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Defense/Military Aircraft Appliciations

From Helicopters to Howitzers, Beaver Delivers Engineering Excellence

While Beaver Aerospace & Defense markets a line of products that may be a starting point for design consideration, we consistently respond to the special needs of the military. The aircraft and equipment depicted below is a representative sampling of our successful participation in military and civilian programs, requiring the highest level of engineering expertise and manufacturing capability. From initial prototype to full production, we consistently meet the demands of the most stringent government contracts and military specifications. 

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, were 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 was controlled to maximize speed and minimize drag from transonic to supersonic flight conditions.


In other applications, which are considered standard procedure for most fighter aircraft, ball screws actuate trailing edge flap systems, landing gear and horizontal stabilizers.


Wing sweep actuators, engine control, edge flap control systems and landing gear actuators are representative of the diverse range of fighter aircraft applications, all requiring the ultimate in reliability and efficiency.


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.





F-15 utilizing Beaver components


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 ballscrew 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.


The use of ball screws in aircraft applications has several advantages. Ball screws have a high mechanical efficiency; some three times the efficiency of conventional screws. The ball screws used in the B1-B Bomber also have a high force-to-weight ratio because of the weight-saving tubular construction. Finally, the long service life is predictable and is based on relationships similar to those used in the B-10 life ratings, adapted by the ball bearing industry.


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 bearing 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, which, 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.


The ball screws provide the instantaneous mechanical translation from rotary motion to linear motion so critical to these 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 including hauling cargo and troops, towing light artillery, providing armament support and serving as a TOW missile carrier.


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 launcher 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 tiltrotor craft, Beaver has been and continues to be the leading name for autorotation systems, twinning drives, cargo/rescue winches, and accessory drive gearboxes.


155 MM Howitzer

The story of the long column 155-mm howitzer is a good example of the innovative contributions Beaver has made for the military. Prior to adapting the Beaver design, it took six men 14 minutes to raise the barrel and 6 to 8 minutes to lower it. By replacing acme screws with high-efficiency ball bearing screws capable of free falling, it took two men just two minutes to raise the barrel and two seconds to lower it.







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



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Ph: 734.853.5003




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