Beryllium and copper advanced alloys company IBC Advanced Alloys has secured a contract to build production azimuth gimbal housings component for the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet’s electro-optical targeting system (EOTS).
The minimum $7.8m contract awarded by Lockheed Martin includes the delivery of additional quantities of spares expected in the last two years of the three-year agreement.
Azimuth gimbal housing units will be manufactured using IBC Advanced Alloys’ beryllium-aluminum alloy, known as Beralcast.
The company’s advanced technology enables it to precisely cast the beryllium alloy parts so they are more cost-effective for Lockheed Martin and taxpayers than traditionally used manufacturing techniques.
IBC Advanced Alloys Engineered Materials Division president Chris Huskamp said: “IBC’s proprietary casting process stands alone when it comes to delivering stiff, light, and reliable parts for modern aircraft imaging systems.
“Our net-shape casting process represents a significant cost advantage when compared to traditional machining of consolidated powder billets.
“Our recent investments in new capital equipment and personnel have strategically positioned us to support the increased volumes for Lockheed with exceptional cost competitiveness.”
The F-35 Lightning II’s EOTS system is integrated with modern sensor technology, a low-profile sapphire window design and advanced algorithms that enable long-range target recognition, identification and tracking.
To ensure high lethality and survivability, EOTS uses infrared search and track mode to monitor multiple airborne threats at extended ranges.
IBC’s beryllium-aluminum alloys allow EOTS to acquire targets at longer distances and help decrease vibration and signal noise to the system, increasing the electro-optical resolution range.
The current deal covers Lot 12, 13, and 14 of the US Department of Defense’s low rate of initial production purchase schedule for the F-35 fighter aircraft.
The F-35 Lightning II aircraft is a fifth-generation fighter jet that combines advanced low observable stealth technology with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.
Separately, Lockheed Martin has awarded a five-year contract to BAE Systems for the readiness of critical electronic warfare systems on the F-35s.