Orbital ATK produces enough composite parts for 430 F-35 Lightning II fighter jets

Orbital ATK, a global specialist in aerospace and defense technologies, and Lockheed Martin celebrated the completion of the 5,000th Orbital ATK-built F-35 composite part.

Orbital ATK produces enough composite parts for 430 F-35 Lightning II fighter jets

5,000 composite parts equate to approximately 430 ship sets and demonstrate Orbital ATK’s ability to meet customers’ high quality standards and delivery requirements to support U.S. and international forces around the world.

Orbital ATK’s Aerospace Structures Division facility in Clearfield, Utah, currently produces almost 90 percent of the upper and lower wing skins, engine nacelles, access covers and fixed skins for the F-35 Lightning II. Our partner, Janicki Industries, then machines the parts to very exacting engineering requirements. The parts are delivered to support the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, as well as its international suppliers. Orbital ATK was awarded a contract in 2017 to also produce bullnose and blade seals for the F-35.

“This milestone not only reflects our long-term partnership with Lockheed Martin on the F-35 program, it also showcases the growth of composite manufacturing in Utah as Orbital ATK has added over 500 jobs in the past two years and expects to add many more jobs over the next 20 years,” said Steve Earl, Vice President and General Manager of Orbital ATK’s Aerospace Structures Division. “With the hands-on training and stable future we offer, these positions provide an opportunity to develop high-tech skills to build a long-term career that provides a sustainable living in the aerospace industry.”

To celebrate both the milestone and the partnership with employees, Earl was joined by Janet Duffey, Vice President of Supply Chain Management, Lockheed Martin, Mark Miller, Director of Procurement, Lockheed Martin and John Janicki, President, Janicki Industries; as well as several National, state and local dignitaries, including U.S. Air Force F-35 Squadron Officers and Clearfield City Mayor, Mark Shepherd.

“Orbital ATK and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics have had an excellent long term relationship that relies on their continued success and leadership in composite manufacturing,” said Lockheed Martin’s Janet Duffey. “The F-35 is built by thousands of men and women in America and around the world. Orbital ATK and our more than 1,500 global suppliers play an absolutely critical role in delivering the F-35’s transformational capability to the men and women in uniform ensuring they can execute their missions and come home safe.”

Colonel Derek O'Malley, Vice Wing Commander of the 388th Figher Wing, signs the Orbital ATK-produced 5,000 F-35 composite part

With more than 1,400 domestic suppliers in 46 states and Puerto Rico, the program is responsible for more than 170,000 direct and indirect U.S. jobs and $24 billion of economic impact annually. In addition to the main F-35 production line in Fort Worth, Texas, Final Assembly and Checkout Operations (FACO) facilities are located in Cameri, Italy and Nagoya, Japan, and suppliers in all nine of the program’s partner countries are producing F-35 components for all aircraft.

Orbital ATK’s advanced automated fiber placement machines have played a critical role in reaching and maintaining the high-rate production rates required on the F-35 program. This technology provides versatility in manufacturing highly complex structures that enable more mass-efficient and higher performance designs. Orbital ATK’s automated fiber placement machines also improve part quality and reproducibility. The technology is critical to reaching and maintaining high-rate production rates required on the F-35 program.

Orbital ATK manufactures parts for the F-35 at its 403,000-square-foot Freeport Composite Center (FCC) facility in Clearfield, Utah.

Companies: Northrop Grumman

Countries: Japan

Industries: Aerospace, Defence, Security & Ballistics

Terms: Applications, News Worldwide

This article has been edited by Basalt.Today
This article has been written on JEC Composites Magazine
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