Innovation That Spans Nearly Six Decades 


Since 1952, Beaver Aerospace & Defense has been a leading provider of actuation products and services for the defense, commercial and military aerospace industries. We design, test and manufacture actuators and ball screws, all built to operate in harsh environments.


Our global technical sales force provides customers with a local source for immediate service and thorough technical assistance. All design, manufacturing, testing and repair/overhaul activities are performed in our world-class facilities in Livonia, Michigan USA.


We work with some of the most demanding applications in the world. Our customer’s expectations are high, and the results we deliver are critical… mission critical. Our products are used on Mars, in war, and to protect our homeland security.


When you call Beaver, you’re calling on more than six decades of experience, helping you consistently accomplish your challenges. As an aerospace and defense manufacturer, Beaver knows you must identify, consider and respond to a new set of challenges each day. Our ball screw assemblies, gears, ball splines and actuation systems are custom-designed to fit your applications with superior performance, quality and precision.

Here are some past applications from Beaver Aerospace & Defense:




From the first application on the B-29 landing gear system, Beaver Aerospace & Defense has designed and manufactured precision ball screws for a wide variety of aerospace applications. The high mechanical efficiency of ball screws translates into significantly less weight, as a result of using small drive motors and smaller, less bulky drive components.


The fan thrust-reverser system on the Boeing 747 is a typical example of Beaver ingenuity. The system, which can be put into full operation in less than 2 seconds, is made possible by a compact actuating network at both the forward and backend of the engines. An air motor drives flexible shafts, which loop around the cowl of the engine and interconnect four gearboxes that are coupled to Beaver ballscrews. The ball screws provide linear motion to move the thrust direction ring to the gear, which exposes the reverser cascades and drops the blocker door to divert airflow forward.


Please visit the FAA-Approved Parts & Components page for a complete list of available Beaver Aerospace & Defense parts and components. 



Fighter Aircraft


From the very first jet fighters of the post-World War II era, Beaver has participated in developing innovative, durable system components for most of the important fighter aircraft programs. For example, ball screws designed and manufactured by Beaver are the key actuation element for the variable sweep wings on the F-14 Tomcat and the Tornado, a development of an international consortium. In these applications, the position of the wings is controlled to maximize speed and minimize drag from transonic to supersonic flight conditions.


On the F-15 Eagle, ten ball screws used in the engine nozzle actuator system make it possible to achieve optimum thrust control. The jet engines of the F-16 fighter also incorporate the same Beaver design in the exhaust nozzle control system.




The wing sweep actuating system on the B1-B Bomber permits the wings to be pivoted, allowing optimum sweep angles during takeoff, subsonic flight, supersonic flight and landing. Beaver ball bearing screws – the muscle of the system – are believed to be the largest ball screws ever built for airborne use. Other ball screws on the B1-B control the wing spoiler actuator system to allow the aircraft to rapidly descend horizontally.


The wing sweep ball screws, one in each wing, are driven by a hydro-mechanical gear subassembly that accepts mechanical input commands and responds by converting hydraulic power into rotary mechanical power for the ball screw drive. In service, the ball screw is expected to generate a maximum operating force of 335,000 lbs., yet is engineered for loads up to 551,700 lbs. The wing sweep rate is 1.0 degree/second, resulting from a ball screw output rate of 0.70 inches/second.


Air Transports


The gigantic C-5B uses ball screws in a very unique way. Located in the main landing gear and nose landing gear actuator systems, the ball screws permit the aircraft to be lowered to a kneeling position for easier loading and unloading of cargo. The high mechanical efficiency of the ball screws has made it possible to reduce the drive motors to one third the capacity that would have normally been required.

Main Battle Tanks


On the M1-Abrams main battle tank, a Beaver miniature ball screw positions the sight focusing mechanism to achieve and maintain target acquisition, while maneuvering at high speed under battlefield conditions.


Missile Systems

Beaver products have played a vital role in meeting the toughest military specifications for elevation, actuator systems, missile platform leveling and stabilizing jacks, missile fin actuators, radar antenna stabilizers and sighting/range finder drive systems. A Beaver ball screw is at the heart of these actuators, in addition to providing the inherent efficiency that saves weight and power, provides fast response while maintaining the exceptional system stiffness required for these applications.


For the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) a ball screw with a static load capacity of 186,000 pounds performs the main extend/retract actuating function for positioning the missile launch elevation drive. Beaver also manufactures the elevation actuators for MLRS applications.


For the Patriot Missile launcher, Beaver developed a completely motorized ball screw actuator package to level and stabilize the missile launch platform. The actual package included ball screws, a DC motor, gearbox and overload sensors. Miniature ball screws serve as the actuating element control fins on some missile applications.


Fighting Vehicles

Fighting vehicles like the HMMWV, the Bradley and the LACV (Light Armored Combat Vehicle) are examples of the military's demand for vehicles that can be configured in a variety of ways to satisfy a wide range of tactical needs. HMMWV, the military's latest four-wheel drive vehicle, is available in 15 different configurations for a variety of mission roles; hauling cargo and troops, towing light artillery, providing armament support and serving as a TOW missile carrier, to name a few.


Ball screws, designed and manufactured by Beaver, are used to elevate missile launchers to the firing position and extend and retract sighting, range-finding and antenna equipment. For the Chaparral air defense traced vehicle, ball screws lower the missile launchers system for passage through low overhead tunnels and elevate the system to the firing position.




Since the 1950s, Beaver ball splines have been the quality choice of rotorcraft propulsion system design engineers. From early helicopters to today's most advanced tilt rotor craft, Beaver has been, and continues to be, the leading name for autorotation systems, twinning drives, cargo/rescue winches, as well as accessory drive gearboxes.


155 MM Howitzer


The story of the long-column 155-mm howitzer is a good example of the innovative contributions that Beaver has made for the military. Prior to adapting the Beaver design, it took six men 14 minutes to raise the barrel and six to eight minutes to lower it. When Beaver replaced the acme screws with high efficiency ball screws capable of free falling, it took two men just two minutes to raise the barrel and two seconds to lower it. 



Space Shuttle

Eight electromechanical actuators, designed and manufactured by Beaver, are mounted on a split ring docking module, which contains an octagon-shaped hatch. The docking module is attached to an orbiter. As the orbiter approaches the space station and makes initial contact, the actuators act as a soft spring, absorbing the energy of the moving orbiter and bringing it to a locking position on the space station. Each Beaver actuator consists of a ball screw, capable of back driving under load, dual drive motors, worm gear transmission, as well as a resolver and load cell in a totally enclosed, packaged assembly.


The space shuttle features another interesting Beaver application on the manipulator arm. A ball bearing spline, located in the gripper mechanism, is used for transmitting torque from a rotating shaft input to the gripper mechanism, moving in a linear direction. Advantages of the ball bearing spline are: sensitive response, compact profile, mechanical reliability, which eliminates leakage problems associated with hydraulics under the conditions of outer space, as well as extremely smooth and accurate operation.


Lunar Rover


Beaver’s precision ball screws were used in the fuel throttle device of the Lunar Excursion Module, which helped provide a smooth, safe landing on the moon.


Pershing Missile


A very precise ball screw, with a lead accuracy of 70 millionths of an inch, was used in the guidance control mechanism of the Pershing Missile.


Mars Rover


Beaver provided a crown gear assembly for the pedal actuator in this critical space application. The pedal actuator was designed to extend and "rotate" the Rover container to the proper position so that the vehicle could exit the container and start its valuable mission.




Beaver Aerospace & Defense, Inc., is a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries, Livonia, Michigan

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© Beaver Aerospace & Defense, Inc. - 11850 Mayfield.  Livonia, MI. 48150 
Ph: 734.853.5003