Turkish F-35 supplier opens composites factory

The 72 000 ft2 composites facility will enable TAI to produce composite structures and subassemblies for the F-35’s centre fuselage. It also positions TAI to fulfill its commitment to produce up to 400 centre fuselages in the low rate initial production (LRIP) phases of the programme.

In December 2007 for TAI received authorisation from Northrop Grumman to begin fabricating F-35 composite subassemblies. These will be used in centre fuselages assembled by Northrop Grumman during LRIP-1 at its F-35 assembly facility in Palmdale, California, USA.

Northrop Grumman, a member of the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 Lightning II team, is responsible for the design and production of centre fuselages for all three variants of F-35 aircraft. The F-35 Lightning II programme expects to build more than 3000 aircraft.

“The opening of this new facility is a major first step by TAI in demonstrating Turkey’s commitment to the success of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme,” said TAI Chairman Atalay Efeer. “We’re already using the facility’s advanced technology machinery to produce key composite subassemblies for Northrop Grumman. Beyond our extensive experience in composite and metal bonding technology, this new investment will help TAI to level up in the aerospace sector.”

TAI’s new Advanced Composites Manufacturing Facility has an expected service life of more than 25 years and will provide the following capabilities: composite and metal bonding techniques; high precision composites part production; and fibre placement techniques with precision automatic machining for sophisticated structures.