Advanced Manufacturing to Increase Aircraft Functionality and Sustainability – Phase III

NCMS Project #: 142128

Problem: By introducing a Removable Amphibious Float Modification (RAFM) to an MC-130J, commanders will have a kit that can be removed/installed in-field within 48-96 hours.  This small window of time provides a streamlined approach, reducing the time and cost of delivering safety and mission-critical capabilities to the warfighter for disaster relief and personnel recovery operations.  

Benefit: By developing an aircraft kit that can increase the functionality of an existing aircraft, there is a considerable cost avoidance associated with the development and initial purchase of the aircraft and in the overall lifecycle of sustainment.  In addition, storing an amphibious kit when it is not in use takes up less storage space and requires less maintenance than storing an amphibious aircraft.

Solution/Approach: This initiative will use the U.S. Air Force as a test bed to develop a process that will offer new functionality that could be used by the commercial industry to increase the productivity of existing fleets of aircraft.  In Phase III, the team of SMEs will transition from the digital domain into the physical domain with initial prototyping, scaled model testing, and detailed subcomponent design.  Phase III will include physical testing, an initial mockup for shape and fit, and a full-scale prototype.  Phase III is necessary to ensure that the digital simulation is verified in the physical domain validating the digital and physical models. 

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Operational mission flexibility and agility 
  • Increase safety and survivability 
  • Reduce overall maintenance and sustainment costs 
  • Improve warfighter readiness 

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Air Force 
  • U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) 
  • U.S. Air Force Research Labs – Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation (AFRL-SDPE) 
  • U.S. Air Force Life-Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) 
  • U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) (observer) 
  • NSWC Carderock 

Industry Participation:

  • Studio MSD
  • GKN Aerospace
  • Aelius Exploitation Technologies
  • Oak Ridge National Lab
  • Siemens Government Technologes
  • Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Cost savings
  • Improved readiness
  • Survivability

Focus Area:

  • Advanced/additive manufacturing