THE US AIR FORCE is planning an in-service evaluation of electric actuators.

A Lockheed Martin C-141 Starlifter is being modified with two Lucas Aerospace electric aileron-actuators and will undergo 20h of flight-certification testing, to be completed in May, followed by 1,000h of operational flying over 18 months.

C-141 Electric Starlifter programme manager Michael Morgan says that electric actuation is expected to increase aircraft battle-damage tolerance, improve reliability and maintainability and reduce the ground-support equipment needed.

Studies are under way to determine the feasibility of retrofitting aircraft with electric actuators, with the Lockheed Martin C-5 and C-141 "high on the list", he says.

Several electric-actuation efforts are now in progress under an overall More Electric Aircraft initiative. NASA is evaluating three different types of electric actuator on a McDonnell Douglas F-18 under the Electrically Powered Actuation Design programme.

Lockheed Martin is planning to flight-test electric actuators on the F-16 Advanced Fighter Technology Integration test-bed under the Joint Advanced Strike Technology programme.

Source: Flight International