GKN Aerospace2015-11-20 08:59:26

Fokker Technologies celebrates continuation of the F-35 Landing Gear Composite Drag Brace Program

Fokker Technologies, a division of GKN Aerospace, its Dutch partners and the Dutch Government celebrated the continuation of the F-35 Landing Gear Composite Drag Brace Program. Earlier this month Fokker Technologies received from UTAS (United Technologies Aerospace Systems) the follow-on contract for the continuation of the design and development for the qualification of the polymer matrix composite (PMC) landing gear drag brace for the F-35 Lightning II landing gear. UTAS is the exclusive landing gear system supplier and integrator for the F-35 aircraft. The celebration ceremony was held during the NIDV seminar in the Netherlands and was witnessed by Mr Maxime Verhagen, former deputy Prime-Minister of the Netherlands and currently the Dutch Special Envoy Industrial Participation F-35 Program.

Under the follow-on development contract, UTAS and Fokker Technologies will continue to work together to qualify and produce developmental hardware for qualification of the PMC drag brace that could be incorporated into the main landing gear for F-35 conventional take-off/landing (CTOL) and short take-off/vertical landing (STOVL) variants. Fokker Technologies role will encompass component design, development, qualification and hardware manufacture; these efforts will be conducted by a specialist Fokker Technologies team in Helmond, the Netherlands. UTAS will perform system-level design and integration in its Cleveland, Ohio and Ft. Worth, Texas landing gear facilities.

Compared to the metallic brace equivalent, using PMC materials will result in reduced weight, and lower costs over the life of the F-35. The new design will qualify the common PMC brace used on both the CTOL and STOVL variants.

Fokker Technologies has been actively engaged in the development of technologies for the application of thick-walled polymer matrix composites (PMC) in flight critical primary structural components for landing gears for over twenty years. Several partners, among which the Dutch National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR), have joined in a composite knowledge network that contributed to this technology development. In March 2015 Fokker Technologies and NLR have opened a pilot plant in Marknesse (NL) where the composite drag brace qualification hardware will be produced in a fully automated facility.

Hans Büthker, CEO Fokker Technologies, said, "It is truly exciting to see the sustained Research and Development efforts into the application of composite technologies on landing gears awarded by this agreement. The F35 Lightning II is the perfect launching platform to benefit from UTAS and Fokker's cutting edge composite landing gear technologies."

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