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Georgia, WRALC join forces to bring prosperity to base, state

Robins AFB, Ga. -- Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue joined Maj. Gen. Tom Owen, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center commander, March 20, to announce the first joint venture between an air logistics center and its state government.

"This historic agreement represents the State of Georgia's first formal research and development partnership with the United States Air Force," Governor Perdue said. "We are excited about the opportunity to provide the Air Force easier access to the innovative technologies being developed by research universities and companies right here in Georgia."

Robins has joined with the state of Georgia to provide Georgia businesses the opportunity to win U.S. Air Force contracts through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement.

The CRADA will not only benefit Georgia businesses interested in gaining a defense contract, but it will allow the WRALC to gain valuable expertise from both the academic community and from private industry in Georgia.

"CRADA may prove to be one of the greatest partnerships our center has ever embarked upon," said, Maj. Gen. Tom Owen, WRALC commander. "Technical challenges are plentiful for an industrial complex like Robins. With CRADA, I'm confident solutions will become commonplace. I believe CRADA will help us leverage the best from government, industry and academia to achieve maximum value for our worldwide mission."

Under the partnership the Georgia Aerospace Innovation Center in Warner Robins and the Engineering Directorate of the WRALC will be the primary contacts. The AIC will lead a group of private companies that will collaborate with University System of Georgia researchers to provide solutions to technological challenges.

"This is an opportunity to try to tap into some of the cutting edge technology across the state," said Greg Sutton, a mechanical engineer at Robins.

The design of the alliance allows smaller companies to be given information about what technological issues the center is facing and what solutions are needed, Mr. Sutton said.

"We are proud that AIC will play a leading role in rallying Georgia's deep resources in aerospace and aviation technology to support Warner Robins and our military forces," said Nick Fuhrman, director of the AIC. "This is a great opportunity to showcase our technology sector's ability to provide fast, off-the-shelf solutions for the USAF."

The alliance will result in benefits for the state such as an increase in available jobs, revenue and companies and will provide enhanced technology to the WRALC and the other Air Force air logistics centers, said Lt. Col. Frank Dement, Air Force Research Laboratory commanders representative to the air logistics centers.

The new agreement encourages businesses that traditionally don't compete for defense contracts to offer developments and strategies to the center, Mr. Sutton said.

The alliance will also allow technologies developed for commercial applications to be applied to defense needs, which will reduce the cost of the product for all because there are more uses for it, Mr. Sutton said.

The technologies that emerge through the alliance could be used by various groups on base and applied to various missions such as support for various aircraft, weapons systems, missiles, remotely piloted vehicles, support equipment, electronic warfare, avionics' systems and all Air Force helicopters.

However, emerging technology will not be the only thing gained through the program. The agreement also allows enhancements to processes and work-flow to be gained through CRADA.

Other, Air Force air logistic centers are considering implementing similar programs between their center and the state they reside in, Colonel Dement said. 

For more information on CRADA, click here.