Repurposing an existing facility to accommodate a new mission can offer numerous cost and schedule advantages, but these projects also present inherent challenges. Having the right approach and the right team can help aviation owners realize the advantages of a renovation project, even when incorporating the latest aircraft manufacturing equipment and techniques. This dynamic was on full display at the Boeing Company’s V-22 Osprey Future Factory – Historic Production Building Renovation project.
Located along the banks of the Delaware River in Ridley Park, PA, the V-22 Osprey Future Factory is housed in a nearly century-old, 350,000 SF former steel foundry. Boeing saw an opportunity in the facility to combine and expand their fuselage production for the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft under the U.S. military’s Common Configuration-Readiness and Modernization program.
The V-22 has proven its versatility in its more than 20 years of service, primarily with the U.S. Marine Corps, which is expected to continue to add and update its fleet of over 300 Ospreys. In addition, the aircraft has been requisitioned for use by the U.S. Air Force Special Operations, U.S. Navy carrier groups, and by the Japanese Defense Force. The former steel factory not only provided the necessary space needed to meet the growing demand for the V-22, but also included necessary utilities and infrastructure.
Under an ambitious $115 million multi-phase project, Boeing challenged the project team to move V-22 production lines to the new “Future Factory” in Ridley within a year of starting construction. The Future Factory concept called for fulfilling the dual purpose of the efficient production of V-22 fuselages for new aircraft while creating new space to rehabilitate returning Ospreys.