Lockheed Martin (LM) recently installed the 1000th GKN Aerospace-manufactured nacelle for their C-130J military airlifter on the second of four aircraft destined for the Qatar Emiri Air Force.
Production of the nacelle has taken place at the Company's Isle of Wight facility in the UK for the past 16 years. The latest 5 year contract extension, placed in April 2008, has required a move to a new production line in order to meet customer demand for an almost doubling in the pace of manufacture to over 36 full aircraft sets this year. In fact, GKN Aerospace is planning to deliver a total of 158 nacelles, including spares, this year and expects to reach 1500 nacelles delivered by mid-2013.
GKN Aerospace has been the sole source supplier to Lockheed Martin of the integrated nacelle system for the C-130J since December 1993. Prior to that the Company was a leading member of the UK Industrial Support Group and was responsible for the design changes required to move from the C-130H to the C-130J nacelle.
Jeff Armitage, Vice President and MD Nacelles, GKN Aerospace, commented: "Throughout more than a decade and a half we have worked with Lockheed Martin, continuously exploiting our experience and challenging accepted practice in order to improve product quality, manufacturing costs and production times. Our latest lean manufacturing initiative is examining the potential of a new assembly technology that will allow us to achieve the next significant production rate increases on the C-130. We are intensely proud of our long term partnership with Lockheed Martin on this programme and of what this says about our commitment to our customers and to consistently achieving the very best results."