United States Air Force Academy

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Department of Engineering Mechanics


Bringing New Capabilities to Warfighters Before Commissioning

During their first-class, or senior year, cadets use their engineering knowledge in a capstone course, building and testing solutions to meet the needs of various Air Force and private customers.

These projects cover a variety of areas of study within the mechanical engineering discipline. These capstone design projects can even result in cadets obtaining patents for their designs! Projects have included:

  • Innovative unmanned aerial system (UAS) launch and recovery systems
  • Counter UAS solutions
  • Munition enhancement solutions
  • Collateral damage minimization
  • Novel usage of robotics and UASs for defeat of hard and deeply buried targets
  • Additive manufacturing (3-D printing) used to enhance explosive ordinance disposal missions for Special Operations troops
  • Innovative devices to remove arterial blockages in limbs

Each year, cadets are presented with a list of opportunities to engage with real Air Force and private customers on current capability needs. Cadets are able to choose the projects which they are most passionate and excited to tackle. Mechanical Engineering cadets bring new capabilities to our warfighters before they even commission!