The Effects of Advanced Materials on Airframe Operating and Support Costs
Download eBook for Free
|PDF file||0.7 MB||
Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.
Purchase Print Copy
|Add to Cart||Paperback82 pages||$25.00||$20.00 20% Web Discount|
Advanced materials — particularly polymer composites and titanium — are increasingly being used instead of aluminum in military airframe structures because of their superior strength and lighter weight. As such, the authors concentrate on answering a fundamental question: Do airframe parts made of advanced materials cost more to maintain than parts made of aluminum? Because very little is known about the operating and support costs of airframe parts after an aircraft is fielded and operational, the research team produced a methodology for forecasting these costs. The authors analyzed part-level maintenance data from the F/A-18 A/B/C/D and survey-based data from airframe contractors and the B-2 Program Office. In their F/A-18 part-level analysis, the authors concluded that maintenance is a function of part type and material type, with access doors being the most expensive parts to maintain. Their findings also indicate that composite materials require more maintenance than aluminum, with composite parts containing aluminum honeycomb substructures requiring the most maintenance. Titanium parts, by comparison, need the least maintenance. Survey-based data showed similar results, with the exception of the airframe contractor’s survey data, which had mixed results for titanium parts, the maintenance of which varied with material form relative to aluminum sheet as a baseline.
The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Documented briefing series. RAND documented briefings are based on research presented to a client, sponsor, or targeted audience in briefing format. Additional information is provided in the documented briefing in the form of the written narration accompanying the briefing charts. All RAND documented briefings undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity. However, they are not expected to be comprehensive and may present preliminary findings. Major research findings are published in the monograph series; supporting or preliminary research is published in the technical report series.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.