The Royal Australian Air Force’s Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, met Northrop Grumman Corporation NOC -1.56% executives during a visit to the company’s F-35 Lightning II production facility in Palmdale on Nov. 2.
As part of his visit, Brown received an update on the F-35 program and observed the first F-35 center fuselage being manufactured at Palmdale for the Royal Australian Air Force as part of the low-rate initial production Lot 6.
The first inlet ducts were jig-loaded on Oct. 9. These will form the first of two Royal Australian Air Force F-35 center fuselages – denoted AU-1 and AU-2 – to be delivered in 2014 for pilot training.
Brown toured the Integrated Assembly Line (IAL) that produces the center fuselage. The IAL maximizes robotics and automation, providing additional capacity and assembly capability while meeting engineering tolerances not easily achieved manually. The IAL is one of the ways Northrop Grumman increases the program’s affordability by reducing program costs and labor requirements.