Corpus Christi Army Depot

Pictured (L to R): Keith Small, Phuong Do, Dale McClanahan (Army Leadership Excellence and Acquisition Development), John Tomblin, Shawn Ehrstein (WSU-NIAR), Cindy Ponder (Army FVL-CFT), Scott Phillips (Army AMCOM-ALD), Pierre Harter, Brian Brown (WSU-NIAR)


Following up a recent visit to The Corpus Christi Army Depot, a team from the U.S. Army Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team (FVL CFT), Wichita State University’s (WSU) National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) and experts from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) visited Letterkenny Army Depot recently. 

The group explored areas of potential future research in collaboration with FirePoint Innovations Center and toured many of the installation’s production areas.  Existing opportunities that are analogous to future FVL sustainment challenges are being chosen where applicable to help demonstrate new technology for FVL while also making an impact on today’s existing fleets. 

“Our modernization efforts within the Organic Industrial Base (OIB) are automating repetitive and mundane tasks with advanced robotics technology reducing time and cost and increasing performance,” said Cindy Ponder, FVL CFT senior sustainment advisor. “Our partnership with WSU-NIAR will ensure that the OIB becomes a viable and competitive source of repair.”

“We’re excited to utilize our robotics and automation experience to make the OIB more efficient in its sustainment mission,” said Pierre Harter, WSU associate V.P. of research operations and NIAR director of R&D.

“We are proud to be partnering with the Army to provide robust technology demonstrators and solutions,” said John Tomblin, WSU senior V.P. for Industry and Defense Programs and NIAR executive director.

About NIAR
NIAR provides research, testing, certification and training for aviation and manufacturing technologies. Established in 1985, NIAR has a +$125 million annual budget; 850 staff and nearly one million square feet of laboratory and office space in four locations across the city of Wichita, the Air Capital of the World. NIAR laboratories include Additive Manufacturing, Advanced Coatings, Advanced Manufacturing, Aging Aircraft, Ballistics/Impact Dynamics, CAD/CAM, Composites/Advanced Materials, Crash Dynamics, Environmental/ Electromagnetic Test, Full-scale Structural Test, Nondestructive Test, Reverse Engineering, Robotics/Automation, Virtual Engineering, eXtended Reality and the Walter H. Beech Wind Tunnel.