Air Force Technology Reclaims Obsolete Aircraft Parts

image of laser scanning technology
Solomon Duning, a research engineer from The University of Dayton Research Institute, uses laser scanning technology to inspect an F-16 vertical tail on a depot fixture. (Courtesy photo)

The average age of Air Force aircraft is over 28 years. As a result, parts can be difficult to acquire when original suppliers are no longer in existence. The Maturation of Advanced Manufacturing for Low Cost Sustainment (MAMLS) program was created to utilize advanced technologies to address the current challenges of keeping aging aircraft flying safely.

A MAMLS team reassembled a damaged F-16 tail that could not be manufactured within the technical specifications without an accurate reference. Reverse engineering technologies were used to develop a digital model of the tail. This model was then used to bring the tail together for final reassembly.