On April 10, 2008 members of the Engineering Club at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, along with faculty members Dr. Jon Carson (club advisor) and Dr. Albert Lozano, visited the Integrated Defense Systems facility from Boeing located in Ridley Park, PA. Boeing Integrated Defense Systems combines weapons and aircraft capabilities, intelligence, surveillance systems, communications architectures and extensive large-scale integration expertise.
After a brief introduction to Boeing and its rotorcraft division, as well as an overview of internship and employment opportunities, students were given a tour of the composite center. The composite center manufactures the materials used to build the frame and rotors of aircraft, increasing their strength while reducing its overall weight. The tour continued with a visit to the plant that manufactures the V-22 Osprey.
The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is the first aircraft designed from the ground up to meet the needs of the Defense Department's four U.S. armed services. The tiltrotor aircraft takes off and lands like a helicopter. Once airborne, its engine nacelles can be rotated to convert the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight. Boeing is responsible for the fuselage and all subsystems, digital avionics, and fly-by-wire flight-control systems. The V-22 provides a significant increase in operational range over the legacy systems it will replace and is the only vertical platform capable of rapid self-deployment to any theater of operation worldwide.
The last visit in the tour was Flight Simulation Labs used by Boeing engineers to test the performance of their aircraft, allowing to predict the response of the system before incorporating specific changes. Students visited the control room as well as the flight simulators for the V-22 and Chinook helicopters.
Although not included in the tour, the Ridley Park facility also manufactures from beginning to end the Chinook helicopter. The Chinook is a multi-mission, heavy-lift transport helicopter. Its primary mission is to move troops, artillery, ammunition, fuel, water, barrier materials, supplies and equipment on the battlefield. A central element in the Gulf War, they continue to be the standard for the U.S. Army in the global campaign against terrorism. Since its introduction 1,179 Chinooks have been built.