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Additive Manufacturing (AM) for Aviation Shop Sets

Description:

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials 

OBJECTIVE: Increase and Enhance Fleet Readiness of Army Aviation plus Reduction in non-mission capable (NMC) time. 

DESCRIPTION: The Army Program Executive Office, Aviation; Product Director, Aviation Ground Support Equipment (AGSE) is interested in innovative technologies to include in the Aviation Shop Sets. The Aviation Shop Sets provide approximately 3000 tools housed in ISO S/783G and S/784G one-sided expandable tactical shelters. These shelters also include cabinets, work tables and large metal working equipment to maintain Army aircraft and are deployed around the world. The Aviation Shop Sets also provide field maintenance support and test and measurement equipment that are not included in aviation maintenance personnel’s individually assigned tool kits. Proposed AM systems are expected to significantly improve aircraft readiness levels through the ability to manufacture tools, support equipment, and aviation grade spare parts. This capability would enable units to continue with the mission when the procurement system is not responsive. This will also add the capability for on-site repair of existing tools, equipment, and aircraft reducing the reliance on a delayed procurement system especially in remote locations. The proposed system would have the capability to reproduce or repair most hand tools in the Aviation Shop Sets with similar or same material and quality. This would enable maintainers to always have the tool needed at the time needed resulting in improved readiness levels. The proposed AM system would also be a component of the Aviation Shop Set. Proposed AM systems should also be mindful of future requirements surrounding the Improved Turbine Engine and Future Vertical Lift (FVL) platforms. Developmental and Operational Testing of the proposed AM solution will be required to substantiate performance to determine if the system as a whole meets the Army’s requirements and is capable of fielding a first unit within 24 months. 

PHASE I: AGSE would like to examine the feasibility and extent of AM devices’ capability to replicate, replace, and repair tooling and parts used to maintain Army Aviation assets. Identify potential uses and capability gaps that can improve or leverage Army Aviation readiness using AM technologies within Army aviation maintenance in both garrison and deployed environments. Identify and characterize the advantages and benefits of utilizing AM technologies to include areas such as, but not limited to: cost, technical, training, readiness, logistics, technology limitations, and weight. The AM capability studied will need to meet necessary size and weight criteria to enable packaging within the current footprint of the Aviation Shop Set. Additionally, the AM capability must duplicate the necessary strength, ruggedness, and application to complete the tasks of maintaining Army Aviation assets. 

PHASE II: AGSE would like to leverage the feasibility determination accomplished in Phase I. Objectives of Phase II are to: A) Procure up to 3 AM devices for demonstration/testing, B) Demonstrate AM capability to produce multiple tools and/or parts required for Army aviation maintenance, C) Demonstrate the ability for the prototype AM device to fit within the Aviation Shop Set, D) Demonstrate the ability for the AM device to duplicate tools or parts similar in physical characteristics such as strength, ruggedness, and application, E) Complete a Technology Readiness Assessment and provide a document detailing the artifacts and justification to satisfy TRL determination. The offeror will demonstrate a capability of completing the widest array of manufacture/repair of tooling necessary to render the Aviation Shop Sets and associated equipment fully mission capable. 

PHASE III: AGSE will POM for funding necessary to procure and retrofit Aviation Shop Sets with at least one selected AM device. Entry into Milestone B of the Acquisition development life-cycle including the completion of all life-cycle targets including development of a training plan for TRADOC, necessary user testing, and sustainment strategies to support the enabling of this capability. AGSE will be charged with the complete life-cycle management of the Aviation Shop Set. 

REFERENCES: 

1: Direct Measurement of Energy in Additive Manufacturing (AM) Paper by Federico Sciammarella, Northern Illinois University, sciammarella@niu.edu.

KEYWORDS: Additive Manufacturing, Rapid Fabrication, Aviation, Readiness, 3D Printer, 3D Scanner, Laser Engineered Net-Shaping, Selective Laser Sintering, Multi-Jet Modeling 

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