Dutch laser system specialist Nederlands Centrum voor Laser Research (NCLR) has won a contract from Pratt & Whitney to drill holes on the F135 propulsion system for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, using its advanced excimer laser drill.

The 1kW (1.3hp)-rated excimer - excited dimer, or diatomic molecule - laser can produce multiple small holes very rapidly at a precise location, while most excimer lasers can only drill one hole at a time. More than one million must be drilled on each F135 engine.

NCLR, which is a joint venture between universities and industry, is participating in the JSF programme in anticipation of the Netherlands joining JSF as a partner nation. NCLR's system is expected to be used on other P&W engines.


Source: Flight International