FORT WORTH, Texas, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin Aeronautics will mentor a Chicago small business to help develop electron beam manufacturing.
Electron beam manufacturing could be used in the manufacturing process of the F-35 Lightning II fighter.
Under the U.S. Defense Department Mentor-Protege program, Lockheed with help Sciaky Inc. to develop management infrastructure and improve manufacturing capacity for innovative titanium raw material pre-forms.
Sciaky, a service-disabled, veteran-owned business, had developed a manufacturing capability for Electron Beam Direct Manufacturing with help from the Defense Department Small Business Innovative Research program. Electron beam manufacturing has been identified by the Department of Defense as a "game changer" for aerospace industry production.
"While the early focus is going to be F-35, we ultimately plan to implement Electron Beam Direct Manufacturing technology across the breadth of our aircraft product lines to improve affordability and lead-time for titanium structures," said Brian Rosenberger, affordability lead for Improvements and Derivatives at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
"Partnering with Sciaky aligns with our company focus on performance, relevance and affordability. They bring innovation and creativity and an emphasis on cost, schedule and quality -- essential elements of meeting our customers' requirements," added Tom Simmons, vice president of Supply Chain Management for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
Sciaky, founded in 1939, has delivered more than 450 Electron Beam Welding Systems and has 55 employees. It operates a 140,000-square-foot facility for the development, manufacturing and testing of welding systems.
Lockheed said Morehouse College in Atlanta and the University of Texas at El Paso will support the agreement with additional training and consultancy services.