Alcoa Inc. is entering into a $360-million contract to supply Lockheed Martin forged aluminum components for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Lightning II, a supersonic stealth fighter that will replace various combat aircraft for American, British, and other military forces. The contract will run for 10 years.
Lockheed Martin projects it will supply more than 4,000 of the stealth fighters over the length of the program. Among the aircraft that the F-35 is seen replacing are AV-8B Harriers, A-10s, F-16s, F/A-18 Hornets, and Harrier GR.7s and Sea Harriers.
Alcoa will manufacture the components—large aluminum structural die forgings—at its Alcoa Forged and Cast Products operations in Cleveland. The products will be 15 structural supports (bulkheads) for wings and engines, 1,800 to 6,000 pounds and 10 to 23 feet long. Other parts to be forged will be six wing box parts that are important components of the wings' skeletal structures. Alcoa plans to invest $24 million in the Cleveland plant for new machinery, equipment, and infrastructure improvements, in support of the new contract.
Other Alcoa aerospace units will provide components and solutions for the F-35 program, including joining devices from Alcoa Fastening Systems, specialty alloy plates from Alcoa North American Mill Products, and high-pressure turbine blades for F-35 JSF engines and structural aluminum castings from Alcoa Power and Propulsion.
Alcoa has been in partnership with Lockheed Martin since 2004. It explains that Lockheed Martin's need for weight reduction on the F-35 coincided with alloys it newly developed, and its manufacturing approach allowed Lockheed to redesign parts according to the process advantages.
"Our partnership with Lockheed Martin is based on the value of Alcoa's proprietary and advanced alloys, our technical and engineering expertise, and our collaborative design capabilities that support such large and complex forgings," stated Raymond B. Mitchell, president, Alcoa Power and Propulsion. Alcoa Forged and Cast Products is a division of Alcoa Power and Propulsion, which is one of Alcoa Inc.'s business units.