Aurora's Production Experiences
Wings and Lifting Surfaces
Aurora has developed and produced wings that spans up to 150 feet. We support our
customers through design development, material selection and testing, engineering
analysis, tooling, structural testing and production. In 2011, Aurora won Aviation
Week magazine’s “Most Innovative Product” award for The Phantom Eye Wing for Boeing.
Aurora has been a member of Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk team since 1995. Aurora’s
Global Hawk work share includes all of the aircraft’s composite components (including
the Aft Fuselage, Forward Nacelle, Mid Nacelle, Aft Nacelle, and V-Tail Assemblies),
except for the wing and radomes. In 2008 Aurora also became a supplier on the Northrop
Grumman RQ-4N aircraft for U.S. Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned
Aircraft System (BAMS UAS) program.
As a result of our demonstrated success with numerous wing and lifting surface products,
we were able to branch into the commercial aircraft market segment where we will
start production of empennage structures in a high rate production environment using
Automated Fiber Placement (AFP).
Aurora has been building the aft fuselage assemblies for the Global Hawk aircraft
since 2001. In this work package, Aurora builds and assembles several hundred composite
and titanium parts into finished assemblies.
Orion is Aurora’s long-endurance, Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) capable of providing
extreme persistence for military applications, such as ISR, communications relay
and strike. Orion was competitively selected by the US Air Force for the Medium
Altitude Global ISR and Communication (MAGIC) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration
(JCTD). The MAGIC JCTD is sponsored by the US Central Command (CENTCOM) to meet
its demand for persistent ISR. For the U. S. Air Force Aurora produces the fuselage
of the Orion UAS air vehicle. The Orion fuselage is a composite bonded assembly
with provisions for an integral fuel tank and landing gear attachments.
Aurora Flight Sciences is a member of the Sikorsky S-97 RAIDER™ team that is building
a next-generation light tactical helicopter for evaluation by the U.S. military.
As an S-97 team member, Aurora is responsible for the structural design engineering
and fabrication for the aircraft’s airframes. Aurora’s role on the RAIDER program
leverages the company’s demonstrated success in air vehicle design, rapid prototyping
and successful transition from prototype programs into production. In 2011, Sikorsky
recognized Aurora for its design and manufacturing work as “Supplier of the Year”
for aerostructures and as a “Gold Supplier” for outstanding quality, delivery and
The latest program information can be found @ http://raider.sikorsky.com/raider-overview.asp
The United States Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) Unmanned Aerial
System (UAS) program provides persistent maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and
Reconnaissance (ISR) data collection and dissemination capability to the Maritime
Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF). Aurora is a major subcontractor on Northrop’s
BAMS team. Aurora develops and produces conventional control surface products in
accordance with various customer requirements; we have designed and built a variety
of composite control surface products. These products encompass the full spectrum
of metal to composite materials and bonding technologies, through our engineering
and tooling capabilities, we are capable of meeting stringent tolerance requirements
that enable our products to be line replaceable units (LRUs).
Aurora is currently producing engine inlet and nacelles for three Department of
Defense programs. For Sikorsky’s CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter program we provide
production tooling and fabrication of the external engine nacelles. On the U.S.
Air Force Global Hawk and U.S. Navy BAMS programs, Aurora is producing the engine
inlets as well as the engine nacelles. These engine inlet products include various
electro thermal anti-icing systems.
Radomes, Fairings, and Pylons
On Sikorsky’s CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter, Aurora is a design partner to Sikorsky
for the Main Rotor Pylon where the company responsibilities include CAD modeling,
engineering analysis, tooling and tear down article fabrication. This complex structure
was designed and built to withstand high temperature and vibration requirements.
The CH-53K Main Rotor Pylon is comprised of interchangeable composite fairings that
install upon a modular composite frame and titanium firewall assemblies.
Aurora has developed and produced composite radomes for Boeing’s EA-18G and Northrop
Grumman’s BAMS aircraft. Our radomes expertise includes design, development, tooling,
radio frequency testing through first part qualification and production. Radomes
have been fabricated using out-of-autoclave (OOA) and cyanate ester resin systems
with various quartz fiber reinforcements. Aurora has used both traditional honeycomb
core reinforcements as well as heat formed and hammer spliced phenolic honeycomb
core. Aurora works closely with our customers to ensure that all design and qualification/production
testing achieve the desired performance requirements while providing for a repeatable
Doors and Reinforced Structures
Aurora has been producing the S-92 Lower Air Stair Door for Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
since 2007. The Aurora team developed a first test article and within the first
month achieved full rate production. Aurora also builds the Upper Clam Shell Door
for the S-92 which is made of sandwich construction composite panels and machined
metal components this product is shipped as a finished product to the final assembly
line of the S-92 production plant.