Air Force Investing in New Radar

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Air Force photo / Raymond McCoy

The Air Force Falcons beat the Army Black Knights in last year's matchup, 24-14. The two service academies will clash again on Saturday.

The Air Force loves radar. It uses on the ground, in the air, and even in space to track its own, as well as enemy, armor, planes and missiles. It helps win wars.

The Air Force has begun investing in a new kind of radar. It’s designed to win…football games.

On Thursday, the Air Force Academy said it will award a $187,500, sole-source contract to Bluechip Athletic Solutions to help recruit football players to attend the academy. The money will pay for Bluechip’s unique “recruiting radar software solution package,” the academy says.

Bluechip must get the contract because its proprietary software is vital to the Air Force Academy’s Falcons football team, the academy maintains:

During the Academy’s relationship with Bluechip, since 2005, their version of this recruiting radar software has undergone extensive customizations. These customizations include but are not limited to: automated official visit process, customized auto responses to online questionnaire submissions, player evaluation tool, rules engine that includes service academy specialty rules and customized fields that include Senator and U.S. Representative District contact information. Aerial photography and custom videos designed to showcase the campus and facilities, an immersive way to virtually tour the Academy.

Presumably, Bluechip has helped the academy develop its football-recruit online questionnaire, among other things. It certainly has military lingo down. Bluechip says it “provides mission critical technology and supporting services to collegiate and professional athletic programs.” Among other skills, it can tell the academy’s football coaches:

— How to send email to prospects when you don’t have their email address

— How to tell which prospects are opening your postal mail

— Where a coach should concentrate his recruiting efforts on a daily basis

The Falcons travel to the U.S. Military Academy for Saturday’s game at West Point, hoping to improve on their 5-3 record. Army is the nation’s top rushing team (with 383.13 yards per game on the ground), while Air Force is second-best rushing team (averaging 366.25 yards per game).

It makes sense that Army is the top ground-gainer. But where’s the Air Force when it comes to the air game?

Alas, it ranks 121 among the 124 Division 1-A teams. At least it’s beating Navy (at 122, with 108 passing yards per game) and Army (at 123, with 63.3 yards air yards per game).

Apparently the Air Force’s ground-based radars work better than its airborne versions.