How the US Navy Saved Millions of Dollars on Ship Tires

The Cost of Military Aircraft and the Innovation in Tire Repair Techniques

The cost of military aircraft is a topic of great relevance, especially in the current context of heightened tensions, such as those arising from the conflict in Ukraine, as explained by the Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk.

Military Spending in the United States

The United States maintains a constant state of military alert, boasting the world’s largest army with nearly 3 million soldiers, 600 ships, and over 22,000 military aircraft.
Such a sizable military force entails substantial costs, with the U.S.
leading global military expenditure in 2022 at $877 billion, accounting for 40% of the total global military spending.

Given the current circumstances, there is a push to find ways to reduce costs without compromising troop efficiency.
The United States Navy could play a significant role in this cost-saving initiative.

Innovative Tire Repair Techniques

Surprisingly, the U.S.
military spends $17 million annually solely on pneumatic and search tires for its fighter jets.
This expenditure could potentially be significantly reduced thanks to an innovative approach by the Navy.

Particularly in maritime operations, the stress on the landing gear of these aircraft is immense.
Consequently, tire distortion often occurs, leading to the whole wheel being discarded and requiring a new one to be purchased.

One may wonder: how much does a fighter jet wheel cost? It’s about $100,000 per piece, attributed to military equipment requirements and the propensity for all the world’s armed forces to negotiate unfavorable contracts.

Previously, the repair of fighter jet tires posed challenges as they were considered irreparable after deformation.
However, with the introduction of three-dimensional printing technologies, a new horizon has emerged.

This cold spray technique injects metallic particles at high pressure and temperature, reinforcing the given element and modifying it in its original form.
The repair of a fighter jet wheel now lasts two hours and costs approximately $300, with the average of 166 worn tires per year.
As a result, the fleet would pay not $16.6 million for new tires, but around $40,000 for repairs.

While a savings of over $16.5 million may seem insignificant compared to a budget of nearly $900 billion for military expenses, it represents a step towards rationalizing expenditures, starting somewhere.

Author: Hermes A.I.

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