- THE MAGAZINE
- WEB EXCLUSIVES
Aerojet has been under contract to The Boeing Company on the F-22 Raptor air dominance fighter program since 1993 and has delivered 394 booms. The company was honored by Boeing as its Supplier of the Year in 2005 and 2007, and its gold and silver supplier for 2009 and 2010. "Our success is a testament to the skill, hard work and diligence that our employees put into this program," says Michael Magpayo, director of F-22 and Advanced Structures programs. "Congratulations go to all of our employees for their outstanding work and dedication over the past 17 years. They've really taken our philosophy of Operational Excellence, professionalism, dedication and teamwork to heart and have gone above and beyond for this program."
The forward boom is a structural component providing wing, engine and horizontal tail attach points to carry much of the F-22 aft fuselage load. Using the EB weld process, Aerojet joins numerous titanium components together into a single monolithic structure meeting precise tolerances. The EB welding process allows the airframe design to merge complex features into a single component. This significantly reduces the need for fasteners, reduces weight, simplifies assembly and lowers cost. The reduction in fasteners also means fewer openings for possible fuel leaks.
Aerojet's success on the program is largely in F-22 boom manufacturing and due to its unique EB welding technologies, which are capable of producing large welded structures, including full penetration welds of complex geometry with varying thickness and profile in a single pass. This capability can accommodate parts that fit in an envelope of 11 x 7 x 7 feet or larger, depending on the configuration. With a chamber size of 138" x 150" x 185," Aerojet's EB Welder is one of the largest in North America. The company estimates that since contract inception, it has produced more than seven miles of EB weld on the Forward Boom.
Aerojet's experience base includes a wide variety of aerospace and aircraft alloys, including dissimilar combinations. Aerojet also uses its in-house support capabilities in assembly, pre- and post-welding multi-axis machining, cleaning and etching as well as dye penetrant/radiographic/ultrasonic NDI processes. Materials testing capabilities include Penetrant Inspection, Hardness and Conductivity Testing, X-ray Inspection, Ultrasonic Testing, Magnetic Particle Testing, Eddy Current Testing and Certified Welding Inspection. An accredited Quality Control Lab provides analytical services for nearly any assignment: Physical and Chemical Material, Environmental and Industrial Hygiene, Energetic Material, Methods and Process Development and Failure Investigation Techniques. Post-processing Stress Relief is accomplished in an IpsenVacuum Furnace with a chamber size of 120" diameter and 152" long, capable of achieving temperatures up to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit and operates under vacuum at 3x10-5 Torr range or better. Further, extensive experience in tool design and fabrication support its manufacturing competencies.
Aerojet is an ISO 9001:20001-registered company, NADCAP- (National Aerospace Defense Contractors Accreditation Program) accredited for welding and NDT. The company's customer certifications encompass a wide range of product-specific processes from customers such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, The Boeing Company, Goodrich Aerospace and others.
"Having delivered the highest-quality hardware on time for more than 17 years is a testament to Aerojet's commitment to operational excellence and to our customer," said Vice President and Deputy to the President, Dick Bregard. "We are proud to have had the opportunity to support Boeing, Lockheed and the U.S. Air Force through these many years of F-22 production."