An innovative and highly accurate three coat process is used to paint the Typhoon.
Each aircraft spends two weeks in the spray shop being prepared before finally having the correct Air Force markings applied. It takes between 600 – 700 man hours to complete a Typhoon.
On arrival, the aircraft is fixed in a position to within 100mm of allocated points. This is to ensure the automated spray platforms move along their pre-designated trajectory correctly.
Layer upon layer
After preparation, the paint process begins. A primer coating is applied followed by an intermediate coat and then a top coat.
Paint thickness similar to the diameter of a human hair
In total around 45 litres of paint are used. The process requires a high level of skill to achieve an overall paint thickness similar to the diameter of a human hair. The team move around the aircraft on automated man movers from which they can safely operate a pressure controlled spray. The paint used in the process contains special properties which protect the aircraft from any exposure from the environment in which it is used.
Attention to detail
Once the paint has cured, a gauge using ultrasonic waves is used at 37 points around the aircraft to ensure the thickness of the paint is within tolerance.
Special erosion resistant coating is applied to specific sections of the aircraft which endure the most impact of high speed flight. This is a regulatory requirement for aircraft that fly faster than 500mph. Decals are then applied according to the livery requirements from the customer. These are all produced by the in-house graphics team.
Not one, but two
There are two 750 sqm spray facilities at our Warton site. Each is designed with the environment and safety in mind. Water gushes through a pipe system underneath the floor during spraying operations, decontaminating the air of atomical paint in just two minutes. The same water is recycled and re-used in the process.
Hot, hot, hot
Each facility also boasts the ability to turn into a 70 degree oven. Useful when the drying time of an aircraft needs to be speeded up.