Boeing’s Defense, Space & Security (BDS) business unit has officially unveiled its new Advanced Composite Fabrication Center (ACFC) in Mesa, Arizona.
The purpose-built centre is expected to house the production of advanced composite components for current and future combat aircraft.
The facility is set to be operated by Phantom Works — BDS’ proprietary research, development and prototyping division.
Construction of the 155,000 square-foot (approximately 14,400 square metres) facility is now complete, with Boeing expecting the centre to be fully operational over the coming months.
“Boeing pioneered a new era of digital aerospace engineering on programs like the T-7, MQ-25 and MQ-28, and now we’re leading the way again by digitally transforming our entire production system to build the next generation of advanced combat aircraft,” Ted Colbert, Defense, Space & Security president and CEO, said.
“The new Advanced Composite Fabrication Center and the factories that will follow it position Boeing to deliver the most digitally advanced, simply and efficiently produced and intelligently supported aircraft to military customers.”
According to Boeing, ACFC would leverage best practices from a range of advanced manufacturing projects, including the MQ-28 Ghost Bat, MQ-25 Stingray, and T-7A Red Hawk programs.
The new facility is tipped to enable the global defence contractor to scale a “platform-agnostic, modular and flexible digital production system” across future BDS programs.
This would reportedly support “unprecedented speed, agility and cost efficiency”.
Boeing is current developing other factories to support subsequent phases of production in the St Louis region, expected to be operational over the next few years.
“The ACFC capitalises on the latest in digital engineering – from initial concept and design to the production floor and sustainment – and its capabilities are aligned directly with our customers’ need to design, build and field advanced combat aircraft on dramatically accelerated timelines,” Steve Nordlund, Boeing Phantom Works vice president and general manager, said.
“We are committed to a future where our platforms are more modular and adaptable, our software is more modifiable and scalable, and where our customers have a common experience across all of our products – providing disruptive advantages from seabed to space.”