DRIVE Consortium Launches

The Ohio Aerospace Institute receives $49 million award from US Air Force for digital transformation project

Cleveland, OH – The Ohio Aerospace Institute (OAI) has announced that it is the recipient of an award with a value of $49,075,000 from the U.S. Air Force to be used for managing a consortium of industry and academia members that will collaboratively ignite an enterprise-wide digital transformation of the Department of the Air Force’s processes.

The six-year agreement seeks to establish and operate a consortium that facilitates the U.S. Air Force’s commitment to the transformation of digital practices across its acquisition, operations, and sustainment enterprises. Called “DRIVE – Digital Research, Innovation, Validation & Experimentation,” the consortium will be executed by OAI in collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), establishing an ecosystem for mitigating transformation risks in U.S. Air Force programs and activities.

The consortium will focus on fostering collaboration between U.S. Air Force organizations, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), technology providers, academia, and other government agencies, managing the development and demonstration of processes, tools, and architectures supporting transformed acquisition and sustainment, and identifying critical business, policy, and cultural constraints.

OAI is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)3 Ohio-based corporation, founded in 1989, with financial support from the Ohio state government and vision of the NASA Lewis Research Center Director and Ohio Senator John Glenn. It is the first NASA/Department of Defense associated collaborative institute chartered to foster relationships between universities, aerospace industries, and government organizations. OAI maintains strong partnerships with U.S. Government laboratories, the State of Ohio, Ohio research universities, and the aerospace industry, and it has a lengthy history of building and managing collaborations, consortia, and public-private partnerships.

OAI President and CEO, Dr. John M. Sankovic, said, “We are honored to have been chosen by the United States Air Force to lead this effort. The Ohio Aerospace Institute excels in bringing together industry, government, and academia to solve tough problems, and we are excited to bring our expertise to assist in the digital transformation of the U.S. Air Force.”

Over its 33 years of existence OAI has developed and managed numerous consortia comprised of world leading industry and academic partners to support strategic efforts such as this for the Department of Defense, NASA, Department of Commerce, and private industry.

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Manufacturing and Industrial Technologies Division has a seventy-year history of driving substantial changes into the AF industrial base, including computer-aided manufacturing, lean production, and digital thread. The division has long-standing technical and programmatic leadership roles in most of the network of Manufacturing USA innovation institutes.

The AFRL Program manager for DRIVE is Mr. Brench Boden ( OAI’s program manager is Mr. Bob Dirgo (