The proposer should 1) research and develop Acoustic Emission technology to instrument radar tower for NDI inspection and 2) conduct preliminary Business Case Analysis (BCA) to determine implementation costs, including a return-on-investment (ROI) calculation that compares anticipated savings to expected costs. Mishap avoidance shall not be included in cost calculations.
PHASE I: Develop a solution that meets above requirements and conduct preliminary BCA to determine implementation costs, including a return-on-investment (ROI) calculation that compares anticipated savings to expected costs. Mishap avoidance shall not be included in cost calculations. Proof-of-concept prototype(s) shall be developed to demonstrate conformance to the requirements.
PHASE II: Proof-of-concept prototype(s) shall be refined to a flight-ready article and shall undergo testing to validate all requirements. This process may require multiple iterations before a final design is selected. Refine BCA/ROI based on the final design.
PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop technology for proof of technology on radar towers. If successful the technology will be matured toward Technology Readiness Level 9.
1. ASTM E569 / E569M - 13 "Standard Practice for Acoustic Emission Monitoring of Structures During Controlled Stimulation."
2. ASTM E1067 / E1067M - 11 "Standard Practice for Acoustic Emission Examination of Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic Resin (FRP) Tanks/Vessels."
3. ASTM E2863 - 12 "Standard Practice for Acoustic Emission Examination of Welded Steel Sphere Pressure Vessels Using Thermal Pressurization."
4. ASTM E2661 / E2661M - 15 "Standard Practice for Acoustic Emission Examination of Plate-like and Flat Panel Composite Structures Used in Aerospace Applications.
5. KM Holford, R Pullin and R J Lark. (2004) Acoustic Emission modelling of concrete hinge joint models. J Acoustic Emission, 22, 2004, ISSN 0730-0050, pp 166 - 172.
TITLE: Additive/Rapid Manufacturing Reverse Engineering, Processing and Production Integrated Solution for Agile Manufacturing of Air Force Tooling, Fixture and Prototype Production
TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes
OBJECTIVE: Capability to allow Air Force Sustainment Center (AFSC) engineers and technicians to rapidly reverse engineer, process, produce, and validate tools, fixtures, and prototypes to perform depot-level maintenance.
DESCRIPTION: Insertion of additive manufacturing with new rapid manufacturing methods has the capability to transform the cost curve and the lead time required to produce many kinds of parts for the aerospace industry. However, certification requirements for flying aerospace parts require robust qualification testing and a thorough understanding of the quality of the base material. Tooling, fixtures, shop aids, and prototypes still have stringent requirements; however, the requirement for an in-depth understanding of the material is not as robust as it is for flying, critical aerospace parts.
The desired outcomes of this program are an integrated process, service, and innovative products that would assist AFSC engineers to efficiently design, reverse engineer, produce, and validate geometry of non-flying parts that are necessary for the depot maintenance of aircraft.
In order for a rapid manufacturing process to be useful for the AFSC for tooling, fixtures, and prototypes, several hurdles must be crossed. The process must be able to allow AFSC engineers to rapidly reverse engineer parts in hand or use CAD/drawings that already exist.
In order for a process to be useful for AFSC engineers, it should:
a) Minimize the software handoffs required from initial data collection (for reverse engineering) or from standard CAD files (if 3D models exist or were build/designed) to part production and validation.
b) Consider part requirements for end use of the part. For example, tooling and fixtures may require a certain surface finish that is not achievable via some manufacturing processes without post processing and machining.
c) Provide dimensional validation to the user when needed. Due to the dynamics of additive manufacturing processes (residual stress) and the typically open loop nature of production, dimensional validation may be necessary because parts may warp when being built. This could be achieved through post process machining using a machine tool or conventional inspection methods. It is important to provide some sort of method for dimensional validation, especially if the part will be used for a fit check or for production of parts (like sheet metal forming).
d) Result in an objective of a 2-5 day turnaround for parts repair/production from job generation to assist in the rapid design and check method. This would involve any necessary reverse engineering processes, manufacturing process development, manufacturing, and quality assurance process necessary for the part.
PHASE I: Research and develop a concept demonstration that can address the above requirements.
PHASE II: Based on the Phase I research, work with AFSC government team to continue development of the Phase I concept into a prototype agile manufacturing capability. The contractor and the AFSC team will jointly select parts to be produced that will be used to test and validate the above requirements and demonstrate the objective timelines can be accomplished. The final Phase II report will document results and provide transition plan for implementing capability into AFSC complexes.
PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Phase III will be to build off of prototype capability into a production implementation not only into AFSC, but also for commercialization with aerospace manufacturing support contractors within the Complex of the Future Innovation Centers.
KEYWORDS: 3D printing, rapid manufacturing, additive manufacturing
TITLE: High Precision, Non-Line-of-Sight Point Cloud Generation
TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes
OBJECTIVE: Research and develop a technology capable of generating high precision point cloud scans of intricate parts with multiple internal services that are not accessible for traditional laser scanning or other line-of-sight techniques.
DESCRIPTION: Many gun systems in armament require intricate castings of aluminum or steel parts with multiple internal surfaces that are very difficult to inspect with traditional means and impossible to inspect with line of sight surface scanning such as laser scanning. This makes it extremely difficult and time consuming to inspect these parts during first article testing or production lot testing which adds to lead time and risk associated with procurement. It also makes government testing of failed parts nearly impossible because of the lack of specialized tooling and fixtures to hold/check the parts.
A technology is being sought that has the ability to look through the part (similar to an X-ray) and generate a very precise point cloud or surface model of the part. This point cloud or model must be accurate down to 0.0001-inch objective, 0.0005-inch threshold for the entire part. The technology must be capable of working through any steel or aluminum with a wall thickness of approximately 0.5 inches. The operation should be as automated as possible and require very little user training. The bounding box for most parts is 18 in. x 18 in. x18 in. or less, though some parts would require a larger capacity of approximately 24 in. x 24 in. x 36 in.
Current scanning inspection techniques are limited to surface laser scans. There are some rudimentary X-ray inspection techniques, but these are mostly limited to visualization and flaw detection. There is currently no technology that can measure, visualize, and display non-line-of-sight dimensions, though it may be possible to marry current line-of-sight scanning with X-ray or other non-destructive inspection techniques.
PHASE I: Demonstrate hidden surface scan feasibility and develop a complete a demonstration of concept for accurately measuring non-line-of-sight dimensions.
PHASE II: Demonstrate a full scan of a moderately complex casting up to 18 in. x 18 in. x18 in., with internal dimensions accurately measured, tolerance, and displayed.
PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Demonstrate a full scan of a complex casting up to 18 in. x 18 in. x18 in., with internal dimensions accurately measured, tolerance, and displayed.
1. J.E. Goodman, J.O'Rourke, editors \Handbook of discrete and computattional geometry," CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL; Second Edition, April 2004.
2. S. Sachs, S. Rajko, S.M. LaValle \Visibility based pursuit-evasion in an unknown planar environment," to appear in International Journal of Robotics Research, (2003).
KEYWORDS: point cloud, non-line-of-sight dimensions
TITLE: Reconfigurable Interface Test Adapter
TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes
OBJECTIVE: Develop a reconfigurable interface test adapter (RTA) that can adapt the physical and software differences between automatic test systems' (ATS) enabling test program set (TPS) transportability.
DESCRIPTION: For decades, the automatic test community has worked to develop hardware standardization and interface protocols that aid in mitigating the impact of equipment obsolescence on the repair and maintenance mission. The traditional view of TPS transportability in this environment has always been one of migrating a legacy TPS to a new hardware architecture design born out of a need to replace aging technology or provide new test capability. The DoD has recognized the benefit of standardizing ATS through policy guidance whose intent is to drive the services to a common configuration test environment, thereby reducing life cycle sustainment costs for all DoD systems.
The goal of this topic is to develop an RTA that can adapt the physical and software differences between ATS that are test system architecture agnostic. Although standardization has advanced to the point where these ATS look and function similarly, there are two major hurdles that continuously thwart efforts to develop a standard core test system, the lack of a standard Unit Under Test (UUT) interface and the lack of an open architecture software design that facilitates operations in any environment and on any test system architecture. Automatic Test Markup Language (ATML) provides promise with regards to the development of standardized test software interfaces.
The desired RTA must be able to interface test adapters from existing TPS, not require extraordinary manual reconfiguration of the interface connector assembly, be able to identify TPS hardware configurations, and fit within existing DoD Family of Testers (FoT) ATE core real estate. Moreover, the envisioned system must be able to re-host the critical test functionality through middleware that interfaces to the Versatile Depot Automatic Test Station (VDATS), as well as other ATE variants across the DoD.
PHASE I: Conceptualize and design the hardware and software for an RTA based on standard/open architectures. The proposed solution must be generic and capable of expanding to any ATS.
PHASE II: Develop a prototype of the RTA and demonstrate the transportability of TPS from one ATS to another (e.g., next-generation Navy Consolidated Automated Support System to VDATS).
PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military Application: Finalize the ITA for implementation into all DoD FoTs beginning with VDATS. Commercial Application: The methodology and technology have direct applicability to management of civil aircraft and commercial vehicles.
1. Eckersley, J. E., Adams, W., “Achieving Test Program Set transportability through interface design,” IEEE AUTOTESTCON, Anaheim, CA., pp. 161-163, Sept. 14-17, 2009.
1671-20110 - IEEE Standard for Automatic Test Markup Language (ATML) for Exchanging Automatic Test Equipment and Test Information via XML, Jan 20. 2011.
KEYWORDS: automated testing equipment, automatic testing system, test program set, reconfiguration, VDATS, TPS, RTA
TITLE: Maintenance Data Collection from Non-Networked Automatic Test Equipment
TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this effort is to monitor the health of automatic test equipment (ATE) systems by collecting operating time, down time, calibration and self-test results system, maintenance actions - serial number tracking of parts, etc.
DESCRIPTION: The Air Force desires the determination of a method to provide the capability to perform automated maintenance data collection (MDC) from non-networked ATE. The method used must not involve connection to the DoD Global Information Grid. The ATE’s control and support software could be used or the method could be a standalone application.
Data collected should include, but not be limited to: operating time duration; down time duration; calibration and self-test results and date; system failures and date; system maintenance actions to include date and items removed and replaced, by part number and serial number; system temperature variations and date; cannibalization actions to include part number and serial number and part/serial number of system out and system in; and ATE utilization, i.e., unit under test (UUT) evaluated/tested with part number, serial number and date. The collection of data should be automated as much as possible with limited manual input only when automation is not possible.
To satisfy the requirements of AFI 21-103, Ch. 7, ATE Inventory, Status, and Utilization Reporting:
• Each item of ATE is possessed by an Air Force training or maintenance organization (to include organizational, intermediate, or depot level).
• The possessing unit reports:
Possession and changes in possession.
Conditions that change the ability of the ATE to do its mission (condition status).
PHASE I: Develop and validate solution that meets above requirements. Demonstrate ability to collect and analyze the above requested data. Conduct preliminary business case analysis (BCA) to determine implementation costs, return-on-investment (ROI) calculation that compares anticipated savings to expected costs. Proof-of-concept prototype(s) shall be developed to demonstrate conformance to requirements.
PHASE II: Proof-of-concept prototype(s) shall be refined to a collection method capable of supporting various ATE used by the Air Force depot at Hill AFB, Utah, and shall undergo testing to validate all requirements. This process may require multiple iterations before a final design is selected. Refine BCA/ROI based on the final design.
PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Implement selected and validated solution in support of depot operations.
1. MIL-PRF-49503C - Section 3.6.2, states: "Data elements. The four data element inputs … required for the operator to obtain reports shall be displayed via the UUT LOG RECORD screen … The programmer shall ensure that these four data elements, together with the other data for which the TP is responsible, are stored in the UUT log file at the conclusion of testing each UUT." This defines the need for a Test Program (TP) to provide a Unit Under Test (UUT) LOG RECORD for each test performed. These log records need to be extracted from the ATE and collected into one area.
2. DoD Directive NUMBER 8100.02, section 4.3 states, "Wireless technologies/devices used for storing, processing, and/or transmitting information shall not be operated in areas where classified information is electronically stored, processed, or transmitted unless approved by the DAA …" - The Designated Approving Authority (DAA) does not approve wireless technology/devices in the areas where this ATE resides, therefore wireless technology is not an option.
KEYWORDS: radar, automated test equipment, ATE
TITLE: Radio Frequency Range Modernization, Compatibility and Capability Study
TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics
The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, email@example.com.
OBJECTIVE: The equipment for testing aircraft radars is out of date and no longer supportable. New technology has to be researched and developed to modernize the radio frequency (RF) test ranges in the sustainment community.
DESCRIPTION: The Air Force is interested in combining the Air Force Sustainment Center's RF ranges into one maintenance contract, and to standardize the capabilities and compatibility across the AFSC complexes, i.e., at Tinker, Hill and Robins AFBs. The equipment for testing aircraft radars is out of date and no longer supportable. Therefore, there is a need to research and develop new RF equipment to test radars systems at the three complexes.
The Nose Radome Electrical Test System (NRETS) RF Radome ranges was upgraded in the 1980s and "refurbished" in 2000/2001. NRETS RF ranges test, verify, and validate radome’s capabilities and calibrate. The maintenance and upkeep for the 15-plus-year-old RF equipment has become very difficult. Neither equipment replacements nor parts for refurbishing can be found or purchased. In fact, last year the N2 RF range was down for eight months, leaving the N1 to handle the full workload. The N1 RF range, therefore, became a single point of failure, potentially risking a total work stoppage. The two Fire Control RADAR Antenna Test System (FCRATS) RF Antenna ranges have similar RF to the NRETS RF ranges and are only four years newer, having been refurbished in 2004/2005. The FCRATS RF ranges are quickly becoming a potential risk for a workflow stoppage, as well.
The RF Range Modernization, Compatibility & Capability Study effort proposes to research and develop upgrades to NRETS RF Radome ranges (N1 and N2) and FCRATS RF Antenna ranges (F2 and F3).
Note there two additional FCRATS RF ranges (F1 and F4) that are currently not being used, but are being cannibalized to maintain the functioning (F2 and F3) ranges. The F4 FCRATS RF range is also being looked at for possible new workloads.
The proposer shall research and develop solutions to identified problems for the FCRAT RF Antenna ranges obsolete/unsupportable equipment. The equipment includes, but is not limited to, the following:
• MI Technology 4190 and 4193 position controller and power amplifier
• MI Technology lobing interface unit
• MI Technology rate sensor
• Viasat 3862 antenna control unit
• Servo amplifiers for antenna azimuth and elevation position control
• Antenna gimbal azimuth and elevation motors
• Agilent vector network analyzer, signal source and power supply
• Software update to communicate with and operate new equipment
• Cabling to connect new equipment as needed update all affected Technical Order drawings, original equipment manufacturer manuals, software, and other documentation
The study's research and development effort will result in verifying and validating the new technologies in the two NRETs and two FCRATs RF Antenna ranges previously mentioned, including control rooms, subsystems equipment/components, software and capabilities, and their interfacings and compatibility, to ensure current and future range capabilities, possibilities of workflow growth and for their future sustainability of the worldwide fleet. The proposer shall perform business case analysis (BCA) for the developed solution.
PHASE I: Develop a solution that meets above requirements and conduct preliminary BCA to determine implementation costs, including a return-on-investment (ROI) calculation that compares anticipated savings to expected costs. Proof-of-concept prototype(s) shall be developed to demonstrate conformance to the requirements. Investigate/prepare paper work for required certifications.
PHASE II: Proof-of-concept prototype(s) shall be refined to installation-ready article and shall undergo testing to verify and validate all requirements. This process may require multiple iterations before a final design is selected. Refine BCA/ROI based on the final design.
PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: If the RF Range Modernization, Compatibility & Capability Study R&D program proves cost effective, then we will implement developed, verified and validated solution(s) in Air Force depot operations.
1. T.O. 33D2-44-8-1 "Positioner Assembly, 5 Axis, F-16 Operations and Maintenance Instructions with Parts List."
OBJECTIVE: Develop an innovative non-destructive inspection (NDI) method to detect stress corrosion cracking early in an aircraft’s lifecycle.
DESCRIPTION: Stress corrosion cracking is the cracking induced from the combined influence of tensile stress and a corrosive environment. Stress corrosion cracking has an adverse effect on aircraft materials and structures and is a big detriment to aircraft structural integrity. It is globally recognized as a significant threat to the safe and efficient operation of aircraft and other weapons' structural systems not only in the Air Force and all military organizations but throughout aerospace industry in general. It is also a grave concern in power generation, oil and gas, transportation, and every industry foreign and domestic where environment assisted degradation of structures is a peril.