The 184th Kansas Air National Guard “Flying Jayhawks” recently asked South Gate, Calif.-based Arnco to address an urgent need: eliminating flat-tire conditions in its fleet of static aircraft. The mission would require filling tires mounted on Air Force bombers displayed at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan.
Because the filling operation had to take place in the airpark, Arnco engineers and the Kansas Air National Guard team had to design a special system—the Arnco Mobile Application Field Service (MAFS)—that could reach up to 75 feet from the nearest secondary access road.
With a torrential rainstorm predicted to slam the area within 24 hours, the Kansas Air National Guard team had to work throughout the night transporting the MAFS to aircraft locations supporting the tire flatproofing process.
Because Arnco flatproofing eliminates flat tires and resulting downtime in the most hazardous operating environments, the Arnco technology is being used throughout the world on U.S. military wheeled equipment. Arnco flatproofing can withstand up to .50-caliber ballistic rifle shots. It resists punctures from shrapnel and battle debris and prevents catastrophic tire blowouts.
How it works
The flatproofing process starts with a polyurethane liquid that Arnco ships in large drums or bulk containers known as “totes.” The liquid is pumped through the valve stem into the tire, at a specified temperature, and replaces all of the air. The tire is pressurized to the recommended inflation pressure and the curing process (to a soft rubberlike material) is performed at the proper time and temperature to ensure optimum filled-tire performance.
In addition to eliminating flats, blowouts or other damage that can occur with air-filled tires, Arnco flatproofing chemistry can be optimized for tire/wheel assemblies to work in any tire with a sound casing. It also has superior shock-absorber properties.
Supporting DOD initiatives
According to Joe Campo, Arnco’s director of military applications, the company’s no-flat-tire technology is supporting Defense Department initiatives focused on improving safety and survivability.
Campo points out that Arnco research and development engineers have developed proprietary flatproofing polymers for a wide range of military ground support equipment—from de-icers and aircraft loaders and trainers to maintenance cranes, munitions carts, skid steers and tow tractors.
According to Campo, there also is a growing demand for flatproofing in many other military applications, and various formulations of Arnco flatproofing are being used on armored vehicles, mission-specific HMMWVs and mine clearance and construction equipment.
“Eliminating flat tires can save lives, as we are learning from numerous military flatproofing applications in Iraq,” Campo concluded.
Arnco provided this case history.