Boeing opens first of a series of new-generation advanced factories
Major US group Boeing’s Defence, Space and Security (BDS) business unit has opened its new Advanced Composite Fabrication Centre (ACFC). This is the first of what is intended to be a series of new-generation innovative factories that BDS will create. These new plants will allow the unit to undertake flexible, scalable and secure production of advanced combat aircraft.
The new Centre is located in Mesa in the US State of Arizona. It covers an area of 14 400 m2 (155 000 ft2) and will be operated by BDS’ research, development and prototyping division, the Phantom Works. It is expected that the new facility will become fully operational during this northern hemisphere autumn. It will draw on the best practices developed by BDS in its recent new-start aircraft programmes, such as the MQ-25 Stingray and MQ-28 Ghost Bat uncrewed aerial vehicles, and the T-7A Red Hawk lead-in fighter-trainer.
“Boeing pioneered a new era of digital aerospace engineering on programmes like the T-7, MQ-25 and MQ-28, and now we’re leading the way again by digitally transforming our entire production system to build the next generation of advanced combat aircraft,” affirmed BDS president and CEO Ted Colbert. “The new [ACFC] and the factories that will follow it position Boeing to deliver the most digitally advanced, simply and efficiently produced and intelligently supported aircraft to military customers.”
The new Centre will allow BDS to scale across its future programmes a digital production system that will be modular, flexible and platform-agnostic. In turn, this will provide the unit with a production agility, speed and cost efficiency that is unprecedented.
“The ACFC capitalises on the latest in digital engineering – from initial concept and design to the production floor and sustainment – and its capabilities are aligned directly with our customers’ need to design, build and field advanced combat aircraft on dramatically accelerated timelines,” highlighted Boeing Phantom Works VP and GM Steve Nordlund. “We are committed to a future where our platforms are more modular and adaptable, our software is more modifiable and scalable, and where our customers have a common experience across all of our products – providing disruptive advantages from seabed to space.”
Further new-generation factories are already under construction. Located in the area of the city of St Louis in the US State of Missouri, these will support production phases subsequent to prototyping, and are expected to become operational during the next few years.