The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has awarded a contract to Pratt & Whitney to provide maintenance support for Rolls-Royce Pegasus F402 engines that power AV-8B Harrier fighter aircraft flown by the US Marines.
The follow-on contract is for high-pressure compressor blade repairs using blendable boroscope technology that can be applied without removing the engine from the aircraft. The equipment is made up of a borescope with miniature-grinding tools and another borescope equipped with a video camera.
The grinding tool is inserted into an engine through a servicing port and guided to the site of the damaged blades. Once found, the blades are ground smooth to restore their strength.
To repair damaged blades on a typical aircraft, the engine has to be removed from the Harrier, requiring up to 850 hours of labour and costing as much as $500,000.
With an average of 30 engine removals per year, NAVAIR estimates that the process could allow 83 more weeks of aircraft usage per year, potentially saving more than $10 million in maintenance costs.
Pratt & Whitney’s latest agreement with NAVAIR follows a one-year contract where Pratt & Whitney supplied these services for Harrier aircraft flown by the US Marines from 2001-2002.
The follow-on contract is for one year (2002-2003), with options for two additional years. If fully implemented, the agreement would be worth over $2 million to Pratt & Whitney.