The objective of this effort is to provide a field demonstration of a prototype laser-based facility to demonstrate environmentally acceptable and cost competitive cleaning and coatings removal from weapon system components. This project will design a self-contained cleaning and coating removal system, design a waste product collection system, and complete preliminary systems engineering. The design will be approved by engineering, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Technical Approach

This effort will implement the technical approach determined in the FY 1993 preliminary design and expand this to a detailed final design. Additionally, this program will fabricate, evaluate, develop, and demonstrate a state-of-the-art automated, controllable coating removal and cleaning system (a repair or remanufacturing cell or process). Various aircraft media controls, robotics sensors, and instrumentation are currently available commercially and may be applied to the system. Software will have to be developed/modified to control the production system. Systems design must incorporate all applicable safety devices and features. The risks with this assessment are associated with availability and adequacy of Air Force, Navy, Army, and industry data. The system will maneuver the laser beam around complex geometries whether on manual or automatic control modes. All effluent gases and particulates will be treated and/or captured. Once the system is built, it will undergo a rigorous confirmation test scheme.


The laser and all the accessories was procured in FY 1998. The scope of the project has been changed from an installation specific project to a technology demonstration at the National Defense Center for Environmental Excellence (NDCEE). The National Defense Center for Environmental Excellence is in the process of inspecting and installing the Laser cleaning system.


This project will demonstrate a laser-based coating removal and cleaning process for a wide range of aircraft components having different sizes and materials. The recommended process is expected to be highly cost effective by eliminating the present and future air, solid, and water polluting methods. Thus, it will reduce or eliminate the costs for hazardous stripping of materials, reduce containment costs for solid, liquid and vapor waste streams, and eliminate the legal liabilities associated with waste disposal.