First F-35 Center
Fuselage Produced By Integrated Assembly Line
By Eddy Metcalf
April 3, 2012 - Northrop Grumman Corporation's first F-35 center fuselage produced by its Integrated Assembly Line (IAL) was delivered to Lockheed Martin on 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.
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.
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
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 mission-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.
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.
|blog comments powered by Disqus|
|?AvStop Online Magazine Contact Us Return To News|