Turkish F-35 Supplier to Northrop Grumman Opens New Composites Factory

EL SEGUNDO, CA -- Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc., Ankara, Turkey, an international supplier to Northrop Grumman Corporation on the F-35 Lightning II program, today opened a new facility dedicated to producing composite subassemblies for the new international, multi-role fighter.

The opening of the 74 thousand square foot facility represents TAI's latest progress towards becoming a second source producer of F-35 center fuselages for Northrop Grumman. Under a Letter of Intent signed with Northrop Grumman in February 2007, TAI plans to produce and assemble at least 400 center fuselages beginning in the low rate initial production (LRIP) phases of the program.

"This composites facility represents a significant investment by Turkish Aerospace Industries in the long-term success and affordability of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program," says Mark A. Tucker, vice president of tactical systems and F-35 program manager for Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector, who spoke at TAI's opening ceremony. "It will give the company a state-of-the-art capability to fabricate high-precision composite parts."

Northrop Grumman, a principal and founding member of the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 Lightning II team, is responsible for the design and production of center fuselages for all three variants of F-35 aircraft: conventional take-off and landing; short take-off, vertical landing; and carrier-compatible. The F-35 Lightning II program expects to build more than 3,000 aircraft.

"TAI's investments in designing and constructing this new factory reflect the international spirit of collaboration that's helping the F-35 industry team successfully produce, deliver and sustain the world's most advanced multi-role combat aircraft," says Tom Burbage, executive vice president and general manager, F-35 program integration for the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. "This new facility adds momentum to the program's transition from the system development and demonstration phase to the production phase."

The opening of the new facility follows an authorization by Northrop Grumman in December 2007 for TAI to begin fabricating F-35 composite subassemblies. Those subassemblies will be used in center fuselages assembled by Northrop Grumman during LRIP-1 at its F-35 assembly facility in Palmdale, CA.