Cold Proof for
(with the permission of Air Force Today, publishers of AIRPOWERint.com, 9 November 2000)
|The Cold Proof Load Test Facility at
Amberley reached a milestone in the construction process last week, with the installation
of a 77 tonne jig that will hold the F-111 in place during testing.
Resembling pieces from a giant Meccano set, the jig
was taken from a cold proof load test facility in Bristol, England and was essentially cut
into pieces, shipped to Australia and reassembled for installation at Amberley.
||When the test
facility becomes operational in mid-2000, Amberleys F-111s will be
frozen to minus-40 degrees Celcius and the wings bent using hydraulic
actuators to simulate the most extreme climatic and stress conditions imaginable. Any
structural problems with the airframe will be evident when it is subjected to such
|| This will then
allow remedial action to be taken before what could be a catatrophic failure during
flight. Lockheed Martin Project Manager, Peter Morrell said lowering the jig into
position represented the halfway point in the construction of the facility.
"This is a major step in the project; now we
can build the rest of the structure and install all the hydraulics, refrigeration plant
andother systems necessary to run the facility," he said.
|"We are about three weeks ahead of
schedule and if everything else goes to plan the facility should be open by the planned
completion date in June 2001."
a period of eight months, the building contractor, John Holland have gone through the
design, planning and consultation stage to bring us where we are now."
"Cold Proof Project Engineering
Manager FLTLT David Houghton, said the facility would play a significant role in
maintaining the F-111 fleet.
"Because Australia is now the sole
operator of the F-111, Amberley is the centre for F-111 maintenance. Part of that
maintenance requirement is to conduct cold proof load testing on aircraft throughout their
Hydraulic rams put the strain on this frozen F-111.
|The project also has a high amount of
involvement from Australian industry.
Peter Morrell said the project was also unique because it put
Lockheed Martin Australia in the position of prime contractor.
"Normally its the other way
around," he said. "We are sub-contracting the American division of Lockheed
Martin to carry out work on the control and data systems for the new facility, which is
something of a first."
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