Advanced Engineering 2018

Airbus Begins Production of A400M Composite Wing

05 March 2006

The A400M military airlifter has taken another step forward as wing manufacturing has begun at Airbus' Filton, Bristol site.

Other than the aluminium alloy ribs, the A400M wings are essentially being constructed from composite materials. Filton will be also be carrying out the wing final assembly and delivering the completed wings to the aircraft final assembly line in Seville, Spain. New facilities are currently being completed and commissioned in preparation for wing final assembly to begin shortly and first wing deliveries are scheduled for around year end.

Charles Paterson, Head of A400M Wing at Airbus said: ""Partners and suppliers worldwide are working on the production and delivery of various components for the first A400M.""

The Airbus Filton site, which leads the wing design for A400M, is manufacturing 20 of the 48 ribs in a set of A400M wings (the other 28 being supplied by Mecachrome of France). The machining at Filton is carried out in a dedicated rib cell on high-speed 5-axis machines supplied by Makino of Japan.

Firm orders for A400M now stand at 192 aircraft - 180 in the original order for seven European NATO nations through OCCAR (60 for Germany; 50 for France; 27 for Spain; 25 for the UK; 10 for Turkey; 7 for Belgium and 1 for Luxembourg); plus 12 aircraft ordered by two further customers (8 for South Africa and 4 for Malaysia). The A400M, the world’s most modern military transport aircraft, will first fly in 2008 with deliveries beginning from 2009.

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