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.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

16T Pitch Boom reactivated to support wind tunnel tests

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend The Pitch Boom at the AEDC 16-foot transonic wind tunnel (16T) was recently reactivated. This model support system is used in conjunction with a roll mechanism to provide a combined pitch...
 
 
army-detector

Scientists turn handheld JCAD into a dual-use chemical, explosives detector

Scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., proved it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks by adding the ability to detect explosive materials to the Joint Chemical Age...
 
 

SMC stands up new Advanced Systems, Development Directorate

While space officially begins at 62 miles above the Earth’s surface, for the men and women of the Air Force space begins near sea level at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base,Calif. SMC is where innovative ideas are matured into space systems that deliver operational capabilities to U.S. warfighters in...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr.

Navy’s first F-35C squadron surpasses 1,000 flight hours

Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr. An F-35C Lightning II aircraft piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Chris Tabert, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, flies the squadron’s first local sortie. The F-35C is the carrier va...
 
 

Salina, Kansas, recalls anniversary of shuttered base

It has been 50 years this month since the announcement that Schilling Air Force Base was closing rattled Salina residents. The Salina Journal, which carried news of the closure in its Nov. 19, 1964, editions, reported that the economic disaster then spared no part of the community – real estate, retail, civic involvement, church attendance,...
 
 
Navy photograph by Seaman Sabrina Fine

SEWIP block upgrade program evaluated for LCS

Navy photograph by Seaman Sabrina Fine Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Seaman Helen Hernandez monitors an SLQ-32 radar aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Dwight D. Eisenhower is deplo...
 




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>