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.
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“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.