HITCO Carbon Composites, Inc., Gardena, California, U.S.A., a subsidiary of SGL Group - The Carbon Company - announced today that Lockheed Martin has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to award HITCO a contract to produce wing skins and nacelle skins for the F-35 Lightning II Program.
"HITCO will utilize its state-of-the-art production and testing equipment, particularly the Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) machine and the new large autoclave, to manufacture these components. We will also build on the processing expertise we have developed with BMI composite materials during our track record of performance with Lockheed Martin on the F-22 program. HITCO and its parent company, SGL Group, continue to invest in automated manufacturing capability at the Gardena site, enabling HITCO to achieve its goal of becoming a world-class Tier II supplier to the aerospace industry. We look forward to a long business relationship with Lockheed Martin on the F-35 program well beyond the initial five year contract term," said Peter M. Hoffman, HITCO President.
The F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, is a new single-seat, single- engine, supersonic stealth strike fighter capable of performing close air support, tactical bombing and air superiority missions. The aircraft is built in three different versions: a conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) aircraft, a short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant and an aircraft carrier-based (CV) model. The F-35 Lightning aircraft is designed and built by an industry team led by Lockheed Martin. Nine major partner nations including the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Norway and Denmark plan to acquire over 3,100 F-35 Lightning aircraft through 2035, making the F-35 one of the largest jet fighter programs in history.