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Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Opens First Phase of $44 Million, High-Tech Facility to Support F-22 Raptor Fighter Production
PRNewswire-FirstCall
MARIETTA, Ga.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. has opened the first phase of a new state-of-the-art, $44 million coatings facility here that incorporates the latest robotics technology to improve coating, or "painting," of the aircraft's subassemblies. The subassembly coatings facility is part of the F-22 program's new streamlined aircraft final assembly process.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. is a business unit of Lockheed Martin Corp. .

The new coatings facility is where technicians will "paint" the aircraft's mid- and aft-fuselage, wings, vertical stabilizers and other components prior to installation during the aircraft's final assembly process.

"Renovation of the existing B-3 building to create this new robotics coating facility has gone extremely well," said Robert Rearden, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. vice president and F-22 program general manager. "The program will greatly benefit from this renovated facility by speeding the flow of coated subassemblies into the aircraft's final assembly process."

This new coatings facility is part of a $44 million capital investment by the program at the company's Marietta facility. Phase one of the building consists of one bay with two 53-foot-by-38-foot-by-20-foot high paint booths, each equipped with two automotive industry-type paint robots. An F-22 mid- or aft-fuselage, pair of wings or pair of horizontal stabilizers can be coated in just a few days in each of the new booths.

Eventually, eight new coatings booths will be installed to coat the major sub-assemblies of the F-22. Sensitive to both temperature and humidity, the robotic paint booths will be maintained at conditions that create environments that are more like laboratory clean rooms than a typical painting facility.

After initial coatings, the subassemblies will move to the final assembly area where they will be mated to the airframe. The fully assembled Raptor then moves to Building L-64 where the aircraft's final low-observable, or stealth, exterior coatings are applied by another, larger pair of paint robots.

As designed, the facility is approximately 150,000 square feet. About 100 employees will be needed to run the coatings facility when it is fully operational.

When completed, 6,200 tons of refrigeration will be used to maintain the environmental conditions within the eight coatings booths. More than 50,000 gallons of water will be circulated through over two miles of piping that will serve the booths and related equipment each minute. Custom-built air-handling apparatus and associated fans will circulate more than 1.4 million cubic feet of air every minute. Additionally, new air filtration systems that exceed the strict standards of the latest federal emissions requirements will be installed.

Scheduled for completion in phases, the second and third phases of the facility will be operational in spring 2003 and fall 2004, respectively, to support increased F-22 production rates.

The F-22 Raptor air dominance fighter is built by Lockheed Martin in partnership with Boeing, powered by Pratt and Whitney engines and made from parts and subsystems provided by approximately 1,200 subcontractors and suppliers in 46 states. Principal production activities take place at Lockheed Martin facilities in Marietta, Ga., and Fort Worth, Texas, as well as at Boeing's plant in Seattle, Wash. Final assembly and initial flight-testing of the Raptor occurs at the Marietta factory, headquarters for the F-22 program's contractor team.

The Raptor will replace the venerable F-15 Eagle as America's premier front-line fighter jet starting in 2005. The F-22's transformational yet balanced design of stealth, supercruise speed and super-agility, along with its advanced integrated avionics and overall user-friendliness, will allow the F-22 to help the Pentagon shorten future wars and save American and allied lives.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, is a leader in the design, development, systems integration, production and support of advanced military aircraft and related technologies. Its customers include the military services of the United States and allied countries throughout the world. Products include the F-16, F-22, F-35 JSF, F-117, T-50, C-5, C-130, C-130J, P-3, S-3 and U-2.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin Corp. is a global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services. Employing about 125,000 people worldwide, Lockheed Martin had 2001 sales of $24 billion.

For information on Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., visit: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/ .

For information on Lockheed Martin Corp., visit: http://www.lmaeronautics.com/ .

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SOURCE: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company

CONTACT: Greg Caires, +1-770-494-1671, or greg.a.caires@lmco.com , or
James Saye, +1-770-494-2406, or james.w.saye@lmco.com , both of Lockheed
Martin Aeronautics Company