Replacement of Nickel-Cadmium Battery on F-5 Aircraft with a Valve Regulated Lead-Acid Battery 2004-01-3206
In the continuing effort to save Fleet Operations and Maintenance (O&M) costs, a united effort was launched to propose the replacement of the Nickel-Cadmium battery on the F-5 aircraft with a valve-regulated, sealed lead-acid battery. The Aging Aircraft IPT (AAIPT) at Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River (PAX River), Maryland presented the concept to the Value Engineering group at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia and successfully obtained funding for this and other Aging Aircraft efforts. The AAIPT then approached the Propulsion and Power Division of Naval Air Systems Command (AIR-188.8.131.52) as the cognizant engineering activity over batteries. AIR-184.108.40.206 then requested the assistance of Crane Division of Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC Crane) to develop a test plan and a Memorandum of Agreement and to obtain flight test authority as well as conduct the flight test.
Concorde Battery Corporation (CBC), proposed to replace the Vented Nickel-Cadmium (VNC) battery on the F-5 aggressor aircraft with a Valve Regulated Sealed-Lead Acid (VRLA) battery. The F-5 aircraft presently utilizes a commercially rated 24-volt, 13 ampere-hour, VNC battery. The CBC VRLA battery is a direct form, fit, and function replacement for the VNC battery, both in physical size and electrical capacities. The present VNC battery has a price tag of $2793 per battery. The proposed replacement VRLA battery is anticipated to be priced at $1074, a 60% savings in procurement cost alone. As reported by the servicing contractor, Sikorsky, the present VNC battery requires removal from the aircraft every 60 days for maintenance. The proposed replacement VRLA battery is planned to have a maintenance interval of one-year and a replacement cycle of three years.
A Memorandum Of Agreement for a 3-year flight evaluation of the VRLA battery was authorized in May of 2003. After obtaining flight clearance, the flight evaluation was initiated in August 2003 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon, Nevada and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, Arizona.
This paper will provide general details of the two battery types as well as discuss projected savings that can be realized through the replacement of the VNC with the VRLA battery. Additionally, progress of the flight evaluation will be detailed.