December 10, 2007 (by Eric L. Palmer) - Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI) has been authorized by Northrop Grumman Corporation to begin fabricating subassemblies for the first two F-35 production aircraft.
Joint Strike Fighter
The authorization represents the first F-35 contract received by TAI under a long term agreement signed with Northrop Grumman in 2005.
The subassemblies – composite components and aircraft access doors – will be used in the F-35 center fuselage, a major section of the aircraft being produced by Northrop Grumman, a principal member of the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 global industry team.
“In order to meet and support the requirements of the F-35 program, we have been making significant investments both for the new technologies and facilities” said Muharrem Dortkasli, general manager for TAI. “This agreement, which will last for at least 20 years, is a very important milestone for the strong and strategic partnership between Northrop Grumman and TAI.”
“Strong international participation in the F-35 program is critical to ensuring the successful production, delivery and sustainment of the world’s most advanced multi-role combat aircraft,” said Janis Pamiljans, vice president and F-35 program manager for Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Systems sector. “This agreement adds significant momentum to our very successful partnership with TAI for the production of critical F-35 subassemblies.”
According to Muharrem Dortkasli, “TAI will each serve as a second source supplier to Northrop Grumman during F-35 low rate initial production (LRIP
). It will begin producing aircraft parts required for the initial phase, known as LRIP-1 and will procure the raw materials required to produce parts for LRIP-2. TAI has been selected as the only source located outside of USA for the F-35 Lightning II CTOL
Center Fuselages. Deliveries of Center Fuselages will start in 2013 and continue during the full production phase.”
In February 2007, Northrop Grumman signed a letter of intent with TAI to also make it a second source for producing F-35 center fuselages. Under that agreement, TAI will produce a minimum of 400 center fuselages starting during LRIP-2. Northrop Grumman currently produces all F-35 center fuselages at its F-35 assembly facility in Palmdale, Calif.
Northrop Grumman’s roles on the F-35 team include producing the aircraft’s center fuselage, key radar and electro-optical subsystems, and the aircraft’s communication, navigation and identification avionics. It also provides mission systems and mission-planning software; and develops pilot and maintenance training systems.