REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (June 23, 2022) – Happy anniversary, Prototype Integration Facility.
Commonly known as “the PIF,” the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center facility celebrated 20 years of innovation June 22 with an open house complete with cake, historical exhibits and camaraderie. There were familiar faces in the crowd, as current employees interacted with the original team, who were honored as special guests for the day.
It is impossible to quantify the impact the PIF has made over the past two decades. The government-owned, government-operated, contractor-supported facility’s scope reaches far beyond its early days, when it was created by combining the Prototype Engineering Directorate - also known as Skunk Works -- and the Engineering Analysis Prototype Lab.
“I’ve had personal experience, as a customer of the AvMC Prototype Integration Facility, when I was a PEO Aviation product manager, and was very happy with the product they provided for our Army aviation Soldiers,” said Col. Steven Ansley, DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center military deputy. “They are an Army asset that can -- and has -- rapidly designed, fabricated and integrated hardware into prototypes with demonstrable and relevant capability, to meet the most compelling and urgent needs of the Army’s aviation and missile Soldiers.”
The Larry O. Daniel Prototype Integration Facility opened its doors in 2002, its name paying tribute to Dr. Larry Daniel, director of the engineering directorate for the Research, Development and Engineering Center, now known as DEVCOM AvMC.
Daniel began his career at Redstone as an Auburn University co-op student and later was part of the NASA team at Marshall Space Flight Center who worked on the moon landing. He held multiple positions within the then-Missile Command and Program Executive Office for Aviation organizations before moving to the RD&E Center. During his illustrious career, he was awarded the Senior Executive Presidential Rank Award. Daniel was an early champion of the idea of creating a PIF, but passed away in 2000 before it was realized.
Program Lead Dan Murrey has been with the PIF since day one.
“The days have changed vastly; it was the wild, wild west back then,” he said. “Today, we are much more mature and have grown exponentially.”
Murrey said that change was a constant for the PIF, as it has adapted over the years to meet the Army’s rapid prototyping needs, as warfare continues to modernize. In recent years, additive manufacturing has moved to the forefront of the PIF’s mission.
“Know that you made a difference,” said Stan Sherrod, principal deputy for AvMC’s Software, Simulation, Systems Engineering and Integration Directorate, addressing the crowd. “You made a difference completing the mission and bringing people home safely.”
In a celebration that reminisced fondly of the past with plenty of stories to share, the PIF’s Associate Director Allen Waldran looked forward for the team.
“I can’t wait to see where we go in the future,” Waldran said.
The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.