Systems manufacturer Rockwell Collins has announced it has signed a long-term agreement with Northrop Grumman Corporation to expand the manufacturing of optical assemblies for the Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS) on the Lockheed Martin F-35.
The company says it is currently qualifying its facility in Melbourne to produce the assemblies as an alternate source supplier to its facility in Carlsbad, California.
“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,” Nick Gibbs, managing director of Australia, for Rockwell Collins said in a statement. “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 DAS is a multifunction infra-red system that provides passive, spherical battlespace awareness for F-35 pilots by simultaneously detecting and tracking aircraft and missiles in every direction, as well as providing visual imagery for day/night navigation and targeting purposes. DAS imagery projected onto the pilot’s helmet-mounted display provides the capability to look at targets and terrain through the floor and wings of the aircraft.
The DAS works in conjunction with the F-35’s other sensors to provide an integrated picture of the battlespace to give pilots an unprecedented degree of situational awareness.
The Rockwell Collins announcement comes just days after the delivery of the first production F-35 verticals tails by Melbourne-based Marand, and the signing of an agreement between Pratt & Whitney and Adelaide’s Levitt Engineering for the supply of F135 engine components.