Meggitt sees military applications for new electric brakes

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Meggitt sees applications in the military sector for electrically actuated brakes like the system it has designed for Bombardier.

The company's EBrake suite this week was flight tested on a Bombardier Global 5000 out of Wichita, Kansas. Bombardier is testing the system in advance of its selection of electric brakes for the CSeries airliner.

"One of the technical achievements we've accomplished is that we have been able to package this sophisticated electrical brake which include motors not present in the hydraulic brake in a very limited existent envelope on the aircraft," Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems (MABS) president Ken Schwartz tells Flight.

"So we feel very proud of this design, which has many potential applications in the military. For example, consider the scenario where aircraft in the front line must land, immediately refuel and redeploy. Refuelling an aircraft with hot brakes reaching between 1000 and 2000 degrees Fahrenheit poses a potential fire risk with hydraulic brakes. Without the hydraulic fluid present, safety is improved."

In preparation for the flight test with Bombardier, Akron, Ohio-headquartered MABS put the EBrake system through a simulated rejected takeoff test on its dynamometer "which effectively simulates the airplane taking off just before lift-off at full speed with a maximum weight of the airplane and at that point, brakes will be applied onto a flywheel and the brake must stop within a specified distance", says Schwartz.

"It is an attempt to simulate in testing the worst possible stop that an airplane can be subjected to just before takeoff at maximum speed. This is part of our protocol as we go through all of our safety of flight testing."

The EBrake performance in terms of its stopping temperature will be very comparable to hydraulic brakes, according to Schwartz. "Having electrical circuitry as compared to hydraulic lines filled with potentially flammable hydraulic fluid which can leak reduces the risk of fire to the aircraft and is the primary reason why we believe the EBrake is a safer brake to operate."