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The Aerospace Product Line: Ground Equipment



The range of ground-based systems for support of flight is almost as broad as that of flight equipment.

Many types of systems ensure safety and efficiencies in high-volume flight, such as airline operations: radar, navigation aids, communications, displays for air traffic control, terminal area lighting, landing aids, instrument landing systems, and ground-based weather hazard reporting systems. Equipment for servicing individual airplanes on the ground include auxiliary power units, engine starters, refueling systems, or loading devices for cargo transports.

Military aircraft require special equipment in addition to ground power systems, such as loading sleds and hoists for affixing external armament.

Missile operation requires silo-based control systems for maintaining and launching intercontinental missiles. Air defense weapons need ground stations, which are sometimes mobile, for tracking incoming attacks and providing direction-to-target information for defending missiles.

Space operations demand elaborate ground facilities for integrating payloads before launch, electronic checkout of both a spacecraft and its launch vehicle, launch safety, tracking orbiting objects, communicating with a manned or unmanned spacecraft, and for processing the flow of data from a spacecraft and routing it to mission controllers.

In addition, simulators provide ground-based training for pilots and crew.

This is only a short, bare-bones outline of a much broader product line. It underlines the extraordinary diversity of aerospace manufacturing and the extraordinary variety of worker skills it demands.