The US Air Force has awarded a contract to Alion Science and Technology to enhance the safety of flight-critical airframe structures, as part of the non-destructive inspection (NDI) improvement programme phase II task order.

The order, awarded under the Advanced Materials, Manufacturing and Testing Information Analysis Center (AMMTIAC) contract, will improve the NDI methods used to evaluate the integrity of fielded aircraft structures.

NDI is used for identifying defects in materials and structures under various conditions, by keeping intact the component’s integrity during the inspection process.

Under the new task order, Alion will evaluate 125 inspections, recommend improvements to current NDI procedures, develop new inspection tools and validate their performance by performing detection studies.

Alion senior vice-president and manager of the Technology Solutions Group Chris Amos said Alion’s non-destructive inspection expertise, experience and procedure audits would help the air force enhance its inspectors’ abilities to more reliably detect structural defects.

“This in-turn will improve safety fleet-wide,” he said.

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Sponsored by the USAF NDI Program Office, the new task order will be completed by Alion in partnership with Texas Research Institute and UniWest, by 20 December 2010.

The current order has been given to Alion, following its successful completion of the independent audit of NDI procedures on flight-critical structures across the air force fleet.