While the Navy continues to test and hone the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and the Advanced Arresting Gear earmarked for the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers, the fleet continues to rely upon the steam catapults and hydraulic arresting gear used on its Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.
Refurbishment of F/A-18 Super Hornet arresting hooks that are used aboard the Nimitz-class carriers is handled by the artisans in the dynamic components division in Building 472 at Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW).
Arresting hooks work in conjunction with the ship’s arresting gear. Arresting gear are typically comprised of the arresting cables; purchase cables, which connect the arresting wire to the arresting gear engines; sheaves which the purchase cables run through; and arresting engines that absorb the energies resulting from an aircraft landing.
“The arresting hook is made up of three parts: the arm, shank and pivot. We have pivots and arms in our kitting area and the only thing we’re waiting for right now are shanks,” said supervisor Roger Smith.
Arresting hooks are removed from the fleet and refurbished every 300 trappings.
After a non-destructive inspection (NDI), the arresting hooks undergo paint stripping, removal of the catapult plate and bushings, and then an inspection for corrosion.
“We will fabricate bushings and machine them out when necessary, NDI the part, cadmium plate, prime and paint them,” Smith said.
Three artisans are assigned to the arresting hook assembly workload, which is undergoing an engineering analysis to ensure the highest possible standards throughout the production process.
“We have been checking the status of the required processes of the arresting gear. Many are about half way through the process and have been put in preservation. The engineers will review whatever processes have been done to them, and will make decisions from there to carry on with the work,” said aircraft mechanic Rayson Retener.
The artisans also test the assembly shanks using machinery designed to emulate the force of a Hornet aircraft carrier landing.
“The shank is attached inside of the machine where 1,000 pounds per second are pulled against it until it reaches 200,000 pounds, which are then held for five seconds,” Retener said.
Until March 2017, FRCSW was the single source provider of shanks for the fleet. That service is now divided equally with subcontractor Able Aerospace Services located in Mesa, Ariz.
Smith said that the command is also contracting some of its E2/C2 landing gear workload to UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS) headquartered in Charlotte, N.C.
“If we‘re the single source of supply and something happens that prevents us from delivering, then the fleet comes to a stop. So it’s always better to have two sources of supply, so the other side can ramp up production. We will have more arresting hook assemblies for the fleet this way,” he said.
Source: Naval Air Systems Command
Date: Oct 12, 2017