F35A Prototyp AA1 2″ by US Air Force. Photo by Senior Airman Julius Delos Reyes, Wikimedia Commons.
It's not every day that a company lands a military contract. But for Vancouver-based specialty metal alloys company IBC Advanced Alloys (TSXV:IB), that day was today.IBC announced that through its wholly owned subsidiary, IBC Engineered Materials, it has landed a $2-million contract with Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control to provide critical cast components for the electro-optical targeting system (EOTS) on the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter jet. The company notes in today's press release that this first contract is for the production of an original equipment manufacturer aircraft that will be fitted with the EOTS and spares for low-rate initial production lots 7 and 8. IBC will be using its proprietary beryllium-aluminum casting alloy, Beralcast, to manufacture an EOTS azimuth gimbal housing; IBC has already started pre-production at its Wilmington, Massachusetts facility, with initial deliveries slated to begin later this year and into 2015. The first purchase order marks a major milestone for the company as validates IBC's Beralcast alloy as a high-performance casting solution that's able to reduce costs and lead times compared to other beryllium-aluminum alternatives. Indeed, as the company's director of technical business and development noted, "IBC's Beralcast alloys are ideal materials for the F-35 Lightning II program where certain components need the superior performance of beryllium aluminum." IBC's Beralcast is the key component to this deal. The high-tech beryllium-aluminum alloy is more than three times stiffer than aluminum and 22 percent lighter; it also performs well over a wide range of temperatures. The alloy can be precision cast for simple and complex three-dimensional stability, making it ideal for high-performance industrial and technological components, as well as a wide variety of aerospace applications.