MIRAGE REBUILD FACTORY
Mirage Rebuild Factory was established in 1974 for in-country overhauling of Mirage aircraft and has ever since evolved into a centre of excellence for maintenance, repair and overhaul of military aircraft and jet engines. With a number of quality accreditations and certifications to its acclaim, MRF is trusted by leading aviation industries and air forces of the world. The dream of establishing the Mirage rebuild factory came true, when the first Mirage aircraft rolled out after successful overhaul in 1980. A comprehensive setup for overhauling the Mirage aircraft, is certified by Dassault Aviation of France. Mirage aircraft overhaul is a sequential process in which the aircraft undergoes a series of specialized processes to reclaim a life of 1800 flying hours
The process begins with the disassembly of the aircraft, where each and every component, nut, bolt and screw is removed from the aircraft. After disassembly, structure of the aircraft undergoes stringent inspections to reveal structural discrepancies accumulated over the years of flying. A special setup of highly precise aircraft jigs and fixtures checks the alignment of the fuselage, wings and its tail. In case discrepancies are noted, a team of highly experienced technicians conduct extensive repairs to remove the discrepancies.
The parts, components and accessories removed from the aircraft are routed to specialized setups for complete strip up, stringent inspections and comprehensive repairs as per the overhaul manuals. During this process, the components that can be repaired, undergo extensive repair procedures. In case the parts cannot be repaired through any of the repair schemes, they are replaced to ensure perfect health of the aircraft.
After their assembly, the operation of each component is verified by extensive testing. The operation of these components is simulated on specially designed testers. These testers replicate close to actual operating conditions which these components experience on a flying aircraft. Results of testing achieved on these components are strictly monitored and it is ensured that the achieved desired results as prescribed by manufacture.
The precise components requiring overhauling in dust free environment are overhauled in a special facility. Atmosphere in this facility is cleaned continuously to achieve the required air cleanliness standards.
The overhauling of aircraft is never complete without repairing and replacing the worn out hydraulic and fuel pipes. To meet the stringent aviation requirements, MRF has established a five axes CNC controlled pipe bending and fabrication facility. This facility is capable of automatically modeling and manufacturing all aircraft hydraulic or fuel pipes. The highly precise modeling software allows replicating the pipe, which measures all its dimensions and angles. The modeling software interprets these dimensions and prepares a model of pipe which is fed into the fabrication module of the machine. The fabrication module of the machine then uses the interpreted design to prepare new pipes of required dimensions and angles from straight lengths of pipes.
After overhauling and repairing all the parts and components of the aircraft, the final leg of overhaul journey begins. All the parts are reinstalled on the aircraft and the aircraft systems are checked for correct operation. After satisfying strict quality standards, the aircraft is released for flying for the next tenure of its life.
To achieve self-reliance, MRF embarked upon the uphill task of establishing the all-encompassing setup for overhauling of engine of Mirage aircraft. Realization of the dream was delightfully witnessed in 1982 when the first ATAR 09C engine was successfully rolled out after overhaul. Duly certified by SNECMA of France, the engine overhaul setup has become the backbone of Mirage fleet operations of PAF.
Like the Mirage aircraft, the ATAR engine is also stripped down to individual components. All components undergo a thorough cleaning process to remove the contaminants accumulated during the flights on Components. The cleaning process helps in identifying the defects present on the jet engine parts.
The cleaned parts undergo non-destructive inspections to identify the existing defects. Specialized radiographic inspection techniques identify even the minutest cracks existing in the parts. The radiographic machine is equipped with a robotic arm to position the part for accurate identification of sub surface cracks.
NDI techniques is available for identifying the microscopic imperfections in aircraft and engine parts. Non-destructive inspections are also aided by a semi-automated eddy current inspection machine. The machine runs its probes on the pre-defined geometry of the part and identify the existing defects. Use of the automated probes eliminate the chances of human errors.
Crack identification on the ferrous parts is also carried out by a state of the art magnetic particle inspection machine to identify the subsurface cracks.
Strict quality inspections by highly qualified inspectors ensure identification of repairable areas on the engine parts. Comprehensive repair schemes are deliberated by highly experienced engineers and parts are reclaimed through specialized processes with highest accuracy.
Over a span of more than 30 years, MRF has inducted numerous state of the art technologies for maintenance and manufacturing of aviation parts. Elaborate machining processes not only help in reclaiming the parts requiring repairs but new parts are also manufactured to service the engines. Maintaining the highest aviation standards in repairs and manufacturing of new parts is a hallmark for the factory. High velocity oxy fuel and plasma coating techniques are used for seamless build up of the parts that wear out during operation of the jet engines. Parts reclaimed by these techniques are given a new life and they get ready to be installed on the engines for the next span of their operation on the engine.
Part reclamation facilities include aviation standard welding facility. This facility is used to reclaim hot section parts of different jet engines. Spot, seam and tungsten inert gas welding techniques are used to refurbish the engine parts to the highest aviation standards.
Pakistan National Accreditation Council and ISO 17025 certified precision measuring equipment laboratory is providing calibration services to keep the overhaul equipment ready to make precise measurements. PMEL calibration in done as per ISO certification standard.
Overhauling the engine accessories is a vital support setup required for the successful overhaul of any jet engine. Meeting up to the requirement, MRF has setup an elaborate system for overhauling the accessories. The process begins with completely stripping up the accessory to the basic components. The components undergo a series of elaborate cleaning and inspection steps and the defective components are identified. As per the nature of defects, either the components are repaired or replaced and then the accessories are finally assembled. The final step of overhaul is comprehensive testing of the accessories. MRF has a series of specialized testers which simulate the aircraft operating conditions and the overhauled accessories are subjected to these conditions. During these tests stringent quality control checks are carried out to ensure compliance to the required standards and only the accessories passing all these tests are cleared for installation on the engine. Finally all these accessories and components are installed back on the engine and the engine becomes ready for test bed operation.
The comprehensive setup for overhauling the ATAR 09C engine has ensured self-reliance and all the engine parts and accessories are reclaimed at the factory without any help of the foreign companies.
On the last leg of its overhaul journey, the engine is tested on the Multi Engine Test Cell. The Test cell is capable of test running various types of overhauled engines from idle to their maximum thrust in after burner settings. Close circuit cameras enable monitoring of engines with highest accuracy to determine minutest flaws or fuel leaks to ensure highest level of reliability. The test cell control room gives complete controlling and monitoring capability to the technicians running the engine. The technicians operate the engine on virtually every power setting and check all the critical operation parameters. After satisfying all the required standards, the engine is declared fit for installation on a fighter jet.
The capability of the Mirage Rebuild Factory has been enhanced over the years to overhaul the engines of other military fighter and transport aircraft. In the same pursuit a Rolls Royce certified facility has been established for overhauling the T-56 engine of C-130 aircraft. Like the ATAR engine the overhaul journey of the T56 follows an identical process cycle for its overhauling. All the parts undergo stringent inspections and reclamation cycle before they are assembled on the rotors. Before installation on the engine, the rotors undergo specialized static and dynamic balancing to ensure vibration free running. During this operation all the weight imbalances are counterbalanced by adding weights at precise locations. Finally the engine is given a series of test bed runs to gauge its operational parameters and the results are compared to the laid out standards. During all the tests, the operators keep a close eye on the engine to look for any defects or anomalies of the minutest nature. After passing all the tests, engine is cleared for installation on the aircraft.
A continuous endeavor to enhance capabilities, has led to establishment of a state of the art aviation overhauling facility for TFE-731 Honeywell engine of K-8 aircraft. After thorough ground studies the first TFE 731 engine has been inducted in MRF for overhaul.
In 1989, realizing the requirement of PAF to maintain newly inducted F-16 aircraft, MRF assumed the huge undertaking of establishing the overhauling setup for F100 engines of F-16 aircraft. Pratt and Whitney certified overhaul facility not only looks after all modules of F100 engine, but also upgrades 200 type engine to more powerful 220E type engine and has upgraded the entire F100 engines fleet of Pakistan Air Force.
The ISO 9001:2008 and AS 9100 Revision C compliant, elaborate setup of quality control and assurance programs monitor the overhaul process for any possible deviations. MRF takes due pride in the highly skilled team of engineers and technicians, who have accumulated an experience of more than 30 years. With this set of experience, MRF has always been in the forefront in accepting new challenges with utmost passion and commitment. Therefore, MRF has always been the first choice to look for as a dependable 4th line maintenance setup, whenever any new weapon system is inducted in PAF. The existing facilities remain hallmark for not only in-country industries but leading foreign aviation industries also have strong confidence in the facilities held at MRF. The outsourcing of Boeing parts manufacturing to MRF is a testimony of the professional appeal MRF enjoys. Over the years, MRF has become a blend of state of the art facilities, outfitted to embark upon aviation related MRO requirements from anywhere, whether local or abroad. Self-reliance, professionalism and commitment remain the sole guiding inspirations for MRF.