With more Alcoa content than any other defense plane in history, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is one of our most important aerospace platforms. Alcoa helped Lockheed Martin overcome many of its most difficult design challenges to make the JSF become a reality. For instance, Alcoa developed the world’s largest titanium aerospace forgings to reduce weight and lower cost on the JSF. Our monolithic bulkheads for A, B and C variants, which are forged in aluminum and titanium, are up to 17’ long. Each JSF has five or six bulkheads that serve as the plane’s backbone and provide its structural strength.
Originally, the majority of the JSF structure was designed to be made exclusively from titanium with expensive machining and fabrication. However, Alcoa was able to reduce the total assembly cost substantially through close collaboration with OEMs, machinists and assemblers, switching several bulkheads to Alcoa’s highest strength aluminum – 7085-T7452. Our one-piece bulkhead forgings on the F/A-18E/F, C-17 and JSF provide much better durability, consistency and quality with potentially reduced maintenance costs, compared to other multi-piece solutions.
Our JSF bulkheads represent a 10-15 percent weight savings over similar designs from an earlier generation of aircraft – that either provides a longer flying range or leaves room for additional on-board equipment.
At Farnborough, Fred Latrash, vice president of business development for Alcoa Defense, talked about the Alcoa content on the JSF.