The US Navy has awarded a contract to Flightware for the development of a process that significantly improves the enduring strength of hydraulic tubing in naval aircraft.

Hydraulics operate flight controls, landing gear and other aircraft systems, so must be extremely reliable.

Under the contract Flightware will develop a process called inverse autofrettage, which improves titanium tubes by increasing their ability to endure flaws such as scratches, thereby reducing maintenance costs.

During inverse autofrettage many units are processed at the same time for lower unit costs. The process does not require computer control like other surface treatments including laser shock peening and waterjet cavitation peening.

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The tubes, which carry hydraulic fluids, are made from lightweight titanium instead of heavier stainless steel.

The life of the titanium tubes is significantly reduced by very small scratches during routine handling and aircraft maintenance.

Flightware will remove and replace the scratched titanium hydraulic lines, ensuring the highest level of safety.