The GKN Aerospace plant at Filton has commenced production of precision machined titanium structures for BAE Systems, a principal subcontractor to Lockheed Martin, for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft (JSF).
The Filton site will work in partnership with the GKN Aerospace sister operation in St. Louis, USA, with Filton undertaking manufacture of ten titanium structural parts. These will be assembled into the aft and tail sections of the aircraft which are supplied by BAE Systems for final assembly by Lockheed Martin.
Phil Swash, CEO and President, GKN Aerospace – Aerostructures, Europe explained:
“The ability to machine highly complex titanium parts such as these for the JSF is a core competency for GKN Aerospace globally and one which our team at Filton have employed on commercial airframes for a number of years. This work package sees their expertise now being applied to military aircraft, extending the skills base at the site in a direction that is at the very heart of our long term aero-structures strategy.”
GKN Aerospace has invested in excess of £17m in the Filton facility in the 39 months since acquiring it from Airbus in 2008. This has included the installation of state of the art capital equipment which will increase manufacturing accuracy, consistency and speed for these critical F-35 structures.
The company is the major independent supplier of aero-structures in Europe and one of the leading three operations globally. It is a world technology leader in the use of both composites and metallics in aviation, pioneering new production techniques that are improving the quality and consistency of manufacture at increased production rates.