House of Representatives Committee Recommends Funding and Further Military Adoption of Laser Peening

The House of Representatives Committee report on Armed Services (H. Rept. 113-102) accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 recognized that laser peening “has achieved considerable success in commercial aerospace and power-generation applications” because it is “a surface enhancement processing treatment for metals… reducing costs by enabling improvements in the metal structure and mitigating high-cycle fatigue failures of a system, thus extending the system’s lifetime.”

The committee further recommended specific funding for the application of laser peening on the F-35 Pratt & Whitney F-135 engine and reaffirmed its 2012 recognition of laser peening as having “the potential to save significant funds through the reduction of fatigue failure, [and] stress corrosion cracking… in a wide range of military equipment, including aircraft.”  They recommendation included that the military “examine the potential cost savings that may be derived from adopting [laser peening] broadly across the military services, particularly for use on engines, aircraft structures, land vehicles and weapon systems.”

LSP Technologies provides laser shock peening for an IBR component in Pratt & Whitney’s F-119 engine, which served as the design model for the F-135 engine, and could easily adapt its laser peening process from the F-119 to the F-135 engine components.  LSP Technologies has laser peen processed over 40,000 blades for the aerospace and power generation industries, and has a proven quality record in the industry.

See the complete 2014 house report here, and look for the recommendations to use laser peening on pages 62 and 119.  The sections related to laser peening in the two committee reports are reproduced below.

Aircraft engine component laser peening

The budget request contained $139.4 million in PE 27268F for the aircraft engine component improvement program.  In the committee report (H. Rept. 112–78) accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, the committee noted that laser peening technology had the potential to save significant funds through the reduction of fatigue failure, stress corrosion cracking, and component shape corrections in a wide range of military equipment, including aircraft. The committee believes that the Air Force should consider use of aircraft engine component improvement program funds to examine the potential benefits of laser peening for F–135 engine components in order to see if reliability could be improved and if engine life-cycle costs could be reduced.  The committee recommends $139.4 million, the full amount requested, in PE 27268F for the aircraft engine component improvement program.

Laser Peening Technology

In the committee report (H. Rept. 112–78) accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, the committee noted that ‘‘laser peening technology, a surface enhancement processing treatment for metals, has achieved considerable success in commercial aerospace and power-generation applications, reducing costs by enabling improvements in the metal structure and mitigating high-cycle fatigue failures of a system, thus extending the system’s lifetime.’’ In that report the committee also encouraged the Department of Defense ‘‘to examine the potential cost savings that may be derived from adopting this technology broadly across the military services, particularly for use on engines, aircraft structures, land vehicles and weapon systems.’’ However, the committee is concerned that some military departments have not fully explored the use of such technologies to reduce costs associated with problems of fatigue failure, stress corrosion cracking, and component shape corrections. The committee further encourages the Department to explore such technologies for use in aircraft engines to slow the rate of replacement of highly stressed components and parts.

See the complete 2012 committee report here, and look at page 104 for the section on laser peening.

Laser Peening Technologies

The committee is aware that laser peening technology, a surface enhancement processing treatment for metals, has achieved considerable success in commercial aerospace and power generation applications, reducing costs by enabling improvements in the metal structure and mitigating high-cycle fatigue failures of a system, thus extending the system’s lifetime. The committee encourages the Department of Defense to examine the potential cost savings that may be derived from adopting this technology broadly across the military services, particularly for use on engines, aircraft structures, land vehicles and weapon systems. The committee notes that this technology could reduce costs associated with problems of fatigue failure, stress corrosion cracking, and component shape corrections. The committee further notes that the cost savings derived from the use of laser peening technology could fund a wider deployment of the technology, with the goal of slowing the rate of replacement of highly stressed components and parts.