Jack Browne, Microwaves & RF  | Oct 23, 2019

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) has awarded two contracts to Crane Aerospace & Electronics for the SmartStem Tire Pressure Sensing System, intended for the U.S. Air Force’s C-5M fleet of 52 C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft. Designed and developed by Lockheed Martin, the Super Galaxy is expected to remain in service through 2040. These two contracts to Crane will outfit the aircraft with wireless technology-enabled tire-pressure-monitoring systems. The technology has previously been widely used in commercial aircraft, and this marks the first time it will be installed in military aircraft.

“Crane is proud to support the USAF with SmartStem technology,” said Hilary King, Crane Aerospace & Electronics vice president and general manager for Sensing and Power Systems. “Our product will provide the warfighter and their maintenance team a way to improve mission readiness, reduce maintenance cost, and also help ensure safety.”

The SmartStem system replaces conventional tire air-inflation valves with SmartStem Tire Pressure Sensors (TPSs). Rather than check the air pressure with a mechanical gauge, the TPS equipment can be read with wireless Hand Held Readers (HHRs). The HHRs can read the tire air-pressure information in a fraction of the time of mechanical gauges and provide a display of tire pressure and temperature with the capability to store the data for historical and maintenance record keeping and traceability.

The USAF is also working on the development of software that will be capable of processing such data to predict repair requirements and reduce maintenance costs. The SmartStem systems were selected by Robins Air Force Base (Warner Robins, Ga.) to enhance the safety and reduce the maintenance of the C-5M aircraft.