RAAF C-130s to be upgraded with UTC carbon brakes
UTC Aerospace Systems (Chalet CD07) has been awarded a contract to provide the Royal Australian Air Force with upgraded wheels and brakes for its Lockheed Martin C-130 transport aircraft. Delivery of the new equipment is scheduled for May at Richmond Air Base in New South Wales.
Carbon brakes using Duracarb carbon sink material (inherited from Goodrich following the 2012 merger) will provide eight-times longer life than current steel brakes, according to UTC. The use of Duracarb also means reduced cooling times and this can be critical when military aircraft crews need to quickly takeoff from a combat zone after dropping off cargo.
UTC is also providing boltless lock-ring wheels, which significantly reduce maintenance costs and the time taken to change wheels. Jeff Atkinson, director of military programs for UTC Aerospace Systems Wheels and Brakes, told AIN that with the new wheels the average time taken to change tires had been reduced from more than four hours to 50 minutes. “One guy told me he had changed all four [main] wheels on a C-130 in just under an hour,” he said.
The UTC division, which has just been rebranded as Landing Systems (to incorporate its landing gear unit in Cleveland, Ohio), developed the combination of Duracarb brakes and lock ring wheels in 2009 for the U.S. Air Force’s C-130 fleet. The redesign reduced the wheel to just three core parts: a wheel base, a side rim and a lock ring to hold the two wheel halves together when the tire is inflated.
The Australian contract represents UTC’s first export sale of the new wheel and brake combination. According to Atkinson, many C-130 operators in the Asia Pacific region are looking for ways to improve the lifecycle costs associated with their aircraft and he believes the investment should be recouped through reduced operating costs within three of four years.