National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5917.
×

Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft

FINAL REPORT

Committee on Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft

National Materials Advisory Board

Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems

National Research Council

Publication NMAB-488-2

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1997

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5917.
×

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is interim president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

This study by the National Materials Advisory Board was conducted under Contract No. F49620-96-C-0040 with the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

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Cover: F-15 air superior fighters. U.S. Air Force photograph.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5917.
×

COMMITTEE ON AGING OF U.S. AIR FORCE AIRCRAFT

CHARLES F. TIFFANY (chair),

NAE, Boeing Military Airplanes (retired), Tucson, Arizona

SATYA N. ATLURI,

NAE, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

CATHERINE A. BIGELOW,

Federal Aviation Administration Technical Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey

EARL W. BRIESCH,

Dayton Aerospace Inc., Dayton, Ohio

ROBERT J. BUCCI,

Alcoa Technical Center, Alcoa Center, Pennsylvania

WENDY R. CIESLAK,

Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico

EUGENE E. COVERT, NAE,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

B. BORO DJORDJEVIC,

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

CHARLES E. HARRIS,

NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia

JAMES W. MAR,

NAE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (retired), Pacific Grove, California

J. ARTHUR MARCEAU,

Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, Seattle, Washington

CHARLES SAFF,

Boeing Information, Space, and Defense Systems Group, St. Louis, Missouri

EDGAR A. STARKE, JR.,

University of Virginia, Charlottesville

DONALD O. THOMPSON,

NAE, Iowa State University, Ames

National Materials Advisory Board Staff

THOMAS E. MUNNS, Senior Program Officer

AIDA C. NEEL, Senior Project Assistant

BONNIE SCARBOROUGH, Research Associate

National Materials Advisory Board Liaison

JAN D. ACHENBACH,

NAS/NAE, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Air Force Science and Technology Board Liaison

ALTON D. ROMIG, JR.,

Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Air Force Technical Liaison

JIM C.I. CHANG,

Office of Scientific Research, Washington, D.C.

WILLIAM R. ELLIOTT,

Warner-Robins Air Logistics Center, Robins AFB, Georgia

JOSEPH P. GALLAGHER,

Wright Laboratories, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio

JOHN W. LINCOLN,

Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio

DONALD PAUL,

Wright Laboratories, Flight Dynamics Directorate, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio

VINCENT J. RUSSO,

Wright Laboratories, Materials Directorate, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio

O. LESTER SMITHERS,

Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5917.
×

NATIONAL MATERIALS ADVISORY BOARD

ROBERT A. LAUDISE (chair),

NAS/NAE, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, New Jersey

G.J. ABBASCHIAN,

University of Florida, Gainesville

JAN D. ACHENBACH,

NAS/NAE, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

MICHAEL I. BASKES,

Sandia/Livermore National Laboratories, Livermore, California

JESSE L. BEAUCHAMP,

NAS, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena

EDWARD C. DOWLING,

Cyprus Amax Minerals Company, Englewood, Colorado

FRANCIS DISALVO,

NAS, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

ANTHONY G. EVANS,

NAE, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

JOHN A.S. GREEN,

The Aluminum Association, Washington, D.C.

JOHN H. HOPPS,

Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia

MICHAEL JAFFE,

Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Summit, New Jersey

SYLVIA M. JOHNSON,

SRI International, Menlo Park, California

LIONEL C. KIMERLING,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

HARRY A. LIPSITT,

Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio

RICHARD S. MULLER,

NAE, University of California, Berkeley

ELSA REICHMANIS,

NAE, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, New Jersey

KENNETH L. REIFSNIDER,

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

EDGAR A. STARKE, JR.,

University of Virginia, Charlottesville

KATHLEEN C. TAYLOR,

NAE, General Motors Corporation, Warren, Michigan

JAMES WAGNER,

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

JOSEPH WIRTH,

Raychem Corporation, Menlo Park, California

BILL G.W. YEE, Pratt and Whitney,

West Palm Beach, Florida

ROBERT E. SCHAFRIK, Director

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5917.
×

Preface

The U.S. Air Force requested the National Research Council to identify research and development (R&D) needs and opportunities to support the continued operation of their aging aircraft. Specifically, this study focuses on aging aircraft structures and materials and has the major objectives of

  1. developing an overall strategy that addresses the Air Force aging aircraft needs

  2. recommending and prioritizing specific technology opportunities in the areas of

    • fatigue, corrosion fatigue, and stress corrosion cracking

    • corrosion prevention and mitigation

    • nondestructive inspection

    • maintenance and repair

    • failure analysis and life prediction methodologies

The approach that the committee took to accomplish this study was to conduct working sessions to identify current aging aircraft problems and technology needs; review ongoing and planned aging aircraft R&D efforts by the Air Force; and review related research at other government agencies, within industry, and in the academic research community.

The committee conducted a total of six meetings, prepared an interim report (NMAB-488-1), which was released in March 1997, and prepared this final report. In addition, numerous data-gathering discussions were held between individual committee members and various individuals from within the Air Force's research, engineering, logistics, and operational organizations. The purpose of the first meeting held at the Wright Aeronautical Laboratories, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, was to review current and planned laboratory programs that are part of the Air Force aging aircraft program. The purpose of the second meeting, held at the San Antonio Air Logistics Center, Kelly AFB, Texas, was to identify the common problems associated with maintaining and operating aging systems and to review the applied R&D efforts under way at the Air Force air logistic centers (ALCs). Representatives from the five ALCs (i.e., Warner-Robins, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Ogden, and Sacramento) participated in the meeting. At the third committee meeting, held in Washington, D.C., the committee reviewed ongoing and recently completed basic research programs at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and developed the preliminary findings for the interim report. The fourth meeting was held in Irvine, California, at which time the committee reviewed related research being conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration, finalized the interim report, and began developing recommendations for an overall aging aircraft strategy and identifying future research opportunities. At the fifth meeting, which was held in Washington, D.C., the committee reviewed related research being conducted by the Navy and received briefings on the F-15 aircraft structural history and on the aging of advanced composite structures. In addition, the committee continued their discussions on recommended strategy, research opportunities, and an approach for the prioritization of these opportunities. The sixth and final committee meeting was held in Washington, D.C., for the purpose of finalizing the prioritization of research opportunities and reviewing the initial draft of this final report.

The interim report that was released in March 1997 was prepared at the request of the Air Force research community and included the committee's preliminary technical assessment of the Air Force current aging aircraft R&D program. The report provided a description of the Air Force's aging aircraft problem from the force management perspective, a preliminary assessment of the force management process and its needs, a discussion of the key technical issues and apparent R&D needs, and a preliminary assessment of the current aging aircraft R&D program along with suggested areas of improvement and changes in emphasis.

As was pointed out in the preface to the committee's interim report, it became apparent very early in this study that the overall strategy to address the Air Force's aging aircraft needs must encompass much more than R&D needs and opportunities. There are a number of overarching engineering and management issues that also need to be addressed. These include issues involving the force management process, the continued enforcement of the Air Force's Aircraft Structural Integrity Program and its supporting structures and materials specifications, the need to update the durability and damage tolerance assessments of the aging aircraft, the need for increased emphasis on identifying and applying existing technologies to the Air Force's aging aircraft problems, the need for stable funding for technology transition at the Air Force's ALCs, and the technical skills needed to support the aging aircraft program. This final report presents an overall strategy that the committee believes addresses these issues as well as the near-term and long-term research and development needs and opportunities.

Charles F. Tiffany, Chair

Committee on Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5917.
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This page in the original is blank.
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5917.
×

Contents

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

1

PART I
PROBLEM DEFINITION AND STATUS OF THE AGING FORCE

 

9

1

 

INTRODUCTION

 

11

   

Background,

 

11

   

Study Objectives,

 

11

2

 

AGING AIRCRAFT PROBLEM

 

13

   

Managing the Force Structure,

 

13

   

Future Force Projections,

 

16

   

Assessment of the Force Structural Management Process,

 

19

3

 

CURRENT STRUCTURAL STATUS OF THE AGING FORCE

 

22

   

Air Force-Supported Aircraft,

 

22

   

Contractor Logistics-Supported Aircraft,

 

24

4

 

TECHNICAL ISSUES AND OPERATIONAL NEEDS

 

27

   

Corrosion,

 

27

   

Stress Corrosion Cracking,

 

28

   

Fatigue Cracking,

 

29

   

Nondestructive Evaluation,

 

32

   

Structural Maintenance and Repairs,

 

33

PART II
RECOMMENDED STRATEGY AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEAR-TERM AND LONG-TERM RESEARCH

 

35

5

 

ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT TASKS

 

39

   

Update of Durability and Damage Tolerance Assessments,

 

39

   

Update of Force Structural Maintenance Plans and Individual Aircraft Tracking Programs,

 

41

   

Stress Corrosion Cracking Assessments,

 

42

   

Improved Corrosion Control Programs,

 

43

   

Economic Service Life Estimation,

 

45

   

Continued Enforcement of the Aircraft Structural Integrity Program,

 

46

   

Technical Oversight and Retention of Technical Capabilities,

 

47

   

Technology Transition into Aging Aircraft,

 

48

6

 

RESEARCH RECOMMENDATIONS: FATIGUE

 

49

   

Low-Cycle Fatigue,

 

49

   

High-Cycle Fatigue,

 

51

   

Corrosion/Environmental Effects,

 

54

7

 

RESEARCH RECOMMENDATIONS: CORROSION AND STRESS CORROSION CRACKING

 

57

   

Corrosion Prevention and Control,

 

57

   

Stress Corrosion Cracking,

 

60

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5917.
×

Tables and Figures

TABLES

ES-1

 

Priority-1 Near-Term and Long-Term-Research Recommendations

 

5

ES-2

 

Priority-2 Near-Term and Long-Term Research Recommendations

 

6

ES-3

 

Priority-3 Near-Term and Long-Term Research Recommendations

 

7

2-1

 

Tasks of the Air Force Aircraft Structural Integrity Program

 

15

3-1

 

Data on Force Status for Air Force-Supported Aircraft

 

23

3-2

 

Air Force Commercial-Derivative Aircraft Using Contractor Logistics Support

 

24

3-3

 

Comparison between Utilization of Air Force CLS Aircraft and Commercial Equivalents

 

25

5-1

 

Prioritization of DADTA Update Needs for Air Force-Supported Aircraft

 

40

8-1

 

Critical NDE Inspection Needs for Aging Aircraft

 

65

9-1

 

Prioritized Near-Term Research Recommendations

 

74

9-2

 

Prioritized Long-Term Research Recommendations

 

75

FIGURES

2-1

 

Force structure projection for the ACC fighter, bomber, and attack aircraft

 

17

2-2

 

Force structure projection for the ACC airlift and rescue aircraft

 

17

2-3

 

Force structure projection for other ACC aircraft

 

18

2-4

 

Force structure projection for AMC aircraft

 

18

2-5

 

Force structure projection for AFSOC aircraft

 

19

2-6

 

Force structure projection for AETC aircraft

 

20

II-1

 

Recommended overall strategy to address Air Force aging aircraft challenges

 

36

II-2

 

Basic elements of the recommended near-term and long-term R&D programs

 

37

5-1

 

Overall approach to durability and damage tolerance assessments

 

40

5-2

 

Organization of commercial aircraft industry aging aircraft working groups

 

44

A-1

 

C-5 flying hour distribution

 

90

A-2

 

General locations for B-52G/H structural improvements

 

92

A-3

 

B-52H current use rate

 

93

A-4

 

F-15 buffet-induced problems

 

96

A-5

 

F-16 structural arrangement

 

97

A-6

 

F-16 structural modification areas

 

98

A-7

 

A-10 structural arrangement

 

99

A-8

 

Boeing 707 wing tear-down locations

 

102

A-9

 

F-111 D6ac steel components

 

105

A-10

 

Original lower wing skin design for the T-38 aircraft

 

109

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5917.
×
This page in the original is blank.
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5917.
×

Acronyms


AATSG

aging aircraft technical steering group

AAWG

Airworthiness Assurance Working Group

ACC

Air Combat Command

ACI

analytical condition inspection

AETC

Air Education and Training Command

AFMPP

Air Force modernization planning process

AFR

Air Force regulation

AFSOC

Air Force Special Operations Command

ALC

air logistics center

AMC

Air Mobility Command

ASIP

Aircraft Structural Integrity Program


CACRC

Commercial Aircraft Composite Repair Committee

CLS

contractor logistics support

CPC

corrosion-preventive compound

CPCP

corrosion prevention and control program


DADTA

durability and damage tolerance assessment


EIF

equivalent initial flaw


FAA

Federal Aviation Administration

FAR

Federal Air Regulation

FSMP

force structural maintenance plan


IATP

individual aircraft tracking program


JPATS

Joint Primary Aircraft Training System

JSF

Joint Strike Fighter


LESS

loads/environment spectra study

LIF

lead-in fighter


NASA

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NDE

nondestructive evaluation

NDI

nondestructive inspection


PDM

programmed depot maintenance

POD

probability of detection


R&D

research and development

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5917.
×

SAB

Scientific Advisory Board

SCC

stress corrosion cracking


TIE

Technology and Industrial Support Engineering (ALC)

TPIPT

technology planning integrated product team


VOC

volatile organic compound


WFD

widespread fatigue damage

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Aging of U.S. Air Force Aircraft: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5917.
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Many of the aircraft that form the backbone of the U.S. Air Force operational fleet are 25 years old or older. A few of these will be replaced with new aircraft, but many are expected to remain in service an additional 25 years or more. This book provides a strategy to address the technical needs and priorities associated with the Air Force's aging airframe structures. It includes a detailed summary of the structural status of the aging force, identification of key technical issues, recommendations for near-term engineering and management actions, and prioritized near-term and long-term research recommendations.

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