Integrated Composites Inc. and PPG Industries Inc. are on schedule for an end-of-May qualification of their advanced composite windshield for single-seat versions of the F-5 A/E fighter.
Two plies of laminated polycarbonate with a scratch-resistant liner form the windshield.
To qualify, the windshield must withstand the force of a 4-pound bird strike at 400 knots. A retrofit could apply to about 1,500 A/E models of 2,000 F-5s worldwide. The F-5 effort is a spinoff from the successful bird-resistant program for T-38 trainer aircraft. The rear bow and transparency contour differ slightly. The original equipment was a three-fifths-inch-thick acrylic windshield and magnesium frame.
Integrated Composites builds the frame of fiberglass and epoxy with stainless-steel strips. In June, the firm relocated from Santa Cruz, Calif., to a 40,000-square-foot leased facility in Marina, Calif.