FORT BRAGG, NC—The 82nd Airborne Division has a longstanding tradition of forging the way forward, and changing how Soldiers shoot, move, and communicate. The Airborne Innovation Lab (AIL) continues with that tradition, transforming what tactical innovation means by providing Paratroopers with the tools required to prepare for the future battlefield.
Paratroopers, academic, and industrial partners all came together to celebrate the ceremonial ribbon cutting and AIL Open House, highlighting just some of the limitless capabilities of the AIL.
The 82nd Airborne Division has a unique mission set as the core of the Immediate Response Force, meant to deploy in 18 hours to any crisis around the world. Therefore, no one understands the problems of the Division like the Paratroopers it is comprised of. The Airborne Innovation Lab is there to give resources to the Paratroopers to solve problems at their level and build a culture of innovation across the division.
The Airborne Innovation Lab offers a wide range of capabilities to do just that, including robotics equipment, 3D printing, a woodshop, textile station, and computer lab. In addition to the physical infrastructure, the AIL will be offering courses to enable Paratroopers who may not be familiar with the equipment or with the skills to design and prototype on their own.
The Airborne Innovation Lab is just one of three Design, Innovation, Research, and Technology (DIRT) labs funded by Army Research Labs through the Catalyst-Pathfinder program to enable tactical-level innovation.
Dr. Patrick Baker, the director of the Army Research Lab, said the Airborne Innovation Lab provides a critical step in tactical innovation by connecting the Warfighter with the resources and expertise.
He said, "it's an opportunity to really collide the operational complexity with the science that we do in the academic community to help accelerate solutions."
The Airborne Innovation Lab is open Monday-Friday from 1000-1600.