Advanced Manufacturing to Increase Aircraft Functionality and Sustainability – Phase IV

NCMS Project #: 142159

Problem: Equipping aircraft with conversion packages creates many unknowns and risks.  These can include complex operations, tradeoffs, maintenance and sustainment for the aircraft and associated inspections, support equipment, infrastructure, and basing considerations.  Performing rapid eDesign, virtual prototyping, and operational demonstration efforts significantly reduces many operations, maintenance, and sustainment risks.  A Removable Amphibious Float Modification (RAFM) will provide a unique capability for aircraft that allows for takeoff/landing from any sufficiently large body of water and/or runway, thereby extending the global reach and survivability of the platform.  The system can be field-installable/ removable and can transition from sea to land and land to sea without reconfiguring, providing maximum operational flexibility.  This creates several challenges as this removable kit will be exposed to a marine environment, resulting in corrosion and wear to the connectors and cabling.

Benefit: Successful execution of this project will serve as an example to the commercial sector for using advanced materials, virtual prototyping, photo-realistic visualization, and advanced manufacturing to develop a modification kit that will give an aircraft on-demand amphibious capability.

Solution/Approach: Phase IV will build on the successful work in Phase III and utilize digital engineering and simulation to develop the MAC Part B Kit further.  A baseline analysis of the existing MC-130J government data is underway to create a more refined platform model.  Computer-Aided Design (CAD) development of viable concepts has begun with simulations of the models to assess performance tradeoffs.  In addition, engineering analysis and recommendations are underway so that the proposed system architecture can flow down to all functional elements of the MC-130J and MAC systems.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Enhance operational readiness and flexibility 
  • Increase safety and survivability 
  • Reduce maintenance and sustainment costs 
  • Improve warfighter readiness 

DOD Participation:

  • United States (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) 

Industry Participation:

  • Studio MSD  
  • Structural Composites Industries 
  • Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) 
  • Ockerman (observer) 
  • Hanger 39 (observer)  
  • GKN Aerospace (observer) 
  • Aelius Exploitation Technologies (observer) 
  • Siemens Government Technologies (observer) 
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Cost savings
  • Improved readiness
  • Survivability

Focus Area:

  • Advanced/additive manufacturing