A servo valve is a type of electrically-operating fluid management device, and such components are capable of managing hydraulic fluids as they are directed to an actuator. With a small electrical signal, servo valves can operate powerful hydraulic cylinders with ease. Within the realm of defense, servo valves are key elements of countless machinery, vehicles, and other assemblies, facilitating the operations of supersonic fighter jets, launch vehicles, RADAR arrays, missile systems, and so much more. Servo valves are also utilized for aircraft carriers, ensuring that they can operate safely and efficiently.
The USS Gerald R. Ford is the largest aircraft carrier operated by the U.S. Navy, and it is considered to be the most advanced aircraft carrier across the globe to this day. Around 1,100 feet long and 25 stories tall, the USS Gerald R. Ford acts as a floating city that can carry upwards of 90 aircraft and 6,000 sailors. One of the most important advancements present on the vessel is the electromagnetic aircraft launch system and advanced arresting gear system (AAG), those of which facilitate the catching of aircraft that have individual arresting profiles.
In order for the AAG to operate, it takes advantage of robust digital servo valves that enhance precision and accuracy during the catching process. Within the AAG, every arresting cable is paired with two servo valves, and three cables are present on each carrier. With placement of the cables above the carrier deck, landing aircraft can be engaged with a tail hook. With the AAG’s capabilities, an aircraft flying at a speed of 150 mph can be stopped within two seconds with only 350 feet of space. To make such a procedure feasible, the cables rely on pulleys, cushioning cylinders, water twisters, and a robust hydraulic brake to successfully absorb the kinetic energy of a stopping aircraft. The servo valve is a crucial aspect of this assembly, modulating hydraulic pressure that is provided to the brake, allowing it to amply manage arresting cable tension. For a carrier such as the USS Gerald R. Ford, the AAG is designed to handle upwards of 270 sorties each day during intensive conditions.
In order for the hydraulic brake to have optimal pressure for arrestment, the brake will need to account for the precise cable tension required by each aircraft. This value also changes throughout the catchment, thus making precision paramount. If there is too much tension, the aircraft can become damaged. And there are risks to the crew and payload. With too little pressure, the aircraft may overshoot the landing, which has its own hazards. As there is no room for errors during such processes, a servo valve is paramount for its ability to maintain responsiveness, accuracy, and precision.
The servo valves that are used for such applications are often constructed to meet intensive standards, ensuring that they meet the performance expectations that are necessary for such operations. Across all applications, however, it is important that servo valves are regularly inspected and maintained as necessary to ensure their operability. If you are conducting a diagnostic of your systems and require a servo valve replacement, let the experts at Veritable Aerospace help you source everything you need with competitive pricing and rapid lead-times.
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