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New Onboard Aircraft Health Monitoring System

January 23, 2007

A diagnostic/prognostic system designed to monitor aircraft structural components in flight, developed by TRI/Austin, Inc., has been successfully tested aboard the F-15.


AUSTIN, TX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In 2003, the Army awarded an SBIR Phase II contract for $729,888 to TRI/Austin to develop a diagnostic/prognostic system that could monitor aircraft and rotorcraft structural components in flight. Phase II focused on ruggedizing the system, optimizing performance, reducing power draw, refining the prognostic/diagnostic algorithms and building a system for test. The effort culminated in a successful flight test of the LAHMP system aboard the F-15.

"We couldn't have done it without Boeing, our teaming partner, who guided us through the process of getting on a flight test," noted Russell Austin, the principal scientist on the project. "Safety is critical and we had to prove that our system was safe enough to fly on board a plane. We successfully conducted third-party independent testing prior to placing the system on the aircraft and then a ground test on the plane before take-off." Third-party verification included acceleration testing of up to 6 G on 6 axes as well as RFI/EMI testing. In-house thermal testing showed the system to be operational in the specified range of –40°C to 85°C, including thermal shock.

"In order for the LAHMP system to pass the flight test, the system could not adversely affect the plane, the plane could not adversely affect it, and it had to be operational during the flight." During the flight test the LAHMP system took data from three areas on the F-15.

David Forsyth, the NDE/SHM division manager, sees a lot of potential for the LAHMP system. "We developed patented algorithms to determine structural health from onboard sensor readings. In addition, we designed the health management platform to be fully customizable for a wide variety of aircraft." Potential applications include fighter aircraft, such as the Joint Strike Fighter and the F/A-18, military transports, helicopters, commercial aircraft and rockets.

About TRI/Austin
TRI/Austin is a materials science and development company specializing in the challenges of harsh environments on land, in air, at sea, undersea, and "down-hole." Our advanced materials and composite expertise covers the entire product life cycle including development, testing and characterization, qualification, manufacturing, nondestructive evaluation, health monitoring, problem identification, and problem resolution. We pride ourselves on our ability to find the best solution for our customers' materials problems whether it is through our in-house expertise or with the assistance of one of our many teaming partners.

Our products include Bond-Coat to protect Naval submarine connectors from cathodic delamination, Tough-Grip non-skid coatings for Naval ships, and environmentally friendly Ecomass compounds to replace lead in Army practice rounds. TRI also provides NDT/NDE expertise to AMMTIAC as part of a subcontract to Alion Science and Technology.

Additional information on the company is available at its Web site or by phoning 512-263-2101.

LAHMP and Tough-Grip are trademarks of Texas Research International.

Ecomass is a trademark of Ideas to Market.

Contacts:
TRI/Austin Inc., Austin
Azucena R. Overman, 512-263-2101, ext. 231
or 512-627-6423 (mobile)
Marketing Director
aoverman@tri-austin.com


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