Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has begun production of components for the outer wings of the Adir F-35 stealth fighter jet, to make them invisible to radar, the company announced Thursday.
Delivery of the outer wing sets is slated to begin in early 2019, said the company, which is collaborating with U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin.
“The inauguration of the F-35 wings skin production line is a significant milestone in realizing IAI’s strategy of building advanced capabilities in composite material production,” IAI executive vice president and general manager for the commercial aircraft group Shlomi Karako told Israel Defense.
“The new production line opens the door for IA to become a member of an exclusive club of aerospace companies offering this capability,” he added.
“Expanding IAI’s operations to the F-35 program underlines the level of trust Lockheed Martin places in the Israeli industry,” said Lockheed Martin Israel CEO Joshua Shani.
“The precision, technological elements, personnel and the quality of production required for the skins of the F-35’s wings must abide by the highest standards. IAI has proven its capabilities with hundreds of wings so far, and we look forward to experiencing the same excellence with the upcoming skins production,” Shani said.
IAI said the manufacturing process uses a state-of-the-art technology that includes a composite layer of materials called Automatic Fiber Placement (AFP). The three-millimeter thick threads eventually become one unit that allows the wings to dodge radar detection.