On November 19, during the NIDV fair in Ahoy Rotterdam, NLR signed three different agreements aimed at saving maintenance costs for Defence.
Establishment of a maintenance centre for composites
First, the founding act of the “Dutch Composites Maintenance Centre” (DCMC) is signed. The DCMC will initiate and support innovations in the field of aerospace composite structures. Signatories are the Aerospace Cluster members Fokker, NLR, Airborne and TU Delft.
The added value of the DCMC consists of closing the chain between fundamental research at universities, applied research at the institutes and applied technology within companies. The combination of knowledge, facilities and infrastructure within these three domains ensures proper alignment of research, development and application processes of the participating parties.
The DCMC is located on Aviolanda Business Park, next to Woensdrecht airbase, which will also be the primary user. The ambition of the DCMC is to become a leading international independent authority, which initiates and supports innovations in the field of maintenance, repair and overhaul of composite structures.
“Repair and maintenance of composites components in military hardware is important for the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) to keep the assets in operation during deployments”, said General Sander Schnitger, commander of the RNLAF. “Another clear proof of the success of the last years founded Aerospace Cluster where the Royal Netherlands Airforce, industry and knowledge centres achieve innovative technological results by cooperation”.
Test facility for rotor blades
The second signature involves the development of an advanced testing facility for rotor blades, which is aiming at reducing the number of flight tests necessary for balancing rotor blades and thus reducing associated costs. Signatories are Airborne and NLR. The facility is intended to support the Logistics Centre Woensdrecht who is also the launching customer.
The new facility will measure all the properties that are relevant to the dynamic behavior of rotor blades, where traditional measurements relate only to determination of the centre of gravity with some adjustments. The innovative test facility offers unique opportunities to incorporate the geometry and elastic properties in the balancing process and is suitable for testing both new and overhauled rotor blades.
Air Commodore Mario Verbeek, Commander of the Logistic Centre Woensdrecht says: “This new technology is important for the Dutch Airforce since we can reduce the amount of Rotor Track and Balance flights, this reduces costs and increases the operational availability”.
Center of Excellence on F-35 test capabilities
The third signature involves a Center of Excellence for the F-35 program with specific focus on the so-called LM-STAR test capabilities and Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO). The five industry partners will create best value for the F-35 program by deploying their mutual core competences on MRO & Upgrades for avionics and other equipment. Cooperation includes sharing test equipment, infrastructure, personnel, knowledge and experience. Part of the activities will be performed at the Logistic Center at Woensdrecht.
The cooperation between the five companies, i.e. Fokker Services, Nedaero, NLR, Terma, Thales and the Royal Netherlands Air Force at the Logistic Center at Woensdrecht is an important step for all parties to maintain these specific capabilities in The Netherlands and to increase industrial participation in the F-35 program.