May 16, 2022

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Future Technology

Behind the Lines: Robins’ Software Engineering Group

Robins is using new off-base facilities to attract a younger generation of employees.

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — Inside Robins Air Force Base’s Blue Sky facility in downtown Macon, you’ll find rows of computers, stylish sitting areas, modern décor, and walls covered in writing. 

While it seems like a laid-back place, members of Robins’ Software Engineering Group are busy working on just about every defense system in the Air Force.

“We’re constantly developing software and new capabilities to these aircraft,” said Phillip Rowan. “It could be new sensors, it could be new displays, any upgrades they’re going to do to maintain the relevance of these aircraft.”

He says things have definitely changed since he started working with the group 17 years ago.

“When I started off in the group it was between 500-600 employees, and we’re now over 1,500,” said Rowan.

All the employees are spread out between Robins, the Blue Sky facility, and a similar space called Project Synergy in Warner Robins.

Rowan says the off-base spaces help attract younger talent, like Malik Freeman.

“This is the dream software setup,” said Freeman. “Everybody’s helpful and getting to support the warfighter mission, like seeing what one code can change and make a huge impact.”

That impact will continue to grow with evolving technology, especially with new software-driven planes like drones and the F-35 fighter jet.

“We’ve done some stuff with augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning, just constantly learning how we can adapt,” said Rowan.

The software engineering group also offers internships, and some school districts allow high school students to earn dual credits working at the off-base facilities.

Rowan says they’re always looking to add jobs like electrical engineers, computer engineers and scientists, and cyber security experts.

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