AR/VR Demos of NCheck Software (Booth 6)
2 Conference Presentations
2 Conference Presentations

Nov 27 - 30th, 2023 Gaylord Rockies, CO

Evolution of the A10 ASIP A 20 Year Journey of Recovery and Advancement through Upholding Structural and Moral Integrity

The A-10 underwent a significant transformation in its Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP) following a Red Team Investigation in 2002. One of the conclusions of this investigation was that the A-10 ASIP was “broken.” This was due to several culminating factors to include: decreasing program support related to planned retirement beginning in the early 1990s, loss of personnel and data during base realignment, and an outdated and disregarded Force Structural Maintenance Plan (FSMP). The evolution of the A-10 ASIP over a 20-year period, highlighting the remarkable journey of recovery and advancement, challenges faced, and lessons learned in managing an aging airframe will be summarized. The efforts to recover the A-10 ASIP encompassed several key milestones, including the establishment of organic and contract engineer capability. Additionally, modernization of the Flight Data Recorder was accomplished through implementation of TEMs/ADR to improve the data for the Loads/Environment Spectra Survey (L/ESS) and Individual Aircraft Tracking (IAT) programs. Updates and development of damage tolerance analyses were also undertaken, including migrating from the legacy damage tolerance software to AFGROW. Furthermore, emphasis was placed on the implementation of comprehensive structural analyses, which involved finite element modeling and computational simulations. Ultimately, updates to inspection requirements and procedures were made, leading to the development of a new FSMP. Notable achievements include development and application of probabilistic fracture mechanics Risk Based Induction (RBI) for depot maintenance planning, increasing aircraft availability over 250,000 additional hrs over 10 years, and supporting the development of the digital collection data system NLign for digital data capture and inspection tracking at the point of maintenance. Development, certification, and implementation of modification and repairs to increase the certified service life (CSL) beyond 16,000 hrs, as well as material substitution and requalification of critical components were also accomplished. Current efforts include challenging the Air Force Depot culture through creating a Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) system similar to industry standards to address tooling, part shortages, and process limitations. Other advancements involved the development and implementation of the Enhanced Wing Assembly (EWA) program, transitioning from 2D to 3D manufacturing processes thus leading the AF in advancements in Digital Materiel Management and Integration while spearheading the use of the Product Lifecycle Maintenance (PLM) software Teamcenter. These extraordinary efforts have culminated in the A-10 leading the Air Force in “Owning the Technical Baseline.” This has been exemplified through the mature organic Structural Engineering capability effectively managing fleet-wide crises such as wing and fuselage cracking, windshield bow failure, and nacelle aft cowl cracking. In summary, the recovery and advancements in the A-10 ASIP over the past two decades have proven to be transformative and resulted in a robust capability surpassing the original design intent, with repairs and structural replacements demonstrating operational usage up to 20,000 hours. Further, the A-10 ASIP has continued to evolve and share lessons learned with other weapon systems including legacy aircraft, B-1, F-15, B-52; new aircraft KC-46, B-21; and external entities such as the US Forest Service, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), DOD contract MROs, etc., ensuring the technical capabilities are utilized to benefit the greater US Air Force and Aerospace Industry, at large.

A10 ASIP Digital Capture of Corrosion Data Tactical Advantages Lessons Learned and Future Plans

Corrosion is one of the most elusive to understand problems facing the aircraft world. The cost of prevention and maintenance reaches into the billions each year. As one of the leaders in using digital twins to manage the fleet, the A-10 Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP) has been developing the ability to capture data specific to corrosion during scheduled inspections. This digital capture of damage has now been extended to the paint condition of the Outer Mold Line (OML) during the AC wash cycles in the field. With this data, the ASIP office is seeking to find whether there is a correlation between the OML paint condition and corrosion damage found on the aircraft. This new data source allows for information on aircraft, by serial number, multiple times annually. The end goal is to try and develop a way to predict the level of corrosion at any given time between depot maintenance inspections. This briefing will illustrate the following: -Using NLign/NCheck to focus on collecting data in corrosion hot spots and the required maintenance for repair to predict timeframes for corrosion growth -Historical demonstration of the effectiveness of the new system and hardware; the use of NCheck at the field level with Surface Pro -Prognostic capability to better judge the health of the fleet and predict corrosion growth -Tactical data usage for extension waivers for depot corrosion maintenance -Lessons learned from fielding a digital capture system and the stakeholders’ point of view on using the system in the field: tech-refresh, IT challenges -Repeat damage drives updated technical order repairs, but how can the data of the damage be captured when maintenance is striving for efficiency?

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