The US Air Force (USAF) has contracted Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to help sustain the functional and structural performance of aircraft landing gear systems.
The 20-year indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract has a cumulative face value of $300m.
This IDIQ contract award supports the Comprehensive Landing Gear Integrity Program (C-LGIP), aimed at developing technical data and tools for the 417th Supply Chain Management Squadron.
The programme, which was recently formed to incorporate landing gear into the Air Force’s Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP), seeks to address safety risks associated with aircraft undercarriage.
SwRI was one of three entities selected for this IDIQ in May. The other two are Engineering and Software System Solutions and the University of Dayton Research Institute.
According to SwRI principal engineer Luciano Smith, landing gear systems contain hundreds of parts, which can fail due to fatigue or stress corrosion cracking if not maintained properly.
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SwRI Aerospace Structures section manager David Wielandc said: “We’re facing a lot of new and exciting challenges. We’ll start by creating a 3D solid model of each of the landing gear parts and conducting a static stress analysis.
“We will also perform data recording to understand the loads seen by the various parts while in use. From there, we’ll do fatigue analyses and risk analyses. Then we’ll measure how the usage affects the life of the landing gear.”
The US Department of Defense expects the programme services to be completed by May 2041.
The C-LGIP programme will allow SwRI to bid for work on many USAF aircraft, including some that are already supported by earlier structural integrity contracts.