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Northrop Grumman awards production contract to key Turkish F-35 supplier

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has awarded a second source supplier contract to Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI), Ankara, Turkey to produce composite air inlet ducts for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. The ducts are a key element of the aircraft's center fuselage, which Northrop Grumman produces for F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT).

The five-year, $28.4 million contract will help Northrop Grumman ensure a smooth transition from its current rate of completing approximately one center fuselage per month to an eventual rate of one center fuselage per day.

"This contract reinforces Northrop Grumman's commitment to help expand international participation in the F-35 program, while keeping us focused on putting aircraft on the ramp to meet our customers' operational need dates," said Mark Tucker, vice president and F-35 program manager for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector.

According to Tucker, the first deliveries of ducts from the TAI contract are scheduled for June 2010. Northrop Grumman will use the ducts to support production of center fuselages during the fourth through eighth phases of low rate initial production.

All F-35 center fuselages are currently produced at Northrop Grumman's Palmdale (Calif.) Manufacturing Center. To date, all inlet ducts for F-35 aircraft have been produced in the company's Composites Manufacturing Center in El Segundo.

TAI currently serves as a second source supplier of F-35 center fuselages to Northrop Grumman. As part of ramping up to eventually produce 400 complete center fuselages, the company opened a new composites manufacturing facility at its headquarters in Ankara in November 2008. That facility, which is currently producing composite subassemblies for the F-35, will also be used to fabricate the composite inlet ducts planned under the new contract.

Northrop Grumman is responsible for the design and production of center fuselages for all three variants of F-35 aircraft: conventional takeoff and landing; short takeoff, vertical landing; and the carrier variant. The F-35 Lightning II program expects to build more than 3,100 aircraft.

As a member of the F-35 global industry team, Northrop Grumman is central to the development, production and support of the F-35 Lightning II. The company designed and produces the aircraft's center fuselage, 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.

Press release issued by Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems on October 6, 2009


 Contact details from our directory:
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) Airframer
Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems Airframer


 Related aircraft programs:
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II


 Related directory sectors:
Airframe Assemblies

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