The Pentagon will invest nearly $4 million in Texas-based manufacturer Qarbon Aerospace, to support the production of composite aerostructures.
The US Department of Defense on 27 November announced a contract with Qarbon valued at $3.7 million to support the design and manufacture of advanced lightweight continuous fibre thermoplastic composite structures for national defence aviation applications.
The funds will be provided to Qarbon under the Pentagon’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) programme, which provides financial resources to strategic industries and individual manufacturers in the supply chain for defence products.
“The establishment of robust and resilient supply chains is a critical element of DoD’s strategic approach to creating a modernised industrial ecosystem,” says Laura Taylor-Kale, assistant secretary of defence for industrial base policy.
Qarbon produces composite and metallic components for military aircraft including the Boeing T-7 jet trainer, Bell Boeing V-22 tiltrotor and Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter.
While the Pentagon has not provided specific details regarding the Qarbon contract, the DoD says the funds will support the design, development and manufacture of thermoplastic composite aviation components requiring icing protection.
“The use of composites eliminates the loss of efficiency typically associated with conventional bleed-air systems and provides significant flexibility when optimising the assembly for different components or aircraft, and offers improved manufacturing, durability, reliability and ease of repair,” the DoD says.
Taylor-Kale says funding the development of new manufacturing processes “will ensure the US remains a leader in manufacturing technologies”.
Qarbon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Pentagon says it has awarded some $700 million in funds to strategic manufacturers under the IBAS programme in 2023.