Fokker Landing Gear and the Dutch National Aerospace Laboratory have signed a Letter of Intent for the realisation of highly automated and state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for composite landing gear parts at the NLR in Marknesse (NL).
The facility is scheduled to be up and running in the third quarter of 2014 and will have a surface of around 500 square metres. About 20 Fokker specialists will work together with the NLR team. This state-of-the-art manufacturing facility will use, combine and further improve proven and available manufacturing technology in support of FLG’s ambition to introduce its composite landing gear parts on new and existing landing gear designs and to ensure a reliable and repetitive manufacturing process, reducing component costs under metal equivalents. The facility will produce composite landing gear components for our customers for the qualification and first production phase.
Advantages for the application of FLG’s composite technology on a landing gear for OEM’s and operators are affordability, weight reduction of up to 30%, manufacturability, lower operational and maintenance costs, low susceptibility to damage and noise reduction.
Since the mid 1990’s FLG and NLR have been actively engaged in the development of technologies for the application of thick-walled Polymer Matrix Composites (PMC) in flight critical and primary structural components for landing gear. In 2001 the joint FLG/NLR team were the first ever to actually Flight Test a composite landing gear drag brace on a RNLAF F-16 aircraft. A major step was made in 2010 when FLG’s technological expertise on composite development led to a Product Development Contract with UTAS (previously Goodrich Landing Gear), for the development and qualification of a composite drag brace for the F-35 CTOL and STOVL main landing gear.