“This room is the most advanced painting facility in the world,” retired US Air Force pilot and F-35 simulation instructor Rick Royer told me as we toured Lockheed Martin’s highly secure plane in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Aircraft Final Finishes bay is where America’s most expensive weapons system gets coated with a highly classified stealth technology, which makes it
invisible to radar.
After the jet is assembled and before it can take flight, three laser-guided robots apply the “Radar-Absorbing Material” (RAM) to each of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II variant aircrafts.
Here’s all we know (and can share) about how the F-35 gets it’s invisibility cloak:
First, each of the F-35 variant aircrafts are assembled in Lockheed Martin’s mile long production facility.
Once an F-35 is ready to leave the production line, it is carefully rolled …
… into the windowless, multistory, 226,000-square-foot Aircraft Final Finishes (AFF) complex.
According to a SAE International report, the first coating process was completed on a F-35B in 2008 and took three days.
Currently Lockheed Martin’s AFF facility services 7 aircrafts a month and is expected to increase to 17 jets by 2020.
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