As the United States military embarked to build the second ever fifth-generation fighter aircraft, Parker Aerospace’s Fluid Systems Division (FSD) was selected in the mid-1990s to provide the fuel system and the onboard inert gas generating system (OBIGGS) for the F-35 Lightning II program. The scope and complexity of this program posed a significant challenge to the FSD engineering team, and required the breadth of knowledge and capabilities of the team to successfully deliver a qualified fuel and fuel tank inerting system.
Parker was responsible for the system architecture, system analysis, design, development, and qualification of all the components within the fuel and fuel tank inerting systems. FSD was uniquely qualified to provide the fuel and inerting system for this aircraft due to our long history of providing fuel system components in military applications and our ability to furnish all of the necessary components within the F-35 fuel and fuel tank inerting systems. These systems utilize over 130 unique components with a total part count approaching 270 per aircraft.
Fuel tank inerting on the F-35
For the F-35 program, there were additional challenges to design the fuel and inert gas generation system for three different aircraft variants for specific branches of the military. Each variant had different performance requirements which drove different fuel and inerting system architectures. Parker was able to utilize common hardware between all three aircraft variants even though the system architectures were unique.
System development and qualification processes are closely aligned to reduce development and certification risks.
Parker also developed new relationships and partnerships with international suppliers in order to meet performance and cost targets for the program.
Parker Fluid Systems Division is proud of the work accomplished on the F-35 Lightning II program. The F-35 is the fifth generation of fighter aircraft for the United States and represents numerous technological advancements for military aviation. Parker’s contributions on the aircraft continue the company’s legacy of involvement on aircraft from the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927 to today’s F-35 Lightning II.
F-35 advocacy event
In August of 2017, Lockheed Martin chose Parker Aerospace for a special advocacy event. Local area leaders attending the event featured 45th District Congresswoman Mimi Walters who addressed the audience and included California state assembly members, four mayors, three city council members, chamber of commerce representatives, county supervisor staffers, key Parker suppliers, and Lockheed Martin leaders. Hosted by Parker Aerospace Group Vice President of Operations Guy Martin, the event focused on the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft, which is playing a significant role in the defense strategy for the United States, its nine partner countries, and three foreign military sale customers.
Group Vice President of Operations Guy Martin hosted the event. The F-35 simulator is seen on the left.
Within Parker Aerospace, the F-35 provided more than 350 jobs and supported over 300 suppliers over the past year. The biggest star of the event, however, was the full-size F-35 cockpit simulator that Lockheed Martin brought to the Alton facility. More than 300 employees were given the opportunity to participate in a briefing, lesson, and flight session inside the cockpit simulator in the two days before the event. With the conclusion of the event speeches, local dignitaries attending were given their own chance to fly the simulator.
Parker team member Jeffrey Nazar gets hands-on instruction for the controls of the F-35 from a Lockheed Martin trainer experienced flying the aircraft.
Two other highlights of the event included an extensive display of F-35 aircraft components manufactured by Parker Aerospace and a comprehensive tour of the Control Systems Division facility. Components displayed included a refueling receptacle, fuel pumps, hoses, fittings, swivel joints, electrohydrostatic actuator, motor-driven pump, rudder actuator, and horizontal tail actuator.
Jacque Becwar (right) gives a tour of the F-35 production cell to Congresswoman Mimi Walters (left) and an audience of local officials, Parker suppliers, and Parker team members.
Parker Aerospace has an impressive bill of material on the three variants of the F-35 aircraft. This includes flight control components, fuel and inerting system components, engine subsystems, and other airframe components. Our work on the aircraft has included specification, design, simulation, integration, testing, certification, production, and support. You can learn more about the F-35 aircraft by visiting F35.com.
This blog was contributed by David Brockman, business development manager, Fluid Systems Division of Parker Aerospace.