Alcoa and Lockheed Martin Corp. have completed a new contract concerning the supply of titanium for the F-35 Lightning II aircraft, the defense program developing a new single-engine stealth-equipped fighter jet. Lockheed Martin leads an extensive consortium of designers and contractors for the F-35, which is now entering into service with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps after more than a decade in development.
According to current F-35 construction schedules, Alcoa estimates the value of the new contract at approximately $1.1 billion.
Under the terms of the contract, Alcoa becomes the titanium supplier for airframe structures for all three variants of the F-35 over nine years, from 2016 to 2024. It will
supply titanium plate and billet to Lockheed, sourced from operations it acquired earlier this year in its $1.5-billion purchase of RTI International Metals.
“Through our expansion in titanium, Alcoa is sharpening its leadership edge on state-of-the-art aircraft, including the most advanced fighter jet in the world—the F-35,” stated Alcoa chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld.
The titanium will be used to manufacture airframe structures for all three F-35 JSF variants: the F-35A CTOL, conventional takeoff and landing aircraft; F-35B STOVL, short takeoff/vertical landing aircraft; and F-35C CV carrier variant.
According to a separate, existing contract, Alcoa will use the metal to forge the large, one-piece titanium bulkheads for the CTOL variant at its Cleveland plant.
Many of the operations in line to supply the finished parts to Lockheed would be spun off by Alcoa, according to it recently announced restructuring.
Alcoa also a number of other components for the F-35, including aerostructures, aluminum closed-die forgings for wheels and brake systems; fasteners and installation tooling; machined aluminum and titanium “vane box” assemblies; and F-135 turbofan engine components, including seamless rolled rings, titanium forged disks, and single-crystal, nickel superalloy blades and vanes.
“We are expanding Alcoa’s range of multi-material offerings for this program while helping Lockheed Martin meet aggressive weight, range and fuel efficiency targets,” Kleinfeld said.