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McDONNELL DOUGLAS ANNOUNCES THAT THE F/A-18 HORNET PROGRAM HAS COMPLETED TWO CONSECUTIVE YEARS OF ON-TIME AIRCRAFT DELIVERIES

 ST. LOUIS, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The F/A-18 Hornet program has completed two consecutive years of on-time aircraft deliveries to the U.S. government.
 January 1993 marks the 24th month in a row that the F/A-18 program has met or exceeded schedule for cumulative contract deliveries. The program already is ahead of contract schedule for January 1993 after having finished 1992 six deliveries ahead.
 The achievement is due principally to effective teamwork among all the members of the F/A-18 Hornet Industry Team, said Larry Lemke, vice president-general manager of the F/A-18 program at prime contractor McDonnell Douglas (NYSE: MD). This team also includes the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, principal subcontractors Northrop (NYSE: NOC), General Electric (NYSE: GE) and Hughes Aircraft, as well as employees in more than 2,000 companies in 44 states.
 "We have been consistently attacking chronic assembly problems with an emphasis on first-time quality and reduction of non-value added tasks," Lemke said. "We've reviewed our cycle times and our design/manufacturing processes. The result has been a new, team- oriented approach that has improved the overall quality and streamlined the total cycle for assembly of each F/A-18."
 There has been a sharper focus on keeping adequate supplies of parts on hand and better management of subcontractors, Lemke said.
 In addition, multidisciplined teams have made measurable improvements in the splice of fuselage and wing sections, ramp operations, attachment of flaps to the wings, drilling of wing skins, fuel system assembly, the F/A-18's take-off trim roll rate, prevention of foreign object damage and the reduction of scrap, rework and repair.
 The time it takes to splice the fuselage sections, for example, has been cut nearly in half -- from an average of 8.9 days per aircraft two years ago to an average of 4.6 days per aircraft today.
 These teams contain representatives from management, production, the U.S. Navy and subcontractors. Design engineers and production employees work together closely on the manufacturing floor. Production employees have the authority to inspect and initiate action to fix faulty subassemblies early in the manufacturing cycle when it's easier and less expensive to do. The result is less rework, assemblies that fit together faster and better, and aircraft deliveries that meet or exceed contract schedule.
 These and additional improvements in manufacturing processes will be implemented on the next generation of the Hornet, the F/A-18E/F, now in engineering and manufacturing development, Lemke said.
 Final assembly of the F/A-18 takes place at the St. Louis manufacturing facilities of McDonnell Douglas, where nearly 6,700 people are associated with the program. The Hornet has been in operational service with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps for 10 years. As of Dec. 1, 1992, a total of 835 Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18s had been delivered.
 Other countries that fly the Hornet are Canada, Australia, Spain and Kuwait. A total of 1,150 F/A-18s have been delivered worldwide. Finland and Switzerland also have selected the Hornet as their premier fighter for self-defense.
 -0- 1/27/93
 /CONTACT: Daryl Stephenson of McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, 314-232-8203/
 (MD NOC GE)


CO: McDonnell Douglas; McDonnell Douglas Aerospace ST: California IN: ARO SU:

EH -- LA017 -- 9551 01/27/93 10:49 EST
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Date:Jan 27, 1993
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