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EADS Socata has delivered its sub-assemblies for the first Airbus A400M to representatives of the industrial partners of Airbus Military, EADS CASA and Airbus France.
EADS Socata was selected by EADS CASA in 2003 as Component Design & Build Team for the Airbus A400M sponsons, the main landing-gear fairings, and by Airbus France in 2005 as subcontractor with overall responsibility for design and manufacture of the nose landing-gear doors. EADS Socata has therefore been involved in this European program from the preliminary study phase.
The sponsons are two 14-metre (45 ft) fairings on either side of the fuselage housing the main landing gear of six sturdy wheels fitted with low-pressure tyres specially designed for operating on short and rudimentary runways. Designed and produced by EADS Socata, they are of mixed construction, a metal frame covered with composite (hybrid glass/carbon & carbon) panels on the fore and aft parts, to both limit the weight of the structure and make it able to withstand the impact of projectiles thrown up from unmetalled runways. In order to comply with new safety regulations in the event of a burst tyre, the central section has been redesigned with metal panels by EADS Socata. Each sponson weighs around 900 kg (1,986 lbs). They are delivered to EADS CASA fully equipped with electric, hydraulic and fuel circuits installed.
The four nose landing-gear doors are made of composite material (sandwich carbon fibre). They incorporate a hinging system developed by the design office which allows weight reduction without lessening performance. Each door weighs 90 kg (199 lbs). They are delivered to Airbus France at its St Nazaire factory.
“We are particularly proud today to be delivering on schedule these components for the A400M and thus contribute to this key European aerospace industry program. This is an excellent demonstration of our expertise in the field of large-sized fairing panels,” said Jean-Michel Léonard, Chairman and CEO of EADS Socata.
The military cargo aircraft four-engine turboprop jet Airbus A400M is intended for the transport of military troops and vehicles, for medical evacuation operations, and flight refuelling. Its first flight is planned for the beginning of 2008 and 192 firm orders have been placed to date, from the seven founding member states of the central procurement agency OCCAR – Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey, UK – plus South Africa and Malaysia.
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