Defense

June 20, 2014

Cadets create MRAP lift, win competition

Tags:
Amy Gillentine
U.S. Air Force Academy

Soldiers from Company B, 1-30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, drive a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, or MRAP, through an off-road confidence course Nov. 7, 2007, on Camp Liberty, Iraq.

During the summer of 2013, the Air Force Research Laboratory had a problem that no contractor seemed able to solve.

The lab took the task to the three service academies and challenged them to find a solution.

The problem: special operations teams needed a way to move heavy trucks like mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPs, when landmines or improvised explosive devices hit them in combat zones.

U.S. Air Force Academy cadets, led by faculty members in the engineering mechanics department, came up with the best solution and won another service academy competition in May for the third consecutive year.

The project: come up with a small, lightweight solution to lift up50,000 pounds.

“That’s a whole lot of weight,” said Capt. Michael Knauf, an instructor leading the nine-member cadet team. “It’s the equivalent of 27 Volkswagen Beetles.”

The capstone project was an attempt to solve a real-world problem, he said.

“They wanted something that would scale up quickly and get ready for distribution,” Knauf said. “Special operations needed this to get people out of the MRAPs quickly, and they came to AFRL for the solution.”

A telescoping hydraulic jack bested the other service academies.

“The hydraulic jacks met quite a few of the requirements,” Knauf said. “They created nine telescoping sections, interconnecting and interlocking that were powered by a 6-horsepower, remote-controlled airplane motor and a hydraulic pump that used vegetable oil as the working fluid.”

The invention, one of 200 considered by the team, lifted the tail-end of a 46,000 pound bulldozer during the competition.

Not only did the invention win the AFRL competition, it also came in third of a dozen teams in a similar National Security Innovation that included many other universities.

Cadets got to split $2,500 from that competition, sponsored by the National Homeland Defense Foundation.

“Ours was the best,” Knauf said. “The Navy came up with a piston that would raise it two inches, shore it, and then they would reiterate that quite a bit. It took 14, 15 times and more than an hour to do it. Our project lifted the bulldozer the required 18 inches in less than five minutes.”

The research lab created the competition because contractors were reluctant to come up with a solution. The cadet invention will live on and the department will improve the design, Knauf said.

“We’re not really sure if the AFRL will keep testing it,” he said. “But we’re hopeful that we can take the design a little bit further next year.”

Having graduated May 28, most of the nine cadets are now second lieutenants.  They are: Rebecca Bauman, Will Flemming, Alex Pecci, Jacob Risma, Kevin Tanous, Jason Hodges, Mark Jensen, Max Jones and Kenner Rogers, a senior this year.




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>