Lockheed Martin has contracted AIT to construct assembly stations used for laser-guided alignment and part mating of the F-35 modules. The EMAS system uses the Leica laser trackers and servo control positioners to mate the forward to the center fuselage, the wings to the center fuselage and aft to the wing/ center. The F-35 metrology integration into assembly reportedly yields a reduction in cost and schedule time because of the flexibility of the process.
This part mating process uses a customized interface to integrate the Leica tracker with the servo driven jacks and the operator console to create the F-35 EMAS system. The EMAS tool can automatically point the laser tracker and acquire data from targets residing in off-the-shelf nests that have been applied to each aircraft sub-assembly. The laser tracker will acquire 3-D coordinate target data until the large F-35 modules are adjusted to easily slide into position for connectivity and assembly.