- usaf and texas research institute develop new combat aircraft coating
USAF and Texas Research Institute Develop New Combat Aircraft Coating
At the end of last week, the United States Air Force announced their completion of a new aircraft coating for fighter aircraft including Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II. With funds from the USAF’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, the Texas Research Institute worked closely with the Air Force to develop the new coating called Proteckt. It offers improved high temperature abrasion resistance that could directly improve the reliability and maintainability of weapon systems.
Major George Woodworth, the Air Force Research Laboratory SBIR project manager, said in a statement: “This is roughly a 2,000 percent improvement in the average time between coating failures and directly addresses a current F-35 need.” TRI evaluated a variety of raw materials, developed numerous coating formulations in conjunction with the experimental design development process, and eventually identified the best formulations. “We anticipate that the new material will provide the program an estimated $14 million in life-cycle cost savings,” said Woodworth.
These new coatings were developed to replace the current abrasion-resistant coatings which are filled polyurethane paints. Although these paints have moderate high-temperature resistance, they have very poor long term wear resistance and they degrade over time which results in the need for frequent repair and recoating. The current coatings can also cause damage to the underlying composite material of the aircraft. The new Proteckt coating cures faster, is resistant to standard aircraft fluids, meets color and gloss requirements, and exhibits good adhesion, even after accelerated fluid exposures.
Lockheed Martin, an American based company with divisions in aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology. Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, the company employs 116,000 workers worldwide. Their F-35 aircraft
is designed to dominate the skies. It combines the 5th Generation characteristics of radar evading stealth, supersonic speed and extreme agility with the most powerful and comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history. The new Proteckt coating will fortify the aircraft even more.
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Posted on March 25, 2015
- aircraft coating