Speed to the Fleet: NAVAIR Fields Marine’s Brake Tool Innovation

Martin Brake Tool

A new brake maintenance tool for V-22 is saving hundreds of work hours and material costs for fleet maintainers.

Twenty-seven “Martin Brake Tools,” named after their inventor, Marine Cpl. Timothy Martin, were developed, manufactured and delivered in just two months to all the V-22 Osprey intermediate-level maintenance sites.

The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst’s V-22 Support Equipment (SE) Team, based at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Lakehurst, New Jersey, spearheaded this effort.

“The Lakehurst team took what Cpl. Martin developed, created a logistics package, mass produced the tool and delivered it to the fleet in a few months,” said Col. Matthew Kelly, V-22 Joint Program manager. “Their efforts to deliver this game-changing maintenance tool are truly impressive.” 

The tool helps remove screws from the brake keys of the V-22’s main landing gear wheels.

During a recent Boots on the Ground event, Martin, an aviation hydraulic mechanic from Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26, described the problem and solution: “Our Marines who work in our tire shop were having a hard time removing brake key screws, because the screws would often get stripped while attempting to remove them,” he explained. “I made a plastic body and a metal screw and nut to fill the space in between the sides of the wheel half. This allows the application of adequate pressure to the heads of the screws.”

Previously, the 18 screws were removed individually, and during the process, approximately one in every four would strip. The damage resulted in up to an hour and a half of additional maintenance to complete the removal. The Lakehurst team estimates the new tool will decrease stripping to one screw in every 10 brake jobs.

The stock is being bored to create the part between the threaded shaft and the body of the Martin Brake tool. Rich Hofer, an artisan with the Support Equipment Test and Evaluation Branch Prototype Shop, aligns the machine.
Hofer compares the finished piece to the stock item. After an hour of machining, the part is complete.

The tool may look simple, but it has the potential to save millions of dollars in resource reductions and material costs. With the initial prototype alone, the new tool led to the expedient repair of 17 wheel assemblies and helped save 320 workhours and more than $229,000 in material costs.

Based on this initial success, the SE team took the reins, refining the design and ensuring the tool could withstand repeated use by fleet maintainers. With this design, they also selected the final materials to create the production set.

Marine Cpl. Timothy Martin demonstrates the Martin Brake Key Tool at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, March 15. Martin developed the tool for use on the V-22 Ospreys to save the Marine Corps money and labor intensive hours performing maintenance on the aircraft. Martin is an aviation hydraulic mechanic assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26, Marine Aircraft Group 26, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. (U.S. Marine Corps video by Cpl. Paige C. Stade)

“The prototyping and preliminary fleet evaluations were nearly complete at the start of our effort; as such, we were able to save additional development time,” said Deirdre Quigley, V-22 SE team lead. “We only had to make a few modifications to the tool and materials; once we tested those changes, the tool was ready for production.”

The design, production and distribution remained organic, using resources within the Naval Air Systems Command. Engineers from the V-22 Joint Program Office and a team within the NAWCAD Aircraft Prototype Systems Division at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, produced the tool using their machining resources.

“We leveraged the expertise of several machine shops and competencies to make this fast-moving project a reality,” Quigley said.

Initial fleet feedback from the performance acceptance test was positive, and with the production lot delivered, the returns in costs savings are projected to be significant.

Liz Mildenstein is the Public Affairs Officer for the V-22 Joint Program Office.