PPG has completed a $15 million investment at its Sylmar, California manufacturing facility to expand the development and production of aircraft transparency technologies for military aviation programs, including canopy transparencies for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jets.
As part of the facility’s 30,000ft2 (2,787m2) expansion, PPG will deploy state-of-the-art processing equipment and new information technology infrastructure to enable enhanced digital manufacturing capabilities. The expansion also will enable PPG to add more than 70 engineering, production, and maintenance jobs, with some filled through the company’s partnership with local charitable organizations such as the Hope Gardens Family Center through Union Rescue Mission.
The facility’s expansion is the latest milestone in PPG’s long partnership with Lockheed Martin, which dates to the 1950s. In support of the expansion, PPG has completed the qualification and manufacturing process approvals necessary to commence production of canopy transparencies for the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35A and carrier variance (CV) F-35C. Qualification work in support of the Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35B is underway.
“The expansion of this facility marks an incredible milestone for PPG,” said Brent Wright, PPG global director, aerospace transparencies. “As the worldwide F-35 fleet grows, logistical and industrial support has become increasingly important. Because of the F-35 fighter jet’s very stringent performance requirements and high manufacturing complexity, PPG recognized an opportunity to deploy its expertise in aircraft transparency technology, development and production in a way that will meet the program’s ambitious goals for many years to come.”
In addition to military aircraft transparency products, PPG provides aircraft windshields and windows with advanced-technology coatings and liners for specific performance characteristics to the commercial, regional, and general aviation segments. The company also produces windshields for the new NTT INDYCAR® SERIES’ Aeroscreen cockpit protection system.
The Sylmar facility currently has more than 500 employees in various manufacturing, technical, research, customer support, and related service and administrative positions.
PPG’s global aerospace business offers coatings, sealants, transparencies, packaging and application systems, and transparent armor, as well as chemical management and other services.