Alliant Techsystems has been selected to produce composite engine-inlet ducts for Lockheed Martin's Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) concept-demonstrator aircraft using fibre-placement technology.

The company's Magna, Utah-based Space and Strategic Systems Group has received a $6.2 million contract from Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works to produce inlets for the two X-35 JSF demonstrators to be flown in 1999.

Formerly known as Hercules Aerospace, the Space and Strategic Systems Group pioneered fibre-placement, a technique for producing composite components automatically by laying bands of fibre on to a mould, using a computer-steered head.

The company has used fibre placement to produce components for the Bell Boeing V-22 tilt-rotor, the Boeing F/A-18E/F and 767 and for the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22.

Alliant is under contract also to produce fibre-placed liquid-hydrogen tanks for Lockheed Martin Skunk Works' X-33 technology demonstrator, a subscale version of the proposed Venture-Star re-usable launch vehicle.

The Lockheed MartinSkunk Works, based at Palmdale in California, planned to begin parts production for the X-35 JSF concept-demonstrator aircraft early in September, with the release of initial engineering drawings for the wing carry-through frames and keelsons.

The two X-35s will be assembled at the Skunk Works.

Source: Flight International