That’s probably even more true when talking about the C-130, the Lockheed airplane that has been in various configurations a constant presence in the sky for military and aid missions for more than half a century now.
There are about 3,000 of them navigating the clouds all over the world, and about half of them use wheels and brakes supplied by Collins Aerospace. The company took earlier this month another step in ensuring safe landings for the heavy-lifters by announcing the first upgrade for the C-130T and KC-130T aircraft operated by the U.S. Navy.
More to the point, the airplanes started being fitted with new, boltless wheels in a lock-ring design that have a higher fatigue life. Additionally, brakes made of carbon heat sink material (called Duracarb) have also been installed.
The new assembly contains according to Collins 17 percent fewer parts than the existing system and, more importantly, will allow eight times the number of landings the previous system was capable of withstanding – 2,000 landings compared to just 250.
The company did not say how many of the American military’s C-130 will be upgraded with these new pieces of hardware. Separately, Collins provides wheels and brakes for the U.S. Air Force’s F-15, F-16, C-5, and Global Hawk aircraft as well.