Spark Tank

Spark Tank

Unleashing the innovative capacity of our Airmen

Spark Tank — the Department’s capstone innovation campaign co-produced by Rich Lombardi, Air Force deputy chief management officer, and AFWERX — unleashes the innovative capacity of Airmen and Guardians, reflecting leadership’s continued efforts to empower intrepreneurs, celebrate their problem-solving skills and give them a stage to share their projects with fellow service members and the world.

Finalists are selected based on specific capabilities as well as concerns of safety, policy, Air Force-wide implementation, technical feasibility and scalability. Spark Tank offers the opportunity to get their ideas in front of key enabling agencies that can share expertise and resources such as funding or personnel for the projects being presented and demonstrate pathways for intrepreneurs to make their initiatives successful.

"Our Airmen need us to integrate and accelerate the changes necessary to explore new operational concepts and bring more rapidly the capabilities that will help them in the future fights. To do this, we must . . . place capability in warfighters’ hands faster—through innovation, experimentation and rapid prototyping, and a collaborative approach with our service and industry teammates.”

- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr.

Watch Spark Tank 2021

As the curtain closes on another awe-inspiring Spark Tank, this year had a few notable differences, the first being a completely virtual stage, hosted by Air Force Association Virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium. However, even though the Spark Tank ideators were separated by thousands of miles, they brought their A-game to Spark Tank 2021 presenting their Air Force and Space Force senior leaders with awe-inspiring ideas that will revolutionize the Air Force and Space Force as we know it.

This year’s winner C-130 Wheel Repair (MSgt. Justin Bauer-ACC, Davis-Monthan AFB) presented a novel concept that helps produce more wheels, save taxpayers money, and keep C-130's flying. MSgt. Bauer gets to take home bragging rights and the coveted Spark Tank Trophy; however, each of the five finalists have received “go-do’s” from senior leadership and are in the process of working with the Spark Tank team to get their ideas implemented Air Force and Space Force wide.

The Fan Favorite winning team Viper Hot Refuel Team (MSgt. Jason Yunker, MSgt. Timothy Peters, USAFE, Spangdahlem AB) won the hearts of viewers and had the highest votes via our poll. With over 1,000 viewers watching day-of, MSgt. Yunker and MSgt. Peters were popular in their idea to turn the runway into a racetrack style hot pit.

What Happens Next?

All Spark Tank Semi-Finalists and Finalists have received "go-do's" by senior leadership to make their ideas a reality in the Air Force and Space Force. This means that once the stage lights dim and the Spark Tank competition is over, our innovators get hard at work continuing to refine and test their ideas with our Spark Tank team connecting them to the people necessary to support validation, refinement, and further investment decisions and identifying resources, like the right color of money and “investor,” available to assist. The best of these ideas, when ready, will be piloted in an appropriate Air and or Space Force setting and then scaled up to be leveraged across military bases globally. This process is designed to help the entire Department of the Air Force, through innovation, experimentation, and a collaborative approach with our service and industry teammates, to be more flexible and ready for the future high-end fight.

Innovation Stories

Spark Tank 2021 encourages leadership to support Airmen ideas

As part of this effort, the wing and major command with the most number of ideas submitted by the end of the campaign will be recognized for mobilizing their organization to contribute to the Air Force's innovation mission.

Two teams tie to win Spark Tank 2020

For the first time, two teams tied to as winners of the Spark Tank 2020 competition at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium.

Air Force announces Spark Tank 2020 selectees

As the Air Force continues to build an organizational culture that empowers intrepreneurs, it doesn’t hurt to celebrate them and give them a stage to share their projects too.

Spark Tank Finalist: Luke Airmen, ASU partner to enhance F-35 training

Two 56th Operations Support Squadron Airmen and an Arizona State University student are one of six teams who are finalists in the Air Force's third annual Spark Tank competition.

Reserve Citizen Airmen among Spark Tank 2020 selectees

Reserve Citizen Airmen Master Sgt. Robert Tingle and Master Sgt. Roy Puchalski are among six finalists selected to share their innovative ideas directly with Air Force leaders for Spark Tank 2020.

Brou Gautier

Capability Lead, Spark Tank

"Today I am finishing up my E-Procure training, and I really enjoyed it...the new additions from last month, adding in the panels, were great! Thank you for allowing me to participate in the training and I look forward to continuing to use your product." 

TSgt Christopher Anderson,

KC-135 Aircraft Maintenance Craftsman

Get Involved

Spark Tank 2021 over, but Air Force innovation never stops. Sign-up for the API platform to join our community of over 70,000 innovators from across the Air Force.

2021 Winner

    Meet the Innovative Approach to C-130 Wheel Repair

  • justin-bauer's photo

    Master Sgt. Justin Bauer

2021 Finalists

    Meet the Next Gen Debrief Augmented Reality Debrief Environment

  • justin-bauer's photo

    1st Lt. Daniel Treece

  • Maj. Kevin Hawkins's photo

    Maj. Kevin Hawkins

    Meet the Improving Commander’s Support Staff Workflow with Office 365

  • Col. Thomas Swoveland's photo

    Col. Thomas Swoveland

  • Ms. Crystal Kelley's photo

    Ms. Crystal Kelley

  • Tech. Sgt. Ananias Ross's photo

    Tech. Sgt. Ananias Ross

  • Mr. Anthony Apodaca's photo

    Mr. Anthony Apodaca

  • Mr. Bryan Gilbrech's photo

    Mr. Bryan Gilbrech

    Meet the Inner Ear Bone Conduction Communication

  • MSGT. Chris Pettingill's photo

    Master Sgt. Chris Pettingill

    Meet the Viper Hot Refuel Kit Team

  • MSGT. Jason Yunker's photo

    Master Sgt. Jason Yunker

  • MSGT. Timothy Peters's photo

    Master Sgt. Timothy Peters