Investment caster IBC Engineered Materials has gained a new purchase order from Lockheed Martin, its second for the high-profile F-35 Lightning II program. The foundry’s parent company recently announced it had delivered the first castings for the initial assignment, which are near-net-shape structures for the new aircraft’s electro-optical targeting system (EOTS).
The new purchase order extends production of a component contract announced in September 2014, IBC EM manufactures the EOTS azimuth gimbal housing in its Beralcast® beryllium-aluminum casting alloy.
Another supplier of investment cast components for the EOTS, Materion Beryllium & Composites, also reported it had made the first deliveries of its investment-cast parts for the EOTS, and reported it has been awarded materials contracts for six other, high-performance beryllium-containing parts in the Lockheed Martin EOTS.
The EOTS is a lightweight, multi-function system for air-to-air and air-to-surface targeting capability on the F-35 — the single-engine, “stealth” enabled fighter jet that Lockheed and its numerous suppliers are building for the U.S. Dept. of Defense.
While the castings delivered recently by IBC EM represented the “first-article components for low rate initial production (LRIP) lots 7 and 8,” the new purchase order is for subsequent LRIP years and will cover new planes and related spare components. It has a minimum contract value over $2 million, IBC Engineered Materials parent company, IBC Advanced Alloys stated.
The number of castings to be supplied by IBC is approximately twice as many as its initial contract indicated, and EOTS will be a feature of every jet produced – totaling more than 3,000 aircraft through 2035.
Lockheed recently won the U.S. Dept. of Defense’s approval to proceed with purchase for the tenth series of production in the F-35 program. The first aircraft are due to enter service this year with the U.S. Marine Corps. The fighters also will be deployed by U.S. Air Force (which already is using the jets in air exercises), the U.S. Navy, and the U.K. Royal Air Force, as well as defense ministries in several NATO and other Allied nations.
IBC’s first deliveries under the new purchase order are scheduled for this month. Lockheed will take delivery of the near-net-shape castings and separately contract for finishing and final machining.
"We are delighted to receive another purchase order for the EOTS azimuth gimbal housing on the F-35 Lightning II," stated IBC Advanced Alloys CEO and president Anthony Dutton.