Tinker B-2 experts solve a problem affecting Allied Force mission

The System Engineering Branch of the B-2 System Program Management Division here has solved a major problem affecting the B-2's mission effectiveness during Operation Allied Force.

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By JH

by Gail Kulhavy
Oklahoma Air Logistics Center Public Affairs

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (AFPN) -- The System Engineering Branch of the B-2 System Program Management Division here has solved a major problem affecting the B-2's mission effectiveness during Operation Allied Force.

In addition, the Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., division cut the flow days from a contracted 45-day turnaround to a two-day turnaround.

The actuator remote terminal, or ART, works the various control surfaces on the B-2. Without it, the wing cannot fly. Because of an airflow-cooling problem, the ART was one of the high-failure items on the B-2 bomber.

"Unlike other aircraft, the B-2 is a fly-by-wire system -- no mechanical interconnects to the flight controls," said Bob Cotton, avionics armament team lead for Oklahoma City B-2 System Program Office. "We send electrical signals from the pilot stick to the actuator remote terminal to the hydraulic actuator, which makes the aircraft perform its various flight manoeuvres."

The wing reached a critical point when there was a lack of supply assets for the actuator remote terminal. Rather than cause aborts of combat missions, the B-2 System Program Management Division set out to solve the problem.

"The vendor we were using had a limited capacity for repair," said Cotton. "He was meeting a 23- to 24-day turnaround in some instances, but with the increased flying schedule, he was unable to surge his capacity to the point that he could take care of requirements."

Don Ward, flight control avionics equipment specialist, initiated an investigation into how best to repair the actuator remote terminal line replacement units.

A team of engineers from Tinker travelled to Whiteman AFB, Mo., to provide on-the-spot training of ART repair.

The team worked on a compacted schedule around operational mission requirements to accomplish a solution. The sensitive actuator remote terminal has to be set down on a solid granite surface for repairs to ensure levelling. (Courtesy of Air Force Materiel Command News Service)

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