F-14 jet fighter on an aircraft carrier deck viewed from front

Cold Spray Solutions for Tactical Aircraft Maintenance

There are almost as many types of military aircraft as there are letters in the alphabet – attack, bomber, fighter, glider, vertical take-off and landing. There is even an X category for experimental aircraft. 

Regardless of the category, the cost of tactical aircraft maintenance is increasing. Maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) accounted for about 40 percent of all military spending in 2020, up from approximately 25 percent in 1970.

Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Challenges

Decades of military budgets for modern aircraft have been canceled, diminished, or delayed. The results are increased MRO expenses, and there would seem to be no changes on the horizon. Replacing parts as they exhibit wear is a traditional but expensive, time-consuming tack, requiring more cost-effective solutions to be put in place.

Military aircraft placed worldwide in a vast array of climates and conditions leads to corrosion, erosion, and damage.

Seemingly minor damage can put parts outside of acceptable tolerances, and typical repair methods, such as welding, don’t work on aluminum due to heat sensitivity and warping. 

Cold Spray Solutions for Military Aircraft

Cold spray is an additive manufacturing process that accelerates metal powders to supersonic speeds to restore damaged components to within acceptable tolerances. The portability of VRC Metal Systems High-Pressure Cold Spray (HPCS) equipment allows for in situ repairs, thus eliminating time-wasting disassembly and the costs of replacing a part that can be restored instead.

Cost-efficient dimensional restoration is only one solution that cold spray technology supplies. Additional time and cost-saving solutions include: 

  • A layer of corrosion-resistant materials such as zinc and aluminum can be applied over the dimensional restorations for additional protection, extending the time between repairs.
  • HPCS applications can be repaired with cold spray for an unknowing number of repair cycles eliminating part replacement.
  • Wear- and abrasion-resistant layers can be added by co-depositing hard ceramics with the metal powders to extend component and panel lifetime in abrasive conditions. 
  • In addition to corrosion- and wear-resistant coatings, you can apply materials to add electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding as well.
  • Due to the molecular bonding of materials with this process versus a simple mechanical interlocking of other thermal spray methods, the underlying substrate is potentially strengthened for assured in-flight safety.

VRC Metal Systems is trusted by government organizations and reputable institutions worldwide. With VRC’s High-Pressure Cold Spray systems, you receive expert on-site implementation and maintenance support from highly-trained staff. 

If you’re interested in a cost-effective, portable repair solution for your military tactical aircraft request a quote, and one of our Sales Engineers will contact you.

Contact VRC Metal Systems today to find out how cold spray technologies can support your military tactical aircraft repair needs. 

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