MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. —
A B-1B Lancer set a brand new report for under-the-radar approaches, by taking to the freeway to journey from Texas to Wichita Jan. 25-28.
The B-1 was transported from Dyess Air Drive Base, Texas, on an 18-wheeler to Wichita State College’s (WSU) Nationwide Institute for Aviation Analysis (NIAR) as a part of a analysis partnership.
The bomber was trimmed down for transport, minus wings and tail meeting, which enabled it to suit beneath most site visitors lights. From Dyess, it travelled by the Texas Panhandle cities of Glad, Canyon, Tulia, Borger, Spearman, Silverton, and Perryton, then into Oklahoma and thru smaller highways in Kansas, together with the cities of Coldwater and Andover. Native legislation enforcement assisted with site visitors management alongside the route, in addition to state Freeway Patrol officers.
Now in Wichita, the bomber can be utilized by NIAR to create a digital B-1 Bomber that would assist the Air Drive predict the way forward for its supersonic bombers.
The venture, sponsored by the Air Drive Life Cycle Administration Middle’s B-1 Division, will research the results of flight operations on plane buildings. The NIAR crew will totally disassemble the plane, scan each particular person structural half all the way down to the nuts and bolts, and reassemble the digital plane elements to create a digital twin. This system will present the Air Drive with unprecedented info on the B-1B, permitting for the analysis of harm or adjustments to plane utilization to be able to restore, modify design or structural inspection intervals, and/or reevaluate the design lifetime of the plane.
“We’re taking an actual plane from the Boneyard (309th Aerospace Upkeep and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona), and it’ll fly once more in a digital format,” mentioned Lt. Col. Joseph Lay, B-1 program supervisor.
The venture contains digital twin, fractography, exterior and inside hundreds, finite factor fashions (FEM) and validation work. With the intention to validate the FEM and outline exterior load units, NIAR is analyzing full-scale check knowledge together with precise flight knowledge from a supporting check program at Tinker Air Drive Base, Oklahoma.
“By means of the scanning course of, we are going to uncover all of the locations that noticed structural failure or injury. It would create a dwelling well being report for the B-1,” Lay mentioned. “Then we will apply knowledge from plane within the discipline to assist us predict areas which are extra prone to have structural points. This dwelling digital mannequin of the B-1’s construction can be superimposed with layers of upkeep knowledge, check/inspection outcomes, and evaluation instruments, which could be built-in over the plane’s life cycle.”
One other advantage of the digital twin is for testing prototypes of recent elements and repairs.
“We now have by no means had the power to prototype a restore half,” Lay mentioned. “With this, we will design an element and match check it within the digital world earlier than we manufacture the true factor. The flexibility to do a digital match test might be very helpful.”
The result’s an surroundings that gives the very best plane sustainment and fleet readiness. Whereas this venture particularly includes the B-1 Lancer, it’s going to function a pilot program for the event and validation of a digital twin technique to help plane which are in comparable knowledge conditions.
The digital twin surroundings will modernize sustainment and coaching. Slightly than deciphering engineering drawings, upkeep personnel may have the power to have a look at the construction surrounding an inspection or restore space in 3D earlier than ever touching the airframe.
“You’ll even have the ability to placed on some goggles and take a digital stroll by the airplane, see how elements match collectively and work together with one another with out ever having to go away the workplace or your telework surroundings. We count on to study so much about this platform,” Lay mentioned.
Members of NIAR are thrilled to have the B-1 at WSU and stay up for supporting the Air Drive and its Airmen.
“We’re extraordinarily excited to start this program with the Air Drive in help of the B1”, mentioned John Tomblin, WSU senior vp for Trade and Protection Packages and govt director of NIAR. “The flexibility to offer help to Airmen and improve readiness is a major goal of this program and we hope that the outcomes of this will affect future upkeep and sustainment for this plane in addition to present a platform for many years to return.”
The B-1 could solely be the start, because the Air Drive and NIAR look to the long run and take into account what different airframes could also be subsequent to obtain a digital twin.
“As our fleets age, exceed design life, face obsolescence points and extra, we have to be modern in our response and NIAR’s distinctive capabilities and expertise present us with simply such groundbreaking alternative,” mentioned Angie Tymofichuk, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Drive for Logistics and Product Help. “Furthermore, past the B-1B, we glance to leverage the confirmed methodologies throughout the bigger Air Drive legacy portfolio.”
In response to information studies, the plane is recognized as tail quantity 85-0089, often known as the Midnight Prowler. That plane skilled an engine failure and hearth in 2022 that ended its flying days. However it’s going to proceed to serve in a brand new method, with WSU’s Nationwide Institute for Aviation Analysis.