On May 18, 2010, SLD visited the factory in Spain where the CN-235 is built. The USCG variant is called the Ocean Sentry and two planes were being built on the 4 station line in Seville. Prudencio Escamilla, site manager as well as the Head of the Light and Medium aircraft Final Assembly Line (FAL) for Airbus Military, provided the tour of the FAL.
Several things were evident from touring the factory.
- First, the USCG has bought an aircraft from a mature production facility. The heritage company has built more than 300 light and medium aircraft.
- Second, the CN-235 has been purchased by many countries, several of which are partners with the USCG in providing for security in the Caribbean. Indeed, on the tarmac outside of the FAL was parked the first Mexican CN-235 Maritime Patrol aircraft. This aircraft is virtually similar to the Ocean Sentry with the obvious exception of the mission systems.
- Third, the factory uses modern production techniques, as one would expect, notably lean manufacturing techniques.
- Fourth, the CN-235 is built with a mature, multi-national supply chain. The origin of the CN-235 was a joint program between Spain and Indonesia, which the N represents. There are separate series numberings represented the Spanish and Indonesian based production runs. During the visit, Ocean Sentry 10 was viewed and this represented series production 183 in the Spanish production run. The Indonesian numbering is more than 50 and is numbered as such.
The day of the visit there were two Ocean Sentry’s in the bays being worked on. The production rhythm is 10 days on the line after which the planes move to the flight test lines for testing and then preparation for customer acceptance. The entire process takes approximately 40 days.
This slide show provides an overview of the FAL, in general, with specific photos of the state of production during the tour.
- The first photo is of Mr. Escamilla.
- The following five photos are of slides which provide an overview on the production approach of the FAL.
- Photo seven shows the entry point to the station where Ocean Sentry 10 or Plane 183 was being final assembled.
- Photos 8, 9, 10 and 11 show various shots of the final assembly process for Ocean Sentry 10.
- Photo 12 shows a technician testing the aircraft.
- Photos 13, 14 and 15 show the initial work in the final assembly line on Ocean Sentry 11.
- The final photo shows a key partner of the USCG, Mexico’s Maritime Patrol Aircraft, a CN-235.
This video provides an overview on the FAL by Prudencio Escamilla at the end of the tour.
*** Posted on June 9th, 2010