Materion Brush Beryllium & Composites reported it is working with Lockheed Martin to qualify its investment cast products for the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jet program, specifically for the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS). The specialty metal supplier already supplies its AlBeMet® aluminum-beryllium composite alloy for the Lockheed program, and now aims to qualify specialty cast products, too.
Lockheed builds the single-engine, “Stealth” enabled fighter jets (formerly known as the Joint Strike Fighter) for the U.S. and U.K. defense programs, for ground attack, reconnaissance, and air-defense missions.
The EOTS is a lightweight, multi-function system for air-to-air and air-to-surface targeting capability on the fighter jet. Another investment caster, IBC Engineered Materials Corp., recently detailed it was seeking to place its own proprietary beryllium alloy castings in Lockheed’s EOTS program, and has been approved to develop tooling for such products.
“With our recent casting technology breakthroughs, we believe aluminum-beryllium investment casting is optimal for more performance-driven applications with customers in the aerospace, defense, and precision industrial equipment industries,” according to Dr. Jim Yurko, director of Technology for the parent company, Materion Corporation.
Last October, the Materion completed an expansion of its investment casting capabilities for the proprietary alloy at its foundry in Elmore, OH. It describes itself as “the world's only mine-to-mill integrated beryllium producer.”
Developing the investment casting capability was a three-year project at the Ohio plant, targeting projects for customers in aerospace, defense and precision industrial equipment markets. It followed an expansion of primary beryllium production capacity undertaken at the plant in recent years, as part of an private-public partnership between Materion and the U.S. Department of Defense.
“Materion is proud to be the qualified supplier of AlBeMet for F-35 EOTS,” according to Lawrence Ryczek, vice president and general manager, Brush Beryllium & Composites.
‘The Materion casting technology group is working with Lockheed Martin to also qualify Materion as an investment casting supplier,” Ryczek continued. “We have provided casting prototypes and are excited for an opportunity to complement our AlBeMet product line with AlBeCast for this program.”