NMRPP Project Opportunity- Catapult Alignment Position Measurement Automation

NCMS is seeking participants for a new forming NMRPP project, Catapult Alignment Position Measurement Automation.

The current aircraft carrier catapult alignment method is marginally reliable due to multiple degrees of error and limited data.  Over the 100 meter length of the catapult trough, mechanics repeatedly align a fixture to reference lasers and manually conduct gap and alignment measurements of catapult trough components at fixed points.  Trough components, as well as reference points, significantly shift over the data collection period as a result of thermal effects. Accuracy also suffers from laser instability, difficult fixture centering, mechanical measurement error and recording errors.  A more comprehensive, accurate and reliable representation of component position is needed to determine position corrections in a shorter time.  More accurate data and increased data points would result in better alignment, fewer position correction iterations, fewer alignment checks, and less overhaul schedule risk.

This project anticipates development of an automated measurement system to increase the speed, accuracy and quantity of component position measurements.  Possibilities would include:

  • Automated distance measuring and data acquisition devices, providing increased accuracy over cross-sectional distance
  • Photogrammetry
  • Laser alignment technologies
  • Various other applicable technologies used in metrology, independent or in conjunction as a suite to acquire data points over 100 meters
  • The above real-time data acquisition systems to be transmitted to a portable laptop or storage device.

The objectives of the NMRPP Catapult Alignment Position Measurement Automation project are:

  • perform detailed requirements analysis and validation of current catapult alignment procedures
  • identify cost effective automated metrology technologies
  • define the tools, standards and processes to support proper alignment of catapult components.

Additionally, this project seeks to enagage metrology experts, laser and optics technologies, and software developers to achieve the necessary collaborations to develop the optimum technology solution to achieve improved catapult alignment position measurement. This project currently seeks commercial and Department of Defense participants with an interest in metrology, laser alignment, or other technologies related to an extended-length measurement process.  NCMS is a non-profit membership organization.  Project Participants must become NCMS members for those collaborative teams who are asked to submit a larger proposal.