Enhanced Wiring Integrity System (EWIS) – Phase II

NCMS Project #: 140430

Problem: Wiring systems are the conduit that supports vital functions such as electrical power, control signal, and information distribution throughout a system.  The wiring system is also the infrastructure linking electrical, electromechanical and electronics subsystems.  Wiring has emerged as a critical system due to its increasing complexity, inaccessibility, high-density, and critical communications interface.  The aging effects experienced by wiring systems include the accumu­lated damage from exposure to chemical, thermal, electrical, and mechanical stresses over time.  However, the operational environment, installation, and maintenance practices often induce these aging mechanisms as well.

As the demand on military platforms increases and the life of assets are extended, the need to effectively implement wiring integrity programs to maintain the health of these assets also increases.  Quick identification of the faulty wire path and location of the fault will assist greatly in providing increased mission readiness.

Benefit: The insertion of electrical distributed analyzer (EDA) technology into manufacturing, depot, and commercial aircraft maintenance activities during EWIS I resulted in capital returns ranging from 100 to 300%.  Since the EDA
is scalable, the EWIS II project will provide an upgraded measurement system for EDA system components.  These upgrades will enable more accurate and faster testing capabilities of the EDA.

EWIS II includes the handheld standing wave reflectrometer (SWR) device, which can reduce troubleshooting time by identifying the location of wiring failures within six inches.  The benefit is expected to increase by approximately 20%
of the above estimates as a result (i.e. 20-60% total benefit increase for each depot).  Each DoD site will identify and monitor their benefit metrics and results which will be documented in the project’s final technical report.

Additional anticipated benefits from the insertion of the SWR and EDA technologies include but are not limited to:

  • Improve reliability of the wiring and electrical system and the increased mission availability of the platform.
  • Open-ended hardware and flexible software architecture capable of accepting technology enhancements and linking to existing maintenance database types.
  • Detection of degenerative conditions that could lead to a wiring failure and condition-based monitoring of wiring and electrical distribution system integrity.
  • Reduction in man-hours required when troubleshooting and repairing platform-wiring discrepancies.
  • Accurate tracking of maintenance actions, failures, location data.
  • Reduction of operational wiring related safety incidents (arching, fire, etc.)
  • User training which enables use of the EWIS II products in a proactive maintenance approach versus the current reaction response.
  • EWIS II sites can develop their own test program set (TPS) units, enabling the users to automate manual testing and inspection processes.

Solution/Approach: EWIS I project applications demonstrated the potential that can be realized by effective wire testing and maintenance.  EWIS resulted in increased asset readiness at each of the partner sites over the last several years.

The EWIS II project will build upon the successes of EWIS I in the reactive maintenance environment and explore imple­mentation testing strategies and protocols in a proactive maintenance setting.  Several EWIS II applications are targeted for this transition from reactive to a proactive maintenance posture.

This transition will be accomplished by providing aircraft maintainers with the necessary training, inspection test protocols, and hardware (where required), to implement a proactive maintenance approach.  Test data will be collected from all partnering sites.  The analysis of these data is ex­pected to provide the cornerstone of establishing an effective wiring health monitoring and maintenance program for the aircraft application and will provide additional insight into latent degradation of aircraft wiring.

  • The active partners of EWIS II will collaborate to accomplish the end goals at each of the sites
  • Eclypse International will provide the technical lead, equipment, software and services related to the performance of this effort as the OEM technical lead and integrator.
  • Boeing will provide OEM and integrator support for the B-1B efforts related to EWIS II under their existing support contract as authorized.

Government partners will provide technical data and support as required for the successful completion of EWIS II.  Weapons systems availability, component specifications, end-user feedback and related contributions are expected.  Government contractor organizations will also be tasked in the performance of this effort by their respective command.

Impact on Warfighter: The overall impact of the EWIS technology is reduced repair cycle times, more reliable repairs resulting in increased materiel up-time and reduced cost to the using depot organizations.

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Air Force (WR-ALC), 559 AMXS C5, ACSG C-5 Aircraft
  • U.S. Navy (FRC Southeast), F404 RCM
  • U.S. Air Force (Dyess AFB), B-1 User Community
  • U.S. Navy (FRC Southwest), H-60
  • U.S. Air Force (Seymour Johnson AFB), F-15
  • U.S. Air Force (OC-ALC), B-1 SPO/Depot (observer)
  • U.S. Air Force (Ellsworth AFB), B-1 (observer)

Industry Participation:

  • Eclypse International
  • Eclypse Technical Program Manager
  • Boeing
  • NCMS

Final Report