Rockwell Collins, reflecting its global customer base and production capabilities, is expanding manufacturing capacity at a plant in Australia.
The Cedar Rapids-based avionics and communications provider has entered into a long-term agreement with Northrup Grumman to expand production of optical assemblies for the Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft. Rockwell Collins is qualifying its facility in Melbourne, Australia, to manufacture the components.
The Australian optical assembly manufacturing will be in addition to Rockwell Collins' existing production in its Carlsbad, Calif., facility.
"With the support and investment of the Commonwealth of Australia, we’re proud to be on the path to be manufacturing 40 percent of this vital assembly in Australia," said Nick Gibbs, managing director of Australia, for Rockwell Collins. "Our employees are very excited to be part of the F-35 supply chain with our new state-of-the-art precision optics manufacturing capability."
The Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS) provides battle space awareness for F-35 pilots by simultaneously detecting and tracking aircraft and missiles in every direction, as well as providing visual imagery for day and night navigation and targeting purposes.
The images projected onto a pilot's helmet-mounted display provides the capability to look at targets and terrain through the floor and wings of the aircraft. The system works in conjunction with Northrop Grumman's radar and other onboard systems to give pilots an unprecedented degree of situational awareness.