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NEWS | July 8, 2021

Joint Base Charleston Port Dawgs Team with Air Force Research Lab on Digital Transformation Effort to Field RHINO App

Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs Office

$9B. That’s the value of the Air Force’s diverse and mission critical ground vehicle fleet. From firetrucks to forklifts, patrol cars to passenger busses, everyday across the Air Force Airmen leverage a multi-billion dollar general and special purpose vehicle fleet to accomplish their mission. Thanks to the game-changing efforts of Joint Base Charleston’s Port Dawgs working with the Air Force Research Lab’s Information Directorate, the manual process for completing the vehicle inspection and keeping the fleet ready is about to go digital and enter the 21st century. It’s all thanks to the Real-time Hybrid IoT Networked Operations app.


“The RHINO app is amazing. It helps us execute safe and effective vehicle inspections, captures mission critical information and allows us to manage the entire vehicle fleet in real time from an intuitive dashboard,” shared TSgt Kevin Cassidy, 437th Aerial Port Squadron Vehicle NCOIC. “For context, just in the Aerial Port, 387th Port Dawgs across three shifts operate and manage 64 vehicles ranging from 60K aircraft cargo loaders, 10K All Terrain Forklifts, F-350 stake bed trucks, and various passenger busses. Each of these vehicles have to be inspected to ensure safe and effective operations while maintaining the health of the fleet. RHINO is a win-win in that it supports the Airman on the ground and also feeds clean data to the strategic enterprise level -- eventually in every Air Force unit that operates a vehicle.”


Designed and conceptualized in partnership with AFRL’s Information Directorate’s Warfighter Integration Branch and Air Mobility Command’s AEGIS Innovation Team, RHINO is one of over a dozen apps the lab has developed across the DOGTAG portfolio to deliver digital capability to Airmen on the flight line. “We leverage agile software delivery practices to empathize the warfighter’s needs, putting them at the forefront of the development process. We employ a 2-week sprint development cycle which enables rapid code deployment to allow for immediate end-user feedback. This hacks the traditional process for software development and links acquisition and developer entities with the frontlines.


“Technologies like RHINO are a critical first step in capturing vital mission data in a digital format at the logistics edge,” remarked 1st Lt. Justin Davis, AFRL deputy program manager.  


“We are 100% willing and eager partners in this venture to bring needed capability to our Port Dawgs,” says Chief Master Sgt. Jeremy Fisher, 437th APS superintendent. “This tool gives us instant awareness of fleet issues across the port. We are excited for the day wherein a technology like RHINO will allow us to proactively schedule maintenance, track the vehicle ETIC status and have real time awareness on the return of the asset to our Airmen!”


“We are proud of our collaboration with AFRL to test RHINO and other technologies within the DOGTAG portfolio,” stated Col. Robert Lankford, 437th Airlift Wing commander. “Our Airmen don’t stop at the first roadblock and instead find a way to yes -- the same goes for the professionals at AFRL. We’re excited to continue to solve challenges and Accelerate Change!”