Maj. Kyle McAlpin, AIA MagNav liaison, expressed enthusiasm for the successful outcome, stating, “Every pilot fears single points of failure. Our strategy documents lament the DoD’s over-reliance on GPS, a single point of failure in our ability to navigate precisely. The next fight demands unassailable positioning and navigation. We can achieve that by augmenting GPS with alternatives like celestial navigation, signals of opportunity, visual navigation, and magnetic navigation. This week, we took an important step towards making one of those modalities a reality by transitioning MagNav from the minds of MIT and MIT Lincoln Laboratory onto an operational aircraft, blazing the trail for our sister services and expansion to new platforms.”
On the same demonstration sorties, the AIA MagNav team secured flight approval for its Small Business Innovation Research transition partner, SandboxAQ, to deploy its quantum magnetometer eight months ahead of timeline.
“SandboxAQ has seen great value in our partnership with Major McAlpin’s team at the Air Force AI Accelerator. Together, we’re pushing the boundaries of quantum sensing. We look forward to making quantum navigation solutions a reality for American and allied aviators in the near future,” said Jen Sovada, SandboxAQ Public Sector president.
The successful demonstration of MagNav on the C-17 marks a significant milestone in advancing navigation capabilities for the U.S. Air Force. The groundbreaking collaboration between AIA, MIT, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and other partners paves the way for further innovation in navigation technologies, benefiting not only the Air Force but also the broader aviation community.