Lockheed, Alenia sign F-35 carbon fiber wing agreement

Alenia will produce 1,200 carbon fiber composite wingsets for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

Lockheed Martin (Arlington, Va.) and Alenia Aeronautica (Rome, Italy) announced on Sept. 25 that they have signed contract for initial production of F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) wings at a total value of more than $15 million/€10.5 million.

The contract is the first of a series supporting Alenia Aeronautica’s long-term activities within the JSF program, according to the Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the two companies in 2006, that envisages more than $6 billion/€4.2 billion in opportunities for Italian industry.

Under the terms of the agreement, Alenia is slated to produce more than 1,200 wings for the F-35 aircraft for the nine-partner program made up of Italy, United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Turkey, Australia, Canada, Denmark and Norway. The F-35 wing assembly comprises a metal internal structure covered by carbon fiber composite skins, all of which are assembled concurrently with electrical and hydraulic systems.

Alenia Aeronautica’s production for the JSF program will be carried out in Italy between 2009 and 2033, involving several Alenia Aeronautica production centers, starting with Campania and Puglia regions facilities, South Italy, which will be engaged in the activities for this first contract related to the LRIP 3 (third lot of F-35 Low-Rate Initial Production) aircraft batch. Alenia’s site in Piedmont will follow, starting from LRIP 4.

Besides JSF wing production, Alenia’s involvement in the program includes the participation in F-35 Integrated Product Teams, the already-completed development phase and design activities for the wing boxes of the CTOL and CV (Carrier Variant) versions of the F-35 at Alenia’s plant in Campania, and the expected key involvement in follow-on logistics and operational support phases.

A further industrial opportunity for Alenia Aeronautica will be represented by the establishment of a facility in Italy for the final assembly and check-out (FACO) of F-35s to be delivered to Italy and the Netherlands. The FACO could also operate as a regional maintenance and support center within the F-35 logistics solution.