U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) has come up with a new twist on proven borescope engine-inspection technology.

While previous engine-inspection borescopes used by the Navy detected engine debris with a rigid probe and generated low-quality, black-and-white pictures, Naviar’s Common Video Borescope Set, or CVBS has a 2-meter long, flexible, insertion tube that captures photos and video images on a 3.7-in. color screen. Technicians will use a joystick to maneuver the device’s insertion tube, giving them a 360-deg. view of hard-to-see places.

The Navy says the borescope will “revolutionize” the way the service inspects aircraft and engines as well as provide real-time digital images and video for examination, doing for aircraft inspections what “colonoscopies have done for cancer detection,” Navair says.

Navair plans to start using the CVBS to inspect interior engine components and airframes for cracks, corrosion and other debris in September when the CVBS is scheduled for initial operating capability.

“Instead of taking the engine apart, the video borescope allows inspectors to look into the jet engine, saving time and energy,” says Lt. Cmdr. Francini Clemmons, assistant deputy program manager for nondestructive inspection equipment, who oversees the CVBS project for the Aviation Support Equipment Program Office (PMA-260).

And the Navy and Marines need that kind of detailed analysis. “Compressor blades rotating in an aircraft engine power naval aviation on a daily basis, but anything accidentally entering the engine intake can create nicks and chip the blades,” Clemmons says.

“The CVBS can be likened to a colon screening,” Clemmons says. “It will instantly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our inspection procedures.”

The CVBS is a naval-modified version of a commercial-off-the-shelf product and will support all aircraft platforms requiring video borescope inspections of their airframes and engines. It offers many advantages over its varied predecessors, PMA-260 officials say.

All CVBS handsets are capable of defect measurement and offer two hours of battery life. The CVBS Type V variant comes with a working channel and tools that can retrieve debris.

At 3.74 lb., the CVBS also is less expensive and lighter than its 30-lb. predecessors. The Navy plans to buy 960 CVBS units at an approximate cost of $15,000 each.

“The unit is ruggedized, highly portable and over 80 percent lighter than many of the legacy units it replaces,” says Marc Donohue, nondestructive inspection Common Support Equipment integrated program team lead for PMA-260.

The Aviation Support Equipment Program Office manages the procurement, development and fielding of common ground support equipment and automatic test equipment, which support every type, model and series of aircraft within the Naval Aviation Enterprise.