On aircraft carriers (CVN’s), one of the more distinguishable features on the flight deck is the catapult system’s Jet Blast Deflectors (JBDs). Just aft of each of the four catapults are the JBDs which are deployed during flight operations while launching aircraft from the catapults. The JBD panels are raised and lowered to provide (as the name implies) protection to adjacent aircraft and flight deck personnel from jet blast as taxing aircraft await the pending catapult launch. In order to sustain the significant heat generated by the jet blast, the JBDs are outfitted with cooling modules and manifolds that circulate sea water pumped up from below decks. Although known to be a leading CVN weapons handling supplier, FEC is also a key contributor to aircraft launch and recovery equipment (ALRE) as one of only a couple qualified suppliers to manufacture the JBD Manifolds.
Furnished directly to the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) for the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), FEC has manufactured and tested hundreds of the cooling manifolds in accordance with the applicable Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC Lakehurst) drawings and specifications. The manifolds consist mainly of stainless steel piping assemblies requiring special manufacturing and welding techniques of the various flanges and piping connections to facilitate the proper sea water flow and configuration in the JBD panel base. The NAWC invoked non-destructive testing (NDT) as well as hydrostatic testing of the completed manifold assemblies is also accomplished to ensure the required strength integrity and tightness requirements are satisfied. This is just one more example of FEC’s capabilities supporting the Navy fleet with flight critical equipment.