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The cost of aircraft ownership has been increasing due to an acceleration of costs associated with maintaining aging aircraft structures. The major factors contributing to the increasing supportability requirements are a result of extended aircraft usage beyond the originally designed airframe life, more severe flight and operating environments, and increased payload. A logical solution to the ever-escalating life cycle costs of aging aircraft is to incorporate advanced technologies to replace problem parts. This presentation discusses the recent advances and benefits of structures, materials, manufacturing, and repair technologies. The improved fatigue and corrosion resistance of advanced metallic materials is discussed. The use of improved material properties to enhance durability and damage-tolerance is also examined. Finally, the application of advanced repair technologies coupled with advanced materials to repair aging aircraft is addressed.
Aging aircraft, advanced aluminum alloys, powder metallurgy alloy, superplastic forming, composite patch repair
Project Director, Northrop Corporation, Hawthorne, CA
Education With Industry Fellow, Air Force Institute of TechnologyWarner Robins Air Logistics Center, GA