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July 17, 2023 | International, Other Defence

Le Parlement adopte définitivement la loi de programmation militaire 2024-2030

A la veille du 14-Juillet, le Parlement a définitivement adopté le projet de programmation militaire du gouvernement: 413 milliards d'euros sur sept ans et des mesures de modernisation des Armées, mais aussi des reports de livraisons.

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  • Why Did Boeing Opt To Fully Redesign The KC-46 Remote Vision System?

    September 21, 2020 | International, Aerospace, C4ISR

    Why Did Boeing Opt To Fully Redesign The KC-46 Remote Vision System?

    Lee Hudson Why did Boeing opt to fully redesign the vision system on the KC-46 instead of using the Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10's reliable and proven technology? Aviation Week Pentagon Editor Lee Hudson answers: The Netherlands' Organization for Applied Scientific Research, Physics and Electronics Laboratory designed the Tanker Remote Vision System in 2006 for the McDonnell Douglas KDC-10. It is used on two tankers that serve in both tanking and transporting missions. The technology supports inflight refueling operators by providing a picture of the air-to-air tanking process, even in bad visual conditions. Boeing was unable to use the KDC-10 Tanker Remote Vision System (TRVS) because the technology does not meet U.S. Air Force requirements for the KC-46. The 1980s design does not support covert aerial refueling missions or operate in all lighting and background conditions. Boeing says that is why it opted to build a system featuring high-resolution cameras, display and processing capability. Some critics believe the Air Force and Boeing would both be better off if the remote vision system outfitting the KC-46 adopted pieces of the TRVS, given the new aircraft has experienced years of delays and cost overruns. Boeing took a $551 million charge in the first quarter because of changes agreed to by both the company and the Air Force in April for the KC-46 Remote Vision System (RVS). The redesign includes high-definition color cameras, updated displays and computing systems. The problem with the initial RVS design is what the Air Force called a “rubber sheet” effect that distorts the image on the visual display used by the boom operator during refueling. To date, Boeing has taken more than $4 billion in charges for the problem-plagued tanker. This is roughly the same amount the company was willing to pay for Embraer's commercial aircraft division before it walked away from that deal.

  • Early Ford carrier maintenance costs lower than planned, Navy says

    November 28, 2023 | International, Land

    Early Ford carrier maintenance costs lower than planned, Navy says

    Early Ford-class maintenance costs are lower than expected, meaning the aircraft carriers could save more than predicted compared to the Nimitz class.

  • New F-35 Modification Facility Brings Strategic Capability to FRCE

    August 20, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    New F-35 Modification Facility Brings Strategic Capability to FRCE

    By Heather Wilburn, Fleet Readiness Center Public Affairs MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (NNS) -- A recently-completed facility will bring a new strategic capability to Fleet Readiness Center East (FRCE) and the F-35B Lightning aircraft line next year. When the new F-35 laser shock peening facility is fully operational in 2020, FRCE will be one of two sites in the world that will use laser technology to strengthen F-35 structural components. Construction of the $6 million facility wrapped in July, and the contractor providing the laser shock peening service will take occupancy in early spring, said Donald Jeter, portfolio manager of the F-35 aircraft line at FRCE. Under that timeline, the first F-35 aircraft inducted for laser shock peening would arrive in June to undergo the validation and verification process, and then the depot will begin work on the remainder of the F-35 fleet that requires the laser shock peening modification. “This facility is a big get for Fleet Readiness Center East,” Jeter said. “It's very exciting. Being able to perform this laser shock peening process adds a huge strategic capability to our depot. With it, we'll be able to provide a critical support element to the F-35B program and act as a force multiplier for the fleet and the warfighter.” The 16,000-square-foot facility comprises two bays, where the actual laser shock peening process will take place, and a connected area that will house the laser generator. The state-of-the-art laser shock peening process will allow FRCE to conduct heavy structure modifications that will strengthen areas of the F-35's airframe without disassembling the entire aircraft, said Matthew Crisp, the F-35 Joint Program Office site lead at FRCE. The process strengthens designs without adding additional metal or weight, which increases the aircraft's life and reduces maintenance costs. It has been used on the F-22 Raptor and in manufacturing aircraft components including engine blades, Crisp said, but has never been employed for the F-35. Now, FRCE will use the technology to help Marine Corps aircraft reach their full life limit. Aircraft maintenance professionals at FRCE will conduct prep work and some structural modification on the F-35s inducted into the depot, then turn them over to the contractor running the laser shock peening operations. The contractor will complete the process to strengthen the bulkheads and airframes, and FRCE will put the jets back together, perform all the flight test functions and get them back out to the fleet, Jeter said. The end result is aircraft that have been reinforced without adding additional weight, which would reduce the fighter's capabilities by limiting its fuel or weapons carrying capacity. Shot peening is not a new process, Crisp said, but laser shock peening is unique in that it produces a uniform result across the surface being treated. In laser shock peening, the surface of the media is first coated with an ablative layer and covered with a water tamping layer. A high-energy laser beam is fired at the metal, which creates an area of plasma on the metal's surface. The impact creates a shock wave, which travels through the metal, and compressive residual stresses remain. This compression helps improve the metal's damage tolerance, fatigue life and strength. “(Shot peening) has been done for decades,” he explained. “It's where you take a solid media, like glass beads or some kind of metal, and you hit the surface of an item – kind of like sandblasting. You just randomly throw it at the surface, and it creates all these surface dimples. What you get is a very inconsistent surface profile, because it's not controlled.” With laser shock peening, the process is very controlled, Crisp said. “They create a laser beam that's actually square, and the intensity is consistent across the entire laser beam – it's the exact same at the very edge of the beam as it is in the middle,” he said. “They come up with a grid pattern and stack the squares up right beside each other, so the entire surface of the part is completely uniform. You don't have the weak spots in between these areas that would then induce cracking later.” Jeter said he expects laser shock peening to be a main focus of the F-35 line for the next four to five years. Once the first two aircraft have undergone the validation and verification process, it will be a sprint to the finish to complete modifications on the remainder of the F-35B fleet that requires this treatment. “After that val/ver event, the aircraft will basically be nose-to-tail,” Crisp added. “We'll completely fill every aircraft stall that's here, and for the next five years, when one leaves another will come in. That's critical, because this process has to be done on every single airplane that requires it.” The workload does not include every F-35 ever produced, although it does include B and C models, and also encompasses F-35 aircraft owned by partner nations. FRCE will focus solely on the B variant, while Ogden Air Force Base in Utah will work on the F-35C models and take any F-35B overflow. After the first round of laser shock peening modifications, what comes after that is still to be determined, Crisp said. “I'm sure there will be some follow-on work,” he said. “And beyond the F-35 program, this is a little bit exciting, because this really is cutting-edge technology and we have it here at FRCE. I think maybe within the engineering community here, as people find out more about it, they may open additional discussions about how we could implement this on other aircraft lines. We might find a future capability we want to look at.” FRCE is North Carolina's largest maintenance, repair, overhaul and technical services provider, with more than 4,200 civilian, military and contract workers. Its annual revenue exceeds $720 million. The depot generates combat air power for America's Marines and Naval forces while serving as an integral part of the greater U.S. Navy; Naval Air Systems Command; and Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers.

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