Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has delivered a prototype of its all-composite air inlet duct to Northrop Grumman for the production of the F-35 centre fuselage.

The air inlet duct, known as the destructive test article, will be used to validate the quality of TAI’s composite manufacturing processes.

TAI produced the air inlet duct at its facility in Turkey as part of a five-year $28.4m contract awarded by Northrop in September 2009.

Under the contract, TAI will produce inlet ducts for the current production of centre fuselages on Northrop’s F-35 assembly line in California and the 400 complete centre fuselages to be produced in Turkey.

TAI will begin delivery of the centre fuselages in 2013, as part the F-35 programme’s sixth phase of low-rate initial production.