HITCO will serve as a strategic competitive supplier to Lockheed Martin and will support F-35 programme requirements that designate the use of bismaleimide (BMI) composite materials for upper and lower wing skins and nacelle skins using its automated fibre placement (AFP) capabilities.

HITCO of Gardena, California, USA, may also build the BMI aft and forward covers and upper wing skin covers.

The SGL Group – The Carbon Company subsidiary says it intends to utilise its Viper® 6000 Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) machine to manufacture the majority of these components. HITCO believes its equipment helps achieve more efficient and reliable fabrication of complex composite aircraft structures.

The F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, is a single-seat, single-engine, supersonic stealth strike fighter capable of performing close air support, tactical bombing and air superiority missions.

Lockheed Martin is a global security company based in Bethesda, Maryland USA.