100th LRS Airmen integrate new RFID Tracking System

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alvaro Villagomez
  • 100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
The 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment shop at Royal Air Force Mildenhall is responsible for a crucial task that involves the inventory and tracking of weapons. Each year, thousands of hours are dedicated to this tedious process placing a substantial burden on manpower resources through the loss of time.

In response to this situation, a team of dedicated Airmen from the 100th LRS have successfully developed and integrated a cutting-edge software, utilizing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking chips, resulting in a 75% reduction of investment of time and manpower at RAF Mildenhall.

“We received these small RFID chips that we can attach to each of the weapons we have in our armories, making it easier for us to manage and track,” said Airman 1st Class Stephen Jones, 100th LRS individual protective equipment apprentice. “The process is pretty simple, all we have to do is scan these tracking chips into our system and it’ll display every weapon we have inventoried with all the information such as serial numbers, location and what type of weapon it is.”

The key component of this innovative solution is the use of RFID tracking chips provided by a third-party company.

“This innovation allows us to track our weapons at any point in time and log them into our inventory,” said Staff Sgt. Tommie Hudson, 100th LRS individual protective equipment supervisor.”

The RFID tracking chips ensure that weapons are not lost and can be easily located if needed. The implementation of the RFID tracking system has yielded significant benefits for the Air Force by enhancing the security, accountability, and reducing overall manpower spent allocating for these weapons.

“It has saved the Air Force an estimated $45,000 and has reduced our time spent inventorying the weapons by over half of what it was before the innovation.” Said Hudson.

In addition the innovation has reduced an overall of 10,000 hours of manpower. It takes four days to complete a full inventory of the weapons, but with the new process it can be accomplished in 45 minutes. This tremendous improvement is attributed to the efficiency and accuracy of the RFID tracking system.

“This is my second time being a weapons custodian, and my previous base didn’t have a tracking system, so it was a bit of a struggle trying to manage and keep track of all the weapons with the little information we had,” said Hudson. “Now with this new system, it’s a lot easier to keep track of everything. I now know when certain weapons are deployed out, where they are in certain buildings and how many weapons we have at different locations.”

The funding for this project was secured through Spark Tank 2023, a funding competition for innovative ideas, where the 100th LRS won second place.

It took two years of hard work and perseverance to successfully launch and integrate the RFID tracking chips into the wing’s operation, Hudson added.

“This innovation has made a very big impact for our squadron, operations and all the Airmen at LRS,” said Jones. “The effort and time we put into this innovation was all worth it in the end. It makes the lives of my wingmen easier, and gives us the opportunity to develop something that can change the way we operate for the better.”

One of the numerous objectives of the U.S. Air Force is to support and enable Airmen throughout the organization in discovering effective approaches to fulfilling their mission. The innovation of the RFID tracking system could not have been completed without the dedication and determination of the Airmen involved. RAF Mildenhall has established a culture that aims to facilitate the success of Airmen like Hudson and Jones by offering them the necessary resources, training, and opportunities.