Communication Pods

Communication Pods for NAWC-WD

Hi-Tech machined and assembled all components of the communication pods used by the U.S. Navy on fighter jets for military operations. These pods enable communication between pilots and command & control during active military operations globally. They are built for re-use in active operations, and also for trial and destruction in U.S. Navy R&D operations.

Every pod must be 100% waterproof to ensure retrieval should a jet be downed at sea or if the pod separates from the jet during training or combat operations. This requires extremely tight tolerances to enable a complete seal and effectively guard against natural elements including heat, water, and air pressure.

Diagram 1.
Pod internal view during production.
Diagram 2.
Pod initial material.
Diagram 3.
Pod before dip-braze and paint.

Rings of the pod are specifically sized to fit 1-1 to specific pods, and once fitted to a pod, these rings are not interchangeable. To machine and enable this 1-1 match, numerous internal components are welded to the pod to create stability and durability pre-seal. Once machined, the pods are cleaned and dip-brazed, followed by bonding and painting to fully assemble and secure the wing attachment and be ready for flight. As dip-brazing services are a highly-limited given environmental regulations, timelines for this part require significant attention to ensure on-time production and delivery.

Hi-Tech has partnered with CTA on this government contract with NAWC-WD for 10+ years, and over time has developed a deep base of working knowledge, in cooperation with the customer, to capture all necessary specs and machining needs — details which are not fully captured on the original drawings, but which are critical to production.

Key Info

  • Production time: 1 week; Outside processes: 4 weeks
  • Units produced: 15 per quarter/5 per month, increasing to 9 per month in Fall 2020
  • Weight: 25-30 lbs each
  • Machines engaged: ST30, VF2, VF3, VF5
Diagram 4.
Communications Pod ring.
Diagram 5.
Communications Pod finished, lateral view.
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