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Achievement Award Winners

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2003 Award Recipients

Laser Additive Manufacturing

Laser Additive Manufacturing

The Laser Additive Manufacturing (LAM) project is an outstanding example of the ManTech Program's ability to successfully and dramatically advance the state-of-the-art in manufacturing and, thereby, enable the Defense industrial base to more effectively and affordably meet the needs of the warfighters.

This team contributed toward the development and implementation of a manufacturing process that has given birth to a new industry utilizing an entirely new manufacturing process for titanium structure fabrication. LAM is based on a stereo lithography approach to manufacturing. Utilizing software to convert a CAD file to a sliced format, parts with properties in the class of forgings are built one layer at a time making LAM a true manufacturing-on-demand process. Cycle time is reduced by up to 80%; the cost of many components is reduced by 10% to 30%; and the process is environmentally friendly and provides tremendous surge capability.

Among recent LAM successes is its application to aluminum F-15 Strike Eagle pylon ribs that were failing prematurely. Action in the Iraq war had depleted the remaining inventory. Ship sets made from titanium, as shown in the photo, replaced the failed components in only 2 months and have a life extension of five-times that of aluminum; thereby significantly increasing the safety of the structure and increasing the mission availability of the aircraft.

This project also exemplifies the "jointness" aspect of the ManTech Program. The Army funded the development of the production system for LAM. The Air Force funded the refinement of the process and the development of aviation applications. The Navy provided funding for application to F/A-18 components. DLA funding is supporting full qualification of weapon system applications from all services and the development of a next generation capability. And finally, most of the work was cost shared by the companies involved.

Government / Industry Team Members:

Laser Shock Peening Initiative

Laser Shock Peening Initiative

The Air Force ManTech Program, working with General Electric Aircraft Engines and LSP Technologies, Inc., developed an emerging technology, called laser shock peening, as a potential solution to increase the durability of titanium fan blades and decrease the sensitivity to foreign object damage. Laser shock peening uses a high-energy laser pulse to impart an intense shock wave into the surface of metal parts. The shock wave creates deep compressive residual stresses which greatly improve fatigue properties and toughness.

Implementation of this innovative process on applications such as turbine engine airfoils has significantly reduced maintenance costs, improved the reliability of aircraft engines, and improved the operational availability of combat aircraft. Aircraft crew safety and mission readiness have been vastly enhanced. For the Air Force, application of laser peening to the engine blades of the B-1B Lancer, F-16 Falcon, and F/A-22 Raptor has already avoided over $59 million in costs through reduced turbine engine airfoil failures, blade replacement costs, and reduced secondary damage engine repair costs.

The production implementation of laser shock peening and the resultant savings to the Air Force represents just the beginning of the realization of benefits from this process and the importance of LSP Technologies' RapidCoater™ system to increase throughput and decrease processing costs. The laser shock peening process is being evaluated for a number of other DoD weapons system applications such as transmission gears in the CH-47 helicopter, turbine engine blades in tanks and other ground vehicles, and aircraft landing gear components.

The Laser Shock Peening Initiative is an excellent example of the ManTech Program's ability to develop and implement innovative, effective, and affordable manufacturing processes for sustaining key military capabilities. This team's contributions have led to significantly enhanced reliability of aircraft turbine engines and their operational availability, and have vastly improved crew safety and mission readiness.

Government / Industry Team Members:

2003 Defense Manufacturing Technology Achievement Award Nominees

The manufacturing technology project nominees that were considered for the fifth annual award were completed and/or demonstrated in FY02 or FY03. The nominees were:

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