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Alliant Techsystems has been selected to produce composite structures and tooling for Airbus’ next-generation A350 XWB (Xtra Wide Body) aircraft.
The company will produce the composite components at its composite manufacturing centre of excellence in Iuka, Mississippi.
ATK’s proprietary automated stiffener forming machines (ASFM) will be used in the development and manufacture of low-cost composite stringers and frames in a wide variety of shapes, which are required throughout the composite fuselage structure.
According to the company, ATK’s production processes can reduce manufacturing time by 90 percent over traditional hand lay-up methods and because of this it is believed that ATK could produce up to 25 miles of A350 XWB composite components per month when functioning at full capacity.
“”The A350 XWB program builds on ATK’s decades of composite production experience in military aircraft and launch vehicle programs,”” said John Shroyer, interim CEO at ATK. “”This production program showcases the unique capabilities of ATK’s composite manufacturing expertise and provides ATK a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enter on the ground floor of a revolution in the way commercial airliners will be produced in the decades to come.””
It is estimated the lighter structure will make the plane 30% more fuel efficient.
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