The U.S. Air Force has engaged in a public-private partnership to address the supply needs for sustaining older aircraft. Air Force Research Laboratory leads the Maturation of Advanced Manufacturing for Low Cost Sustainment program to sustain older aircraft via advanced manufacturing and digital technologies, the service branch said Thursday.
The America Makes National Manufacturing Institute works to foster activities under the program, with more than 45 projects already initiated. The Air Force no longer has access to parts of aircraft whose supplier is no longer active in the industry, creating a need for alternative sources.
University of Dayton Research Institute and Bill Macy Consulting joined logistics personnel at Hill Air Force Base to repair a damaged F-16 aircraft tail. The team used reverse-engineering technologies including laser scanning and photogrammetry to digitally model the tail.
The resulting model served as a basis to determine drilling and milling points for the tail's reassembly. Hill AFB's Ogden Air Logistics Complex funded Bill Macy Consulting to aid in the processes needed to reassemble the F-16 tail.
“Through the MAMLS program, technologists were able to work directly with government personnel to demonstrate and train them on new digital technologies to innovate a process for reassembly of the tail," said Marvin Gale, MAMLS program manager.