or the Microsoft HoloLens.


Vision-Aided Navigation Algorithm Development and Research
Mentor: Pamela Card, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Upper-level Undergraduate

The goal of this project is to use image processing techniques help an aerial vehicle determine its position in the world. The use of vision-aided navigation algorithms are one of many methods to enable aircraft and weapons to navigate in areas where Global Positioning System (GPS) signals may be degraded or denied. The Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) has been developing such algorithms for geo-localization of aerial vehicles. Cameras onboard the aircraft are used to identify and track features on the ground to estimate vehicle motion, and the images may also be matched to a database of aerial imagery to estimate vehicle position. Many of these algorithms have primarily focused on visible-spectrum imagery, however similar techniques could be used on IR or SAR imagery as well. This project may involve new algorithm development or modification of existing algorithms. This project could also include algorithm optimization.


Vision-Aided Navigation Algorithm Development and Research
Mentor: Pamela Card, Munitions
Location: Eglin
Academic Level: Masters

The goal of this project is to use image processing techniques help an aerial vehicle determine its position in the world. The use of vision-aided navigation algorithms are one of many methods to enable aircraft and weapons to navigate in areas where Global Positioning System (GPS) signals may be degraded or denied. The Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) has been developing such algorithms for geo-localization of aerial vehicles. Cameras onboard the aircraft are used to identify and track features on the ground to estimate vehicle motion, and the images may also be matched to a database of aerial imagery to estimate vehicle position. Many of these algorithms have primarily focused on visible-spectrum imagery, however similar techniques could be used on IR or SAR imagery as well. This project may involve new algorithm development or modification of existing algorithms. This project could also include algorithm optimization.