Located on the southwestern edge of California’s Sacramento Valley, Travis Air Force Base is both massive and historic. The giant bombers of the Strategic Air Command flew from here; now the 60th Air Mobility Wing hosts huge C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III transports, and KC-10 Extender refuelers. The nearly 6,400-acre base is the No. 1 military air terminal in the U.S. for handling cargo and passenger traffic. More than 11,500 active and reserve personnel, nearly 4,000 civilians and 1,700-plus buildings support transport, refueling and humanitarian missions. There’s even a 200-plus bed medical center.
Keeping aircraft and airmen safe at Travis is a priority—one with an unfortunate precedent. In 2018, a minivan filled with ignited propane tanks rammed through the base’s main gate and drove into a ditch. The driver died in the resulting explosion.
The quest for a protective edge has led to deployment of the first automated drone-based monitoring and perimeter security system for a United States Air Force installation. The free-flying Smart Aerial Monitoring System (SAMS) and the tethered SAMS-T are automated eye-in-the-sky solutions from Brooklyn-based Easy Aerial.
Slightly rechristened by the Air Force as the Smart (Air Force) Monitoring System and the SAFMS-T, their rollout represents a two-year collaboration done under Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs, conforming to security and situational awareness requirements.