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Aircraft Carrier Arresting Gear Goes Electric

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, Patuxent River, Md. --- A little upgrade in technology is going a long way for Sailors and aircraft, and gathering some significant words of encouragement along the way.

The Advanced Recovery Control (ARC) is a digital arresting-gear control system modification for the Mark 7 arresting gear found on Fleet carriers.

ARC replaces the older, mechanical system which utilized levers and mechanical actuators to control landing aircraft. The upgrade to a digitally controlled system allows for easier maintenance and use. Because of its ability to digitally monitor and automate the control system, ARC removes the “human error” factor, making it a more accurate and reliable system, lessening the damage to aircraft and potential injuries to Sailors.

“The Mark 7 Arresting Gear remains the same, “said Wayne Kovas, ARC team lead. “However, instead of being controlled by levers and [mechanical] actuators to set the engine and to stop the aircraft as was the case previously, all of that work is done by an electronic system. These electronic upgrades feature less moving parts to replace or repair and offer better reliability.”

ARC is installed at the Naval Air Systems Command Lakehurst, N.J., test sites. Before it was sent to the Fleet, ARC underwent simulated arrestment testing at the Lakehurst Jet Car Track, assuring system’s function during deployment.

ARCs initial installation was on the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Nov. 24, 2007. Since its installation, the ship has accomplished more than10,000 arrested landings. ARC was recently installed on the USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) and will be begin use on a three month deployment in Winter 2009.

This electronic upgrade is garnering positive feedback from those who use ARC on daily basis.

The system has performed with “absolutely superb results during three in-flight engagements resulting in no damage to aircraft or arresting gear. Our fleet and engineering support has been outstanding and responsive since installation. The ARC should be considered a huge success and giant step forward for carrier aviation,” said Capt. John Breast, air boss on the USS Reagan.

Another benefit of the ARC is its ability to electronically collect the data from the aircraft arrestment log, a data repository which collects information from the aircraft’s carrier landing and store it on the system. Carriers which do not have ARC installed require Sailors to manually record the data.

“What it’s doing now is collecting parameters from the arrestment, so if there are issues, we can pinpoint the problems,” said Kovas. “One of the benefits is that ARC can read that data and recognize system fault, such as low pressure or overheating oil.”
With the addition of advanced technology such as ARC to the fleet, the Navy can reap the benefits of its use with today’s increasingly tech-savvy Sailors.

“In the hands of the modern Sailor, who has grown up with digital technologies, advanced systems such as ARC give us an incomparable advantage in the battlefield,” said Capt. Randy Mahr, NAVAIR’s Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (PMA-251) program manager. “I think it goes without saying that ARC is one of those systems that automatically improves our Fleet and will collect invaluable data for Fleet maintenance and safety professionals.”

The system is scheduled to be installed on all commissioned Fleet carriers, except for USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), which will receive the Advanced Arresting Gear, the next-generation replacement of the Mark 7 arresting gear. ARC’s next installation is slated for spring 2009 on board the George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).

The PMA-251 ALRE program is committed to managing the development, demonstration and acquisition of operational advances in aviation data management and control systems, expeditionary air fields and all launch and recovery related products. PMA-251’s mission is to consistently deliver adaptable and reliable technology to the Fleet.

Mark 7 Receives ARC Upgrade