Business

April 3, 2012

Northrop Grumman delivers first F-35 center fuselage produced by integrated assembly line

Northrop Grumman photograph
Northrop Grumman employees prepare the first F-35 center fuselage produced by the Integrated Assembly Line for delivery to Lockheed Martin.

PALMDALE, Calif. – Northrop Grumman’s first F-35 center fuselage produced by its Integrated Assembly Line was delivered to Lockheed Martin March 16, 2012.

While the company has delivered 69 center fuselages since 2005, this is the first produced using the IAL. The IAL maximizes robotics and automation, providing additional capacity and assembly capability while meeting engineering tolerances that are not easily achieved using manual methods.

The IAL will be central in producing the F-35’s center fuselage as well as increasing the program’s affordability, quality and efficiency. The technologies deployed on the IAL have created more efficient and ergonomic process for assembly. The IAL was developed and designed with the help of the Detroit-based KUKA Robotics Aerospace Division, a commercial automation integrator, and was inspired by automation systems used by American automakers.

The IAL design uses a system-engineering approach to integrate tooling and structure transport, system automation, automated drilling cells and tooling mechanization coordinated across multiple build centers.

“The Integrated Assembly Line’s approach to tool design and fabrication marks a transition into a new way of business for Northrop Grumman,” said Michelle Scarpella, vice president of the F-35 program for Northrop Grumman. “Through the implementation of a much more efficient design-to-assembly process, the Integrated Assembly Line enables the team to simultaneously achieve higher quality, reduce costs and increase efficiency.”

Northrop Grumman photograph

Northrop Grumman employees prepare the first F-35 center fuselage produced by the Integrated Assembly Line for delivery to Lockheed Martin.

As a principal member of the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 industry team, Northrop Grumman performs a significant share of the work required to develop and produce the aircraft. In addition to producing the F-35 center fuselage, Northrop Grumman also designed and produces the aircraft’s radar and other key avionics including electro-optical and communications subsystems; develops mission systems and ission-planning software; leads the team’s development of pilot and maintenance training system courseware; and manages the team’s use, support and maintenance of low-observable technologies.

To date, the company has delivered every center fuselage on time and continues to meet its cost and schedule commitments. In 2011, the company delivered 22 center fuselages and it will make its 100th delivery in December 2012.

Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, Calif., site is a world-class facility that provides assembly, integration, testing and long-term maintenance capabilities for the F-35, and some of the world’s most advanced aircraft, including B-2 Spirit and RQ-4 Global Hawk.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Boeing photograph

Boeing Maritime Surveillance Aircraft ready for demonstration flights

Boeing photograph The Boeing Maritime Surveillance Aircraft program is ready for customer demonstration flights, having completed the baseline ground and flight testing of the aircraft mission systems. The Boeing Maritime Surve...
 
 

Pratt & Whitney concludes PurePowerÆ geared turbofan engine partnering

Pratt & Whitney and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. met recently to commemorate the signing of a risk and revenue-sharing collaboration agreement for KHI to provide key hardware modules for Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower Geared Turbofan engines. Pratt & Whitney is a division of United Technologies Corp. Pratt & Whitney currently has 10 worldwide GTF collaboration...
 
 

U.S. Navy approves F/A-18 Super Hornet IRST system for production

The F/A-18 Super Hornet infrared search and track system, developed and integrated by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, received approval from the U.S. Navy to enter low-rate initial production. The IRST system consists of Lockheed Martin’s IRST21 sensor, the GE Aviation FPU-13 Fuel Tank Assembly and the Meggitt Defense Industry Environmental Control unit. The system demonstrated...
 

 

DRS Technologies to upgrade electronic warfare E/A-18 mission for U.S., Australia

DRS Technologies Inc., a Finmeccanica Company,†announced Jan. 22 that it has been awarded access to an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the production and delivery of up to 180 Joint Tactical Terminal-Receivers for U.S. Navy and Australian EA-18G aircraft. The contract is valued up to $12 million and will include JTT-R production engineering, test set racks, fixtures...
 
 

DRS Technologies’ groundbreaking laser designating gimbal completes first flight test

DRS Technologies Inc., a Finmeccanica Company, announced Jan. 21 that it successfully performed the first airborne demonstration of its GS205-XRZ laser designating gimbal. At less than six inches in diameter and weighing less than nine pounds, the GS205 is one of the smallest stabilized, light-weight and fully qualified targeting systems on the market. During its...
 
 
Lockheed Martin image

Lockheed Martin delivers first enhanced automated testing station for U.S. Navy aircraft fleet

Lockheed Martin image The electronic Consolidated Automated Support System (eCASS) maximizes aircraft readiness. Lockheed Martin has delivered the first electronic Consolidated Automated Support System to the U.S. Navy for maxi...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>