Aircraft structures

The Aircraft Structures branch provides safety-critical aircraft structural integrity and airworthiness advice and solutions to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) through targeted partnerships, research and application of innovative science and technology.

This advice informs the acquisition and effective management of the ADF aircraft structures and ensures their continuing airworthiness.

The branch underpins the ADF’s aircraft availability, readiness and flight safety, as well as contributing to significant cost savings on their sustainment and ownership. Additionally, this advice informs the ADF on potential technical issues with new acquisitions, both during an acquisition phase and prior to a platforms selection.

Airworthiness and Life Evaluation

Our Airworthiness and Life Evaluation group interprets and applies international airworthiness standards and methodologies to determine and/or predict aircraft lives to ensure continuing airworthiness under prescribed operational conditions.

Our infrastructure in this area includes computational facilities, specialist structural analysis tools, a vibration and aero-elasticity laboratory and an advanced lifing and loads analysis capability.

Emerging Aircraft Structural Integrity

Our Emerging Aircraft Structural Integrity group conceives, develops, and champions emerging methodologies in determining and/or predicting aircraft lives, so as to provide improved means of ensuring aircraft structural integrity under prescribed operational conditions.

Our infrastructure in this area includes advanced computational facilities, specialist lifing and structural analysis software, as well as exploratory models such as simulation of crack growth at the atomic scale. This group also has highly developed capabilities in crack measurement and fracture analysis techniques.

Structural Experimentation

Our Structural Experimentation group designs, constructs and performs complex practical experiments ranging from small coupon static tests to full-scale aircraft structural fatigue tests in support of branch, divisional, and Defence research programs. These experimental activities predominately take place in purpose-built structural laboratories unique in Australia but also include trials on service aircraft.

Our infrastructure in this area includes fatigue and fracture laboratories, an instrumentation laboratory and two major (full-scale) structural test halls.

Key information

Areas of expertise

Airworthiness and life evaluation:

  • loads prediction and measurement, structural analysis
  • airframe lifing methodologies
  • aircraft design standards and techniques
  • airworthiness standards
  • strength and durability analysis
  • usage monitoring
  • spectrum development and monitoring
  • structural and vibration dynamics
  • vibration and aeroelasticity

Emerging aircraft structural integrity:

  • advanced experimental crack growth analysis
  • advanced quantitive fractography
  • probabilistic airframe lifing
  • composite lifing

Structural experimentation:

  • structural loads analysis
  • structural dynamics
  • fatigue coupon design
  • material strength and properties
  • structural behavious and wear
  • structural repair
  • rig design for static and fatigue testing
  • non-destructive inspection
  • crashworthiness testing
  • control theory
  • instrumentation
  • data acquisition
  • signal processing
  • hydraulic/pneumatic/electrical actuation
  • vibration testing
  • environmental simulation