Ex-Lockheed official joins board of Norwegian titanium firm


Chris Kubasik, fired last year as Lockheed Martin Corp's incoming CEO after having an affair with a subordinate, said he has joined the board of directors of a Norwegian titanium producer that works closely with Spirit AeroSystems Inc .

Kubasik told Reuters at the Paris air show that he saw great promise in the technology developed by Norsk Titanium Components AS for processing titanium far more efficiently than conventional methods, and he believes it could generate billions of dollars of revenue in the future.

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Norsk Titanium, a privately held firm founded in 2007, uses a process similar to 3-D printing to build titanium components close to their final shape, instead of whittling a large titanium block down, a process that reduces waste dramatically, uses less energy and is significantly faster.

Jon Andre Lokke, chief executive of Norsk Titanium, said the new process could yield enormous savings for commercial aerospace companies and others that use titanium parts, particularly on airplanes made of composite materials.

Norsk Titanium and Spirit Aerosystems announced on Monday that the process, also called direct metal deposition, had hit a big milestone by achieving technology readiness level six (TRL6). Lokke said the companies expected to reach technology readiness level eight (TRL8) by mid-2014.

Kubasik, who has been doing some consulting work in the aerospace sector, said he would help Norsk as it looked for preliminary contracts with potential aerospace customers.

Larry Lawson, the former head of Lockheed's aeronautics business, worked closely with Kubasik at Lockheed before leaving the company in March to become the chief executive of Spirit AeroSystems.

(Reporting By Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)