Defense

September 7, 2012

Fleet Readiness Center ‘hooks up’ unmanned aircraft

The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator aircraft completes a successful roll-in arrestment with a modified arresting hook point designed and manufactured by Fleet Readiness Center Southwest Aug.14 at Patuxent River, Md. FRCSW delivered the hook point just 46 days after receiving a request from the Navy UCAS program office.

The Fleet Readiness Center South West in California surpassed the call of its traditional line of work to rapidly manufacture parts for a new, unmanned demonstrator aircraft being tested here.

In late spring, a team from Patuxent River, Md. called on FRCSW at Naval Air Station North Island to redesign the hook point for the first unmanned aircraft designed to operate in and around an aircraft carrier – the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System.

To land on the flight deck of a carrier, aircraft need a tailhook to catch one of four arresting wires. When unsuccessful roll-in arrestment tests of the X-47B revealed the need for a modified hook point, the team needed to come up with a plan to make the modifications in order to perform arrested landings and catapult launches this fall.

“We reached out to the team at North Island because of their proven history of providing critically needed aircraft components with very short response times,” said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, Navy UCAS program manager at Pax River. “They have repaired, modified and delivered thousands of high quality aircraft components to the fleet. We knew they could get the job done.”

Seventy years earlier, North Island personnel were presented with a similar challenge. Prior to the Battle of Midway, a lack of tail hooks, and the inability of the American industrial base to produce them, spurred FRCSW, then known as Overhaul and Repair, to develop a way to forge and manufacture 150 hook throats in just 30 days.

The team at FRCSW did not hesitate when asked to redesign this instrumental X-47B component. Within a few weeks of receiving the initial request from the UCAS team, the FRC signed a formal work order July 10, anticipating the manufacturing and shipping process would take up to one month.

The UCAS and FRC teams worked together to overcome a series of complications to ensure the hook points were completed as quickly as possible. For example, machining the first steel part took longer than expected. As a result, the FRC made an investment in a more efficient machine to decrease cycle times.

In less than two months, despite the design challenges, the UCAS team received the completed parts from FRCSW in early August, avoiding costly delays and allowing the team to proceed with aircraft testing. Since then, the X-47B successfully engaged the arresting gear with the redesigned hook point during three separate roll-in arrestment tests.

“The hook point is a fracture critical safety item so you’ve got to do the job right. You have to create them correctly,” said Mike Grice, FRCSW Systems Engineering department head.

Engdahl visited North Island last month and personally thanked the dozens of employees who worked extended hours for nearly two months to support this effort. The FRCSW team made a huge contribution to the UCAS program that will greatly impact naval aviation, he added.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 28, 2014

News: U.S. has lost track of weapons given to Afghanistan - The United States supplied almost three quarter of a million weapons to Afghanistan’s army and police since 2004, but the military cannot track where many of those arms have gone, a new report found. Bill to improve VA has $17 billion price tag - A bipartisan...
 
 

News Briefs July 28, 2014

Marines seek authorization for dolphin deaths The Marine Corps is asking for a five-year authorization from the National Marine Fisheries Service for incidental deaths of bottlenose dolphins during training exercises at a bombing and target range. The Sun Journal of New Bern, N.C., reports that Connie Barclay of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says...
 
 
Army photograph by David Vergun

Senior leaders explain Army’s drawdown plan

Army photograph by David Vergun No commander is happy when notified that a soldier from his or her command has been identified for early separation. But commanders personally notify those Soldiers and ensure participation in th...
 

 

Northrop Grumman awarded mission support services contract

The U.S. Army awarded Northrop Grumman a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, with a potential value of $205 million, to continue providing mission logistics services in support of combat brigades training at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. The contract covers one base year and two one-year options. Support will include the full range of mission...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom

F-35 Rollout Marks U.S.-Australia Partnership Milestone

Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown delivers his remarks at the roll out ceremony for Australia’s first F-35. The official rollout of the first two F-35 Lightning II...
 
 
NASA/JPL-Caltech image

NASA’s Mars spacecraft maneuvers to prepare for close comet flyby

NASA/JPL-Caltech image This graphic depicts the orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it swings around the sun in 2014. On Oct. 19, the comet will have a very close pass at Mars. Its nucleus will miss Mars by about 82,000 m...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>