Rear Fuselage Packer
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Aerospace manufacturer, Kaman UK, successfully delivered its 80,000th rear fuselage packer to BAE Systems for its F-35 manufacturing program. Kaman UK has been supplying these parts since 2003. To date, the rear fuselage packers, and 1,000 plenum ducts, have been used in the manufacture of over 500 aircraft.
According to a company spokesperson, this is part of a long-term partnership between both companies for the manufacture and supply for multiple aircraft platforms such as Typhoon, Hawk, Tornado and Harrier AV-8B for a wide range of metallics, composites and ground support equipment. These include plenum ducts, chemical treatments, landing gear doors, rudders, over-wing panels, ailerons, blanking plugs, canopy removal tools, and various other complex assemblies for wing and fuselage.
Kaman UK — trading as Brookhouse Patterns — first began working with BAE Systems in 1951 under its predecessor company, English Electric Company. This covers a wide range of ongoing and legacy programs such as Javelin, Buccaneer, Harrier and Tornado and today the Hawk and its variants, Typhoon and the F-35 (latter since 2003). Kaman manufactures and provides spare parts on these programs via BAE Systems for air forces around the world.
Packers are frequently used in the assembly of large, complex aircraft components such as sections of the fuselage. It is important to ensure during assembly that a tight fit is maintained to ensure the proper transfer of loads and aerodynamic performance and to mitigate tolerance build-up. Typical tolerances that could impact performance include length, width, thickness, angles, and profiles. These tolerances are all analyzed during the design phase and acceptable limits are established.
A packer is then inserted between the two components during assembly to ensure that these tolerances are not exceeded. In the case of the F-35's rear fuselage, for example, the packer and the fuselage components to be joined would have mating part-spherical surfaces. After inserting the packer into one part of the fuselage, the second part of the fuselage can be moved into place via the packer and joined to the first part without negatively impacting assembly tolerances.
Kaman UK has a 70-year history of providing technical breakthroughs and innovation that global aerospace clients use to deliver high-performance component parts into the aerospace supply chain.
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