ATK (Minneapolis, Minn., USA) announced on May 3 that it has received a $110 million contract from Lockheed Martin to produce composite components for low rate initial production (LRIP) Lots 5 through 9 of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. The contract includes production of multiple components through the LRIP 9 phase of the program.
Under the terms of the contract, ATK will use advanced hand layup processing techniques to manufacture upper fixed aft skins for both the carrier variant (CV) and short-take off/vertical landing (STOVL) variant, upper access covers on the CV and conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variant, and the upper access center covers for the STOVL variant. Production will take place at ATK's Clearfield, Utah, facility beginning in 2011 continuing through 2015.
"This contract award confirms our commitment to providing Lockheed Martin with the highest quality composite structures affordably and on time," said Joy de Lisser, vice president and general manager of the Aerospace Structures division of ATK Aerospace Systems.
ATK began F-35 production in October 2002 with a System Design and Development contract for 19 ship sets of the one-piece, 35-ft/10.7m composite upper wing skin. The company has delivered more than 850 wing skin components to date through LRIP Lot 4. During this contract the company will increase production rates from three ship sets per month to more than eight ship sets per month.
In addition to this contract award, ATK manufactures several other composite structures for the F-35, including the seven-piece upper wing skin, lower wing skins, engine nacelle skins, inlet ducts and the upper wing strap using both automated fiber placement and hand layup techniques.
ATK operates 11 fiber placement machines and proprietary production processes.