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Advanced Photonix, Inc. wins terahertz contract to develop F-35 QC system

Advanced Photonix, Inc.(R) (NYSE Amex: API) announced today that its subsidiary, Picometrix, LLC has entered into a Phase II SBIR contract from the Air Force to develop a prototype terahertz quality control system. The system will be based on the patented fiber-coupled T-Ray 4000(R) instrument, and utilized to ensure the proper fit of the coated exterior surfaces of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet, which has been developed under the U.S. Department of Defense's Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program. This contract is a continuance of the successful Phase I SBIR feasibility work completed in 2009. The 24 month Phase II contract is valued at $3 million, with an option for an additional $1.5 million, exercisable at the Air Force's discretion. If successful, the Phase II dedicated T-Ray 4000(R) prototype system would lead to deployment of multiple production systems in Phase III.

The JSF Program is the Department of Defense's focal point for defining affordable next generation strike aircraft weapon systems for the Navy, Air Force, Marines, and U.S. allies. The United States and eight JSF international partners are planning to buy more than 3,000 F-35 aircraft from 2013 through 2035 at a total cost of approximately $200 billion. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor and is responsible for the final assembly of the F-35, uniquely characterized by a combination of advanced stealth with supersonic speed and high agility, sensor fusion, network-enabled capabilities and advanced sustainment. The F-35 has three variants that are derived from a common design, bringing economies of commonality and scale. The focus of the JSF program is affordability -- reducing the development cost, production cost, and cost of ownership of the JSF family of aircraft. The T-Ray 4000(R) nondestructive testing system deployed in Phase III would significantly improve manufacturing efficiency and reduce costs on the expensive process of installing the coated doors and panels on the F-35, in line with the affordability focus of the JSF Program.

The handheld scanner developed under this Phase II SBIR will be a plug-in accessory to the system, making it an option for the company's T-Ray 4000(R) instrument. The scanner could facilitate additional applications which would open new markets. This technology could be utilized for any aircraft, not just the F-35, and could be adapted for other applications including: measurement of coating thickness, subsurface inspection, surface topography measurements, measurement of coating tapers, and coating cure states. A handheld scanner could also be applicable for homeland security applications such as airport personnel scanning for explosives and suicide bombers.

"The application of our T-Ray 4000(R) product platform to help solve the difficult manufacturing challenge posed by the next generation military aircraft is a potentially significant opportunity to deploy multiple systems for the manufacturing and maintenance of the F-35 throughout its life. We believe this is just the first of many manufacturing quality control and process control opportunities for our T-Ray(R) product line in a variety of markets," commented Richard (Rick) Kurtz, CEO of API.

Press release issued by Advanced Photonix, Inc. on January 7, 2010


 Contact details from our directory:
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Airframer
Advanced Photonix, Inc. Non-Destructive Test Equipment, Process Control Systems


 Related aircraft programs:
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II


 Related directory sectors:
Non-Destructive Testing

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