The US Air Force (USAF) has successfully completed an operational evaluation of new synthetic tie downs and winch cables for the C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft.
The 437th Maintenance Group, Operations Group and the Aerial Port Squadron supported the evaluation conducted at Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina.
The idea for the new synthetic equipment was approved in September 2015, with plans to complete early this year.
US Air Force Research Laboratory aviation project manager captain Randall Hodkin said: “This idea was submitted by Boeing and gained a lot of interest.
“We awarded them the contract, they worked the initial design and presented it to us for assessment.
"After our recommendations, they created three design variations and the best solution was chosen for demonstration at Joint Base Charleston.”
The tie downs and winch cables are expected to reduce weight by nearly 1,000lb on each aircraft, increasing aircraft fuel efficiency.
Tie downs are ropes, cords, straps or chains that secure items during airlift operations and winch cables help adjust the tension on tie downs, securing the load, the USAF said in a statement.
The installation of the new synthetic equipment could save the air force nearly $4m annually and provide additional safety.
The synthetic tie downs will eventually be used for all cargo aircraft. However, the winch cable will remain specific to the C-17, the statement said.
Image: An operational evaluation of new synthetic cargo tie downs and winch cables was conducted at Joint Base Charleston. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force.