Fokker Landing Gear (FLG, Helmod, the Netherlands), part of Fokker Technologies and the Dutch National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) have signed a letter of intent for the creation of highly automated and state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for composite landing gear parts at the NLR in Marknesse, the Netherlands. The signing ceremony was attended by the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, Mr, Henk Kamp.
The facility is scheduled to be up and running in the third quarter of 2014 and will be about 500m2/5,382-ft2. About 20 Fokker specialists will work together with the NLR team. The manufacturing facility will use, combine and further improve proven and available manufacturing technology in support of FLG’s ambition to introduce its composite landing gear parts on new and existing landing gear designs, and to ensure a reliable and repetitive manufacturing process, reducing component costs under metal equivalents. The facility will produce composite landing gear components for customers for qualification and first production phase.
FLG says the major advantages for the application of its composite technology on a landing gear for OEMs and operators are affordability, weight reduction (up to 30 percent), manufacturability, lower operational and maintenance costs, low susceptibility to damage and noise reduction.
Since 1995 FLG and NLR have been actively engaged in the development of technologies for the application of thick-walled polymer matrix composites in flight-critical and primary structural components for landing gear. In 2001 the joint FLG/NLR team was the first ever to actually flight test a composite landing gear drag brace on a RNLAF F-16 aircraft. A major step was made in 2010 when FLG’s technological expertise on composite development led to a product development contract with UTAS (previously Goodrich Landing Gear), for the development and qualification of a composite drag brace for the F-35 CTOL and STOVL main landing gear.