How To Supply Power And Air For The F-35

The military's latest fighter jet is significantly different from its predecessors and requires a significantly different hangar.


This product has a hydraulic pop up lid that lifts itself 3 feet in the air to provide all of this convenience. This type of pit is a graduate from the old pulley and weight design that had personnel pulling and pushing to assist it to rise up and down. With all of this equipment packed in this well-organized PIT system, there is no need to run one cable across the hanger other than from the PIT to the aircraft.

 

PCA

With the F-35’s multiple, complex on-board electronic systems, the PCA requirements are very difficult to provide for the F-35. Not too hot … not too cold … it has to be very dry air and at a higher pressure than normal commercial PCA requirements.

This balancing act would be hard enough with aircraft mobile units, but these modern hangars have to have underground trunk-line systems with the actual units outside the hanger.

B GSE Group and JBT were challenged a few years ago to come up with the first fully compliant F-35 unit called a HPC-F (High Pressure Air-Conditioner-Fixed). This is an amazing unit.

A trunk line system means that several HPC-F units are ducted into a common hard underground pipe and then divided off to each PIT location. There can be more PITs than air units so the logic to make sure every PIT has the right requirements of air with the common trunk line and multiple distances to each PIT can only be done with refined logic.

With a push of a button on the EZ access PIT remote, the operation of the PCA unit, the motorized butterfly valves and the preprogrammed fast cool down sequence is all started up. This is truly one of the most automated aircraft service PCA systems in the world.

 

SAFE POWER

One power supply proven to be deadly is 480-volt power. Several types of F-35 mobile GSE need 480-volt power to be available near the F-35 in service PITS. A built-in safety system is required to ensure the airmen plugging this equipment into them do not accidentally get hurt.

B GSE Group has helped develop a “Safety Service System” that is incorporated into these PITs. This system makes it impossible to plug into an active high voltage receptacle.

All of the equipment in the service PITs in these modern hangars are required to be explosion-proof. After two years of research and development, B GSE Group now offers the fully compliant NEMA 7 explosion-proof EZ Access PIT with all of the service points required to be at the aircraft.

Careful layout and products specially made for the USS EZ Access POP UP style PIT accomplish this. Also, whenever the PIT goes down, all power supplies are automatically shut off just in case one was left on.

 

MULTIUSE

The F-35 hangars also need to be multi-squadron ready. For instance, a Harrier squadron could occupy the F-35 hangar at some point. This aircraft, like most of the other legacy fighter aircraft, is based on 400 Hz power.

Dils has worked with JBT to develop a 270v DC/400 Hz combination units. The combo units are ready to supply either generation fighter jet making the hangar ready for all squadrons. The PITs can handle the additional 400 Hz aircraft cable without any modification.

The F-35 JSF is a remarkable aircraft. The hangars being designed and built will be the most modern hangars erected to date.

The use of a new type of power supply, complex PCA requirements and the need to organize many service points underground to a single point of supply has made the F-35 hangars a modern hangar for a modern jet.

 

About the Author

Bryan Bullerdick has worked in the industry since 1993 and is a B-737 retired pilot and instructor. Bullerdick is the sales manager for the JBT Aerotech’s new JASE division with core products in aircraft power and preconditioned air systems.

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