Advanced Manufacturing to Increase Aircraft Functionality and Sustainability – Phase V

NCMS Project #: 142174

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.  An 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.

Benefit: The initiative will benefit private sector industries that are considering converting a traditional aircraft to an amphibious one.  By following the road map, they will be able to optimize the productivity of their existing fleet while only having the extra incremental cost of the amphibious kit.

Solution/Approach: The initiative will improve the state of advanced materials, virtual prototyping, virtual visualization, advanced manufacturing, and simulated maintenance planning to conduct an all-aspect analysis and operational simulation of an aircraft kit that will temporarily modify an existing aircraft to have amphibious capabilities.  Phase V will build on the successful work of previous phases and utilize digital engineering and simulation to develop the MAC Part B Kit further.  This will include physical testing, an initial mockup for shape and fit, and sub-scale prototypes for Hydro, Aero, and Pontoon design.  Phase V will also verify the digital simulation in the physical domain validating both the digital and physical models.

Impact on Warfighter:

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

DOD Participation:

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

Industry Participation:

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

Benefit Area(s):

  • Cost savings
  • Improved readiness
  • Survivability

Focus Area:

  • Advanced/additive manufacturing