Last week, Orbital ATK announced it has produced its 25,000th composite structure for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is the equivalent of more than 150 ship sets. The Orbital ATK Aerospace Structures Division in Clearfield, Utah, manufactures the composite frames for the Boeing 787-9 and 787-10 center and aft fuselages.

Orbital ATK ships the aft composite parts to one of Boeing’s next tier suppliers in Georgia and the center composite parts to Leonardo, Italy, for pre-assembly work. The frames then become part of the barrel sections of the fuselage, acting as the “ribs” of the airplane.

“The production of 25,000 parts is a remarkable accomplishment that could not have happened without the commitment, dedication and diligence of each and every employee at this plant,” said Steve Earl, Vice President and General Manager of Orbital ATK’s Aerospace Structures Division. “Our employees should all be proud of their contributions to the Boeing Company and air transport customers around the world.”

As Orbital ATK notes, composite materials are critically important in the production of next-generation aircraft. Because they are strong and lightweight, they deliver fuel efficiencies and operability unavailable using traditional metal manufacturing. In addition to commercial aircraft like the Dreamliner, Orbital ATK also produces composite parts for military aircraft. In fact, just last month, the company also reached a composite manufacturing milestone (5,000 parts) for the F-35 program.

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