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Air Force Awarded Earpiece Patent: The Air Force has received a patent for the Attenuating Custom Communications Earpiece System, which allows pilots to hear mission-critical communications despite hazardous noise generated by aircraft. Air Force Research Lab engineers with the 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, developed the system, along with Westone Laboratories. They originally conceived the system with F-22 pilots in mind, but Air Combat Command has approved the earpiece for use on all fighters and bombers, and testing is underway for airlift and rotary wing aircraft, according to AFRL officials. About 5,000 ACCES sets have been delivered to airmen since 2005. The technology integrates a ruggedized cable assembly and miniature speakers with a set of vented, custom-poured deep-insert earpieces. Each set is custom fitted to a pilot's ears. (Wright-Patterson report by Elizabeth Long)