Advanced Manufacturing to Increase Aircraft Functionality and Sustainability

NCMS Project #: 142074

Problem: Large-scale aircraft that can land on traditional airfields or water will provide alternate options when experiencing natural disaster. Having the ability to deliver supplies via water routes will reduce the time to deliver aid, save wear and tear on ground vehicle delivery systems and deliver personnel in an efficient manner. Large water-landing capable aircraft are expensive to purchase and maintain in order to have this capability available on a sporadic basis. Having the capability to quickly convert an existing aircraft to have these capabilities only when needed will be significantly more cost effective and allow the commercial aircraft operators additional operational flexibility at a reduced cost.

Benefit: 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. The completion of these tasks will serve as an example to the commercial industry for how using advanced materials, virtual prototyping, virtual visualization, and advanced manufacturing can make an aircraft kit that will temporarily modify an existing aircraft to have amphibious capabilities.

Solution/Approach: Multi-role aircraft provide operational flexibility at a considerable savings over purchasing a separate aircraft. By introducing a Removable Amphibious Float Modification (RAFM) to a 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 as well as for disaster relief and personnel recovery operations.

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. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) (observer)

Industry Participation:

  • Hackrod Studios
  • Aelius Exploitation Technologies
  • Siemens Government Technologies
  • Lockheed Martin (observer)
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Cost savings
  • Improved readiness
  • Survivability

Focus Area:

  • Additive manufacturing